Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.
There is so much clinically nuts about this, one doesn't know where to start. Friedman, at least, did not pretend that war is like some kind of tax cut or electoral gambit to be toyed with. Then there's the notion that Republicans would in any way support this president for anything (notice their deafening cheers on bombing the living crap out of Afghanistan yet? Or for the remarkably successful and increasingly tough sanctions on Iran?) Blake Hounshell helps out with the economics:
In case it's not obvious, this is crazy for a number of reasons. One is that markets don't like tensions, and certainly not the kind that jack up oil prices. Second, World War II brought the United States out of the Great Depression because it was a massive economic stimulus program that mobilized entire sectors of society. Today's American military has all the tools it needs to fight Iran, and there isn't going to be any sort of buildup. Hasn't Broder been reading his own newspaper? The Pentagon is looking to find billions in cuts as it confronts the coming world of budget austerity.
I'll leave the question of whether Iran is truly "the greatest threat to the world" to others.
Oh, he just got that talking point from Hiatt's Cheneyesque coterie. The only broader point I'd make here is that it is now clear that "the dean of Washington journalism" can write a column that would barely make it past the link-worthiness of some batshit commenter on RedState or the deeper, crazier recesses of the unpaid blogosphere.
The MSM still has many good columnists. But when you really see the man behind the curtain, you begin to realize just how full of crap these Beltway Wizards of Oz can be.
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