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Regression to the mean...

By Michael J. Smith on Friday May 23, 2008 07:29 PM

... AKA Front Runner Syndrome. See also Triangulation. Here's Barack, talking recently to the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami:
In many ways, Miami stands as a symbol of hope for what’s possible in the Americas. Miami’s promise of liberty and opportunity has drawn generations of immigrants to these shores....

What all of us strive for is freedom as FDR described it. Political freedom. Religious freedom. But also freedom from want, and.. freedom from fear. At our best, the United States has been a force for these four freedoms in the Americas. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that at times we’ve failed to engage the people of the region with the respect owed to a partner.

When George Bush was elected, he held out the promise that this would change.... Almost eight years later, those high hopes have been dashed....

No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum. His predictable yet perilous mix of anti-American rhetoric, authoritarian government, and checkbook diplomacy offers the same false promise as the tried and failed ideologies of the past.... And Chavez and his allies are not the only ones filling the vacuum. While the United States fails to address the changing realities in the Americas, others from Europe and Asia – notably China – have stepped up their own engagement. Iran has drawn closer to Venezuela, and just the other day Tehran and Caracas launched a joint bank with their windfall oil profits.

That is the record – the Bush record in Latin America – that John McCain has chosen to embrace. Senator McCain doesn’t talk about these trends in our hemisphere because he knows that it’s part of the broader Bush-McCain failure to address priorities beyond Iraq....

So we face a clear choice in this election. We can continue as a bystander, or we can lead the hemisphere into the 21st century. And when I am President of the United States, we will choose to lead....

Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy....

I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice....

For the people of Colombia – who have suffered at the hands of killers of every sort – that means battling all sources of violence. When I am President, we will continue the Andean Counter-Drug Program.... We will fully support Colombia’s fight against the FARC..... We will support Colombia’s right to strike terrorists who seek safe-haven across its borders. And we will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments. This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and – if need be – strong sanctions. It must not stand.

... we must support the rule of law from the bottom up. That means more investments in prevention and prosecutors; in community policing and an independent judiciary.

I agree with my friend, Senator Dick Lugar – the Merida Initiative does not invest enough in Central America, where much of the trafficking and gang activity begins.

... As President, I’ll make it clear that we’re coming after the guns, we’re coming after the money laundering, and we’re coming after the vehicles that enable this crime. And we’ll crack down on the demand for drugs in our own communities, and restore funding for drug task forces and the COPS program.

And on and on. Cops, embargoes, "democracy" -- for other people of course; Lord knows we don't want it here -- and, most ominous of all, "leadership". One can only try to imagine how the idea of American "leadership" must make hearts sink around the world.

For the historically-minded, the interest of this speech is how it resembles Kennedy's product positioning back in '60. The problem with McCain is that he's not going to be aggressive and domineering enough.

These Republicans, they're so lazy and reactive. Trust a sleepless, industrious Democrat to send in the death squads even before they're needed.

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