September 27, 2012

Does "exceptionalism" = "swagger" in the mind of the Washington Post?

"Obama, Romney differ on need for U.S. 'swagger.'" That's the headline on the WaPo front page now, linking to a story with the headline "Obama, Romney differ on U.S. exceptionalism."

The word put in quotes is "swagger," and that ought to mean somebody said that. The word appears once in the article. After a few sentences on Romney's "far tougher approach to the world" and Obama's emphasis on "diplomacy and partnerships, and American assistance where wanted without heavy-handed demands from the top," we get:
“It’s very clear in reading and hearing what the two candidates have to say that, at least rhetorically, there would be a significant change under President Romney,” said Karl F. Inderfurth, an assistant secretary of state in the Bill Clinton administration who is now a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Inderfurth, who is not working with either campaign, said some of the “swagger” of the George W. Bush administration would return to U.S. foreign policy under Romney.

“Obama has tried to tone that down, and he has faced pushback for doing so,” he said.
So, apparently Inderfurth used the word "swagger," perhaps only to characterize the feeling some people got from George Bush (that cowboy), but Romney has never — as far as I can see — said we need "swagger," and Romney's manner seems wholly different from George Bush's. It seems modest and mannerly. The word "swagger" seems more applicable to Obama, who's been killing enemies with drones and likes to point out that he killed bin Laden.

It's rather annoying to see WaPo quote a supposed expert telling us what's "very clear" in the rhetoric and then slap the label "swagger" on it. Show us the rhetoric, and let us judge. I'm displaying your rhetoric, so my readers can judge.
Until now, the campaign has been concerned mostly with the economy, and foreign policy has been viewed largely as a strength for the president, who was behind the killing of Osama bin Laden.

But the recent unrest in the Muslim world — revealed in the attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans — has exposed Obama politically and been seized upon by Romney as a product of what he calls the president’s weak engagement of the world.
So, I suspect, you're putting out this article, with that front-page headline, in an effort to help shore up the fortunes of your favored candidate. Let's find a way to scare voters... equate Romney with Bush!
The conflicting philosophies Obama and Romney outlined this week are consistent in large part with their life experiences.
Those backgrounds have given each a different vantage on the world — a former chief executive’s broad-strokes view of how it should work and a former community organizer’s details-matter assessment — and different opinions about the best way to promote U.S. interests at a time of fiscal constraint at home and rapid change abroad.
What?! You're just going to make generalizations about the 2 men based on what they did in the parts of their careers when they were not politicians, and Romney's long career as a business executive is translated into a "broad-strokes view of how it should work" and Obama's short bit of time performing the little-examined role of "community organizer" shows he's a details guy! And the suggestion is that Obama actually got things done while Romney floated above it all with ideas about what "should work." Businessfolk can just believe in big dreams? Is there any evidence at all the Romney didn't have to pay attention to the facts on the ground as he went about these business enterprises, that he didn't get tested over and over by whether things actually did work?


If we keep going and click over to page 2 and scroll halfway down (which I think very few readers will do), we get to more contrasts between Obama and Bush, with Obama the "realist, free of the 'freedom agenda' ideology." Obama doesn't talk freedom ideology?
Obama’s choice of force... is the drone strike, which he has expanded greatly from the Bush years on similarly contested legal ground.
So he is like Bush. Even more than Bush.
[Obama's] realism has often felt arid to those trying to understand it, too calculating and lacking in passion for U.S. values and power. This is the vein Romney has sought to tap.
Lest you think Romney might have an advantage here, please picture him draining blood from one of Obama's veins. (The normal metaphor using "vein" has to do with mineral deposits, and the verb should be "mine" not "tap.")

83 comments:

Birkel said...

I think the proper equation is:

Exceptionalism = Bad

Steve said...

Did Bush "swagger" before 9/11? I remember him promising a modest foreign policy.

avwh said...

And community organizer = good.
Businessman = bad.

Zero accomplished NOTHING as a community organizer, from everything I've seen and read. But the myths from the MSM must be maintained, to fit their narrative.

Palladian said...

"Swagger" has racial connotations, as it's used in urban speech ("swagga") to refer to someone who displays conspicuous and prideful personal style.

Tim said...

Obama's foreign policy "reset" is a failure; it is unlikely to change; it may allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon; yet, the Washington Post, carrying water for their failed affirmative action hire for president (thanks, Obama voters!!) now sees fit to defend the indefensible with scare tactics.

