Lobbyist Lanny Davis Seeks a Rematch with Obama over Honduras Coup
By Al Giordano
Dear Mr. President:
Remember, during the 2008 presidential primaries, the constant screeching national media presence from lawyer-lobbyist Lanny Davis? Yeah, him. The guy who night after night went on every cable TV channel to scream that Obama wasn’t electable, that Obama couldn’t win swing states, that Obama couldn’t win white voters, that Obama had to explain his position on race, that Obama couldn’t answer the 3 a.m. phone call…
Yup, one of those very same bottom-feeding lobbyists who you banned from your administration is now out to prove that you really are the “inexperienced” rube he said you were.
And (as your Spanish-speaking US citizen it is my duty to inform you) the way that much of Latin America sees it, your administration – and particularly your Secretary of State – are being successfully played by.. cough… cough… Lanny Davis!
Who can forget Lanny’s January 17, 2008 “Open Letter” to you, asking: “What Exactly in the Clinton-Era Nineties Did You Not Like?”
Well, other than lobbyists wagging the dog of Washington (in general) and Lanny Davis (in particular), I’ll bet that heavy-handed US policy over the previous 28 years (including the 1990s) toward Latin America didn’t leave a good taste in your mouth either, Mr. President. It certainly didn't down here.
When Lanny Davis bellies up to the roulette wheel and shouts “bet on red” you know it’s the hour to put all your chips down on black. The guy is a walking, talking piece of inverted litmus paper with a bow tie, like on February 28, 2008, when he lectured, “Recent Polling Data Shows Serious Concerns About Senator Obama’s “Electability” over Senator McCain vs. Senator Clinton’s.”
Or when, on March 2, 2008, Lanny Davis claimed:
One in five white Democrats (20%) would defect to Senator McCain if Senator Obama were the nominee.
Mr. President, you won 85 percent of that group last November.
In that same tome, Lanny wrote:
When the phone rings in the middle of the night at the White House, isn't it valid for voters to ask whether Senator Obama tends towards indecisiveness, given his past record of ducking votes, voting "present," or saying "I don't know" when asked how he would have voted on the war -- all the while criticizing Senator Clinton's "judgment" for voting for the resolution at the time?
See what he’s trying to do with the Honduras coup, Mr. President? Lanny Davis’ Honduras gambit is an attempt to prove that he was right all along: that you are “indecisive,” and that you’ll “duck” your civic duty to put the hammer down on the coup through the tools at your immediate disposal: full-on economic sanctions and by unleashing your law enforcement agencies on the gang of money launderers, narco-traffickers, ex-Cuban terrorists and others that have conspired and acted to turn Honduras into the rebirth of the 1950s Batista project in Cuba: a veritable mobster-state and safe haven for all of them.
Who can forget (well, who wants to remember, if I don’t remind?) Lanny’s March 6, 2008 admonition: “Obama vs. Clinton on Electability III: Electoral Votes Math Cannot be Disputed.”
Just like the "legality" of this military coup cannot be disputed, right?
Or his April 23, 2008 gem: “The Top Ten List of Undisputed Facts Showing Barack Obama’s Weakness in the General Election Against John McCain,” in which he claimed:
Barack Obama hasn't won a single major industrial state that historically constitute the key "battleground" states for both parties, i.e., the states in the last three or four presidential elections have switched back and forth between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.
Mr. President: Surely you remember that come last November, you won all the industrial and battleground states, every last one of them.
(In that column, Lanny even suggested you would lose Massachusetts, where you got 62 percent to McCain’s 36.)
Let me remind you of the most important thing to know about Lanny Davis: He’s always wrong.
But now, in 2009, here he is, causing an international scandal: his sudden mercenary presence on the scene is viewed by many throughout Latin America as proof positive that the putsch in Tegucigalpa is “Obama’s coup,” or, at very least, "Secretary Clinton's coup." It’s not, you say? I’ve said that, too. But Lanny Davis is trying his darnedest to make you own it, and make me eat those words.
