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“Vainly Trying To Rewrite History”: Deranged By Obama, Republicans Are Spouting Nonsense

Republicans had better divert some of their campaign cash toward finding a cure for Obama Derangement Syndrome. If they don’t, their nemesis will beat them in a third consecutive presidential contest — without, of course, actually being on the ballot.

GOP power brokers and potential candidates surely realize that President Obama is ineligible to run in 2016. Yet they seem unable to get over the fact that he won in 2008 and 2012. It’s as if they are more interested in vainly trying to rewrite history than attempting to lay out a vision for the future.

Obama Derangement Syndrome is characterized by feverish delirium. The Republican Party suffered an episode last week when former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani began speaking in tongues about Obama’s patriotism.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

This is obviously a nonsensical thing to say about a man who was elected president twice and has served as commander in chief for more than six years. Pressed to explain himself, Giuliani ranted and raved for several days about Obama’s upbringing, made demonstrably false claims about the president’s supposed denial of American exceptionalism, insisted that “I said exactly what I wanted to say” — and then finally issued a non-retraction retraction in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart,” Giuliani wrote. But of course he did intend to question Obama’s motives, heart, patriotism and legitimacy, albeit in a self-destructive, laughingstock kind of way.

I speak as a sufferer from Bush Derangement Syndrome eight years ago who recovered by facing reality.

Giuliani can perhaps be dismissed; his future in presidential politics is as bleak as his past, which consists of one spectacularly unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination. But if he was speaking as the party’s id, surely Republicans who consider themselves in the mix for 2016 would play the role of superego and tamp down such baser instincts. Right?

Wrong. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — a guest at the dinner where Giuliani had his eruption — refused to repudiate the offending remarks. “The mayor can speak for himself,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on whether, what the president thinks or not. . . . I’ll tell you I love America, and I think there are plenty of people, Democrat, Republican, independent and everyone in between, who love this country.”

Walker, who is on a roll lately in terms of self-embarrassment, wasn’t finished. Asked if he believes Obama is a Christian, Walker responded, “I don’t know.” A spokeswoman later clarified that what the governor meant to say was yes, of course he knows the president is a Christian; Walker declined to respond because it was a “gotcha” question. Which it wouldn’t have been, if Walker had given that answer in the first place.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another 2016 hopeful, volunteered that “the gist” of what Giuliani said “is true.” Later, Jindal went further and declared: “I hate to say this, but we have a president right now who is not qualified to be our commander in chief.”

It’s true that Generalissimo Jindal is a long shot to win the nomination. But most other potential GOP candidates were either silent or didn’t give a direct answer. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush said it was a mistake to question Obama’s motives. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee offered no opinion. Former Texas governor Rick Perry said, “I think the president, in his mind, loves this country.”

Only Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) was bold enough to say there is “no doubt” that the president of the United States does, in fact, love the United States. Good for him.

Giuliani’s burst of nonsense is important because it speaks to the Republican Party’s mind-set. If the party is going to contend for the White House, it first has to fully acknowledge and accept that it lost the last two presidential elections. The nation voted twice for Obama and his policies. Deal with it.

Republicans need to abandon the fantasy that there’s some sort of grand deception underlying the Obama presidency. They’re only deceiving themselves.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, February 23, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, GOP Presidential Candidates, Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Living In A House With No Mirrors”: Do Religious Conservatives Love Damned America?

Just read this brief passage and tell me if this sounds like someone who really “loves America:”

Our nation is ridiculed abroad and morally crumbling within. We are in trouble. We have turned our back on God.

This sentiment, expressed yesterday by the Rev. Franklin Graham, is very common among politicized conservative evangelicals. What makes it unusual is that he uttered it in the same breath as a defense of Rudy Guiliani for doubting that the president “loves America.”

If you’ve ever actually read Jeremiah Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon, it involves a judgement of this country no more striking than what people like Franklin Graham say every other day with their jeremiads about a baby-killing Holocaust and legitimized abominations to the Lord like same-sex marriage. They’re entitled to their opinion, and to the spiritually perilous and self-aggrandizing step of adopting the prophetic stance against their own country. But please, don’t tell me Franklin Graham is a “patriot.” Unless his words are meaningless, he’s telling us being “patriotic” in a wicked society represents disobedience to God.

So spare us the pieties about the president’s questionable “love for America,” Rev. Graham. You’re living in a house with no mirrors.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, February 25, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Conservatives, Franklin Graham | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Desperate Attempt To Remain Relevant”: Rudy Giuliani Digs Himself Deeper Into The Hole With WSJ Op-Ed

Now that Rudy Giuliani—in a desperate attempt to remain relevant—has succeeded in squeezing every bit of publicity out of his despicable remarks aimed at his President, the one-time Mayor and current lobbyist is following a script typically pursued by political cowards who transgress reason, judgment, and wisdom in the effort to be noticed.

Rudy is attempting to turn his outrageous behavior into a “teachable moment.”

In an op-ed written for today’s Wall Street Journal, Giuliani attempts to convince us that, whether you agree with his offensive remarks or not, he hopes that the event can be “the basis of a real conversation about national leadership.”

