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Memory Lapses II: The Return of Dick the Dick

Recently I wrote about a particularly egregious bit of rightie revisionist history, in which Franklin Roosevelt was somehow an admirer of Mussolini and Hitler until “bullets and ashes started to fill the sky.” This is completely at odds with what’s called Actual Verifiable Historical Facts, which tell us that FDR opposed Hitler from the start. And before Pearl Harbor did as much as he could, at some political risk, to send aid to Britain and other nations under attack by Germany.

Every now and then I like to set records straight, even though I feel it’s a lost cause most of the time. Frankly, the most surprising thing about the “FDR loved Hitler” myth is that it contradicts the older myth that FDR somehow orchestrated the attack on Pearl Harbor so that the U.S. could get into World War II.

And you know that in rightie mythology, conservatives — no matter how doughy — have a special affinity for all things soldierly and military even if they never spent a day in the service, whereas a liberal career military combat veteran doesn’t understand war and is probably a traitor.

And you also know that rightie mythology constantly spills over into mainstream media, and not just on Faux Nooz. So it’s not surprising there is a huge discrepancy between the way media treat President Obama after the Pants Bomb attempt and they way media treated George Bush after the Shoe Bomb attempt. What’s astonishing, however, is that someone at The Politico is actually pointing this out.

Josh Gerstein has actually written a fairly lengthy analysis comparing Obama’s and Bush’s responses to the perspective incidents, and finds that Obama is being treated unfairly.

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday’s incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit.

All together now: IOKIYAR

Another difference is that President Obama forthrightly declared that the Pants Bomber revealed that “A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable.” When President Bush finally was prodded into saying something about the Shoe Bomber, he would not admit to a fault in his administration. He said,

This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We’ve taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously we’re still not completely safe because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in.

Joan Walsh writes
, “Predictably right-wing gas bags are as hung up on Obama calling Abdulmutallab an ‘extremist’ and not a ‘terrorist.'” It’s beyond me why that’s important. It says something about rightie psychology, but I’m not sure what.

Dick the Dick has emerged, finally, from whatever nether region he inhabits to thump his chest and claim all the bananas.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney accused President Barack Obama on Tuesday of “trying to pretend we are not at war” with terrorists, pointing to the White House response to the attempted sky bombing as reflecting a pattern that includes banishing the term “war on terror” and attempting to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

“[W]e are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe,” Cheney said in a statement to POLITICO. “Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war?.”

However, if you read the Politico piece and compare the actual Obama Administration response to the Pants Bomber to the actual Bush Administration response to the Shoe Bomber, you see it was the Bushies trying to pretend nothing had happened.

Further, I don’t see President Obama “pretending” anything. Little George liked to put on his quasi-military costumes and strut around in front of troops and call himself a “war president.” President Obama is less into the strutting part and doesn’t go around clubbing people with the “w” word, reminding them that war presidents are special. What matters is whether the President is responding properly to volatile situations, and frankly he’s more of a “war president” than I’d like.

But I don’t see “pretending.” There is only an assumption of failure, based entirely on the fact that the President is not a Republican. You might think of it as a variation of “driving while black.”

But righties place enormous importance on what things are called. The other day Charles Krauthammer had a fit because President Obama refers to Iran as the “Islamic Republic of Iran” instead of just “Iran.” Krauthammer fumed that Obama had “conferred legitimacy” on the Iranian governing regime — as if the words of a President could do that. Personally, it seemed to me the President was reminding Iran that it’s supposed to be a republic, not a dictatorship. And the Islamic Republic of Iran is not the regime; it’s the entire country, citizens and all. And, anyway, it’s the proper name of the country. Details.

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