Friday, September 19, 2014


For a while it looked as if Scotland might vote for independence, but the votes have been counted and No prevailed, 55%-45% -- which means there's one less thing that's Barack Obama's fault.

No, really. The folks at Asshole of the Day discovered that David Frum was prepared to blame Obama if Scots had voted Yes:
In February 1995, Bill Clinton traveled to Ottawa to speak in favor of Canadian unity. "In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect," Clinton told the Canadian Parliament. The U.S. president was a more popular figure in Quebec than that province's own politicians, and his words likely contributed to the narrow margin of victory of the 'No' side in Quebec's second and final secession referendum later that year. President Obama has played no equivalent role in the debate over the survival of America's close ally, the United Kingdom. If the 'Yes' vote prevails on September 18, Obama's omission should be remembered in the postmortem assignment of blame for a potential disaster for the peoples of Britain, Europe, and the Western alliance.
Yes, Clinton affirmed America's opposition to the Quebec separatist movement in his speech, but as The Washington Post noted at the time, he tried to reassure both sides:
... For the Canadian government, struggling to stave off a resurgent separatist movement in Quebec, Clinton's speech offered a vigorous reaffirmation of the U.S. position in favor of Canadian unity.

Lest he offend sensibilities in Quebec, however, Clinton also repeated the comforting mantra: "Your political future is, of course, entirely for you to decide."

Delivered with gusto, the speech amounted to a restatement of Washington's longstanding approach to the Quebec question, but it was artful enough to win loud applause from both sides. Indeed, Clinton even joked about his penchant for offering a little something to everyone.

"You want to know why my State of the Union address took so long?" he said. "It's because I evenly divided the things that would make the Democrats clap and the Republicans clap."

Later, Clinton met with the leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, Lucien Bouchard, in a historic first encounter between a U.S. president and a Quebec nationalist leader....
I guess Obama could have done something like that -- but what do you think the reaction would have been if he'd advocated a No vote and then met with separatists? "OBAMA WAFFLES ON SCOTTISH SEPARATISM"! "WHY WON'T OBAMA LEAD?" The critics who weren't accusing him of egomaniacally meddling in another country's affairs (something we're only supposed to do if the citizens are mostly Muslim) would be accusing him of weakness and vacillation.

At least this way we were spared eight Maureen Dowd columns comparing Obama unfavorably to Mel Gibson in Braveheart.


Victor said...

So, if Scotland left, it would have been Obama who kilt the United Kingdom?

mervis said...

At least this way we were spared eight Maureen Dowd columns comparing Obama unfavorably to Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

That's funny!