Monday, May 2, 2011

Petty Party

You don’t have to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden like the partiers in front of the White House — I’m in agreement with those who think it’s a little unseemly to throw a frat party — but an acknowledgment of the work of the soldiers who, um, accomplished the mission and an expression of sincere appreciation for the diligence and the work they went through to run this evil person to ground — and then some — shouldn’t be that hard to come up with. It would be the mature thing to do.

Some notable Republicans and opponents of President Obama, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, have been unqualified in their praise for the mission. And, believe it or not, Rush Limbaugh opened his show with “We need to open the program today by congratulating President Obama.” That whirring sound you heard was pigs flying.

But of course for every conservative who did as best they could to give sincere kudos to the president, there were those who just couldn’t stand the idea that a Kenyan soshulist secret Mooslim community organizer who was soft on terror and made Jimmy Carter look like Thor could actually pull it off — without torturing anyone.

Any joy one might feel in the intelligence of our analysts and the bravery of our door kickers was significantly diminished by Obama’s malignant narcissism. The first part of the announcement, evoking 9/11, was vulgarly overwritten as per Obama’s view of himself as some kind of gifted orator. The adjective bloated compote was unworthy of the subject, banal and self-indulgent.

Then there were his tasteless claims of personal leadership, his over-emphasis on “I” and “at my direction.”

They’re knocking the president’s speech? Could they possibly be more immature and petty? Well, yes:

It is therefore unfortunate that Mr. Obama seems to want more than that fair share the American people will naturally and rightly give him. His remarks last night were far too much laced with words like “I met repeatedly,” “at my direction,” and “I determined,” trying to take personal credit for the years of painstaking work by our intelligence community. Mr. Obama might have noted that this work began under President Bush, but as usual he did not.

Just for the record and not to give Mr. Abrams any credit for maturity and therefore worthy of a response, Mr. Obama did acknowledge that the hunt for Bin Laden did get started after September 11, 2001. And, as my friend Bob noted, if you’re going to give President Bush credit for capturing Osama bin Laden, you also have to give him credit for the rest of his administration’s accomplishments, including the current financial situation. But then, selective memory in wing-nuts is a feature, not a bug. Everything makes sense when you choose what you get to remember.

Well, if you can’t mock the president’s speech, the next best thing is to shrug off the news as if it was no big deal.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — who’s been running hard lately as the foreign policy guy in the prospective 2012 Republican presidential field — told a reporter in Iowa today that when you really think about it, taking out Osama Bin Laden’s not really that big a deal in the scheme of things.

“Congratulations, well done, well orchestrated,” Santorum told the Des Moines Register before an event with voters. “That’s one isolated area as opposed to the president’s foreign policy and how it’s affecting our security. The president’s foreign policy with respect to our security is to make our allies less confident in us and has resulted in them in distancing themselves from us.”

Now that the birth certificate story has dried up, the fringe is already starting up with the conspiracy theories that Bin Laden isn’t really dead — why did they dump the body so quickly? — and just about anything else they can come up with to convince themselves that there is no way that a Democrat and a black man accomplished more on their War on Terror in two years than their white guy did in seven.

I suppose it was too much to hope that there would be unqualified praise from all quarters, but if you’re going to knock the president for the operation, at least do it without sounding like someone was docking your allowance.