Today in Washington, Wednesday in Mesa

On Fox News Sunday, Bush gave his critique of Obama, saying “I certainly don’t know what he believes in.  The only foreign policy thing I remember he said was that he’s going to attack Pakistan and embrace Ahmenidajad.”  Evidently he feels like America doesn’t know what he stands for.  Fortunately for us, Barack Obama has given us a fairly detailed account on his plans for American foreign policy under his administration.  I can’t really blame Bush for not knowing what it is, however.  If he wasn’t able to keep up with foreign policy issues when he was running for President, why should we expect him to keep up with another candidate’s?

It’s ironic that such statements were an example of “the old Washington game trying to tear somebody down” when they were directed at him, but seem acceptable when he’s the old Washington guy.  I guess he’s the typical “dish it but can’t take it” type.

What I find especially insulting, though, is that he’s making such negative remarks about Obama when Obama’s policies really reflect some of the few bright moments in Bush’s historically inept foreign policy.  When Obama said he was “going to attack Pakistan” he was saying that the U.S. should unilaterally embark on bombing campaigns inside Pakistan if there is credible evidence that they would help capture or kill Osama bin Laden but the Pakistani government won’t assist with the effort.  You know, kind of like how we attacked Afghanistan and overthrew their government because we had credible evidence bin Laden was there but the Taliban wouldn’t assist with the effort.  In other words, Obama said he would take whatever actions are necessary to clean up Bush’s mess, since, you know, Bush wasn’t able to find the guy.  Of course, there is a big difference; in Obama’s “attack” he said he’d avoid situations like bombing wedding ceremonies. 

As far as the “embrace Ahmenidajad” remark, Obama did certainly say that he would embrace diplomatic relations with Ahmenidajad to help stabilize the region and remove the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.  Remember when Bush said unilateral diplomatic relations with North Korea would be embracing Kim Jong-il but then his hard stance ended up enabling a nuclear-armed North Korea and then all of Asia hated us and the only way he was able to stop it was to finally just talk to the Korean dictator?  Evidently Bush doesn’t.

I guess the question then becomes, how can we expect Bush to know what a Democrat candidate’s positions are when he evidently has so little knowledge of his own?

By the way, don’t you hate when Republicans claim withdrawing combat troops from Iraq would encourage terrorism when Obama said he would keep troops in Iraq to battle al Qaida and will use the withdrawal to increase the focus on Afghanistan?  I sure do.  Of course, God forbid the GOP might have to face the reality that the Iraq war is what caused al Qaida in Iraq and allowed the Taliban to come back in power.

In other political news, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has changed managers.  First she has to give $5 million to the campaign, then she asks for weekly debates, then she gets swept over the weekend, and now she’s changing managers.  Sounds like she’s on the ropes to me.  Of course, she denies it.  I guess she could have a point.  After all, don’t successful baseball teams change managers in the middle of a season all the time?  And don’t companies who are very profitable often change CEOs just to “liven things up a bit?”  And didn’t California elect Schwarzenegger because Gray Davis was doing so well?  Wait . . . my sources are telling me the answer to all of those questions is “no.”  Evidently, only a moron would believe that.  Well, that’s what I pay my crack research team for.  Good catch, guys!

Anyway, we’ll see if Obama can keep it up through March 4.

Finally, Wednesday is one of the most joyful days of the year.  The signal that winter is nearing an end and warmer days are upon us.  A beacon of light in the darkest of every year.  A renewal of hope that could only come from the graces of all that is good and whole in our lives.  I’m speaking, of course, of the day that Cubs’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this upcoming year.  I am a little disturbed when I hear claims that 85 victories could win the Central division, as that is the total the Cubbies had last year and they should be better this year (and we shouldn’t have to suffer the Pinella “break-in” period that took most of last April and May).  The Cubs didn’t do much this offseason, but they were able to keep all their important pieces, shed Mark Prior (addition by subtraction, I think), and sign Kosuke Fukudome (which was huge).

However, two things do worry me.  Namely, they have five pitchers competing for the last two starting positions, and three competing for the closer’s job.  The obligatory argument from the Cubs is that signifies how deep they are in those spots.  The thing is, usually when you have a bunch of people competing for one spot, it doesn’t mean you have a bunch of excellent candidates; it means you don’t have a one.

The Mets signing Santana makes them the obvious favorites to win the NL pennant.  But I do think this year’s Cubbies are going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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