The Right’s Newest Conspiracy Theory

How does one rationalize the cognitive dissonance between, “Osama bin Laden is dead” with “but a pinko Muslin-loving wimpy liberal extremist Democrat gave the go order”?

Easy. Obviously, Obama called off the attack, but the military ignored a direct order from their commander-in-chief, and went for it anyways, because Article II of the Constitution just isn’t really a thing. So says Pamela Geller, the woman who brought us the Ground Zero Mosque “controversy.”

Hey, let them have their fun, I say. The more of the Republican base that lives in this bizarre world of self-aggrandizing counterfactuals, the easier the re-elect will be. But how much easier can it get, now that national security and the right’s go-to culture war meme, “liberals coddle terrorists,” are both so conclusively off the table?

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15 comments

  1. But how much easier can it get, now that national security and the right’s go-to culture war meme, “liberals coddle terrorists,” are both so conclusively off the table?

    Surely the better way to look at it is “How much harder can they make it for themselves?” given that they keep making such ridiculous statements?

  2. Sometimes I wonder if people like that are actually playing a really complicated roleplaying game or something. They never seem to live in quite the same world as the rest of us.

    Well, at least I hope the weather’s better on their planet.

  3. Let’s not read to much into this Ames. This analysis was on NPR this morning and I found it to be spot on:

    “[Political]operative Ron Kaufmann predicted that the primaries and next year’s general election will be about three things: “My job, my house and putting gas in my car.”

    As for the impact of big foreign policy successes, Kaufman said he needed only to recall his former boss, the first President Bush.

    “He tore down the Berlin Wall, ended the Cold War, had the most successful 100-day war in the history of our country and had polling numbers in the 90s and ended up losing to an unknown governor from Arkansas,” he recalls.”

    Foreign policy was NEVER going to be a big part of next year’s election.

    1. Begging your (and Mr Kaufmann’s) pardon, but I’m pretty sure it was the Berliners who tore down the Berlin Wall. Nor do I recall President Bush being out there with a hammer and chisel in person.

        1. Well, excuse me very much, but I expect that, say, a Texan wouldn’t exactly appreciate the suggestion that the Texan Revolution was started by President Jackson, either.

          1. I think we can agree that the wall falling was a major milestone of the Cold War and after the work put in by the WH from Eisenhower to Bush it’s entirely fair for an American president to get a bump in the approval ratings after it happened.

            You guys are really missing the point though – which is that national security wins don’t usually translate to election victories.

          2. I think that question is more complicated.

            For one thing, elections are rarely determined by single issues, and we do know that national security or foreign political problems can certainly contribute to the defeat of an incumbent – Truman over the Vietnam War, Ford also partly over Vietnam as well as the Helsinki Accords and other things, and of course Carter over the Iranian hostage crisis. So foreign politics can matter in a negative sense.

            On the other hand, yes, we have Bush Senior who lost despite doing well in foreign politics – but also Eisenhower, whose reelection was probably helped a good deal by the recent revolt in Hungary and the Suez crisis. More of a “rally to the flag” effect from those than actual wins, but still, influence from foreign policy.

            For another thing, it’s important to distinguish between different types of event, and how they are perceived by the voters – “Hey, the Cold War ended” is sort of a complex and nebulous thing, that could probably only fully be appreciated in retrospect, but “Hey, we killed Bin Laden” is a very specific and immediately understandable event. It’s the sort of thing that sticks around in people’s minds.

            So will it guarantee an Obama win in 2012? No, because the economy is probably still more important. But it will contribute considerably to one, and make it even harder for the Republicans.

            1. How did Vietnam hurt Truman? And I would disagree completely that it hurt Ford. He was sunk when he pardoned Nixon. Eisenhower considered Suez a huge blunder and I can’t imagine the public liked his role in the failed Hungarian Revolution.

              As for Bin Laden – the election is 18 months away. It will be a distant blip on the memory of the American public. I’m actually really surprised you would attach such significance to it. Maybe if it had happened in September or October of 2012 but as is it will not be something that influences the election in the least.

              1. Right, I meant Johnson, not Truman of course. But Johnson failed to secure the renomination in 1968 due to the Democratic anti-Vietnam opposition.

                The point of Suez and Hungary are that they served to illustrate the rising tensions of the post-WWII world, which benefited the war hero Eisenhower much more than the relatively inexperienced Stevenson.

                I’m not saying that foreign politics will be a decisive factor in itself, just that it’ll be a factor that should not be disregarded entirely. I don’t envision a voter getting in the booth and saying to himself, “Okay, I’m unemployed, the gas price is killing me, and my life sucks, but hey, the President got Bin Laden so I’ll vote for him anyway.”

                But given even a moderate improvement in the economy, it makes it more difficult for the prospective GOP candidate to attack the President on national security, which is otherwise an area that tends to favor the Republicans.

                Effectively, it allows Obama to say, “Well, I got Bin Laden. What’s your track record?”

                1. To paraphrase myself, signing off on Bin Laden’s assasination does not equal a vindication of Obama’s foreign policy. He has had a lot of blunders and you can’t just sweep them under the rug because of one win.

                  Additionally, i’m already hearing moderates on BOTH sides of the aisle wonder aloud if this win is also an enhancement of Bush’s legacy. Doris Kearns Goodwin speculated this morning that it probably does. So… how much of that does Obama get to claim? Does he want to go on record as suggesting special ops and intelligence were just wasting their time for 8 years until he stepped in?

                  1. At least
                    according to Fareed Zakaria, Obama has focused on a narrow countr-terrorism strategy, rather than the broader nation-building under Bush, and the Bin Laden success is a result of that.

                    Anyway, I don’t think the GOP should get to on the one hand disown the economic meltdown and claim it’s all Obama’s responsibility now, while on the other try to share credit for security policy.

                  2. Besides, considering the general inefficiency of the US intelligence community as a whole, I wouldn’t rule out that a significant part of those eight years were in fact wasted, no.

                    1. According to Richard Stengel this morning much of the increased intelligence gathering capabilities i.e. ‘human intelligence’ was put in place during the Bush years.

                      I’m really not trying to instigate a pissing contest here. To the contrary I think national security tends to be one of those issues that transcends partisan politics and any one man or administration. I think that Obama built on work done by Bush and Bush built on work done by Clinton and so on. In many ways the intelligence community exists outside of the election cycle and for good reason. That’s why I am inclined to say that this will not help Obama much. If he claims credit then he has to suggest that somehow the intelligence community was floundering until he got into the WH. That seems to be a recipe for both pissing them. The last thing he needs is a leaked memo which explains how Bin Laden’s death was the end of a series of events that was put in place before Obama ever got elected or that the intel that lead to his death was processed outside of executive oversight until they got to the point of action (meaning he simply gave the green light).

                      I also think the fact that he invited Bush to join him at Ground Zero makes the point that this was the end of a process that began in 2001. I don’t think he invited Bush there to gloat over getting the job done so what is he going to suggest to the American people about that next year?

      1. Also, presiding during the fall of the Berlin Wall is a pretty tenuous causal connection. Ditto Ronald Reagan, whom his cultists credit with singlehandedly making that happen.

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