Friday, March 30, 2012
You know, the Obama "open mike" brouhaha causes an inward look, makes me question my ability to view politics at all rationally. I tell myself that, notwithstanding the usual tone here, what I say about today's Rs and RWS™ and teabaggers is always fact-based. Which is not to say unbiased. The stuff about which I choose to write is important in that it's about the dangerous road down which Rs are trying to take us, overtly and unapologetically: a propagandized, misinformed, poorly educated, theocratized, science-denying, undemocratic, plutocracy. I say that, because it's true.
But I wonder what I'd have written, had George Bush been caught saying to a Russian leader what Barack Obama said. Because my reaction to it -- in addition, of course, to recognizing that the RWS™ would be in full outrage mode and that teabaggers would be instantly in line -- was, "well, duh..." Because what he said (flexibility!!!, OMG!!) was almost dully true. It's the sort of thing said by and about every president heading toward, or into, a second term. And, in the case of President Obama, who's faced a more single-mindedly intransigent opposition party than any president in recent (and, for all I know, all of) history, it's undeniable. If he's reelected, some things will change, no matter the makeup of Congress: Rs will have to find another motivation than the one clearly articulated by their congressional leaders; namely, making Obama a one-term president. Conceivably, they'd even turn, however briefly, toward establishing a record of accomplishing something good for the country.
So by any real measure -- and given the fact that Obama has always made his position on loose nukes and missile shields pretty clear -- there's nothing scandalous here.
But would I have written or felt the same in the Bush-said-it scenario? I wish I could honestly say yes, but I have no idea. Like some other liberals I know, I allowed myself to rationalize Kerry's loss by believing it possible Bush would move away from pandering to the worst instincts of his grievous party. He didn't, of course. But for a minute or two, based on the political truth of what Obama said to Medvedev, I had a little hope. (Medved, by the way, means "bear" in Russian. медведь)
The truly insane right-wing paranoia about Barack Obama, whether it be regarding a secret plan to confiscate all guns if reelected, or to sell us out to the Russians (our greatest geopolitical enemy, even more than al Queda evidently, according to Mitt "Yes, I'll Still Say Any Damn Thing To Get Elected" Romney), is strike-me-deaf-dumb-and-blind crazy. In their fevered minds, it's exactly because he's never done anything to suggest it that they're sure it's true. The lack of evidence is proof he's hiding the plan. So the mike thing fits right in, despite the fact that it's merely a truism of American politics.
Nevertheless, had it been George, who did more actual harm to this country politically, economically, militarily, educationally, infrastructurally, than the imaginary Obama of Fox "news" could do in his wildest Muslim dreams, I'm not sure I'd have been able to find my way to equanimity. So shame, probably, on me.