A Real Conservative’s Take On Obama

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 16 2012 @ 4:45pm

The British Tories have not gone insane like the GOP. And it's an open secret that Cameron would be extremely confortable with an Obama re-election. But I was struck by the prime minister's remarks the other night and since they're now being attacked from the far right, it's worth reprinting them:

There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: strength, moral authority, and wisdom.

Strength, because Barack has been strong when required to defend his national interests. Under President Obama's leadership, America got bin Laden. And together with British and coalition forces, America has fundamentally weakened al Qaeda. The President says what he will do and he sticks to it … And let us all agree that the world is better off without bin Laden, but the world is better off without Qaddafi, too.

Moral authority, because Barack understands that the means matter every bit as much as the ends. Yes, America must do the right thing, but to provide moral leadership, America must do it in the right way, too. The first President I studied at school was Theodore Roosevelt. He talked of speaking softly and carrying a big stick. That is Barack's approach. And in following it, he has pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world.

Wisdom, because Barack has not rushed into picking fights, but is a steward of America's resources of hard and soft power. He's taken time to make considered decisions, drawing down troops from Iraq and surging in Afghanistan.

Toby Harnden took particular umbrage at the notion that Obama "pressed the reset button on the moral authority of the entire free world." He doesn't get it. But Cameron was obviously referring to the end of torture and abuse of terror suspects ordered from the previous president and his criminal vice-president Dick Cheney.

Just because Americans need amnesia to forget what this country did to its own moral authority under Bush and Cheney does not mean that America's allies have. They saw the damage it did to all of us defending civilization against barbarism, only to discover that some of that barbarism was emanating from the White House itself.