Obama’s “U.S.A.” Moment

Posted on May 4, 2011 by

Killing bin Laden probably helps Obama get re-elected by making it harder for republicans to portray him as un-american.

But you knew that. 

The success of the mission and the patriotic jubilation of the “U.S.A.” demonstrations outside the white house raised the president’s stature among mainstream Americans.  

It’s been quite a while – election night 2008 or the inauguration – since he’s been so widely praised and treated as an American hero. 

For that reason alone, this latest outbreak of flag-waving goes down pretty easy for me (not the case for some very thoughtful commentators). 

I’m inclined to accept at face value these exuberant outbursts of American pride – even though I’m almost always caught off guard when they happen. 

Like 30 years ago when I – and the rest of the country – first heard the USA chant (supposedly an antidote to the national humiliation we were suffering during the Iran hostage crisis) as the Americans beat the Soviet hockey team at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. 

Many progressive democrats have gone out on a limb in the Obama hunt for bin Laden, knowing how big the political payoff could be. 

Including looking the other way while the administration directed predator attacks – collateral damage, civilian casualties – at suspected terrorists in Afghanistan / Pakistan. 

We knew they wouldn’t stop until they got bin Laden but will they stop now?

In the meantime, republicans are working their next moves.

I heard a guest on fox say that we would never have nabbed bin Laden or foiled homeland attacks without intelligence gleaned from “enhanced interrogations”.  The message from our opponents:  Don’t you dare think about closing Guantanamo, Mr. President. 

But – for this week at least – I’m a happy democrat, gloating to my friends about the Obamas putting up a few more of their favorite paintings in the hall, confident that they won’t be moving out soon.

Comments (8)

 

  1. Jon Joyce says:

    Like you, I revel in the victory. I have some misgivings though on the whole burial at sea. What to do with the body I suppose is a big problem. Like Iraq, we should have planned better what to do and how to react after we attained the goal. As it’s often said, it ain’t over til the fat lady sings.

    • michael chesler says:

      The burial at sea forever keeps Bin Ladin from becoming a destination for all terrorists who will elevate him to god like status. A shrine, a memorial, a tomb where one gains the will from the great dead one. Perhaps in years to come he might be forgotten by future suicide bombers and the like.
      Burial at sea was brilliant.

  2. deborah says:

    I agree with Chesler………….and hope that this “victory” will give Obama more confidence to do the right thing rather than be so conciliatory.

  3. Stephen D. Lewis, JD says:

    Obama would not have enjoyed this “vicotry” unless George W. Bush would not have implemented enhanced interrogations. George Bush is the hero … not Obama … his victory will be justifiably short lived.

  4. Rudy Corral says:

    Ok we got one right. I love this country like no other I am as patriotic as they come wrap me up in the red white and blue and that is exactly why i believe we can do a lot better then our current monetary forum of governing. Obama has this one but we have to keep fight for change real change with a democracy that represents the social economic interest of the working class and not one of capital that Obama represent. As MLK once said lets keep our eyes on the prize and the redistribution of wealth. As we bask with joy in the pacification of the working class corporate media is reporting that in 2010 CEOs are making 27% more then 07 right before the escalating cycles of capitals profits brought the swindling of trillions upon trillions of dollars from the working class and plundered them into subjected poverty.
    Yes I love this country because as an American Indian I hold this land sacred and I am still fighting to protect what is left and the dignity of its working class as a whole.

  5. Rudy Corral says:

    Ok we got one right. I love this country like no other I am as patriotic as they come wrap me up in the red white and blue and that is exactly why i believe we can do a lot better then our current monetary forum of governing. Obama has this one but we have to keep fight for change real change with a democracy that represents the social economic interest of the working class and not one of capital that Obama represent. As MLK once said lets keep our eyes on the prize and the redistribution of wealth. As we bask with joy in the pacification of the working class corporate media is reporting that in 2010 CEOs are making 27% more then 07 right before the escalating cycles of capitals profits brought the swindling of trillions upon trillions of dollars from the working class and plundered them into subjugated poverty.

    Yes I love this country because as an American Indian I hold this land sacred and I am still fighting to protect what is left and the dignity of its working class as a whole.
    Yes We Will
    A new American revolution by and for the American Working Class!

  6. Rod Bradley says:

    Stephen, I’m curious, is your misspelling of victory as “vicotry” deliberate? And if so, what does it signify? And I thought GW Bush did implement enhanced interrogations
    although many wish he would not have.

    I agree with your quotes if the misspelling was just a typo. Victory seems hardly an apt word, at best a hollow one. Unfortunately OBL managed to have us damage ourselves for decades in very profound ways, both economically and ethically. OBL was very lucky on many counts, the design of the towers, the culture of competition between agencies — but nothing aided him more than having an immature and unimaginative person as the leader of the country. A man whose puerile over-reaction gave OBL even greater stature. And a weak and privileged and politically fearful congress, endorsed his immaturity and lead us down a self-damaging path that Obama has largely followed, although with far more nuance and elegance.

    For Obama, is will become a political “victory” because many people will respond with an emotional sense of justice, revenge, national pride.

    There is absolutely no evidence enhanced interrogations lead to the killing of OBL, and if one is honest and looks at facts, it is the Bush administration headed by one George W Bush whose inattention and carelessness allowed the attack of 9-11 to transpire. And in the process of his misguided reactions, elevated OBL to a world figure, worthy of the United States going to war against his rather pitiful organization of lost and disaffected fundamentalists.

    I can only hope (but highly doubt) that our current president will use this event and make it a victory for the nation by abandoning in an elegant face-saving way, the futile war in Afghanistan.

    I too think the burial at sea was a good idea in a difficult situation.

  7. The death of any human being, any being in the earthtime reality we pretend we alone own, demands respect for their passing, including the Laden. Laden had balls and brains, in a time when his victims revel in their defeats and sado massochistic rituals. Me, I feel some degree releaved of some guilt. As I witnessed the ascending Twin Towers, covered in the endless city electric lights. It grew taller and taller and uglier and uglier. I hated those towers from my view from Governor’s Island, NY. I hated the stupid architechture as I went to high school at Brooklyn Tech HS, an engineering institution I think only New Yorkers come close to understanding.

    So Hooray! In our victory to re-elect a President who delivered nothing but nothing, oh, but he is a great, pleasant personality and not quite as boring as say, (should I say it) Reag…. no I will stop and pretend my years fighting for the cause? of the Democratic Party was something more than the farce it is.

    Goodbye, Osama Bin Laden, though you took the blood of my brothers and with hot breath I sought your destruction and now breathe the air of revenge. The smell is not so sweet and I grieve your passing, a man of conviction, temerity and high intellectual capacity.

    Farewell.

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