New poll finds 6% of Ohioans extremely dumb.
Public Policy Polling has a new swing state poll out for Ohio [pdf] and it finds that 6% of the people there believe that Mitt Romney is responsible for the death of Osama Bin Laden. If you get into the crosstabs, 15% of self—described “very conservative voters” feel that way.
Ezra Klein explains what’s probably going on here:
[V]oters have trouble crediting politicians they don’t like for policy outcomes they do like. And killing bin Laden is a policy outcome they do like. And so partisan effects have led some Republicans to argue that Obama was not primarily responsible for killing bin Laden or, even more absurdly, that Romney was responsible.
Since there is no “Obama does not deserve credit” option, conservatives take the closest answer available — that Mitt Romney deserves credit. In other words, given the options, they prefer an obvious lie to the truth.
Then again, there are a lot of birthers out there, so there may be no limit to how delusional some conservatives can be.
Stories to Watch: 10/20/11
OK, better late than never. Now here’s the news…
Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to spend a big ol’ pot of money on infrastructure — Libya’s infrastructure. America, on the other hand, can go screw herself.
More Republicans come out with the bizarre argument that President Obama didn’t win Libya right. Mitt Romney looks especially stupid on that point.
Marco Rubio’s story about being the son of Cuban exiles turns out to be bullshit.
Herman Cain comes out as pro-choice. Everyone’s pretending to be confused over the fact that he personally opposes abortion, yet says the government has no business making that decision for people. I’m sorry, he’s saying he’s pro-choice. The only thing I find confusing about this is all the confusion.
Louisiana has passed what may be the stupidest, most poorly thought out law in history.
Andrew Sullivan: “To rid the world of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki and Moammar Qaddafi within six months: if Obama were a Republican, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now.”
Finally, the GOP’s claims about what they laughably call their “jobs bill” are, quite frankly, insane.
Given the Opportunity, the Right Can Offer No Defense for Politicizing 9/11
Conservatives own 9/11. No liberals died that day in that famously liberal city; no Muslims, no gays, no feminists, no environmentalists. The first responders who ran into those burning buildings, while everyone else ran for safety, had all burned their union cards. No union thugs died that day. Only rock-ribbed Republicans — the only true Americans — died on 9/11, because it’s impossible for liberals to be heroes or patriots. Conservatives own 9/11.
Which explains why this post by New York liberal Paul Krugman was the worst thing ever:
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. The atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.
Sure, the Bush administration used 9/11 as an excuse to engage in a long, pointless, expensive, bloody war in Iraq. Sure, we’ve seen torture become as American as apple pie. Sure, we’ve hatred of Muslims become twisted into something that pretends to be an American value. And of course, we’ve seen conservatives claim that liberals don’t “get” fighting terrorism — even after President Obama got Osama Bin Laden.
But is that any reason to point all of that out? The rightwing blogosphere says nay. Breitbart’s Big Journalism rushes to familiar ground, playing the victim card against Krugman for writing about 9/11 on 9/11. At no point in a post dripping with outrage and grievance is a counter-argument made against Krugman’s charges — because, of course, there isn’t one.
Anti-Muslim bigot Jim Hoft takes a similar approach, clucking over how “disgusting” the post is, without answering — or even pretending to answer — a single one of Krugman’s charges. In fact, Hoft simply declares it awful, without even explaining why. Likewise, Erick Erickson.
If you need proof that even the right realizes there’s no defense for their post-9/11 actions and policies, there ya go. They can’t come up with one.
So, of course, they don’t bother.
News Roundup for 8/4/11
History’s greatest educator
-Headline of the Day-
“How Bush Killed Bin Laden: What’s Really In Huckabee’s 9/11 Cartoon.”
Mike Huckabee is a man who thinks of the children. And so it only makes sense that he puts out cartoons that help the little tykes understand history. In one video, kids learn how Ronald Reagan saved America from black thugs in t-shirts that said “DISCO” on them and Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn’t around to fight WWII. You know, real accurate stuff.
And so it is with 9/11 and terrorism. In case you’ve forgotten, the story goes like this: a bunch of Muslims attacked America, because they hate our freedom and because they were Muslims. Then George W. Bush yelled at them with a bullhorn and gave birth to the PATRIOT Act atop the pile of rubble. Liberals, of course, hated the whole idea because they like terrorists and don’t like to make people mad, so they just wanted to forget 9/11 ever happened.
But not George W. Bush! He did a bunch of intelligence stuff and some stuff happened for a while that no one really needs to know all that much about and then, lo and behold, Osama bin Laden was dead! Yay for Bush!
Thank God we have Mike Huckabee to set the record straight. (Talking Points Memo)
-Cartoon time with Mark Fiore-
Hey kids, with all the fightin’ and feudin’ and fussin’, wouldn’t a little “bipartisanship” be nice? Well, we’re going to find out how bipartisanship in Washington works Yay!
Click for animation
Remember, bipartisanship means never having to say you’re sorry for breaking someone’s kneecaps with tire iron. (MarkFiore.com)
“Obama Turns 50 Despite Republican Opposition.”
Onion headlines are often amazingly accurate. (The Onion)
Bin Laden Photos Probably Less Consequential Than Most Believe
If the White House decision not to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s body splits pundits, talking heads, and other media types, there isn’t a lot of controversy among the general public. An NBC poll finds a solid majority — 64% — agreeing with the decision. Of that percentage, 52% reportedly “strongly” agree. And with even al Qaeda admitting that bin Laden is dead, it’s difficult to see what purpose the photos would serve.
Still, the Associated Press is on the case:
President Obama’s decision to withhold the visual evidence of Osama bin Laden’s death has created a fundamental disagreement between the White House and one of the largest journalism organizations in the world. “This information is important for the historical record,” said Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor at The Associated Press. “That’s our view.”
Last Monday, the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the photographic and video evidence taken during the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The organization’s FOIA request included a reminder of the president’s campaign pledge and a plea to be more transparent than his predecessor. “The Obama White House ‘pledged to be the most transparent government in U.S. history,” wrote the AP, “and to comply much more closely with the Freedom of Information Act than the Bush administration did.’”
“It’s our job as journalists to seek this material… We’re not deciding in advance to publish this material,” said Oreskes. “We would like our journalists, who are working very hard, to see this material and then we’ll decide what’s publishable and what’s not publishable based on the possibly that it’s inflammatory.”
While some believe that the keeping the photos under wraps is a matter of national security — denying bin Laden followers and sympathizers a “martyr photo” to wave around like a bloody shirt — the president himself put the argument in terms of decency and security.
“It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool,” the president told 60 Minutes’ Steve Croft. “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies. The fact of the matter is, this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received.”
For the record, I’m with the NBC poll’s majority here. I am persuadable — I wouldn’t put myself among the “strongly” agreeing — but the arguments against release seem more compelling. I’m not going to begrudge the AP’s pursuit of their perceived legal rights (especially since I believe the dangers of their release are most likely overstated) but there’s also a more common sense argument to the contrary; if something’s working, don’t pick at it.
While Usamah Bin Laden’s passing will not destroy al-Qaeda altogether, it is a horrible blow to their morale, despite the bravado in al-Qaeda’s message acknowledging Bin Laden’s death at American hands.
(By the way, for those who insisted that President Obama had to release the photos of Bin Laden’s corpse for the reality of his death to be accepted: well, not so much.)
Some have suggested that the Taliban may sever their ties with al-Qaeda in the wake of the latter’s clear vulnerability and leadership vacuum.
If the Taliban swears off al Qaeda, then withdrawing from Afghanistan becomes much, much more likely and much, much easier to defend to the “war forever!” crowd. After all, it was the Taliban’s ties to the terrorist organization that got this whole thing started in the first place. If this is a serious possibility, then maybe we shouldn’t change the game board too much.
On the other hand, there is the question of rights. The security argument seems to be a weak one in this case, with the term “national security” being nothing more than a synonym for “good foreign policy.” We’ve given up way too many rights since 9/11 to let that go lightly. If AP wants to fight a First Amendment press freedom fight, then more power to them.
I guess in the end I’m still going with the administration on this one, but wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep if they lost their case in court. If Cole is right and al Qaeda is demoralized by bin Laden’s death, then release of the photos wouldn’t do much to change that. In fact, it may just serve as a reminder of the blow.
The Obama Photo-Op Scandal That Wasn’t
It was a case of excessive celebration. A “victory lap” around the body of Osama bin Laden. Announcing that the most wanted terrorist leader in the world had been killed by US forces, the Obama administration released this photo:
Danged fumble-fingers — wrong photo. That’s George W. Bush in 2003, announcing the huge success of winning the war in Iraq. He later stood under a banner that read “Mission accomplished.” A little premature, perhaps — the vast majority of both US and civilian casualties in that war occurred after Bush declared it a tremendous victory for
Bush arrived on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to deliver his speech in Navy One — a Lockheed S-3B Viking jet. He then walked around to get some photos taken of himself in that flight suit, then stood at the podium, making sure that the big “Mission accomplished” banner was visible in the background.
And then there was this:
Dana Milbank, May 2003:
White House officials had said, both before and after Bush’s landing in a Navy S-3B Viking jet, that he took the plane solely to avoid inconveniencing the sailors, who were returning home after a deployment of nearly 10 months. The officials said that Bush decided not to wait until the ship was in helicopter range to avoid delaying the troops’ homecoming.
But instead of the carrier being hundreds of miles offshore, as aides had said it would be, the Lincoln was only about 30 miles from the coast when Bush made his “tail-hook” landing, in which the jet was stopped by cables on deck. Navy officers slowed and turned the ship when land became visible.
In short, the ship was positioned so that Bush would be able to get that photo of himself in a flight suit. Then the ship was turned around so you couldn’t see land. Despite what the White House said, this seems like it would’ve inconvenienced the sailors on their way home. He could’ve arrived in the boring old Marine One helicopters and walked out on the deck in a blue suit and Republican red tie.
Or, he could’ve waited a little bit and greeted them at the dock. But what propaganda value would that have?
But back to the horrible, terrible, unconscionably self-serving photo the Obama White House released. Here it is, as shameful as it is to look at:
Turns out that photo was staged! Obama posed for it, only pretending to give the speech he gave, so that news organizations would have a good photo to accompany the story. There are more.
“It turns out now that all of the non-White House still photographs of the president’s dramatic entrance down the hall into the East Room and the late Sunday evening speech itself were faked,” wrote the LA Time’s Andrew Malcolm last week. “They were not taken during the actual event, which was photographed only by official White House photographer Pete Souza during the live TV broadcast.”
“It is a minor matter unless truth is a concern,” he goes on.
No, it’s a minor matter period. What truth is being hidden by these posed photos? Did Obama not give the speech? Is Osama bin Laden not dead? What misconceptions about the story would someone have after looking at the photo? In what way does it change a damned thing?
I guess Obama should’ve jetted off to an aircraft carrier in a flight suit — for no real reason. Hell, he could’ve one-upped Bush and given his address in a spacesuit from the international space station. But releasing a staged photo of his announcement that Osama bin Laden had been taken down?
The worst thing ever.