{{show_title_date || "Rewriting a right-wing columnist on Syria, 9/9/13, 11:16 PM ET"}}

O’Donnell: Podhoretz writes a ‘parody of a Republican attack’


The leading op-ed on the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page Sunday (and Monday) was Norman Podhoretz’s “Obama’s successful foreign failure,” in which Podhoretz tries to cast the president’s difficulties with Syria as the conspiratorial master play of a “left-wing radical.”

Podhoretz argues that Obama’s “bungling” of Syria is only smoke and mirrors to disguise his true aim: to “reduce the country’s power and influence” around the world. The president is doing this, Podhoretz claims, because “as a left-wing radical, Mr. Obama believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs.”

“If you wanted to rewrite [Podhoretz’s piece] as a parody of a Republican attack on President Obama’s position on Syria, you would barely have to change a word,” said MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell in the Rewrite Monday.

Indeed, Podhoretz seems to hang his whole theory on an “astonishing statement” Obama made a week before he was elected president: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

This remark proves Obama’s socialist ideology, according to Podhoretz, which is confirmed by Obama’s “associations with the likes of the anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers” and “the intellectual influence over him of Saul Alinsky, the original ‘community organizer.’”

Podhoretz calls the Arab Spring a “juicy opportunity” for Obama to speed up “the erosion of American power,” and cites the Syrian crisis as the juiciest opportunity of all. ”Thanks to his handling of the Syrian crisis,” he writes. “[Obama] is bringing about a greater diminution of American power than he probably envisaged even in his wildest radical dreams.”

“That’s right,” said O’Donnell. “Norman Podhoretz–and presumably many of the Wall Street Journal editors who thought this piece was worth printing–believe that the current President of the United States–the “left-wing radical” president–closes his eyes on his pillow in the White House every night and has wild radical dreams about the collapse of America…and the collapse of American power and influence.”