Sadly, too many while buy the ruse. The stupid are immune to thinking things through.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Obama is detail oriented? In which parallel universe is that true?

Kevin said...

I'm pretty sure de Tocqueville never used the word swagger.

The fact that the idea of American Exceptionalism is that old and is that intellectually nuanced doesn't even occur to these ignoramuses who deign to write about politics in America is sickening. These are people who would never write about Breaking Bad without watching it but they think American History consists of what happens to be in their head at the moment.

Nonapod said...

Maybe it's just me, but whenever someone says something like "It's very clear that" I subconsciously insert a "to me" after "clear". It's similar to how you shouldn't say "I think that" when editorializing because it's redundant, of course you "think that".

EDH said...

With so many logical and journalistic stumbles in one hit piece, it's humorously apt that the writer of the article won the Gerald R. Ford prize for presidential reporting.

Texan99 said...

I'm still wrapping my mind around the concept that foreign policy is considered an Obama strength. But this isn't the first place I've encountered that notion -- the "undecided" focus groups bear it out. Resisting the temptation to bollox up the OBL execution was the biggest favor the president ever did for himself. Apparently it's made everything else invisible.

Shouting Thomas said...

The leftist "let's talk nice" ideology has fallen apart in Obama's admin.

Romney does everything but swagger. His rhetoric is incredibly frustrating. He circles back and adds qualifiers until he leaves my head spinning.

The underlying fear is that we are headed for a nuclear confrontation with the Muslim world. The left is frenetically trying to find a way to talk our way out of this, but the enemy is not reasonable or (apparently) even sane.

I'm certain that Al-Qaeda will return to finish the job in Manhattan, this time with a nuclear device. In private conversations with fellow New Yorkers, I find almost unanimous agreement that this is our future.

Will "swagger" forestall this nightmare? Who in the hell knows? The "let's talk nice" thing isn't working. The Muslim world seems to see that strategy only as a weakness to be exploited.

SteveR said...

Tank In

Tim said...

There's nothing new here.

The Washington Post (and those like them) have been doing this for decades:

"They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead.

But then, they always blame America first.

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first."

-- Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

Peter said...

So, welcome to the new-new journalism. It's not so much interested in the who-what-why-where-when as in telling you what you should think about it.

Is "swagger" something you measure with a swagger-o-meter, or do you just know it when you see it?

furious_a said...

“Obama has tried to tone that down..."

I agree, more of a servile tone, what with all the sweet nothings whispered to Russian kleptocrats, bowing and scraping before foreign royalty and the grovelling before the Ummah so they'll leave our embassies alone.

BarrySanders20 said...

Talk about your dog whistles. Swagger is all about equating Romney to W. It takes the focus off Obama's incompetent performance and sets up a personality contest. We know who mins the personality contest between Obama and Romney.

Get ready to double down on failure. Four more crap years with a crap president.

Darrell said...

Little details like hiring local terrorists tp provide embassy security in Libya make all the diffence in the world. That's why we need a community organizer making the big calls. Details.

Hiring the mob to replace the US Marshals Service for witness protection is the kind of innovation that this admisistration can bring with a second term. Not only outside the box, outside the mind. Free yourself.

Aridog said...

How many countries, who now love us more under Obama's foreign policy, of piddle diddling buttocks lapping, erupted in violent lethal celebration on or about 9/11? 10, 12, how many? Oh, wait, I should have said *protest* not "celebration."

Yeah, that's it, spontaneous protest over a video posted in July, suddenly explodes on 9/11, two months after the video went up. And our government insists we believe that bit of story rubbish to boot?!

This guy is just is the most brilliant bestest smartest super foreign policy purveyor since , well, 1968...the Lunar New Year *celebrations* in SE Asia under Johnson.

That coordinated uprising is what brought Johnson down, let us hope that this one brings Obama down.

In fairness to Johnson, who I voted for, he accomplished much more of substance in his term of office than Obama has...unless you think the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act are mere tokens....or that claimed health care for an additional 10% of our population measures up to breaking official segregation and voting limitations.

YMMV...

Shouting Thomas said...

The Muslim world hasn't gone through the feminist revolution. The men haven't been sent to sensitivity training. Nobody is chanting "Go Girl!" to the women.

