Posted on | February 1, 2011 | 22 Comments
UPDATE 6:55 p.m. ET: OK, Obama just gave his speech, saying he had spoken to Hosni Mubarak and that the transition “must begin now.” Obama also spoke of U.S. support for Egypt in “the aftermath of these protests,” indicating that he thinks the protests are now in the past tense.
The president looked somewhat angry. MSNBC analysts seemed confused as to Obama’s meaning. But Chris Matthews is one of those analysts, and he’s always confused about everything.
UPDATE 7:05 p.m. ET: Washington Post:
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in September was less than the Obama administration had hoped for . . .
[Officials] said that the administration’s “prevailing view” since last weekend has been that an agreement by Mubarak not to run again was insufficient.
So Obama is unhappy, but he didn’t say explicitly that Mubarak must leave now. Like I said, though, Obama had an angry look on his face.
UPDATE 7:15 p.m. ET: Video via PBS:
“What is clear, what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak, is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.”
UPDATE 9:30 p.m. ET: Lots of criticism of Obama’s handling of the crisis. John Hinderaker at Power Line:
It is obvious to everyone that our government has no control over events in Egypt; that the sort of explosion now taking place has long been predicted, yet was not foreseen; and that Obama has been sitting back, awaiting developments, before deciding what way to jump. Now that it is clear that Mubarak’s regime cannot survive, he pretends to get out front of the Egyptian popular movement and to tell it, and Mubarak, what to do. That’s the way it looks, anyway.
The money line that’s being picked up by news outlets and touted on Twitter is, “an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.” But what does “now” mean? Didn’t Mubarak already begin the transition process today by agreeing not to run again in the fall? Didn’t he do precisely what Obama asked him to do, in fact? To listen to this, you’d think the White House was somehow displeased by his recalcitrance even though he’s following the advice they’ve given him.
After blogging all day about this stuff, I’m just tired of it now. As far as I’m concerned, the crisis is over — at least until tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I’m getting back to blogging about serious stuff like Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian’s big booty.
PREVIOUSLY: As predicted earlier today, when Ed Morrissey seemed rather placid about the situation in Egypt, Allahpundit is now bringing us the more pessimistic Fear and Loathing in Cairo version of the story.
Strangely enough, after Mubarak’s speech, now I’m trending toward optimism for the first time since this mess began:
Yes, the protesters in Cairo and other major cities were dissatisfied with the speech, shouting “Leave! Leave!” and “Not Enough!” but Mubarak wasn’t speaking to them. Rather, he was speaking to the 70 million or so Egyptians who haven’t participated in the protests. And he was appealing to them in explicitly patriotic terms.
“The Hosni Mubarak who speaks to you today is proud of his achievements over the years in serving Egypt and its people,” he said during his speech, “This is my country. This is where I lived, I fought and defended its land, sovereignty and interests, and I will die on its soil.” . . .
You can read the rest of my take at The American Spectator, and now we await an Obama speech in reaction to Mubarak’s speech.