Misunderestimating President Obama

It’s fun to see conservatives try to rationalize how one of ours had the wit, and the, uh, balls, to go after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, without Pakistan’s say-so. Here’s Erick Erickson from RedState:

Say what you will about President Obama, but it is hard to imagine two years ago he would have taken unilateral military action in Pakistan without telling the Pakistani government. He has grown in office.

That’s demonstrably false, and an obvious lie, since Politico‘s done us the favor of dredging up Obama’s campaign position on Pakistan, for which he caught all manner of flak from his primary opponents. From CNN, August 7, 2007:

Last Wednesday, the Illinois senator said that if it were necessary to root out terrorists, he would send U.S. forces into Pakistan without the country’s approval.

Obama hasn’t become anything. He simply never was the liberal caricature that the Republican Party imagines him to be.



  1. Accept the compliment – you can politicize this next week.

  2. “You aren’t the yellow-bellied coward we thought you were”? That’s not a compliment. It’s a tactical retreat from a position that was always untenable, but is just now obviously so.

    1. Is it cowardice to get the approval of a country before you undertake military operations within their borders?

      1. Steve · ·

        Ooh, I know the answer to that question! Pick me, pick me!

        It depends. Specifically, on why you get their approval. If it’s just to be polite and not trash their sovereignty, I don’t think it’s cowardice. And if they’re powerful enough that pissing them off is a Very Bad Idea, I don’t think it’s cowardice. On the other hand, if they’re weak enough that pissing them off is no big deal but you want to avoid pissing them off anyway, that might be cowardice.

        1. So then with specific regards to Pakistan – asking permission, cowardice or not?

          1. Steve · ·

            Damned if I know. But they’ve got nukes, so we can piss Pakistan off a whole lot less than we can, say, Turkmenistan.

            1. So then if it’s not cowardice and maybe even sensible to ask Pakistan’s permission why is the Left so intent on proving the President did no such thing?

              1. Steve · ·

                Because letting the wookie win means you’re a droid and they want Obama to be Han Solo?

                1. Do they want him to be Han Solo or do they want him to appear to be Han Solo just until January 2013?

                  1. Steve · ·

                    I don’t know, I’m really only lefty on sex, drug, euthanasia, copyright, and religion issues. Also, it probably depends on whether or not we’re talking authentic 1977 Han shot solo Solo or revisionist bullshit 1997 Han let Greedo get a shot off Solo.

                    1. I’m thinking they want him to appear to be 1977 Solo but then reveal himself to be Greedo shot first Solo after he gets re-election.

  3. oneiroi · ·

    I was amazed watching facebook, how quickly people were turning this into just the next piece of politics. Conspiracy theories, blame & credit games, accusations…all before the president’s speech when no one really knew anything.

    It just depressed me how quickly people just write this into their preconceived narratives.

    1. I agree. It’s already being politicized by both sides. Conservatives are talking about how Obama doesn’t really deserve credit and liberals are talking about how this proves what a great leader he is.

      I look at it as a small amount of closure on a national scale, a much-needed win for the military and hopefully a small step forward in the fight against terrorism. Anything beyond that is opportunism.

  4. Eh. I find that hardly surprising, but not particularly distasteful. When half of the Republican Party platform is that the President hates America, loves Terrorists, and doesn’t have the balls to pull the trigger, it’s inevitable to point out that that’s been conclusively proven wrong.

    The immediate right-wing shift to “see, torture works,” though, is profoundly distasteful.

    1. “…it’s inevitable to point out that that’s been conclusively proven wrong.”

      Inevitable why? Because you just can’t resist or because the rules of partisanship demand it?

    2. Because it’s a self-executing fact pattern: when Republicans inevitably compliment the President, as they have, the juxtaposition is pretty hard to miss.

      And when your opponent is so openly derisive, well, I think you’re entitled.

      1. So thousands of American families get symbolic closure on one of the worst chapters in American history – and it’s time to cash in your partisan chips less than 24 hours later?

      2. Nope. But we do get to say “this is a President who has America’s best interests at heart and will defend them with force” not 24 hours later. That that’s a partisan statement disputed by your side is a product of how extreme you guys have become; nothing inherent in the statement itself.

        1. Why does the President need that kind of ego stroke right now?

        2. Is it an ego stroke?

          1. What other reason would you have for pointing out the obvious?

          2. Patriotism?

            1. Patriotism causes you to mention conservatives/Republicans? I would think simple patriotism would have no need for partisan references.

