Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Regarding our POTUS, and the portion of the American public which absolutely insists that we "go it alone" and "bear all the burden ourselves"
My eye keeps being drawn back to one particularly gutless, dishonest sentence in Obama's speech from last night:
Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.
Leave aside that both Bush-41 and Bush-43 assembled broader international coalitions in 1990-1991, 2001, and 2003. Tell us, Mr. President, who these people are! Who exactly are the "some" who "claim" that American leadership is "a matter of going it alone and bearing all the burden ourselves"? Point to one such person, so we can join you in mocking him or her, and thank you properly for saving us from such misguided views!
But it is effectively a null set: There is no such "some."
Our POTUS fabricates imaginary straw-men as reflexively as he breathes — not just when speaking off the cuff or on the stump, but in prepared, polished speeches with the entire world as his audience. The only way he can seem reasonable or competent is in comparison to fictional fiends who do not exist, so he makes them up.
He does this over and over again, and no reporter has the guts to say to his face: "Would you please name one person, Mr. President, who's claimed that we should, quote, 'go it alone,' unquote? Or who's claimed that we should, quote 'bear the entire burden,' unquote?" How are those possibly not legitimate questions? Jake Tapper? Anyone?
Barack Obama simply is not an honest man, even by the loose standards to which we unfortunately tend to hold our politicians.
What must one imagine went on in 2003, for instance, in order for Obama to assert that there were "some" who wanted America to "go it alone" and "bear all the burden ourselves"?
DUBYA: Oh, no, mon amis from NATO, heh, heh, put away your wallets! Your Euros are no good here! We insist on paying the full cost of the liberation of Iraq! After all, we are the rich, rich Americans!
CHENEY: Yes, we insist on doing it all ourselves. No, no, Afghanistan doesn't count, we insist on paying for every bit of that too. Just send us your receipts, we'll get you reimbursed. We'll put it on a pre-paid debit card — it's really cool, you can spend it anywhere. [Studio audience coos appreciatively.]
DUBYA: In fact, from now on, the "No-Fly Zone" we're enforcing over the entire continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa will include British and French aircraft too. [Audience applauds.]
CHENEY [stage whisper]: Because we can't afford the risk that they might accidentally help us! Ahhh-hah-hah-hah! You know those eager-to-help Europeans! [Audience laughs and applauds.]
DUBYA: And by the way, we just sunk that joke of a French aircraft carrier. It was in our parking spot! [High-fives Cheney. Audience cheers.]
CHENEY: Who let all those little countries in? What a buncha poodles! Send 'em home! [Cheney pretends to sweep with imaginary broom. Audience laughs and claps.]
DUBYA: Flyin' solo like the bald eagle! Uni-lateral is the only -lateral for us, baby! Yee-haw! [Cue balloon drop and country-western song celebrating the repression of Palestinians. Bitter, racist, but cheering audience members, clutching their guns and Bibles, storm the stage in triumph.]
The only two choices are these: (1) Barack Obama thinks we're all stupid enough to believe this actually happened (and yes, unfortunately, some of us are, but not very many); or (2) he thinks it actually happened. I'm going with choice (1), on the theory that I ought never attribute to psychosis that which can be adequately explained by mere political venality.
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(1) Norman Rogers made the following comment | Mar 29, 2011 7:26:19 AM | Permalink
William Safire has written several times about Presidential use of straw men -- and his own contribution (as a perpetrator).
For example (I don't know if this site permits html)
(2) The Drill SGT made the following comment | Mar 29, 2011 10:42:31 AM | Permalink
Somebody might point out that a US sortie flown under US command has got to be the same price (or cheaper) than a US Sortie with NATO giving the orders to NAVEUR and then to the 6th Fleet.
the burden in life and treasure didn't decrease when the mission became a NATO one. Just the Chain of Command became longer.
(3) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Mar 29, 2011 12:08:56 PM | Permalink
Dear Mr. Dyer: More than ever I sigh and repeat myself: give up this attorney business and hang out your shingle as a writer. The "Dubya"-"Cheny" monologue is a terrific way to start out the day. Many thanks for a good belly laugh.
Note well the previous Prez who was addicted to straw men: Richard Milhous. That comparison has been made before, and looks more apt all the time.
I will disagree with you and go with choice 2. I don't think you have to attribute "psychosis" to The One, just good old fashioned dumbness, propped up by a) laziness and b) incuriosity (and what a joke that is, after all the charges of incuriosity that were dumped on Geo. W.) I think there's plenty of proof that The One is lazy. The way he's grabbed onto the Presidential High Life is a sure sign of laziness. As for incuriosity, look no further than the notorious executive order he signed two days after taking the oath: "We're gonna close Gitmo!" He didn't leave himself any wiggle room, but just hollered liberal. His fans loved it. It was obvious that The One hadn't thought one bit about the consequences of closing Gitmo, let alone what others might think of having such a virulent mob jugged near their own communcities. So reality intruded. Now his fans are embarrassed into silence or red faced (whether with rage or shame doesn't matter.) No, I think The One is dumb and lazy. I suppose this doesn't preclude the cynicism choice 1 requires. Either way, we are left with the Menckenian alternatives of laughing sourly or hanging ourselves. I'll stick to laughter. Keeps me in practice for when such gems as yours come down the road.
(4) Neo made the following comment | Mar 29, 2011 3:45:30 PM | Permalink
Because contrary to the claims of some [idiots in my party], American leadership[, including that of my predecessors,] is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.
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