Less than 48 hours after trotting out new, tougher language on Iran, President Obama revealed in his press conference how little substance lies behind his words. He struck a partisan note, claiming Republicans were "beating the drums of war" with Iran. So much for not making Iran a "political football," as so many Democrats pleaded at AIPAC.Obama's message is clear: If he's talking to a Jewish audience, he's pro-Israel and "has their back", even hinting at military support. If he's talking to his base he becomes a military dove and thinks sanctions and angry looks will solve everything.
Even worse, when pressed by ABC News's Jake Tapper on what he meant by his comment that we "have Israel's back," the president answered that it was "not a military doctrine that we were laying out for any particular military action. . . . It was a restatement of our consistent position that the security of Israel is something I deeply care about . . . [and] confirms how deeply we care about it." In other words, he was not pledging anything in particular to the Jewish state.
This seemed to bolster conservatives' view that Obama's AIPAC rhetoric was meaningless. Bill Kristol, the co-founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, blasted the president: "Barack Obama's statements before AIPAC have a remarkably short shelf life. In 2008 he told AIPAC that Jerusalem must not be divided, and then retracted it the next day. Now, in 2012, he tells AIPAC that he's got Israel's back, and then retracts that two days later. For Obama, being pro-Israel seems to be a campaign strategy, not a foreign policy."
It's all about the audience.