Obama Derangement Syndrome on Steroids

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Africa, Obama Administration

Remarkably, nearly overnight our President has gone from being a vacillating wuss to being a self-glorifying narcissistic exploiting the pirate crisis for his own ends. I suppose that’s progress.

However, Steve M documents that the wingnuts still consider President Obama to be a wuss in spite of the successful rescue of Captain Phillips. One would think the results of the earlier French commando raid — one hostage was killed — might have taught them that sometimes there’s a place for caution.

Another take on the successful mission is that President Obama had nothing to do with it, even though he had given two orders authorizing the use of force. That’s because the rescue did not come about because of a daring commando raid planned and orchestrated in the White House but because the officer in charge at the scene ordered snipers to fire and kill three pirates (as the White House had authorized him to do).

So a President is supposed to defer to the wisdom of “commanders on the ground” in Iraq. However, authorizing commanders on the sea off the Somali coast to use their own judgment based on unfolding events and standing military procedure is just wrong. The POTUS is supposed to put on tights and a cape, fly to the scene, and rescue the hostage personally. Or he’s a wuss.

Y’know, there’s point at which people stop being alarming and are just pathetic. See also John Cole.

Update: See also “The Great Right-Wing Freak-out” by Juan Cole.

Radio personality Rush Limbaugh challenged the president, saying that if we are not at war with Islam then the Somali pirates must not be Muslims. Perhaps, the rotund one suggested with his world-famed gift for subtle wit, the Somalis are actually Orthodox Jews. But Obama had explicitly said that the U.S. is at war with some Muslims, to wit, al-Qaida, and had merely exempted the broad religion of Islam as an object of enmity. When the U.S. went to war against the Serbians over Kosovo, it was presumably not involved in a war on Christianity, even though the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Moreover, Islamic law forbids piracy, so the Somalis are not acting out of religious motives. The fevered irrationality of such diatribes, on the part of someone recognized as the leading voice of the contemporary Republican Party, points to the party’s dire intellectual straits.

Ya think?

Update: Paul Krugman makes the point that wingnuts really are no crazier now than they’ve ever been (Vince Foster, anyone?). He adds,

Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

Righties are having a fit about this, because they desperately want to believe that the “tea parties” are a grassroot phenomenon that sprang spontaneously from the soil of the Heartland. Most “tea parties” probably are being organized and funded locally, but only because the Powers That Be in the GOP People’s Central Planning Political Grassroots Organizing Committee put out the word to organize them.

One rightie says,

What Freedomworks and various other organizations are doing is not “astroturf” any more than the anti-war protests of some years back were astroturf because ANSWER and Moveon.org helped organize people around those events. Astroturfing is paid activism by an organization; it is not genuine grassroots activism that funded groups are simply helping to organize.

But the rightie is not defining “astroturfing” properly. As Matt Yglesias says, “An astroturf operation is a fake grassroots operation.” Real grassroots organizing begins at a local and regional level and often has to fight for recognition by the national establishment. The “tea parties” clearly were the idea of a few people in the Washington political/media world, who used national right-wing media infrastructure to promote them.

Update: One more thing — I agree with John Cole that the pirate episode really didn’t rise to being much of a test of President Obama as Commander in Chief. No doubt military advisers told him what the options were, and he signed off on one or more of those options, and after that it was all in the hands of the people at the scene. That would be true of any President. George Washington himself could have done no more.

The only really stupid thing Obama could have done is countermand the experts, and order them to either do nothing at all or do something they thought unwise, but apparently he didn’t do that.

However, the Right chose to blow up the pirate incident into a “test” of Obama on the order of the Tehran Hostage Crisis, which it never was. But once he “passed” their “test,” they had to trip all over themselves changing the test rules so that they could still give him an F. A hoot.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 13, 2009 @8:17 am

    maha,
    Everyone knows that George W. Bush would have donned an eyepatch, grabbed a cutlass, had a fake parrot put on his shoulder, and then swooped-in via a handy vine to personally save the Captain.
    Then, with a whalebone pirate codpiece firmly in place, and a steely glare from his one eye, he would have declared “Mission Accomplished!” on the poop-deck while Chris Matthew’s and his guest’s swooned.

    Me? I’m jsut thankful this brave man is safe.

  2. joanr16  •  Apr 13, 2009 @9:02 am

    Rush just gets stupider with each passing day. That’s what we’re “at war” with: idiocy.

    Honestly, I don’t know what else to say.

  3. zenyenta  •  Apr 13, 2009 @9:44 am

    It gives me tremendous pleasure that, most importantly this courageous captain was saved and as a trivial side effect it’s giving a case of hives to the right wing.

  4. zhak  •  Apr 13, 2009 @9:54 am

    What strikes me about all this brouhaha is that nobody on the right seems to be even trying to acknowledge or explain away that the current piracy troubles off the coast of Africa really gathered momentum under Bush’s watch.