These folks seem to actually believe in religion, and many of them seem willing to die for their religion.

This stuff is just incomprehensible to the modern Western mind.

So much of what Obama has done has to be viewed in this context. He has been determined to view the Muslim world as if it were enlightened and devoted to freedom, just like the West.

Synova said...

"Is there any evidence at all the Romney didn't have to pay attention to the facts on the ground as he went about these business enterprises, that he didn't get tested over and over by whether things actually did work?"

We never found out anything, not the least thing, about if anything Obama did, or even Annenburg did and not him personally, that worked or didn't work or had any results at all.

All we hear about is the results of what Romney does/did.

furious_a said...

Obama once said that he "believe[d] in American exceptionalism, just as I imagine that Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism and the British believe in British exceptionalism."

In addition to the President's obvious discomfort with and rather flaccid endorsement of American exceptionalism, his equivocating to "Greek exceptionalism" is rather comic in light of current events.

cubanbob said...

Frankly I prefer TR's approach, talk softly and carry a big stick. Unless the WaPo company earns so much money from their SAT business that they need the tax loss from the newspaper they would be doing the shareholder's a favor if they sold the paper for a dollar.

Darrell said...

Romney has to stop saying shit like
"Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive." It's not just swagger, it's embarrassing.

carrie said...

The difference in the scale of Romney's adult real world experience and Obama's adult real world experience is staggering. To argue that Obama's community organizing experience translates better to managing the economy, government, etc. than Romney's business experience is incredible.

Colonel Angus said...

It's obvious that the lack of media coverage over the embassy attacks and the murder of the US ambassador is that its too reminiscent of Carter's reckless handling of the embassy takeover in 1979 and that's far too damaging to Obama.

By all rights that incident alone and his limp wristed response (heading off to bed) should have been the death knell to his campaign. It's 11 years later and we still hear about Bush reading My Pet Goat but silence in this case.


Michael said...

The details focused ex community organizer cannot remember the amount of US debt. Well, Mr. Smartest president ever, it is 16 Trillion Dollars. Divide that number by the US population and you will know the share ofthat monstrosity that we all bear. Only half of us will have to pay it however.

Calypso Facto said...

and a former community organizer’s details-matter assessment

He should have and should still assess a little detail called "results".

Other than winning elections, I don't think Mr. Obama has any credible achievements. Maybe that's why there's no swagger.

BarrySanders20 said...

"The Muslim world hasn't gone through the feminist revolution."

They need a writer to focus obsessively on the vagina to divert attention from their cultural shame to something more mysterious.

Darrell said...

"The Pet Goat" appears on page 153 of

Reading Mastery II, Storybook 1,
by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine Bruner
ISBN 0574101284
Publisher SRA/MacMillan/Mcgraw Hill

Other ISBNs associated with various printings this book are:
0026863383
0026863553

Colonel Angus said...

In addition to the President's obvious discomfort with and rather flaccid endorsement of American exceptionalism, his equivocating to "Greek exceptionalism" is rather comic in light of current events.

Yet we are not far behind. In a previous thread, another commenter shrugged off my argument that changes must be made to our entitlement programs because they're unsustainable. His claim is I didn't show the math despite pointing our our $16 trillion debt, $1 trillion annual deficit as well as the Medicare Trustees report that the program is not sustainable without major reforms.

The mathematical certainty didn't enter into his reality anymore than it does for the Greeks or the Spainards. When you are so conditioned to feeding from the public trough, the fact there istn't enough to go around matters not.

Darrell said...

$5.5 Trillion/16 Trillion =34.375%

4years/222years = 1.80%

35% of the debt in less than 2% of the years. THAT'S why we need a community organizer on the case.

Bob Ellison said...

Bush swaggered some. I always like his comment on people whining that he swaggers like a cowboy (IIRC): "In Texas, we call it 'walking'."

Neither Obama nor Romney swaggers. Maybe Obama does on the basketball court, where it's de rigeur. Ryan doesn't swagger either.

The swaggeriest person in the race is, of course, Biden. He practically swashbuckles.

edutcher said...

Substitute the word "resolution" for "swagger" and it's a more accurate description of the difference.

Never forget, Barry gets all wee-wee about how we forced the poor, beaten Japanese to surrender in Tokyo Bay on the fantail of one of our battleships in front of the whole world and everybody.

furious_a said...

