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Galen Flaherty

The Libya fiasco is worse than it appears

Today we know that the attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi on September 11th was not the result of spontaneous protests but rather a premeditated attack by a group of terrorists. I say today because only now have both parties, the mainstream media, and the general public reached agreement on the nature of this deplorable event. Only now can I write without provoking partisan vitriol that the attack that resulted in three US diplomats and a US Ambassador being murdered was unequivocally an act of terror. It is now October 21st,, over a month since this tragedy occurred, it is another tragedy in itself that it has taken this long to reach a consensus.Let us not pretend that what happened in Libya is not a political issue. It happened during the heat of one of the most hotly contested US Presidential elections in history, at a time of dynamic change and unrest in the Middle East, and saw the murder abroad of the first US diplomat since 1979. The last reason is the most important. It is for that reason that this issue must be explored not for political points but to pay tribute to the brave men who were murdered by finding out the truth. This makes the convoluted series of reactions and statements to this event by both sides of the aisle all the more troubling.During last Tuesday's debate, in the most recent partisan exchange, President Obama declared that the implication that his administration deliberately sought to cover-up information regarding the nature of this attack was “offensive.” After seeing the earnestness with which he delivered this line I have to say I agree with him, but for wholly different reasons. I think it gives the administration too much credit. The fact of the matter is that… Read More

“A Debate That Changed Everything?”: Examining Reactions to the First Presidential Debate

Judging from his performance last Wednesday, Barack Obama must have assumed that debates don’t matter. Mitt Romney won a clear, unanimous victory in the first Presidential debate and the incumbent President appeared at best inarticulate and at worst disinterested. While this provided a lifeline to a Romney/Ryan campaign that was seemingly on the ropes, its impact is fleeting if it cannot effectively re-direct the trajectory of this election. However in analyzing the post-debate reactions of the Obama campaign, it has become clear that this election has been fundamentally altered.In developing their communications to respond to the debate fallout, Democratic strategists must have asked themselves, “Where did this Romney come from?” After weeks of seemingly endless media hiccups that had given double digit leads to the incumbent in swing states, the President had an opportunity to land a knockout blow. Two things came together to stop this from happening: the campaign’s decision to play it safe and Mitt Romney taking advantage of unfiltered media time with the American people.Let me be clear, Barack Obama is not unintelligent and he is certainly not without passion. His lacklustre performance came from a classic front-runner mistake of sitting on a lead. It is now clear that Obama no longer has the luxury of playing it safe. His charisma, passion, and rhetoric are devastatingly diminished when he is not the underdog. The evidence is there; his victory over the favoured Clinton-machine in past DNC primaries, his usage of vague combative rhetoric to inspire marginalized demographics like never before in 2008, and even his slogan “Yes we can!” implied conventional wisdom was saying “No you can’t!” In this election however, no one is saying that. As the front-runner, Obama is not only stuck running on his failed record, he is unable to access the restorative rhetoric… Read More