Through the Looking Glass as Americans Celebrate Up as Down and Down as Up
One mans trash is another mans treasure. Or, to put it another way, if I like a policy, it's good, if you do, and your politics clash with mine, you're an idiot.
That about sums up the mess we call Washington these days. Especially in regards to the current kerfuffle over Benghazi.
It used to be that certain tragedies were just that, tragedies and not some partisan cudgel to be wielded for future political gain. Administration officials were generally given the benefit of the doubt about “fog of war” incidents and responses.
The nation came together under President Reagan when our Marines were bombed in Lebanon in 1983 resulting in 241 deaths. Even though President Reagan’s Sec. Def. Casper Weinberger warned against putting the Marines on the ground in Lebanon, there was no call for impeachment and no charges of incompetence.
No one was calling the incident, and our retreat, a giant government scandal even though this happened in the run up to the 1984 presidential elections.
In response to the brutal act of terror that took the lives of our Marines, President Reagan relocated the remaining soldiers off shore on ships to keep them safe and then within a few short months, withdrew them totally.
Did we hear a peep from anyone denigrating the quintessential conservative president for retreating even though in a February 1984 radio broadcast days before withdrawing our troops, he stated that Americans “never cut and run” right before we did just that?
Did we hear people expressing anger for negotiating with Iranian terrorists when in fact President Reagan did just that, even personally admitting it later? How about when the Bush Admin was actively negotiating with the Taliban? Was that scandalous? Of course not. It was sound government policy based in the Kissinger model of realpolitik.
Up until Barack Obama was elected president, our Commander in Chief was given wide latitude by his political opponents in the areas of foreign policy and leadership of the military.
Even when those policies led to unspeakable human tragedy, as was the case in Lebanon, Vietnam and later Afghanistan and Iraq, partisanship was generally left at waters edge or engaged in at your peril
When Jane Fonda mounted a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery in 1972 and was critical of her president and US foreign policy, she was pilloried for being anti-American. When Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks was critical of the pre war run up to the invasion of Iraq, her career was decimated by Americans demanding to know why she was not being patriotic and supporting our president.
And yet when entertainers like Ted Nugent call our president a Nazi and Hank WIlliams Jr. says President Obama hates Americans and essentially state that he is unAmerican, we hear nary a peep from the same voices that slammed people like Fonda and Maines.
Clearly, there is a double standard in operation and it looks like this.
When it happened on a previous presidents watch, no matter the party, it was a tragedy. When it happens on President Obama’s watch, it’s because he is, choose one, or all, incompetent, a liar, a communist, a socialist, or just plain stupid.
When people were critical of past presidents, they were anti-American, now in some Alice in Wonderland twist of logic, they’ve become patriots.
I said earlier that we had not seen this type of behavior before in recent American politics. I fear that we have left that age behind. Sadly, the Democrats will be hard pressed to withstand the pressure to respond in kind if and when the GOP finally gets one of their own in the White House again.
Even sadder will be the defense that Dems will mount on behalf of their actions by partisans angered by the foul treatment President Obama received at the hands of the political right.
We are a sorry lot.
Labels: Alice in Wonderland, Benghazi, Casper Weinberger, Dave Miller, Dixie Chicks, George Bush, GOP, Hank Williams Jr, Henry Kissinger, Jane Fonda, Lebanon, Natalie Maines, Realpolitik, Ronald Reagan, ted Nugent