Politico reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta channeled MSNBC when he used the network’s slogan to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
Addressing an issue that is in the primary domain of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Panetta urged Israel to “lean forward” to achieve peace with the Palestinians. Peace talks have been moribund for more than a year.
“Rather than undermining the Palestinian Authority, it is in Israel’s interests to strengthen it by … continuing to transfer Palestinian tax revenues and pursuing other avenues of cooperation,” he said.
MSNBC had been using the “Lean Forward” slogan in a series of ads featuring Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and more recently Al Sharpton at various locales to give viewers the impression that they are really the down to earth All-American type and not the big bad liberals that conservatives make them out to be.
If you have seen any of the ads, you know they are a little hard to believe (Rachel Maddow wearing a hard hat — please)), but MSNBC keeps running them anyway.
After Panetta’s comments, and even before that, it is just as hard to believe that the Obama administration considers Israel an unshakable ally. But that doesn’t stop Obama from making that claim. Speaking last week at a fundraiser at the New York home of the chairman of the American Jewish Congress, Obama said, “I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.”
It seems that Panetta was more interested in appeasing the Muslim world at the expense of Israel, and that may well prove to be a “lean backwards” strategy.