Bob Newhart used to do this skit where he played a psychiatrist who charged only five dollars (he didn’t make change) for a session, would listen at length to his patients’ problems and then offer exactly the same advice to all of them.
Among those who could enormously benefit from such advice is Marie Harf — State Department spokesperson and poster child for the utter failure of liberal education — who appears to be evolving from a parody of leftist millennials into a parody of a parody.
Responding to a question about a recent op-ed by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz that was highly critical of Obama’s Iran strategy, Ms Harf’s now viral response was:
“I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives. I heard a lot of–sort of a lot of big words and big thoughts in that piece, and certainly there is a place for that. But I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives about what they would do differently,”
Leave aside the fact that Kissinger and Shultz have toenails more intellectually gifted and experienced than Harf, and that a disdain for “big words” is probably not something a senior communications official should be blurting out at the water cooler much less a press conference, what really stands out is her riff on the “well, unless you have a better idea …” gambit — one of the favorite administration responses to criticism of any of their really bad decisions.
What eludes President Obama (by far the worst malefactor), Ms Harf and all the Keebler Cookie Elves in between is sometimes “stop it!” is the better idea.
In deference to MS Harf’s discomfort with “big words and thoughts” let’s use (you should pardon an upcoming pun) a pedestrian example:
If someone is driving down the wrong side of a residential street at 120 miles an hour, littering the sidewalk with falling bodies, an extended treatise on road safety and alternative methods for getting down the street is probably unnecessary. Screaming something pithy like “Stop the car!” should suffice.
Likewise, if you are proposing a deal that will permit homicidal 7th century throwbacks — whose stated aim is to obliterate the west — to acquire nuclear weapons, you don’t have to go much further down the path than “let’s not do that”. It’s good that Kissinger and Shultz explained this so thoroughly and patiently but the fact they didn’t also provide free tips on how the administration can extricate itself from this folly doesn’t count against them.
Ms Harf’s rejoinder (echoing Obama’s) seems to be that unless we do this thoroughly discredited deal we will risk war with Iran. (Sort of a “buy this magazine or we’ll shoot this dog” deal.) This ignores the fact (transparent to everyone but this administration) that we are, to all intents and purposes, already in an asymmetric proxy war with Iran and there is no evidence that it would cease after this deal was done. (There’s actually a strong case to be made with an emboldened Iran escalating that war, but that’s a topic for another time.)
Audio visual summary of my main points below. To get the full effect, I recommend playing them back to back.
(h/t Washington Free Beacon)