Only six short months ago, then Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden said, "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy . . . watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy." Wow, did the conservative media howl. They snickered, asking rhetorically: Is this wet-behind-the-ears Illinois legislator up to the task of using force to defend Americans? Surely not!
Yes, Biden was right. Obama has been tested, and the test came three months into his presidency. Perhaps the current confrontation with the Somali pirates and the Navy SEAL rescue of Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips probably wasn't what Biden had in mind when he said "international crisis." Nonetheless, Obama was the one who called the shots (literally) and ordered the Navy SEALs to take necessary action to save the life of the captain. But you wouldn't know that from reading the right-wing blogosphere; it claims that Obama had nothing to do with the rescue. (Apparently, the military can now attack without the commander-in-chief's approval.) And let's not forget Michelle Malkin, who
praised Obama never mentioned Obama in her orgasmic tribute to the Navy SEALs. As for Glenn Beck, I'll assume he'll weep on TV saying how much he loves the SEALs and how horribly they've been treated under Barack Obama.
Back to reality: Here's what the Washington Post, has to say about the rescue:
"President Obama had issued a standing order that the military was to act if the captain's life was in immediate jeopardy, said Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet."
In contrast to the nut jobs giving Obama no credit stands conservative stalwart Jonah Goldberg, who at the Corner gave a modicum of credit to Obama (in a short aside, of course). In a post entitled "Good For President Obama" Goldberg said:
"He approved the rescue. It was the right thing to do, with no small amount of risk. And God bless the SEALs."
Though it's curious to read his updated posts, where he mentions that he received a torrent of negative responses to his note of congratulations. As if we should be surprised by that.
Imagine if President George W. Bush had been in office when this incident happened. The right-wing media would have been glowing, gushing about how strong and decisive a military leader the C-student was. Instead, as News Hounds has noted, Fox News buries Obama's role in the rescue.
What did the New York Post have to say about the incident? In a typically obtuse editorial entitled "DON'T STOP NOW," the fact-challenged Murdoch mouthpiece doesn't even mention President Obama and basically says that what happened off the Somali coast is just "a start." It says, "Case closed? Hardly." And if Bush was the one in charge of attacking the Somali pirates, a fawning Post editorial would have equated the former president with Moses.
I'm sure Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity will
be fair to President Obama and give him the credit he's due basically call Obama a traitor and criticize him for allowing this to incident to happen in the first place. I can already hear Hannity: "Remember, God-fearing Americans, the captain was taken hostage on President Obama's watch! He allowed this to happen."
Obama disproves the right-wing cabal's claim that he won't be tough on "terrorism." Let the right-wing blogosphere erroneously claim Obama had nothing to do with taking out the Somali pirates. They have nothing else to write on and are completely devoid of substantive critiques of the Obama administration. To quote the New York Post: Case closed.
UPDATE: The head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, has taken The National Review's Jonah Goldberg to the woodshed (the same one where he pummeled Michael Steele?). On Limbaugh's show yesterday the rotund comedian said sarcastically:
"I want to single out today, Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online for being the first that I saw to have the proper reaction to the rescue of Captain Phillips from the merchant marine organizers, and that was to congratulate President Obama for a job well done. And I think we all must agree, folks, that when Obama does something right, we gotta go out there and we've got to acknowledge it."
"I'm not listening."
We all should abide by that when it comes to Rush Limbaugh.