"Is there any evidence at all the Romney didn't have to pay attention to the facts on the ground as he went about these business enterprises...

Is there any evidence at all that then-State Sen. Obama paid attention to the facts-on-the-ground about his constituents -- as opposed to his patrons and cronies -- as he went about organizing communities?

Community Organizing:
"Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters. Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

At least Joe Wurzelbacher would have fixed the toilets.

Aridog said...

Shouting Thomas...

Will "swagger" forestall this nightmare? Who in the hell knows? The "let's talk nice" thing isn't working. The Muslim world seems to see that strategy only as a weakness to be exploited.

Your foreboding about what may come next with relative certainty occurs to me from time to time. I admit I do my best to ignore the thoughts....on a bad day, I might just play "Gangnam Style" by Psy repeatedly until I'm chipper again. He reminds of the hard rock cover band "The He-7" from Seoul when I lived there...driving beat, Korean lyrics, but easily understandable in spirit. So I can be happy. :-)

Now as for your closing sentences...I do know the only answer. It is an answer I am doubtful we have the grit for any longer, in our escape from "exceptionalism" ... there is only one way to stop the potential disaster.

That way requires we totally destroy the enemies' ability to fight us, destroy their access to resources, including food, with *resource* being anything what so ever that enables them to continue.

You can spin wheels or tread water with the hearts and minds concept of defeating the *will to resist* but it has never worked long term. I've worked in that laudatory program and know our leadership plays it only as a meme.

The only thing that works is making the enemy's self interest centered on not antagonizing us.

American exceptionalism? It exists, it is a known feature, not a bug...and every immigrant is testifying to that fact by their presence here. I live among about 50,000+ Arabs and immediately adjacent to another 50,000+ Hispanics and Mexicans.

What they ask me is why we seem to be shrinking? Why are we giving away what is ours, the very thing they came to live within? As I have said before, here, I have no answers. Anymore.

Darrell said...

Obama believes that the United States is just like every dipshit country in the world. Romney doesn't. Obama transcended.

edutcher said...

Bob Ellison said...

The swaggeriest person in the race is, of course, Biden. He practically swashbuckles.

Errol Flynn never spelled a 3 letter word with 4 letters and Tyrone Power never asked a guy in a wheelchair to stand up.

And I think the more correct usage might be "swaggeringest"

David said...

Crushing ignorance. Only if you have absolutely no idea how the business world works can you say that Romney floated above the details. In the kind of business Romney did, taking struggling businesses and improving them, details were even more crucial.

Patrick said...

You're just going to make generalizations about the 2 men based on what they did in the parts of their careers when they were not politicians,

There has been no time in Pres. Obama's life when he was not a politician. Community Organizer was just another level, waiting for an election.

MayBee said...

Was there never a time when Romney was in business when he wasn't the head of the business?

He just went from college student to business owner, floating above it all, or what?

DADvocate said...

It's simply a matter of finding words with negative connotations (in the mind of lefties) to associate with Romney. All the "analysis" and other bullshit is just that bullshit. Creating negative associations is what matters, not an honest, objective look at any sort of policy differences, be it foreign policy, welfare, healthcare, the deficit, etc.

Balfegor said...

Obama's emphasis on "diplomacy and partnerships,

And aerial drone strikes. Which -- along with assassination squads -- have frankly been the greatest foreign policy success of his administration. It's kind of maddening that people think "diplomacy" and "partnerships" have been his signature policies when those have pretty much been failiures, but sending flying robots to blow people up (a) has generally been a success and (b) is probably what will be most memorable about the past four years of US foreign policy, to people on the ground in the Middle East.

MayBee said...

Obama is so committed to partnerships, he skipped meeting with any other world leaders during this past UN week.

Obama's foreign policy has been: lay low and let things happen.

MayBee said...

Lie low.

Darrell said...

Romney started out At Bain and Co. after college in 1977. Since it was only four years old, he advanced nicely. That's something you should keep an eye out for (getting in on the ground floor), if you have the right stuff.

edutcher said...

Balfegor said...

Obama's emphasis on "diplomacy and partnerships,

And aerial drone strikes. Which -- along with assassination squads -- have frankly been the greatest foreign policy success of his administration.


Have to disagree.

They've given him something he can trumpet, but it's been at the cost of allowing Al Qaeda to reconstitute itself.

