Birthers, Deathers, Wimpers

An editorial in the New York Times, “The Myth of Obama’s Weakness.”

The baseless critique of Mr. Obama as a frightened lamb among the world’s wolves was started in the 2008 campaign when Senators John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton derided his ability to manage world affairs. “It’s got to do with experience, knowledge and judgment,” Mr. McCain said, “none of which Senator Obama has.” …

… But just as releasing a birth certificate marginalized one falsehood, Mr. Obama’s risky and audacious decision to attack the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan has demolished the notion that he cannot make tough decisions or cares primarily about the nation’s image abroad.

Ah, never say never. Like the belief the President was born in Kenya, the belief that the President is a wimp refuses to die.

Yesterday I spotted this headline from the British tabloid, The Daily Mail: “Obama took SIXTEEN HOURS to make up his mind about Bin Laden mission.” Beneath the deadline was a blurb: “President ‘slept on it’ as tense military chiefs awaited decision.”

This does jive with the account given in Time magazine, but somehow it sounds different in Time:

The decision to attack had been made days earlier by the President. He gathered his senior intelligence, military and diplomatic team together in the Situation Room on Thursday afternoon to hear his options. …

… The intelligence professionals said they did not know for sure that bin Laden was in the compound. The case was good, but circumstantial. The likelihood, officials told the President, was between 50% and 80%. No slam dunk. Obama went around the table asking everyone to state their opinion. He quizzed his staff about worst case scenarios–the possibility of civilian casualties, a hostage situation, a diplomatic blow-up with Pakistan, a downed helicopter. He was presented with three options: Wait to gather more intelligence, attack with targeted bombs from the air, or go in on the ground with troops. The room was divided about 50-50, said a person in the room. …

… Obama left the meeting without signaling his intent. He wanted to sleep on it. At about 8:00 a.m. on Friday, just before he boarded a helicopter that would take him to tour tornado damage in Alabama, Obama called his senior aides into the Diplomatic Room. He told them his decision: A helicopter assault. At that point, the operation was taken out of his hands. He was trusting the fate of his presidency to luck.

Of course, it was a difficult decision. Lives were at stake, not to mention a presidency. The case for doing the mission was not clear cut. It was not at all unreasonable for the President to take a few hours to decide.

But merely by popping out the words “sixteen hours,” the Daily Mail kept hope alive, never mind that the Daily Mail is mostly known for losing libel suits to defamed celebrities. Thanks to the capitalization of some letters, wingnuts could still call the President a wimp.

Since then, from somewhere in the rightie hive mind has come the fiction that President Obama wasn’t even involved in the decision to raid the compound

“What Valerie Jarrett, and the president, did not know is that Leon Panetta had already initiated a program that reported to him –and only him, involving a covert on the ground attack against the compound.”

This site claims to have solid information from a “Washington Insider” — who remains unnamed, of course — that President Obama could not make a decision, but was “overruled” by “military/intelligence officials,” and the actual decision to raid the compound was made by Leon Panetta.

I rather doubt the director of the CIA has the authority to order Navy SEALs to so much as make lunch, but let’s not let reality get in the way of a good conspiracy theory, eh?

The usual loons — Pam Geller et al. — are adding their own unique details to this story. Soon they’ll be saying that the President had to be locked in the basement for several hours so that he couldn’t get word to bin Laden to leave the compound. The birthers are becoming wimpers.

21 thoughts on “Birthers, Deathers, Wimpers

  1. The same people who demand total obedience when there’s a Republican President, can’t even congratulate a Democratic President who finally tracked down Public Enemy % 1.
    Osama bin Laden was, of course, the super arch evil villain that Bush put out there to make himself look bigger, tougher, and braver. But then after he couldn’t get him, said he didn’t really care where he was, or what he was doing. Kind of like the child who wants a bike for Christmas, but who gets socks and underwear, has to rationalaize to him/herself that they didn’t really want that bike anyway.
    A childish, emotionally and intellectually stunted man, leading childish, emotionally and intellectually stunted followers.

    Oh, and of course Obama didn’t make that decision. Who in their right mind would trust a Negro to make that decision?

    And their animus towards intelligence and thoughfullness, as opposed to blindly lashing out based on feelings, make them think 16 hours was too long. Why, Little Boots wouldn’t have hesitated for 16 seconds, let alone hours. That that was a large part of the problem the Little Boots had totally escapes them.

    The last week was like a Readers Digest condensed version, where almost all of their various and numerous pathologies were on display for everone to see.

    Party uber country.


  2. Are we surprised? Nobody here is. And now it’s the dead body photo. Don’t release it? Didn’t happen. Can we hope, beyond hope really, that in spite of the fact that the release would benefit the media and nobody else, the media have enough balls to challenge the doubters to produce a photo showing binLaden alive, well, and smiling? The burden of proof lies with the accuser, not the accused.