              1. Wait, what? I knew conservatives were a bunch of sensitive little dears, but now they can’t even handle being talked about?

                Seriously, this is getting close to whining. Erickson made a crap analysis based on a faulty premise, as is his wont. ACG points out why, as is his wont. That’s all.

                1. I’m asking Ames specifically why he felt the need to cast Bin Laden’s death as a partisan victory. He claims he is motivated by patriotism. I disagree.

                  The larger point is that it would be nice if most political actors, large and small, didn’t immediately try to politicize this victory.

                  1. Is it really “politicizing” to argue against a demonstrably wrong analysis by a political opponent? This thing has been political all along.

                    Besides, “There is nothing that is not political. Everything is politics.” (Thomas Mann)

                    1. I think it’s a timing issue.

                    2. Really Mike, a timing issue? Tell me, was “Mission Accomplished” a timing issue, or a really bad judgment made through opaque rose-colored glasses. Sorry to say but one of the many accusations hurled by your side of the aisle at the President has been that he lacks the stones to defend the country. As Ames points out, not only does he have the stones, but he’s actually fulfilled a campaign promise! If Republicans were serious about National unity, and the Unitary Executive, and defeating terrorists they’d ought to be all over themselves with effusive congratulations. Hell, even GWB and Dick “Public Opinion doesn’t matter” Cheney said the credit goes to Obama.

                    3. I’m not contending he doesn’t deserve the praise – I’m saying the typical partisan bullshit on BOTH sides of the aisle where this victory was IMMEDIATELY politicized is just sad. Instead of the entire nation taking a moment to come together and get a little bit of closure – partisans imediately start playing the game.

                      President Bush’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech was ill-advised and now seems like a major folly. At the time though it was about nationalism and patriotism…not politics. I also don’t think President Obama was considering the political capital he might gain by getting Bin Laden. He did what was best for the country. What bothers me is that your side got a win on your watch and you STILL can’t help but gloat. My side is no better for being critical but it seems like the victors should take the high road.

                    4. …it seems like the victors should take the high road.

                      Again, by abstaining from correcting a demonstrably wrong analysis? After all, silence implies consent…

                    5. And actions speak louder than words.

  5. If he’s 1997 Han Solo and Greedo gets a shot off, that means he’s a fraud… so they want the Birthers to be right?

    I think this metaphor’s jumped the shark.

  6. I don’t see how the entire nation coming together in closure is incompatible with realizing that, hey, maybe this President ain’t so bad after all. That’s hardly partisan if put at the right level, as I think has been done.

    1. So we need you to help us make that realization? It seems like the public can figure it out on their own.

    2. 40% of the public can’t figure out on their own whether Obama was born in this country. I’ve given up on worrying about underestimating the Republican electorate. It seems they’ll disappoint me every time.

      1. So if you can’t re-educate them and the other 60% are brilliant Democrats… what are you trying to accomplish with this post?

      2. One must still try.

        1. Right…some people just can’t figure things out. Like, for example, how to create links in WordPress that open in new windows.

        2. Don’t mistake for incompetence what can be explained by laziness.

          1. I though the saying was “don’t mistake for malice what can be explained by incompetence”.

            And Mike’s right: in a lot of fields, laziness and incompetence have a high covariance. For instance, in law, laziness = not citing favorable on-point precedents = incompetence. :)

        3. In my line of work we consider them one and the same.

        4. oneiroi · ·

          Really? Personal attacks based on blog preferences?

          1. I wouldn’t call that an ‘attack’. I would hope that Ames can figure out the joke in that statement based on our previous conservation on the topic.

  7. Note that Republicans are displaying typical tact, oversimplifying the Democratic position on war and counterterrorism and tilting against the ensuing windmill. To condemn same, Mike?

    1. Few things:

      Just like I come here for my daily dose of liberal outrage, you obviously fish a couple of conservative websites for your daily dose of conservative outrage. Like I said, when reading politics on the internet my experience is that you get exactly what you are looking for. So… yes, RedState says inflammatory things which I don’t support and yes, I think it’s just as distasteful as posts that casts this more as a political victory than a military one.

  8. I would like to see the Obama administration defend its actions more vigorously. Dipshits have started criticizing the killing of Bin Laden as “illegal” and “unjust”, and I’d like for Obama to go for the jugular on them because he did the right thing and if anybody’s got a problem with it, to hell with them.

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