Just like most US citizens have a hard time understanding different democratic systems of government in other countries, people abroad think Washington has pretty weird form of democracy, too, with its lobbyists like Lanny Davis pushing and pulling government around by the nose ring.
When they see someone like Lanny Davis, such a notorious cheerleader for the political ambitions of your Secretary of State, so closely allied with her over so many years, now lobbying for a military coup, her every move is scrutinized through that lens. She's taking an even bigger hit, so far, than you are over this. But in the end this will fall on you.
Now, while you were understandably busy in Italy and the Vatican and Russia and Ghana, Mr. President, I don’t know which member of your administration somehow sold you on the idea that mediation talks in Costa Rica led by Oscar Arias could solve this Honduras coup problem. I really don't, although I can guess.
I don’t know if it was Secretary Clinton, or your Latin America advisor Dan Restrepo, or the semi-retired “freelancer” Jeffrey Davidow (himself in the US Embassy in Santiago de Chile in September of 1973, all messed up in that disgraceful and bloody military coup d’etat), but if those talks don’t produce the restoration of Honduras’ elected president by this weekend, they’ll have already failed.
Except that they’ll have succeeded in buying time for the Honduran coup regime, making an international laughing stock out of those that bet on them. Think it’s embarrassing to be played by Lanny Davis? Just wait until they say you were played by Roberto Micheletti and his clown-shoe coup council… the reports of your administration’s competence would - and should - take a mortal hit if that's how it goes.
Many folks all over the world – and in the United States – will then conclude that you got played by a bottom-feeding lobbyist, and by the gaggle of Clinton-era foreign policy appointees in your administration, who will have been seen as having pulled off a kind of coup d’etat in Washington against you: against your statements that “the coup was not legal” and that the legitimate president of Honduras must be returned to office.
That would be widely seen as real pendejo, as we say down south.
Honduras’ elected and legitimate President Manuel Zelaya held a press conference this afternoon in next-door Nicaragua:
Ousted Honduras President Manuel Zelaya warned on Monday he will deem mediation talks over the country's political crisis "failed" unless he is reinstated at the next meeting, likely this weekend…
"We are giving an ultimatum to the coup regime, that at the latest in the next meeting this week in San Jose, Costa Rica, they should carry out the expressed (OAS and U.N.) resolutions (to reinstate me)," Zelaya told a news conference in Managua.
"If not, then this mediation will be considered to have failed," he added, wearing his trademark white cowboy hat.
Got that? One more week for those talks to do what they’re supposed to do, or you'd better have a very big baseball bat ready immediately for the next act.
Nobody's asking you to send in the Marines. All you need to do is to zealously enforce the laws of your own country, where the coup plotters deposit so many of the dollars that they've looted from the majority of Hondurans, and where they and their family members need visas to go shop in Miami with all that dirty money. Their bluff is in a Prada bag. You play poker. Call it.
And Zelaya is right. Playing along with such talks with an illegitimate coup regime any longer than they've gone on already would be folly. Diplomacy is for dealing with legitimate governments, not for criminals and terrorists.
And, Mr. President, even if that story blows over in the news media, because Honduras is a relatively small country, you just know that if the Honduras coup succeeds in remaining in power that other military generals in other Latin American countries are going to take it as a green light to do the same. And when that happens, the next coup - in Bolivia, perhaps? El Salvador? Nicaragua? Or completing the circle from 1955, Guatemala, Señor Presidente? - will be known far and wide as “Obama’s coup,” because your administration will then be accurately perceived as having not lowered the boom – in all the economic, political and judicial ways that everybody knows you can and must do - on its predecessor.
Worse, they’ll say you got beat by Lanny Davis.
They’ll even say that kooky Lanny fellow was right about you in 2008.
Those are his chips on the card table.
Now show us yours.