  3. Like most people who use their brains, I appreciate that it takes time to come to a good decision. The brainless just react. And they want everyone to be as brainless as they are – to have the same conditioning as they do.

    While I don’t have any problem with Obama taking 16 hours (if that’s what it was) to decide on this mission, I do have problems with some of his earlier decisions that sure look like overthinking to me. He’s way too overcautious about certain things, but I’ll take that anyday over idiots who “think” with their gut.

  4. Ah, the Daily Mail. Did they also photoshop a front-page photo of the president with Prince Harry and Camilla, Horseface of Cornwall, marching around the Oval Office in Nazi uniforms? That could wear a guy out and make him want to sleep for 16 hours.

  5. “He was trusting the fate of his presidency to luck.”

    If you gather the best advisors you have and take the time to bring everyone up to date, then to discuss, debate and consider the situation before acting, is that trusting in “luck” simply because it isn’t a certainty? Nothing is a certainty. In essence it’s was “council of war”, military leaders do it all the time.

    It is also odd to ruminate of the “fate of his presidency” to the exclusion of the main issue, which is national security. Of course, it fits the meme that with Obama, it “all about him.” But, it also underscores our national problem, which is that everything is politics. The horse race NEVER stops. Politics strangles policy.

    Speaking as someone who knows virtually nothing about it, There were the odds that OBL was actually there, there was the chance of success and there was the payoff for success. In this case the payoff was significant. OBL was one objective, but the chances are pretty good that a LOT of meaningful, actionable intelligence will be mined from the computers at the site. That information presents the probability of making the American people much more secure in the REAL world, not just some right wing construct.

    IF the Dubster were still president, he would strut out to a podium, put on a fake Texan accent and say, “I just knew in my gut that I could “smoke him out” and I trusted in God and the Navy SEAL’s” –Thunderous applause, two hour Fox special, “Time” man of the year and a cheesey made up biopic about he masterminded the whole thing.

  6. “The birthers are becoming wimpers.”

    Nah; they’re just continuing to be racists. “Oh, and of course Obama didn’t make that decision. Who in their right mind would trust a Negro to make that decision?” Exactly.

  7. Time said, “He was trusting the fate of his presidency to luck.”

    Vince Lombardi is reported to have said, and I paraphrase, “There is no such thing as luck. When preparation and opportunity come together, you have success.”

    Or as the Navy SeaBees say, ” The six P’s. Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.

    There are none better than Navy SEALs and there is not one person at Time mag that has a clue as to how good they are.

  8. Try as they will…they can’t take Obama’s success of ridding the world of OBL from him. It’s a shame they can’t see the magnitude of the decision that Obama faced. I’m reminded of the raid on Entebbe and how that was glorified into the greatest feat ever accomplished(even made a movie)by special forces. When you compare the challenges faced, Obama had by far greater obstacles to overcome where risk against success was the measure. It took balls to make that decision when his intelligence information was about equal to a hunch.

  9. Vince Lombardi is reported to have said, and I paraphrase, “There is no such thing as luck. When preparation and opportunity come together, you have success.”

    Whether anyone said that or not, it’s foolish. There *is* such a thing as luck.

    But competent, prepared people following a good plan tend to look a lot luckier than other folks.

  10. Ideologues use these kinds of idiotic fictions to derail sensible conversations and prevent constructive discussion of problems. “Obama had to be forced by the military to take out bin Laden” can now be thrown into conversations such as comments threads at random, challenging people either to ignore it and thus tacitly accept it might be true, or refute it and get distracted from whatever they were talking about.

    The right has a well-worn collection of these little fantasies that they use to disrupt virtually any serious, evidence-based consideration of a problem. For example, any discussion of what to do about climate change will be interrupted with a predictable series of lies intended to transform the discourse into one more rehash of the same tired old argument that has been waged a thousand times.

    They are just classic trolling tools in other words. It doesn’t even matter if the people peddling them believe they are true or not. They serve their purpose, which is to disrupt the ‘other side’s’ train of thought, much as hecklers do in public meetings.

  11. IMO, Obama messed up the GOP presidential campaign. Usually, at this stage it’s discussions about the incumbent president vs the potential challengers. A vs X, Y or Z. The GOP field is so weak that the party strategists and narrative have worked hard to make the early stages of the campaign Obama vs Obama. The invitation or appeal is to get the voter to reject Obama in advance of considering the alternative. Somewhere in a campaign war room the GOP planned just how and how many moderates could be turned against Obama before the bloodletting of the GOP primary.

    Now everyone is feeling pretty good about Obama. The subliminal campaign has hit a wall. For a lot of moderate voters the campaign is not about who should replace Obama, but if any of the GOP candidates look better than Obama. This is a subtle shift in attitude that has derailed the GOP effort.

  12. I think Rude Pundit got this right: “Are Republicans gonna treat President Obama like a leader and not the lawn jockey who won the lottery?” This cuts to the core of it all. Their authoritarian rigidity simply prevents thinking processes, and their root prejudice has found a hidey-hole that they think no one can penetrate.