Which, of course, brings us to the 11th 9/11.

Bob Ellison said...

Could be "lay low". Might be a chicken.

Aridog said...

Balfegor said...

And aerial drone strikes. Which -- along with assassination squads -- have frankly been the greatest foreign policy success of his administration.

1.) These efforts have a singular great advantage...no one can determine if what is claimed is true. It's foreign policy without rejoinder...until the next Chris Stevens is killed, or the next few thousand of them are...which is of course called *spontaneous*, eh?

2.) These efforts are *surgical* in nature and do nothing overall to diminish the enemy's resources and inherent ability to fight us. If anything it enhances their desire to do so.

3.) Given the vagaries of #1, what is the confidence that the stuff in #2 is actually accomplishing anything?

Hagar said...

How in the world did "killing bin Laden" become equated with "foreign policy"?

And while Uncle Teddy has become famous for advocating "speaking softly and carry a big stick," he actually was our most belligerently talking president ever, and supposedly headed the only administration that "never fired a shot in anger."
(Though I am pretty sure I remember reading that an American soldier shot some person in an incident related to the Panama caper.)

Hagar said...

"Killing bin Laden" is not "policy," and neither is assassination by remote control drones.

Hagar said...

How in the world did "killing bin Laden" become equated with "foreign policy"?

And while Uncle Teddy has become famous for advocating "speaking softly and carry a big stick," he actually was our most belligerently talking president ever, and supposedly headed the only administration that "never fired a shot in anger."
(Though I am pretty sure I remember reading that an American soldier shot some person in an incident related to the Panama caper.)

furious_a said...

Aridog: What they ask me is why we seem to be shrinking? Why are we giving away what is ours, the very thing they came to live within?

...and where do we head next when this country turns into the one from which we fled?

furious_a said...

Ari: what is the confidence that the stuff in #2 is actually accomplishing anything?

Doesn't the strike assessment include a CSI-SpecOps team going in with sponges and tweezers to sample DNA and harvest documents/hard-drives?

Aridog said...

furious_a said...

...and where do we head next when this country turns into the one from which we fled?

Precisely.

The first comment I got from an Arab Muslim neighbor (Lebanese), who knew I was US Army, on 11 September 2001 was (paraphrased):

I am so sorry...what we have fled has followed us here.

What will happen, as a matter of survival, is that they will revert to their former meek subservience to tyrants, whether religious or secular. The hope and dream of a better life, a better education, more opportunity, will submit to the realpolitik of mere survival per se.

It is plain to our immigrants that our political leaders do not remotely understand what American Exceptionalism is or why it is important.

Due to that, they will vote for the worst, weakest, candidates, because very simply, they are losing faith in any alternative, so they will vote what they are told is in their best interests. Many of them are used to that, coming from locales where voting is mandatory and candidates designated if you know what's good for you.

"Swagger" is the least of our worries today.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

“Obama has tried to tone that down, and he has faced pushback for doing so,” he said.


I'd say the most significant 'pushback' has been mounted by RPG-wielding terrorists in Benghazi.

Aridog said...

furious_a said...

Doesn't the strike assessment include a CSI-SpecOps team going in with sponges and tweezers to sample DNA and harvest documents/hard-drives?

But of course....and upon diligently gathering said evidence, they bundle it all up and drop it in the ocean. Trust us. We'd not lie to you. Really.

Wha chu meen we missed a journal on the floor of our burned out consulate....for 4 days? Pshaw.

Nathan Alexander said...

I used to try and describe the liberal-progressive mindset as "teleological". But it is difficult to find a clear definition of teleology the way I understand it...there are at least 3 different ways to define teleology.

The one I think describes the liberal-progressive mindset is "magical thinking": that if enough people want it bad enough, it will happen.

That's why they keep pushing green technology: if enough people want solar and wind power to supply our needs, the collective desire will overcome the laws of physics and tyranny of math.

That's why liberals can never be racist, and conservatives can never not be racist: because they think and vote the right way, they are magically exempt. Since conservatives don't, they aren't.

I've also described it before as Cargo Cult Politics: adopting the appearance of what they want, but not the substance, and then wondering why they don't get what they want. Glenn Reynolds has something similar called "Reynolds' Law": “Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.”

But now I think I can put it more simply:

Liberal-Progressives think that the only thing that matters is perception/appearances.

