It looks like Chen Gaungcheng isn't going to be an albatross around President Obama's neck after all. If indeed Chen and his family wind up coming to America, the oomph will go out of the Chen-based narrative Mitt Romney has been developing: Obama administration sends blind guy to gulag lest he get in the way of Hillary Clinton's Beijing photo ops.
Still, it's true that in handling the Chen case the Obama administration seemed intent on not derailing meetings between Clinton and Chinese officials. And the Romney camp will keep trying to get some mileage out of that--at least, to judge by Jennifer Rubin's Washington Post blog, the unofficial archive of Romney campaign talking points. Friday morning, after the contours of the tentative deal to get Chen out of China had been reported, Rubin wrote that the administration's handling of the case had been "reprehensible."
The administration's missteps are reflective of the administration's mindset that "good relations" and "getting things done" with the Chinese are too important to let human rights get in the way. This is misguided, for in sacrificing human rights we signal weakness to the Chinese and erode our own moral standing.
And really, what have we gotten for all our diffidence to the Chinese regime?
Actually, among the things we've gotten for staying on good terms with China is China's acquiescence in UN Security Council sanctions against Iran--sanctions China had the power to veto. And unless I'm getting this Jennifer Rubin mixed up with another Jennifer Rubin, doing things that Iran's leaders don't like is something she strongly approves of.