  13. I was practicing my channeling techniques earlier this evening and I managed to make spiritual contact with Torquemada. We had an interesting dialog. I asked him about his torturing of heretics and whether he had any remorse for what he did. He said no, he’d do it again if he got the chance.

    Then, by the strangest of coincidences when I finished my channeling session I turned on my computer…. guess what I found? Wow, small world!!

  14. Bonnie,
    It’s just that after a brief reprieve, AMERICA IS BACK in the Global War on Women, Baby!!!

    Oh, and if Little Boots HAD gotten bin Laden before he exited, does anyone doubt they’d have been making plans to put him on Mt. Rushmore before the speech even ended on his teleprompter?

    They’d have probably taken out that Socialist atheist Jefferson, and replaced him with the Christian Cowboy’s face or his manly-man codpiece. I would have pushed for both, so that future generations would know what an absolute dickhead he was.

    I’m going to start a movement to take Lincoln off the penny, and replace him with Little Boots.
    Pennies are about all some of us will have soon, and I’d like everyone to remember who got this country into such a sorry state.

  15. More on that odious bill the House passed:
    I, for one, will now call the House, the ‘Republican Majority He-man Women Haters Club.’

    I’m going to call my female ‘Republican Majority He-man (She-man?) Women Haters Club’ Representative, and give her an earful.

  16. Bill’s quote does cut to the quick – “Are Republicans gonna treat President Obama like a leader and not the lawn jockey who won the lottery?” This further marginalizes the fringe right by backing them further into a corner. Today I regularly see them portrayed in political cartoons as boobs in diapers and worse. With this, those characterizations are surely on the upswing. Apparently many birthers long for what I saw growing up in the south — a socially ingrained sense of inequality by which there would be serious repercussions should an adult black correct misbehaving white kids and not show deference by addressing them as “sir” and “ma’am”. These sorts of irrational fears are seen when they react to the president addressing today’s youth with accusations of him “indoctrinating” them.

    The nerve of our President…or for that matter his wife and her healthy diet indoctrincation campaign! Next thing you know they’ll ban the mobs use of the “n” word.

    Marginally OT but somehow relevant is an essay titled The American Credo which I came across by essayist/satirist/journalist H.L. Mencken from 1920, while plumbing the past for good free EBook social commentary. It’s described as “A Contribution Toward the Interpretation of the National Mind” and includes an excellent, though bordeline satirical analysis of what he deems “mob-man”. He also posits reasons why these things are prevalent in the south (loss of a binding aristocracy during the industrial revolution). With the possible exception of his discussing of the types that engaged in lynchings and their stated rationale you’d think it written yesterday.

    But most notable were his treatment of how democracies in France, Germany and England have institutionalized impediments to the mob and the damage that can be caused when they rush from one bogus messiah to another. He describes the careful dance a leader must have with the mob and cites history of those who squarely opposed it and their consequential political misfortune for having done so. In particular Teddy Roosevelt rightly opposed some chicanery, lost on the issue, and completed his term of office much more cautiously than he started it.

    Sorry to blather on so but as many, including myself, are frustrated that Obama might not seem willing to do more, this essay convinced me that his measure is calculated, practical and the best that can be had at the moment…so I now give him breaks I might not have given him before. He’s dealing with these cranks as best he can and I’m glad he’s now finished what Bush admitted he spent little time thinking about.

    Maybe others will enjoy this 50 page essay as much as I did. It can be downloaded to an E-Reader but the link has a “read online” option.

    • But most notable were his treatment of how democracies in France, Germany and England have institutionalized impediments to the mob and the damage that can be caused when they rush from one bogus messiah to another.

      I haven’t had a chance to read the essay, but since it was written in the 1920s, I have to note that the impediments to the mob didn’t work in Germany very well.

  17. Ken L. I really appreciate your thoughtful and well reasoned comment. We can thank? the Karl Rove/Newt Gingrich gang of thugs for disseminating the tactics and ultimate strategy necessary to make, what I call the monkey-wrench, effective . (Years ago, Gingrich even traveled the country holding tutorials on how to work it.)

  18. Agreed. Clearly insufficient… I think the point was that they were a result of memory of past ravages of the mob which were also bloody. So we see this balancing act in democracies, between mob rule and something that is hopefully wiser. Here, I am hoping the Senate once again stops another house bill…the one sponsored by Ryan that would provide vouchers. I hadn’t been voicing agreement with Mencken but it’s always interesting to see what others have done or attempted. Most of the problems of humanity are common ones.

  19. Several Fox affiliates, perhaps their national feed, reported that the President announced his own death. Yes, the anchor said that “President Obama is, in fact, dead.” before quickly correcting himself. Perhaps now they will start demanding his Death certificate, or lambasting the fact that we have a Zombie as President. Then there is the whole voodoo thing which I will not touch with a ten meter cattle prod….

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