    I know that the Righties have one way of thinking of things and the Lefties have another way. (Example, off the cuff: the Righties think that any sort of financial aid to families or individuals in need is a handout given to people too lazy to get off their fat fannies & get to work; the Lefties (for the most part) understand that there are people in genuine need and it has nothing whatever to do with laziness or a desire to “game” the system. There are abuses to the system (but I bet anybody abuses in the realm of defense spending are far more egregious and expensive — and endemic too) but at least the Lefties are willing to empathize and not think in strictly linear, authoritarian terms.) I also suspect, strongly, that those on the Right suffer terribly from cognitive dissonance on many matters. But the ever-changing, ever-morphing approach to this piracy incident has me wondering something & not for the first time: how can the Righties cling to their whiplash-inducing changes of “fact” in the face of actual facts? We’ve seen this for years & years, ever since that great fiscal disciplinarian, Ronald Reagan, did such a great job cutting taxes & reducing the deficit. I don’t understand it at all. (Personally, if my core beliefs were so malleable and based on such rubbish, I’d be a basket case (too).)

    Apologies for the long ramble. It’s that kind of day …

  5. maha  •  Apr 13, 2009 @10:10 am

    Zhak — we like long rambles here. Feel free to ramble away whenever the mood strikes. 🙂

  6. Dave S  •  Apr 13, 2009 @11:59 am

    c u n d gulag – I had the same thought. If Obama had inconvenienced a naval vessel and crew by holding it off the coast of Maryland for an extra day so he could put on a sailor suit and float out in a fiberglass lifeboat to proclaim Mission Accomplished, maybe they’d have some respect for him…?

    Nah. Never happen. If he’d fired the sniper weapon himself, they’d be yelling that he usurped the professionals and endangered the mission. The man can’t win with that crowd. No use trying.

  7. moonbat  •  Apr 13, 2009 @2:10 pm

    I’m glad that the “astroturfing” meme has arrived in rightieland and is giving them fits. Like many upthread, I suspect that even Obama wearing a cape, a magic ring found in a box of cereal, and landing on an aircraft carrier to act like he’s personally taking charge wouldn’t have appeased these idiots. Zhak triggered a thought…

    Righties’ minds are so full of cognitive dissonance, contradictions and chaos. This is nowhere more evident then in watching the incoherent mess known as Glen Beck presenting Thomas Paine on TeaBagging, or in trying to make sense out of anything written by Jonah Goldberg. It doesn’t even matter that it doesn’t make sense, it’s All Fear All The Time, and Hate, Hate, Hate Anyone Not Like Me. The task for anyone outside this roiling carnival of madness is to be calm and focused and to bring these people out of fear and into calmness, and then to maybe begin to reason with them, after they sober up for a few weeks, probably in isolation.

  8. News Reference  •  Apr 13, 2009 @3:20 pm

    What’s astonishing is the right wing’s ability to turn on a dime with their rhetorical attacks.

    Today they are against what yesterday they were for.

    This afternoon they are for what this morning they were against.

    It’s Eurasia-Eastasia-Oceania Orwellian political newspeak.

    ‘Obama failed to act’ one minute literally a minute later becomes ‘Obama’s authorization to act decisively doesn’t mean anything.”

  9. freD  •  Apr 13, 2009 @4:11 pm

    If Obama succeeds, most of them aren’t going to heaven. And the few that are left will be out of a job.

  10. Russ  •  Apr 13, 2009 @4:15 pm

    God it must be wonderful to be far left and thus entitled to always be in possession of the only ideas and or criticisms deemed correct and constructive. You must be the “chosen ones” mentioned in the bible. Of course you wouldn’t have been aware of that since it is obviously not required reading as per your “party elders”. You couldn’t come across as any more smug and self righteous if you tried. There again who’s to say your not trying, right?

  11. uncledad  •  Apr 13, 2009 @5:51 pm

    I really think the wingnuts are beginning to completely break down, they are all channeling last years Britney Spears (you know the one who went crazy and shaved her head).

    I watched an interesting enough Q&A on C-span last night between two “journalists” that grew up together and are still good “friends”: Mona Charen (hateful right winger) and Ruth Marcus (thoughtful liberal). My characterizations aside Mona came off like many on the right: hateful and quite angry. I watched the whole interview twice and she seemed even less stable the second time. I asked myself did we liberals seem that fucking angry after Bush stole the 2000 election (maybe, but he did steal the election we actually won this one). Then this morning I was treated to more right-wing tomfoolery on C-span. A heritage foundation speech given by basic math denier Steve Milloy. This tool went on for what seemed like forever about how the green movement is nothing more that the fascist left’s attempt at total enslavement of the American taxpayer. I’m serious; this guy was really off his rocker. I recognized him as a paid tool for FAUX and a wiki search confirmed that yes indeed he is a basic math denier. Things such as, secondhand smoke, carcinogens, air pollution, and of course global warming are all inventions of the fascist greens on their way to total world domination.

