Rightbloggers Explain How Killing Osama Was Bad for Obama, America
Last Sunday, right after President Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, we did a quick scan of rightblogger responses to the event. The brethren basically felt Obama had nothing to do with it and if he did, it wasn't worth doing.
A week has passed. Which means rightbloggers have had time to think about their reactions, and to offer more thoughtful writing on the subject.
And what they thoughtfully wrote was that the death of Bin Laden was a disaster for the Obama Administration, and maybe for us all.
National Review's Victor Davis Hanson revisited an old rightblogger chestnut and complained that Obama used the word "I" too often in his announcement of Bin Laden's death. "Most of these first-person pronouns could have been replaced by either the first-person plural (our, we) or proper nouns (the United States, America)," explained Hanson. "But they reflect a now well-known Obama trait of personalizing the presidency." This English lesson eventually cited Animal Farm and 1984, believe it or not, in relation to "Barack Obama's radical transformation" and "the sudden approval of it by the once hysterical Left." An egomaniacal socialist -- they're the worst kind!
Hanson's colleague Claudia Rossett said Obama erred even in delivering the announcement, because "every effort should be made to avoid in any way dignifying anything about [Bin Laden]... (Recall how President Bush, rather than grabbing the center stage, and thus dignifying the ex-tyrant of Iraq, left it to Paul Bremer to announce the capture of Saddam Hussein.)" See? That publicity hound Obama just dignified Bin Laden by having him shot and dumped in the drink, and then bragging about it. America will pay!
Don Surber of the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail quoted "Democratic Senator Barack Obama on Osama bin Laden: 'as president, [I would] order a trial that observed international standards of due process.' Well, the Navy SEALs captured Laden and killed same... But Barack Obama in 2007 insisted on a trial, didn't he? Once again, our president has shown he has no morals -- no scruples -- no principles."
Of course in another, much-reposted statement, candidate Obama said in 2008 that "if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden." But what's important is that he changed his mind, i.e. vacillated. And now Bin Laden is dead -- another casualty of Obama's indecisiveness.
The poll bounce Obama enjoyed after the killing was disputed by Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, who headlined, "More Bad News For Libs... American Public Not Fooled By Media - Remember Obama's Far Left Antiwar Past." The "American Public," the body copy reveals, was actually "a Frank Luntz focus group of conservatives." (Hoft added, "This was just horrible news for democrats," leading us to suspect, not for the first time, that Hoft is actually a double agent, planted to give life to stereotypes about conservatives.)
Rightbloggers generally refused Obama any credit for the killing. "Obama got bin Laden just like Nixon reached the moon," bannered The Washington Times, raising a cheer from the brethren. National Review's Jim Geraghty posted a "motivational poster" about President Bush's "vindication," which was similarly enjoyed.
William Teach John Hawkins of Right Wing News explained (with a pictograph, which we're sure his audience appreciated) that Bush actually did the Osama killing, for which Obama falsely claimed credit, just as Reagan actually took down the Berlin Wall, credit for which has been misattributed to that other socialist fraud, George H.W. Bush.
Many thought that if the credit belonged anywhere, it was with their old favorite, torture.
"Well, it has come out that key information from Khalid Sheikh Muhhamad that led to the hiding place of Osama Bin Ladin and his demise at the hands of our fantastic Navy SEALs, came only after we water boarded him," claimed Michael Beck. "Bush was right!"
"For years, the left argued that... [torture] was ineffective, and further that it was evil and something that America should never use," said Christopher Taylor at the Washington Examiner. Taylor, of course, knew all along that torture is Jack Baueriffic: "The truth is," he wrote, "the Bush administration's tireless efforts to fight terrorism worldwide in the face of unbelievable opposition and pressure by the left was so effective and so right that now, even hard left former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had to recently thank President Bush."
He rests his case! This has now become a mainstream rightwing talking point as well. The Obama Administration and others dispute it, but we can see the appeal for a certain kind of person in the this argument. Plus, if they ever go on trial at The Hague, they can just say they were misquoted.
Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times found the story behind the story that suggested Obama doesn't really give a shit about America. "The CIA developed a plan to obliterate the [Osama] compound with a salutory March flyover," Malcolm revealed, but Obama vetoed it because "without a body, how could President Obama prove that he was The One who brought Osama sudden justice without the burden of time-consuming civil trials involving Eric Holder's former law partners as high-paid public defenders?"
At the same time, said Malcolm, Obama would probably never release the photo evidence, despite his previously-noted, desperate need to use Bin Laden for publicity, because "a ghastly dead OBL photo could offend the 'sensitivities' of Osama's insane supporters..." Politics is politics but appeasing America's enemies comes first, apparently.
Of course, when Obama confirmed that he wouldn't release the gruesome pictures, Malcolm sneered that Obama "once bragged that his administration would be the most transparent in American history" and yet he won't even let us see the smashed skull of Mr. 9/11 that Obama himself had worked so hard to get. (Malcolm's column was illustrated with a photo of a 9/11 casualty, presumably to signal that, should the Bin Laden gore-porn be unsealed, the LA Times would he happy to run it.)
