Anger over here, and anger over there!

I may be slow on the uptake, but I am genuinely having trouble processing all of the anger that the killing of Osama bin Laden seems to have generated on the right. And I do mean anger; in certain teeth-gnashing right wing circles, people seem actually angrier over the death of bin Laden than they did over the passage of Obamacare. In a comment to a post about this anger, I asked,

Would they be happier if the raid had failed?

I think some of them would, and I noted that it is not rational.

As I was thinking this over, I learned from a friend's email that the Europeans are angry too.

...the disdain for American joy about bin Laden's death goes deeper than mere snobbery or concerns about local Muslims. It's not just that Western European intellectuals don't like the United States--they never have--but their unwillingness to countenance aggressive Western self-defense against Islamist terror is a function of their loss of belief in Western civilization itself. Many on the continent seem to have lost any sense that their countries and way of life as well as their faith is something worth defending. When it comes down to it that, and not the faux sophistication of Euro elites, is the difference between America and Europe these days.

For all of our problems and divisions, most Americans still believe in their country. All too many of our friends across the pond have lost faith in theirs. And that crisis in confidence, not good taste, is why Americans and not Europeans are celebrating the death of bin Laden.

Well, not all Americans are celebrating; many on the right are doing just the opposite. The difference between them and the Europeans is that it is not the killing of bin Laden that upsets the red meat conservatives, so much as the fact that Obama is seen as getting credit for it.

OK, then, so why not just credit Bush and move on to other issues? Either Obama adopted Bush's policies or he did not. If he did, then at least some of the credit goes to Bush, and it should be pointed out. But even there, I see a problem which lends itself to a cognitive disconnect. If Obama has adopted Bush's foreign policy, that would mean that he is doing something right, wouldn't it? And because we can't have that, then he can't be credited as adopting Bush's foreign policy. But we can't have that either, because that would credit him with having his own foreign policy -- and one which succeeded at killing Osama bin Laden.

I think this conflict might explain the torrent of irrational anger. 

As to my own anger, I have been and still am angry at Obama for his socialist policies and wholesale disregard for the Constitution. So angry for so long that I long ago reached the saturation point. The killing of bin Laden is for me little more than an item in the plus column that will not change my disdain for the man's overall policies. I repeatedly predicted that he would engage in triangulation, and in this instance he has. Killing bin Laden was a smart move for Obama politically, and it was the right thing to do for this country.

I can't tell people what to do, but I think it might be a good time for angry conservatives to consider dumping the anger over the killing of bin Laden and returning to their traditional anti-Obama anger. After all, isn't he the same socialistic, Constitution-violating, postmodernist that he always was? 

Because if they're not careful, pretty soon this irrational anger at Obama for doing the right thing is going to start looking silly.   

European, even.

(And how silly is that?)

posted by Eric on 05.06.11 at 10:51 AM


Obama has adopted a few Bush policies that were good, such as putting terrorists in Guantanamo. He also has adopted many more bad ones, such as TSA and Homeland Security. He is now using the Homeland Security Department to stamp out the remaining opposition to his totalitarian one-party rule.

So no, I don't love him for adopting Bush's policies. Meanwhile, he's abandoned Bush's policies of victory in Iraq, a partially free market for medicine, and the Second Amendment.

Ken   ·  May 6, 2011 11:15 AM

You're reading this wrong. The anger on the right is at Obama using this as a re-election kick-off, a celebration of himself rather than his nation's war fighting over the last decade. They are also angry at the Left for gracelessly accepting the political payoff of getting the break on their watch, without repudiating their anti-war aid and comfort to the enemies during the Bush years.

Few have any problem with the successful mission.

Brett   ·  May 6, 2011 11:42 AM

Brett, yes to everything you say, and add the disgust at kowtowing to Muslim sensibilities with the ritual sea burial and full deck salute.
A pike driven at ground zero with his rotten head mounted is what the SOB deserved.

Frank   ·  May 6, 2011 12:07 PM

Eric - Do you have some examples of that anger on the right about the death of bin Laden?

Because, offhand, I can't think of any. I suppose there must have been a few, but I don't know of any from prominent conservative politicians, or even from bloggers.

A great many think -- correctly, in my opinion -- that the CIA and the Seals did well, and that the Obama administration botched much of their side.

(And anger certainly wasn't what I felt, as you can see from a number of posts on my site.)

Jim Miller   ·  May 6, 2011 2:01 PM

If Obama had the last veto or gave the Go order I think he deserves credit.

And if he wants to start his re-election campaign on this note - fine. The war on the Islamic nutters is now - at least in part - bipartisan.

M. Simon   ·  May 6, 2011 7:14 PM

Well, yes. Most of the right seems to be fairly 'there' on killing Obama. Aside from following the left on questioning "extra-judicial" killings (one group), whether or not Obama actually had anything to do with it other than signing his signature (another group), second-guessing the burial at sea (yet another group)--and I'm not EVEN going into the innumerable conspiracy theorists.

Yeah, it's all good according to the right, as long as the 'present' President had little if anything to do with it. It's no wonder he's waffling. He and his advisors are getting some of the same BS from the left. And he's no statesman, he's a political animal.

Give him credit, he did the right thing when the hammer came down. If he hadn't, the CIA and the SEALS wouldn't have gone in at all.

I may not like him, but he deserves my applause for this.

Kathy Kinsley   ·  May 6, 2011 7:15 PM

P.S. And I've, for some odd reason, been smiling a lot more than usual since May 2 (I was asleep for the announcement).

So, sue me. I'm "gloating" happily. Even Jon Stewart got it.

And if that doesn't make you grin, (either side of the FIGHT), you really need a sensahumah transplant.

You want to see gloating? That's gloating. And I'm right behind him. If you really can't stand Jon Stewart, fast forward to about 7:15. Where he says "I suppose I should be expressing some ambivalence." Watch his face.

For a few hours, we were America again, and that was a GOOD thing. As Stewart said "our testicles descended." (Which isn't really necessary for those of us who are bellicose women, but we'd like to see that in a few more men...)

Kathy Kinsley   ·  May 6, 2011 7:53 PM

I agree with the comments here almost entirely.

The only thing that pisses me off is the possibility--for which there is some but not sufficient evidence--that Obama actually dithered on this call too, and had to be dragged into it by Panetta and others. If that's true, then Obama's political use of this is as revolting as, well, so many of his other political stunts.

OK, a couple other things piss me off, such as the Euro-wuss response and the PC burial thing. Oh, and Obama's "that's not who we are" comment, wrt releasing the death pic. Now that was a bit of self-righteous, preening moralism that made me a bit sick. Wait, one more: the stupid meme that Obama is now unbeatable that's making the rounds of the zero-attention span crowd. (I've never underestimated his chances of reelection, but this response is such obvious wishful thinking on their part that it's almost, but not quite, funny.)

So I guess I can work up some anger about a whole bunch of things in this neighborhood...but surely none of them count as "anger over the death of bin Laden." Did you have someone in particular in mind, Eric? That might help focus discussion.

DJ   ·  May 7, 2011 10:01 AM

It would be more accurate to say "anger over triangulation," because conservatives who are unhappy are not unhappy over the death of bin Laden per se -- so much as over the fact that Obama did something good for which he is getting credit. Hence the angry demands (which I have seen here in comments) that he be given zero credit, no matter what.

Eric Scheie   ·  May 7, 2011 10:09 AM

Post a comment

May 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits