We now know the right-wing marching orders for discrediting President Obama’s role in the assassination yesterday of Osama bin Laden. Those “talking points” come straight from the king of right-wing propaganda, Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh said this morning on his radio show that Obama deserves credit only for following the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush. In addition Limbaugh attacked the President for exaggerating his role in the planning and the decision to kill the perpetrator of 9/11.
Listening, you got the sense that what is great news to most Americans is disappointing to the Limbaugh bunch.
Obama, Limbaugh said, should be congratulated on “continuing the Bush policies in the Mideast.” Obama “deserves credit for not disassembling them.” Translation: President Obama’s chief role in the Bin Laden operation was to step aside and allow those old Bush policies to do their work. George Bush’s fingerprints were all over the corpse of Bin Laden. Not Obama’s, the mere bystander.
The truth is that Bush policies had little to do with bringing Bin Laden “to justice, ” as President Obama described it, and putting an end to America’s secret shame.
In fact it was Bush policies that turned America’s focus away from Bin Laden, cooking the books on WMD and starting a tragic and unnecessary war in Iraq. It was Bush who said at news conference in March of 2002 in regard to Bin Laden: “I truly am not concerned about him.” Now it is time for Limbaugh to rewrite history.
In truth it was President Obama who never forgot, who returned focus where it should’ve been after 9/11. On Bid Laden. A war in Iraq could wait but didn’t. Bush should’ve taken care of business in Afghanistan, in Tora Bora, at all costs. But he did not. And going along with that decision, even promoting it, was Limbaugh and his crowd.
It was this President, Obama, who said even before the election in 2008 that he would consider going after Bin Laden on Pakistani soil if need be, with permission or without. His mind was already on the correct target. Obama has his faults, but at this moment in history he was focused on resolving America’s shame. To let someone attack our country and not pay, it was unthinkable. President Obama was focused and made a courageous decision, a decision George Bush failed to make and thus failed the American people.
Limbaugh also continued the old attack on President Obama’s character, portraying him as a megalomaniac, a delusional figure infatuated with his power and god-like qualities. To prove his point, Limbaugh and his staff parsed President Obama’s Sunday night speech this way: The President used the word “I” 10 times, “me” three times, “mine” five times and “my” three times. Limbaugh said facetiously over and over how Obama “single-handedly” was the one who nailed Bin Laden, doing everything alone but firing the killing shot.
If this was megalomania what is to be made of George Bush “piloting” a jet onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 after U.S. forces deposed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, strutting in his talor-made flight suit to the podium to make his speech and proclaiming “Mission Accomplished”?
You can bet had the Bin Laden mission failed on Sunday, Limbaugh and the right would have screeched and blamed no one else but President Obama. With the Limbaugh crowd Obama is damned any way you cut it.
One of the great things about America is that everyone has a right to speak out That means it is Limbaugh’s right to distort truths, even to tell lies. The sad thing is that not only do so many Americans on the loopy right listen to these untruths, but they actually believe them and treat them as gospel. Limbaugh, despite what he says, in no way searches for truth. The search is always for the political edge.
For the rest of us, it’s a great day to be an American. Fly those flags, baby. The exuberance, the spontaneous celebrations that popped up last night after the news that Bin Laden was finally killed, and killed by American soldiers, was in their own way a denunciation of Bush’s policies and visions for America. He and his neo-con brethern did not understand the shame most of us felt, or worse, did not care. Beneath our festive mood is a relief that, despite the soured economy, we can at last do something right.
Hopefully, those dark years of the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld era are receding. For me, they can not recede fast enough.