Repair_Man_Jack of RedState found it absurd that "after shooting Osama Bin Ladin, [Obama] has an aversion to spiking the football" with photos -- after all, Obama "spent over $100 million on his inaugural bacchanalia." And if he'd killed Bin Laden on his first afternoon in office, we bet he wouldn't have featured the corpse at the Inaugural Luncheon, either.
As details of the raid emerged, early reports of how the deed was done were contradicted, which turned the whole Killing Bin Laden thing into a disaster that will doom Obama in 2012.
"And they wonder why Americans of all political stripes think they're blowing smoke," said Michelle Malkin.
"AS THE OBAMA/OSAMA STORY CHANGES AGAIN," hollered Reliapundit, "ONE THING HAS BECOME CRYSTAL CLEAR: WE NEED A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION."
"The Definition of Incompetence... Team O Releases Version 29 on Osama Raid," howled "Jim Hoft."
"Well, their PR has been pretty weak, considering," said Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit in one of his many barrages of negative assessments of the after-raid. (Reynolds also said that "the contrast between the well-run military side of this operation, and the shaky White House PR side, has been quite striking," which is just how we're sure this event will be remembered -- as something Obama fucked up.)
When it was revealed that Obama mulled the decision to commit the risky raid for several hours, all hell broke loose. Ace of Spades compared Obama's delay to George W. Bush's reading of My Pet Goat on September 11, 2001:
"George Bush was relentlessly mocked for waiting seven minutes (actually waiting for his security detail to ready the exit and for his vehicle to be readied) before leaving the school he was visiting," wrote Spades. "On the other hand, after Obama was told (most likely for the fifteenth time) that the CIA was really, really, really quite confident that Osama bin Ladin was at that compound in Abbottabad, he decided he needed to sleep on it. Sixteen hours later (hours during which Osama might have fled-- bear in mind, his courier's name had just been outed by WikiLeaks), he made up his mind."
Thus was America deprived of sixteen hours of dead Bin Laden. (Or it was given a sixteen-hour reprieve from Obama's politicization of the killing -- it really depends on your perspective.) Spades also referred to Obama as "President Made a Poopie."
When Obama laid a wreath at Ground Zero last week, this too became part of the debacle. "Of course, the Washington Post puts a positive spin on using the tragedy of 9/11 as a campaign prop," said William Teach. ".. So, we can expect his victory tour to last till November, 2012?" Teach predicted that "the campaign optics in using the killing of Osama would probably backfire," because "Obama is already known for has narcissism, and this would not help, as he is already walking a fine line with many key voting demographics." Obama will rue the day he killed Osama Bin Laden!
Yeah, we can do this all day.
And the burial of Bin Laden at sea was another disaster -- not only because it prevented the corpse from being used as a tackling dummy by the Dallas Cowboys, as patriotism demands, but also because the ceremony reportedly included Islamic prayers. "The families of those slaughtered by bin Laden -- many of whom were Muslims -- might not be happy to learn that the Obama administration may have considered it 'appropriate' to ask Allah to 'pardon' al Qaeda's evil overlord," groused the Washington Times, normally a big booster of religious observances that others might find peculiar.
Jim O'Neill of Gulag Bound, for example, said "it seems more than fishy that Obama has quickly transformed himself into 'Captain America,'" when previously he had "gone around the world apologizing for the United States" and committing other high crimes and misdemeanors.
"All of which," said O'Neill, "leaves many truth seeking Americans wondering if Osama bin Laden was actually killed in that raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan last Sunday. Could the SEALs have done it? Of course. Would they have done it? In a heartbeat. Did they do it? Your guess is as good as mine."
(Later in the post, O'Neill added, "Bravo Zulu to the SEALs involved in last Sunday's raid" -- presumably on the theory that, whether or not they killed Bin Laden, they must have been doing something patriotic that day.)
"I have close to zero doubt that the US got its man," wrote Andrew Bolt. He didn't say how close, and added, "but somehow Obama's 'trust me' reassurance sounds very hollow. The bumbler is back, and now we really do need those pictures." Pics or GTFO, Kenyan Pretender!
Some just went in for weird ad hominems. ("'Look carefully,' says Robert Katz, 'and you'll see that the only difference between Obama and Osama is BS,'" quoth Lew Rockwell.) Others tried out even loonier counterfactuals. The tireless Andrew Malcolm tried drumming up a fake-White-House-photos story so transparently meaningless that even the normally excitable Mudville Gazette wouldn't go for it.
And others continued to tell the story that President Obama hates this country and wants to destroy it, despite appearances.
"Osama Bin Laden brought down the World Trade Center," tweeted Conservative Republicans. "@BarackObama is bringing down the center of world trade."
"Is it of any symbolic significance," asked the Wichita Observer, "that this announcement came on May 1, the communist International Workers Day?"
"No one on Earth has done more to help al-Qaeda in the last six weeks than Barack Obama," wrote Tara Servatius at Human Events. "Don't let the bin Laden assassination thing fool you."
So if the thought, Gee, what's the guy gotta do to prove his patriotism -- kill Osama Bin Laden? ever crossed your mind, you now know that the answer is no -- even that wouldn't be good enough.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.