If they can change perception, they create the reality they want.

In the politic realm, there is very little to prove them wrong.

That's how Democrat policies can destroy black society and still end up with 90% of the black vote: they succeeded in controlling perception among blacks.

Nathan Alexander said...

The point I was trying to make was:

All the articles criticizing Romney and focusing on so-called gaffes and slanted polls deceptively showing Obama in the lead are all part of that effort to control perception, and thus create the reality they want.

Aridog said...

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I'd say the most significant 'pushback' has been mounted by RPG-wielding terrorists in Benghazi.

Absolutely. And nothing says *spontaneous* more than an RPG device! :-))

Aridog said...

Nathan Alexander...

Liberal-Progressives think that the only thing that matters is perception/appearances.

I agree with your view on this. It mirrors the one I've less eloquently described as "Process" over "Product." "Process" is everything, results, not so much ... if they're not what you want, you didn't do it right. Try again. rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, the US government is very close to being entirely in this mode. *Delivery* of anything worthwhile is less important than the noble *Process* effort.

Shanna said...

It's obvious that the lack of media coverage over the embassy attacks and the murder of the US ambassador is that its too reminiscent of Carter's reckless handling of the embassy takeover in 1979 and that's far too damaging to Obama.

And yet, there is some sort of movie coming out in October about this…I feel certain somebody thought it would help O politically (and it does actually look interesting) but I can’t figure out how.

Of course, they probably didn't figure current events would draw the comparisons quite so pointedly...

SeanF said...

Even accepting for the sake of argument that Romney's a "big picture guy" and Obama's a "details guy," why the assumption that the latter is preferable in a president?

But, Ann, I think you're wrong when you say, "The normal metaphor using 'vein' has to do with mineral deposits, and the verb should be 'mine' not 'tap.'" 49ers might've "mined" the ore, but they "tapped" the veins.

SeanF said...

Even accepting for the sake of argument that Romney's a "big picture guy" and Obama's a "details guy," why the assumption that the latter is preferable in a president?

But, Ann, I think you're wrong when you say, "The normal metaphor using 'vein' has to do with mineral deposits, and the verb should be 'mine' not 'tap.'" 49ers might've "mined" the ore, but they "tapped" the veins.

EMD said...

What a shitty article.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the absurdity here is the Obama's foreign policy is a shambles, as shown by the terrorist attacks on us on the anniversary of 9/11. The Administration has stonewalled, and the MSM is trying like crazy to hide this. We shall see how well that works. But with the Administration's failure to respond with overwhelming force, but rather, to pretend like the Libyan attack wasn't a terrorist attack, our enemies across the Middle East have been emboldened, and more of our embassies have been attacked.

He wanted a kinder, gentler, U.S. where we respect other countries and people, really more than we respect our own. The problem is that he is dealing in the real world, where this was seen as a sign of weakness. Every bow to a foreign king, every apology, was seen as weakness.

Dems in general, and Dem Presidents in particular, seem enamored with this sort of approach, at least since Carter. They want the rest of the world, and, esp. the non-westernized world, to like us.

Which seems to inevitably lead to Republican Presidents having to clean up the messes that the Democratic Presidents leave. Reagan after Carter, Bush after Clinton, both reintroduced the world to American might and the fear of our righteous retribution.

The difference is between wishful thinking foreign policy and diplomacy, and reality based foreign policy and diplomacy. Our enemies are not impressed with our noble intentions, but rather, and almost exclusively, their fear of us, and they grew not to fear us under Carter, Clinton, and Obama. (And, let me suggest here that the 9/11/01 attacks on us were the last of an escalating series of such that went essentially unpunished under Clinton). And, if Obama is reelected, I think that we can expect the level of attacks on us to continue to increase, as he continues to deny that we are under attack, and fails to respond forcefully in a way that gets the attention of our enemies.

BDNYC said...

I didn't bother to read past the "read below" button.

Sheridan said...

Aridog - man, you make a lot of sense. Specifically, your comment at 0945:

"That way requires we totally destroy the enemies' ability to fight us, destroy their access to resources, including food, with *resource* being anything what so ever that enables them to continue."

I believe the last time the Western Allies undertook that kind of systematic and relentess effort was during WWII. "Bomber" Harris of the RAF and Curtis LeMay of the USAAF were perfectly willing to wage "total war". And they were successors of WT Sherman of the Civil War. There were criticisms of those events at the time. But the strategies were allowed to continue, right to the end.

