It bothers me that President Obama chose not to attend Justice Scalia’s funeral. Evidently I am not the only person bothered. Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science and the founder and director of the Program on International Politicis, Economics and Security at the University of Chicago. On Thursday he posted an article at Real Clear Politics about President Obama’s absence from the funeral.
The article reminds us:
President Obama’s decision not to attend Justice Antonin Scalia‘s funeral is shameful. It mirrors his decision to skip the state funeral for Margaret Thatcher in 2013. On these somber, formal occasions, the president is called upon to represent our country as the head of state. He is not representing his party, his political agenda, or himself personally. He is representing our country—or at least he should be. On Saturday, it is his duty to mourn a man who sat on the Supreme Court for decades. He is shirking that duty.
President Obama missed the opportunity to bring the nation together. Unfortunately, during his term as President, he has generally missed opportunities to unite Americans.
The article concludes:
President Obama need not reach these rhetorical heights. But he ought to behave with quiet dignity and represent our nation at Scalia’s funeral. He does not have to pretend he agreed with Scalia’s decisions. He does not have to praise the justice’s judicial philosophy. But he ought to honor the life of a man who spent three decades on the Supreme Court and five years before that on the U.S. appellate bench.
Refusing to attend the funeral does more than insult the memory of a life-long public servant. It is a failure to perform a basic presidential duty. Obama has shirked his responsibility to all of us.
President Obama has not handled the office of President with class. He has exploited the office and divided Americans rather than uniting them. Hopefully, Americans will elect a President in November who will unite us and respect the office of President.
What goes around comes around. Sometimes that is good, sometimes it is not. What happened in Britain’s Parliament yesterday was one of those times when it is not.
Yesterday Fox News posted a story about the vote taken in Britain yesterday regarding getting involved in Syria. The article points out that with the exception of Vietnam, Britain has historically gone to war as an ally of the United States whether or not Britain had any national interest in the dispute. For Britain to refuse to get involved in Syria as it was becoming apparent that America probably would was a new direction in Britain’s foreign policy.
So what is this about? Up until 2009, when President Obama was sworn into office, American and Britain had a ‘special relationship.’ Britain joined us in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though they had no national security interest in either place.
The article at Fox News states:
For instance, although Britain recognized that Al-Qaeda posed a serious threat to the UK, we intervened in Afghanistan because, as Tony Blair succinctly stated at the time, an attack on America was seen as an attack on Britain, such was the strength of the Special Relationship.
With Iraq throughout the nineties and in 2003, America decided Hussein needed dealing with, Britain stepped up. When Clinton expressed broader foreign policy objectives and decided Milosevic needed taking care of in Serbia, Britain was there. There were other reasons too, but Britain’s attitude was “where our ally goes, we go.”
Let’s look at what has happened since 2009. One of President Obama’s first moves in office was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to the British. That bust had been presented to President Bush after 911 as a reminder that Britain stood with us. It was insulting to return it. President Obama declared that America has no stronger ally than France. France? Not a single senior member of the Obama administration attended the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. When Argentina started making noises about wanting to take over the Falkland Islands, the Obama administration, speaking through then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sided against their best ally, and with Kirchner’s Argentina, demanding Britain sit down with Argentina and negotiate sovereignty of the British territory under the pretense of neutrality.
The Obama Administration has treated Britain shamefully. It is no wonder that he did not get the support for intervention in Syria from the British Parliament when he needed it. The President who came into office saying that he was going to ‘undo the damage George Bush had done to America’s image around the world’ has now succeeded in making even America’s friends dislike her.
Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail reported that the Obama Administration will not send an official representative to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral.
The article reports:
The Queen’s decision to attend Lady Thatcher‘s funeral has effectively elevated it to a state occasion unprecedented for a political figure in Britain since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
The decision not to attend was made before the bombing in Boston yesterday. It had been assumed that although the President would not attend, he would send a representative. He has chosen not to do that. Some high ranking members of previous American administrations will be attending–two Reagan era secretaries of state: James Baker and George Shultz, former US vice president Dick Cheney and ex-secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Margaret Thatcher was a pivotal figure of the Twentieth Century. It is simply bad form for the President not to send a representative. This is another misstep in our relationship with Great Britain.
The article reports:
Johnson (Charles Johnson) starts with what Thatcher often said was her greatest accomplishment, which was not her work in helping to topple the Soviet Union or being the first British woman to hold the post of prime minister, but rather, was her work as a child to save a Jewish teenager in Austria from the grasp of Hitler’s terror.
The story begins in 1938 when Edith Muhlbauer, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, wrote a letter to Muriel Roberts, Edith’s pen pal and the future prime minister’s [Margaret Thatcher] older sister. The letter expressed fear that as Hitler began rounding up Jews in Austria that her family would be included in those round-ups. The Roberts family did not have the means to take Edith in, and Margaret, then 12, and Muriel, 17, set about raising funds and persuading the local Rotary club to help. Edith stayed with a number of Rotary families for about two years until she was able to go to South America to join relatives.
The article reports:
Had the Roberts family not intervened, Edith recalled years later, “I would have stayed in Vienna and they would have killed me.” Thatcher never forgot the lesson: “Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life,” she told audiences in 1995 after Edith had been located, alive and well, in Brazil.
Prime Minister Thatcher showed courage and determination even as a young adult. It is no wonder that she grew up to be the “Iron Lady.”
The U.K. Mail is reporting today that Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, died this morning. I am citing the U.K. Mail article because it includes a lot of pictures of Prime Minister Thatcher during her time as Prime Minister and after she left office. Lady Thatcher, along with President Reagan, stood up to the Soviet Union, and eventually the Soviet Union collapsed.
Lady Thatcher was Britain’s first and only woman prime minister. She won three consecutive general elections to that post. Please follow the link above to read the article in the U.K. Mail. It is an inspiring story of a lady who broke the mold when it came to British politics.