A bit late for that, Mr. Mayor, wouldn’t you say?

In what likely passes for the closest thing to an apology Giuliani is capable of mustering, the Mayor states,

“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart. My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.”

Really?

When you boldly and directly state that a President doesn’t love his country, while suggesting that this lack of affection is the result of not being like us, you have to be something of a fool to imagine that you can return to the fray pretending that what you meant to say was you don’t like how the President speaks on the subject of American exceptionalism.

Frankly, a discussion of American exceptionalism would have served the nation—and Giuliani himself—far better that Rudy’s remarks on the President’s emotional bearings.

Of course, such a conversation would not have earned the Mayor his moment in the media spotlight.

While I am more than comfortable in expressing my own admiration and love for my country, I have been vocal in the media venues available to me in stating that for so long as my country continues to breach its agreement with military veterans by failing to provide them with the care and treatment we promised when asking them to fight for us, we cannot—and must not—claim to be an exceptional nation.

An exceptional nation does not permit a military veteran to be frozen out of the VA, left to suffer and die because they are denied the treatment they were promised, just as an exceptional nation does not permit a military veteran to live on the street.

Fix this critical problem and then we can return to describing ourselves as being exceptional.

Of course, I recognize that there will be those who disagree with my political viewpoints who will refuse to accept my proclamation of patriotism because they haven’t yet realized that political disagreement is as fundamental to America as apple pie and baseball.

I also recognize that there will always be those who remind us of that ridiculous chant during the Viet Nam War days where those who supported the war would encourage those who were opposed to either “love America or leave it,” never realizing the profound irony of this moronic entreaty.

Those who question another’s patriotism on the basis of political disagreement have yet to grasp that men such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams disagreed mightily on what direction the nation they founded should take—yet is anyone prepared to suggest that either of these men did not love his country?

Rudy Guiliani, someone whom I once respected, while admittedly disagreeing with his political point of view, now stands as the point of the spear of this slice of America that does not really understand America—and that is a real shame.

This reality is best highlighted in the last sentence of Giuliani’s effort to pull his already burnt bacon out of the fire.

Giuliani writes, “I hope also that our president will start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life.”

The same goes for you, Mayor Giuliani.

You see, while we all understand who you are referencing when referring to “us and those who threaten our way of life,” and I certainly concur with your concern, you fail to understand that Americans who cannot grasp that we can disagree over policy and politicking without questioning one another’s love and fealty to their nation also poses a great threat to our way of life—a way of life brilliantly prescribed by the nation’s creators who would have taken profound exception to your stinging, offensive and despicable words.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, Forbes, February 23, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Patriotism, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Self-Styled Super-Patriots”: Loving An Imaginary America, Hating The Real One

Leave it to Matt Taibbi in a return to the pages of Rolling Stone to come up with a unique perspective on Rudy Giuliani’s rants about Obama not loving America: it reminds Taibbi of communist bitter-enders in post-Soviet Russia:

Rudy Giuliani is giving me Soviet flashbacks…..

Not to go too far down memory lane, but in 1990, I went to Leningrad to study. The Soviet empire was in its death throes and most people there, particularly the younger ones, knew it.

But some hadn’t gotten the memo yet, and those folks, usually nice enough, often older — university administrators, check-room attendants, security guards, parents of some of my classmates, others — were constantly challenging me and other exchange students to East-versus-West debates, usually with the aim of proving that “their” way of life was better.

By the time I left Russia a dozen years and a couple of career changes later, a lot of those people still hadn’t gotten the memo. They were deep in denial about the passing of the USSR and spent a lot of time volubly claiming ownership of words like we and our and us in a way that quickly became a running joke in modernizing Russia.

U Nas Lusche — roughly, Ours is Better or It’s Better Here — was the unofficial slogan of the pining-for-the-old-days crowd in post-communist Russia….

[T]he Soviets also had a strong sense of exceptionalism. It was something that was carefully nurtured and encouraged by The Party and had been spread successfully from the Kremlin to the remotest drunk-tank in Kamchatka.

But the problem with exceptionalism is that it can turn unintentionally comic with the drop of a hat. You’re made to believe you’re at the center of an envious universe, but then the world changes just enough and suddenly you’re a punchline clinging to a lot of incoherent emotions. I watched this happen with my own eyes to a lot of people in the former Soviet Union.

And I feel like it’s happening here now, with Rudy and the rest of the exceptionalist die-hards. They’re hanging on to a conception of us that doesn’t really exist anymore, not realizing that “America” is now a deeply varied, rapidly-changing place, one incidentally that they spend a lot of their public lives declaring they can’t stand.

And that’s the real irony and outrage: self-styled super-patriots who make it more apparent every day that they don’t much like, much less love, their country.

The Giuliani crack-up started up a long-overdue discussion about what exactly it means when patrician pols like Rudy accuse others of not “loving America” enough.

After all, which America do they mean? The one that will be majority nonwhite by 2042? The one that twice elected Barack Obama president? The one that now produces more porn than steel? The one that has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates and one of the highest immigration rates? That America?

