Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had only harsh words to share about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s speech on Israel Tuesday, saying he looked like a “cheap, base-playing buffoon.”Noonan criticised the GOP presidential front-runner for undermining President Barack Obama when the United States was in a particularly tough spot at the United Nations, saying Perry shallowly tried to exploit the Palestinian statehood threat for personal political gain.
Perry accused the Obama administration of “appeasement,” a loaded word in international diplomacy, and of being “arrogant, misguided and dangerous.”
This was meant not to defuse but to inflame. It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Perry that when you are running for president you have to be big, you have to act as if you’re a broad fellow who understands that when the American president is in a tight spot in the U.N., America is in a tight spot in the U.N. You don’t exploit it for political gain.
Perry competitor Rick Santorum responded: “I’ve forgotten more about Israel than Rick Perry knows about Israel,” he told Politico. Mr. Perry “has never taken a position on any of this stuff before, and [the media is] taking this guy seriously.”
The Israeli newspaper Ha’artez likened Mr. Perry’s remarks to “a pep rally for one of Israel’s right-wing politicians, and a hard-liner at that,” adding that the governor “adopted the rhetoric of Israel’s radical right lock, stock and barrel.”
I’d add only that in his first foreign-policy foray, the GOP front-runner looked like a cheap, base-playing buffoon.
As I said, Mr. Obama can’t win this election, but the Republicans can lose it by being small, by being extreme, by being—are we going to have to start using this word again?—unnuanced.
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