In a meeting with Russian President Medvedev this morning, President Obama had an unfortunate ‘hot mic’ incident that will surely cause a few headaches in the West Wing for a day or two. The following exchange was recorded by reporters:
Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
There really isn’t anything controversial about that statement. In fact, it would be regarded as an obvious truism by anyone with knowledge of American politics. Election year negotiations, whether foreign or domestic, are always impacted by concerns that weigh more heavily on campaigning than on substance.
Nevertheless, it was an inconvenient soundbite that can easily be misconstrued by the President’s opponents. While the only message Obama was conveying was that difficult concessions by both sides would become more plausible without electoral concerns hanging over their heads, Republicans were quick to jump on the gaffe as having more sinister implications. But nobody went to further extremes than the hyper-conspiracy freaks over at Breitbart’s place where they headlined their story: Obama to Putin: I’ll Surrender America After Re-election.
Really? Breitbrat Joel Pollak seems to actually believe that Obama has a secret agenda to make America subservient to Russia. I’m not sure I can explain what purpose would be served by such an agenda, but the Breitbrats probably think that it’s just part of an overall plot to destroy America by the Kenyan-born socialist usurper in the White House. One question that remains is why Obama would surrender to the Russians rather than to the Iranians with whom he allegedly shares a belief in Islam. But trying to find logic in the delusional schemes of these right-wing extremists is not a recommended exercise. It will almost always lead to failure and probably a bad migraine.