Are they big fans of South Park maybe? The Wu-Tang Clan? Looking? Because it’s ironic: The heavy industry and manufacturing might that was a key source of American power in the days of Giuliani’s youth is now in serious decline, but Hollywood (and American pop culture generally) is a bigger, more hegemonic world power than ever.

Yet the current batch of exceptionalists mostly despises Hollywood, one of our few still-exceptionally-performing industries. They liked it better in the days when John Wayne was the leading man, Rock Hudson was in the closet and nobody made movies about copulating cowboys or Che’s motorcycle trips.

And here’s the classic Taibbi-esque coup de grace:

Conservative politicians like Rudy are a bizarre combination of constant, withering, redundant whining about Actual Current America, mixed with endless demands that we all stand up and profess our love for some other America, one that apparently doesn’t include a lot of the rest of us or the things about this country we like.

I feel sorry for Rudy that he can’t love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it.

Kinda the way I feel about Erick Erickson insisting that Barack Obama and I can’t possibly be Christians.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, February 23, 2015

February 24, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Patriotism, Republicans, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Vladimir Putin’s New Axis of Evil”: Liberal Russians, Ukrainian ‘Fascists’, And America

After being the “Man Responsible for Russia’s Victory at the Olympics,” President Vladimir Putin became the “Man Responsible for Protecting Russians Everywhere.”

In a country where insecurity and crushed ambitions are the foundation of national identity, the idea resonates well with a lot of people. The fine print, however, they should’ve read by now: Putin is the defender of Russians anywhere, as long as they’re not in Russia.

A growing number of right-leaning Russians, known for their resentment of Putin due to his lax stance on Central Asian immigrants and his support of the Muslim republics of Northern Caucasus, are praising the invasion. To many of them, this regime’s shortcomings can now be overlooked, overshadowed as they are by the image of a “Great Russia” finally reunited with its prodigal sibling, Ukraine. No one really cares what happens in Russia, as long as this country still has the balls to send a military force outside of its borders to protect ethnic Russians. The fact that Russia often can’t provide security for its citizens—mostly ethnic Russians—within its own borders, often losing in its never-ending war on homegrown terror, fades away at the prospect of a territorial gain and a victorious war.

With Ukraine, the Kremlin is creating its own axis of evil: America, the “fascists” who seized power in Kiev, and their liberal Russian supporters.

Russia’s vehement anti-American rhetoric is nothing new. However, combined with assaulting a far less powerful country in a moment of crisis, it’s akin to talking shit to the captain of the football team, while giving a beatdown to a member of the chess club who is having an asthma attack. (This isn’t to say that Georgia or Ukraine, or the next country Russia decides to invade, can’t put up a fight. They can. They just won’t win.)

Still, Russia is best at fighting enemies within. Already there are numerous calls to identify those Russians who oppose the invasion—“the fifth column,” as pro-Kremlin bloggers label anti-war protestors. Their photos are passed around on Twitter, information on these people is exchanged—names, phones, sometimes addresses; threats are made. These are cyber threats for now, but there’s no telling when they could become actions, and those who make their sentiments public get the trademark Kremlin treatment of beatings and mock trials for crimes they didn’t commit. A country as great as Russia can’t afford to have people who oppose its “reclaiming” of another state’s territory. Numerous Kremlin mouthpieces ask those who oppose the invasion to leave the country or face consequences of being a traitor. In their minds, only a crazy proxy of American Imperialism can say that it doesn’t benefit Russia to invade Ukraine.

In reality, there is little benefit for Russia in invading a sovereign state. Moral and legal issues aside—and they’ve never really been “issues” here, anyway—even if there isn’t going to be a war, the invasion is going to put a huge strain on Russia’s weak economy. But beyond warp-speed capital flight, the plunging rate of local currency, and probable economic sanctions that are going to follow, there are more costs to invading Ukraine.

Putin has to show his new subjects that he’s a benevolent king. So Crimea and whatever part of cash-stripped Ukraine he’s going to chop off are going to get a huge influx of Russian taxpayer money to help secure popular support, and get local elites hooked on Kremlin cash.

After Putin all but annexed Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008, Moscow desperately needed for these two breakaway republics to be recognized as sovereign states. It offered generous aid packages to the island nation of Nauru and Nicaragua in exchange for their recognition of the newly “liberated” republics, and was ready to pay anyone who would buy into the story a solid chunk of cash. There’s no telling who is going to side with Russia on its Ukraine gambit, but it sure as hell isn’t going to be free.

When the dust settles, the lack of any long-term strategy on Kremlin’s part will become unmistakable. The newly acquired republics become nothing but a financial liability for Moscow, and possible hotbeds for future conflicts. Just like it happened with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Putin is left with corrupt local governments, refugees, and brain-dead economies on permanent life support from Moscow. But as long as Russia got to parade its tanks, threaten everyone around them, and search enemies within their ranks, to them, it was absolutely worth it.

 

By: Andrew Ryvkin, The New Republic, March 2, 2014

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Russia, Ukraine | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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