Dick Cheney's dream of an imperial vice presidency lording over all the world's oil fields is now officially dead.
President Barack Obama snuffed it out during his first formal interview on Arabic TV. He did it with Al-Arabiya, not Al Jazeera, but it's a stunning change from the bellicose Bush regime, as this excerpt from the AP proves:
"What I told [envoy George Mitchell] is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating," Obama told the interviewer.
The president reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel as an ally and to its right to defend itself. But he suggested that both Israel and the Palestinians have hard choices to make.
"I do believe that the moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people," he said, calling for a Palestinian state that is contiguous with internal freedom of movement and can trade with neighboring countries.
Obama also said that recent statements and messages issued by the al-Qaida terror network suggest they do not know how to deal with his new approach.
"They seem nervous," he told the interviewer. "What that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt."
You mean not all Muslims are bomb-throwers? And you can blast the ones who are while still pressuring the ones who aren't? And you can even put pressure on Jews to start making nice? What an unusual thing for a U.S. president to say.
The president expressed an intention to engage the Middle East immediately and his new envoy to the region, former Sen. George J. Mitchell, was expected to arrived in Egypt on Tuesday for a visit that will also take him to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama told the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel.
Call it the Oprah defense. Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of peddling Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder, said this morning he considered selecting TV talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey for the post.
...Nora Ephron had the full house at the 92nd Street Y collapsed in giggles Wednesday night at the Huffington Post bloggers' panel hosted by Arianna Huffington, fresh from Washington. "I was thrilled that Bernard Madoff got bumped off the headlines with the appearance of Blagojevich [pronounced Bla-GOY-o-vich], because now we had someone with 'goy' in his name instead."
When I mentioned to someone that I'd be attending the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research's January 15 panel discussion, "Madoff: A Jewish Reckoning," the snap retort was: "That momser! They should hang him like in the Wild West."