Even Jimmy Carter …

According to Mitt Romney, Obama’s giving the kill order for Osama bin Laden is so insignificant, it’s not worth commenting on. Why, even Jimmy Carter would have given that order!
Meaning, I presume, that if wimpy, pacifist Jimmy Carter is willing to kill someone, well, no big deal that Obama did it or that Mitt Romney once said bin laden wasn’t important. And it’s pretty silly of Obama to act like we should vote to re-elect him.
As noted at the first link, Jimmy Carter is a 10-year navy veteran who once had himself lowered into a damaged nuclear reactor. And in 1980, he did give a similar order, to launch a rescue mission to get the hostages back from Iran.
But of course, Romney’s argument (and the other flak flying around about Obama “politicizing” OBL’s death) isn’t about reality, it’s about myth. In the Republican mythoverse, Democrats are weak, timorous creatures devoted to appeasing our enemies while Republicans are tough guys who take the fight to them; as Cheney once put it, “we don’t negotiate with evil—we destroy it.” (lucky for him that isn’t true).
It has nothing to do with actual policy. Bush dropping the hunt for bin Laden to invade Iraq didn’t make him any less the Big Strong Protector in Repub propaganda. Obama’s actively waging war in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya hasn’t stopped Republican pundits from complaining he’s too reluctant to use force.
It has nothing to do with service. Romney’s never served; when asked why his sons weren’t in the military, he stated they were serving by helping elect him president. Cheney took five deferments (“I had better things to do.”). Veterans I know who claimed they hated Clinton for avoiding the draft had no problems voting for Bush (who entered the National Guard, by his own statement, to avoid the draft, and then blew off his National Guard service) over Vietnam veterans Kerry and Gore.
It does have a lot to do with conservative PC. Clinton and Kerry were both anti-war; Bush supported the war he didn’t serve, so he’s acceptable. Likewise, anti-war Democrat George McGovern has been derided as a peacenik wimp, even though he’s a decorated WW II pilot who flew 35 combat missions.
It has a fair amount to do with some pundits personal issues: The idea that they’re as tough and macho as the guys in camo is part of their self-image (as is the idea that their penis grows whenever the US throws it’s weight around). NYC conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt once declared that he was on the front lines just as much as anyone fighting in Iraq. Fellow pundit Bill Kristol has declared that people who don’t want to invade Iran are “weak” in contrast to himself, as though typing “somebody other than me should go and fight a war” takes more courage and manliness than typing the opposite.
For some Republicans, it has to do with the fact they want war, with all its glory, heroism, and empire. The fact they’re not going to fight themselves isn’t an issue (I suspect for some of them it’s a plus).
And, of course, it has everything to do with politics. It’s a myth, just like Republicans being responsible budget managers (which the Bush years and the Reagan years both proved false), but it’s one they’ve been harping on since at least the 1980s. Democrats, for a variety of reasons, haven’t been effective in arguing back, but that doesn’t make it true.
We’ll undoubtedly hear a lot more of this as we approach November. So I thought you ought to know.


Filed under Politics

4 responses to “Even Jimmy Carter …

  1. Pingback: Links galore! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Depressingly True | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: On Bullshit | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: I have no mouth and I must link | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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