On Hannity last night, Sean Hannity made a big deal about President Obama’s comment that he was “relieved” at the results of the recent election in Egypt – in which the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate has been elected. Predictably, Hannity and his guest Liz Cheney were so busy smearing Obama as being pro-“American’s enemies” and anti-American strength that they never got around to explaining Obama’s actual point of view. Yet on the very next Fox News program, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed the very same sentiment.
Cheney - who seems to be eyeing political office - told Hannity, “I think that, you know, you’ve got now a situation where this president’s foreign policy – whether you’re talking about leaving Iraq, leaving Afghanistan, allowing the Iranian mullahs to continue to produce, to attempt to produce a nuclear weapon, having the Muslim Brotherhood come to power in Egypt. People have got to begin to ask who's benefitting from Barack Obama’s foreign policy. And time and time again, sadly and disturbingly, it’s America’s enemies who are benefitting.”
No objection from Hannity! Instead, he egged her on. “Now we’ve got a known terrorist organization with a known terrorist sympathizer now as the president… Seems that we’re living in an age of the rise of the radical Islamist and it seems like there is a growing alliance against Israel in the United States. Where can this possibly end? Because it doesn’t seem like an end in any way that’s gonna be good.”
Cheney later said, “While you’ve got this surge of extremism happening across the Arab world, simultaneously, you’ve got the United States pulling back. And we have a president who I believe for the first time, at least in modern history, has had as his objective leaving American weaker than when he took office… The combination there is potentially explosive.”
Of course, nobody mentioned why Obama said he was relieved. If they had, it might have deflected from the “he loves radical Muslims more than America” picture Hannity and Cheney were doing their best to paint. But as the New York Times noted:
The election results dissipated mounting fears inside the administration that the country’s election commission would invalidate the recent presidential runoff and declare a former air force general, Ahmed Shafik, the next president. Officials were concerned that such a move would set off violent protests among more than 100,000 Egyptians who had gathered in Tahrir Square to demand that the military cede power to a civilian government as promised.
With that danger defused, at least for the moment, the White House called on Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, “to advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies in consultations about the formation of a new government.” A White House statement also signaled to Egypt’s ruling generals, who dissolved the Islamist-led Parliament, that it looked “forward to the completion of a transition to a democratically elected government.”
While the Times notes this is a high risk strategy, it’s hardly one borne out of the kind of reckless disregard for American interests Cheney and Hannity were deliberately implying.
In fact, about an hour after Cheney left the set, On The Record hosted Condoleezza Rice, the previous Secretary of State, who surely knows a thing or two about Egypt and foreign policy. She told host Greta Van Susteren:
We need a stable and a democratic Egypt and we need to start with that as in our interests. And then we need to do everything that we can to make certain that we are participants in that stable and democratic Egypt… Obviously, now we are going to have to establish relations with this government.
… I actually think it might have been more destabilizing had the military candidate or a Mubarek-era candidate won. Then you would have allowed those who were in the streets, then you would have allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to say, "Well, you see, this was all fixed from the beginning," to sit at the sidelines and to, to cause trouble and to criticize but not to have the responsibility of actually governing.
We’ll see how this plays out. But, I for one, think that this might have been a better outcome than had there been a Mubarek-era win.
Do Cheney and Hannity think Rice is in bed with America’s enemies? I dare them to explain.