Those three people don’t have alot in common but they were linked together during President Bush’s Thursday morning news conference. Here’s how President Bush tied Obama and Castro together:

Bush was particularly hard on Obama for saying that, as president, he would meet with the leaders of Cuba, Iran and North Korea.

“What’s lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? What’s lost is it’ll send the wrong message,” Bush said. “I’m not suggesting there’s never a time to talk, but I’m suggesting now is not the time” to talk with new Cuban President Raul Castro.

Sen. McCain is thanking President Bush for this slapdown because it plays into McCain’s strength and Obama’s weakness. Obama saying that he’ll meet with despots without preconditions is irresponsible. We gain nothing from it while they’d gain international credibility.

I’m certain that this is part of Obama’s playbook to say that Democrats have to occupy the White House in order to restore America’s good name around the world. That’s the Democrats’ fatal flaw. They’re so enamored with being seen as good guys that they don’t play the bully when it’s appropriate.

Obama better get used to this type of slapdown because it’s likely that this is the pattern Sen. McCain is likely to use in contrasting Obama’s inexperience with Sen. McCain’s experience. Hillary tried making the experience argument against Obama. That tactic didn’t work because she wasn’t that experienced and she didn’t do anything to distinguish herself in her brief time in office.

Mara Liasson made an astute observation during Wednesday night’s roundtable:

LIASSON: Yes, but here’s the thing: last night, against Senator Clinton, Obama said, look, once we’ve driven into the ditch, there is only so many ways we can get out. The question is, who made the initial decision?
That is actually not going to be the debate anymore. The debate is going to be now what are the options? There are many of them.
He is actually wrong that there are only a few. There are many of them. McCain has a different one. And for Obama to say, look, I would be willing to go back in if al-Qaeda has a base, well, that’s exactly what the surge is doing now.
And I just think the debate will get much more complicated for whoever is the Democratic nominee.

I think she nailed it with that opinion. I definitely think that foreign policy will become a serious problem for Obama in the general election because he hasn’t been tested in the Democratic nominating process. The only thing that’s been discussed during the nominating process is who wanted to get out of Iraq fastest. That worked in a field of pacifists but it won’t work against John McCain.

The Democrats will have to adjust to McCain after beating up on President Bush. They could beat up on President Bush because he made some glaring mistakes in Iraq. That work against McCain because he’s the guy who pushed for the surge, which is now working well.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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