    Yes I think the right will be shaving it’s collective head and checking into rehab (with wrist and leg restraints) any day now!

  12. maha  •  Apr 13, 2009 @5:55 pm

    Russ — Yes, sanity is wonderful. You should join us.

  13. uncledad  •  Apr 13, 2009 @6:04 pm

    “(You must be the “chosen ones” mentioned in the bible. Of course you wouldn’t have been aware of that since it is obviously not required reading as per your “party elders”)”

    No Russ that is the difference between the left and right, we on the left don’t let our politicians dictate our faith, or lack there of.

  14. joanr16  •  Apr 13, 2009 @6:15 pm

    There are pirates, and then there are the wannabes.

    Funny how the scurvy dogs that try to hijack the comment thread never get very far. Ye can’t sink an ironclad with a peashooter, lads. Ye may as well sail away, and live to fight another day… somewhere else. Arrrr.

  15. bill bush  •  Apr 13, 2009 @7:37 pm

    On a point of personal privilege, I’d like to say that it warms my heart to look right and see the Live Traffic Feed widget showing a widespread liberal/progressive participation group that shares an overall attitude and can differ amiably. To the wingers: if you feel something funny, that’s a fork! You’re done! I saw Glenn Beck’s mischaracterization of Thomas Paine, and I think it should be required viewing for all remaining Republicans. They’ve got to find something to unite around, but this ain’t it. Glenn and Rush and Lou are providing daily tape for their next round of election losses! Think of the ad fodder! Life is good.

  16. justme  •  Apr 13, 2009 @8:01 pm

    Ok…I watched some video of these so called tea parties….you can thank me for sitting thru it so you never have to….and frankly I am confused as to what the hell these people want on several levels, but two main things come to mind….first why were these people not bitching when bush spent the money that has put us in the hole in the first place?..And did they think they would NEVER be expected to pay for the policies that they supported? Now that the bill has arrived they are going to complain about the payment? We need the bail out to clean up the big fat mess of shit their boy wonder left behind……and they other thing is these boobs holding signs and yelling about “Taxation without representation” well WTF????? News flash here! They HAVE representation…they just don’t like it…The same thing…no, not so much!…..and I heard a lot of screaming about tyranny….saying anytime the goverment forced them to do anything they didn’t want to do tyranny…I didn’t want to invade Iraq…but it was done by my government, at considerable cost to me…was that tyranny also?..On every issue from stem cell research to Katrina things were done in my name that I was forced to live by… was that tyranny?By their standard anytime one party is out of power the other will be free to claim tyranny.

    And about this pirate thing(omg I can’t talk about this without saying aargh) They complained because Obama didn’t do anything on their time table. Instead he didn’t jump , he took his time, got a understanding of the situation and handled it in a calm thoughtful way based on the advice of those on the water(with actual knowledge) …BAD BAD president(roll up news paper here) how dare you not be a knee- jerked idiot!….and for the faux news crowd to be complaining about how one captain was in danger after bush ignored the pleas for help of so many during Katrina is just sick…one person held hostage on a boat by a group of thugs?= launch a nuke! A whole major city drowning= ignore em, they can swim!.

    Had this situation gone otherwise one can only imagine the “in memory of captain whats- his- name” patches sewn on their GOP vests…maybe a little anchor on the bottom of the faux news channel screen..His photo waving on signs as their hero(he gave his life so the GOP had an issue)….they would have told us that we are all captain whats- his- name adrift on the sea alone…Obama won’t protect us…instead of tea parties we would have had “sea” parties..complete with newt throwing a wreath into the water while glenn beck cries….perhaps this could have been their moment to have Obama impeached ,,if only..sigh….

    Here is the GOP gamble in a nut- shell….this whole nutty economy thing…just a passing phase…people are not really worried about that…all people need to forget all about that is a new” gotcha moment ” and all we have to do to win elections is create and deliver it…
    I felt like the turd in the punch bowl when I commented here that what would follow after the election would be the GOP throwing crap all day everyday until something sticks with the people…same plan- different cycle

  17. uncledad  •  Apr 13, 2009 @9:25 pm

    “To the wingers: if you feel something funny, that’s a fork!”

    Right on!

  18. MNPundit  •  Apr 14, 2009 @12:15 pm

    The Tea Parties WERE a grass roots thing. They got started up by the Ron Paulies but they got hijacked by the movement conservatives and the libertarian Paulies fled the Tea Party scene.

  19. Jennifer  •  Apr 14, 2009 @1:49 pm

    Still, I would pay, I mean cold, hard cash, to see Obama in tights and a cape. I don’t think I would pay to see Bush in the same outfit.



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