The Soviets pursued total war right after Stalin overcame his shock when the Nazis invaded in 1941. Of course, there were no critics to chide Stalin.

So when did the US (with or without its allies) lose the stomach for destroying the enemies' ability to fight us?

Was it the consequence of the proliferation of nuclear weapons such that any country with a bomb, not just a super-state, is able to dictate global strategy?

Was it the fulfilment of the dream of an aging, sick and feeble FDR - the establishment of the Unitied Nations? An oganization filled with "global community organizers"?

Was it the co-option of the "fourth estate" by the "community organizers"?

Finally, where the heck are the liberal commenters on this post? I'd like them to tell us what American Exceptionalism means to them.

Eric said...

Ann,

The main way that anyone sees material from the Washington Post is when people like you publicize it. I live in DC in a small apartment building. Ten or twelve years ago, I would guess that 15 out the 20 apartments in the building got the Post daily and there were always people reading the paper on the Metro. Today, fewer than five apartments get the paper and I rarely see anyone reading it on the Metro.

If a tree falls on a desert island and someone records it and plays it for others, then someone hears it. Otherwise...

Sheridan said...

Bruce Hayden - your comment at 1202:

"And, if Obama is reelected, I think that we can expect the level of attacks on us to continue to increase, as he continues to deny that we are under attack, and fails to respond forcefully in a way that gets the attention of our enemies."

Alas, I need to rely on some hypotheticals. Say Romney wins but the Congress stays the same as now (House controlled by GOP and Senate by Dems).

Is Romney able to start replying forcefully? Does he have the the inner resolve - the steel spine - to pursue that path to a measurable completion? Does the opposition give Romney the time needed to achieve results? Would the "fourth estate" remain objective and supply facts to the American people or would they propagandize on behalf of the "community organizers"?

I agree with your analysis of follow-on events if Obama wins. But where would he take us then?

Alan said...

I do not want to hear anybody in the mainstream press complain about "swagger" and "exceptionalism". Not ever.

XRay said...

"So when did the US (with or without its allies) lose the stomach for destroying the enemies' ability to fight us?"

Right or wrong as to the actual military action that MacArthur was proposing, I believe it began with Truman's dismissal of MacArthur.

A MacArthur quote from Wiki...

"Nothing could be more fallacious than the threadbare argument by those who advocate appeasement and defeatism in the Pacific that if we defend Formosa we alienate continental Asia."[37] Truman was infuriated by the word "appeasement,..."

MacArthur had the same feelings in regard to Korea.

Synova said...

"Ability to fight us" isn't limited to physical capabilities, because there is a mental component. Always. And this is what some of us fussed about in the earlier years of the Iraq war, that although liberals passed the funding and our soldiers abilities and resources were what they were, the "aid and comfort" to the enemy was psychological. And that's not a minor thing.

Appeasement of that sort, or apologies or trying so hard not to offend, sends a message of victory to the enemy. It gives up the battle before it is fought.

Part of "swagger" is to assume victory before the battle. At that point the battle becomes optional. The enemy knows you aren't half defeated before it begins.

We might have decided that total war is something we have no desire for. But why the hell do we abandon the part of it that has nothing to do with killing people?

It's better not to fight, better not to destroy... according to Sun Tzu. But everything else, all the show of confidence that might gain the victory... all the "swagger" and shows of strength... what? We decided it wasn't FAIR or something? So we have to bow and cringe and apologize and work to be sure that the enemy has good reason for their own confidence?

Bah. So stupid.

Unknown said...

Obama went line by line through the budget (no cocaine jokes please) and saved $100,000,000. Sheriff Joe helped even.

You think Romney could find $100,000,000 to save the taxpayers like President "Details" Obama?

Yeah, sure, Romney and Ryan could TOTALLY find more than $100,000,000 to save taxpayers, and that's TOTALLY not Teabaggers projecting Obana's budget victories back onto themselves.

/off

NotquiteunBuckley said...

You're gonna like that South Park episode I linked above, aside from some disgustingly distasteful biologically impossible (as I understand) grotesqueness throughout.

Balfegor said...

Re: Unknown:

Obama went line by line through the budget (no cocaine jokes please) and saved $100,000,000. Sheriff Joe helped even.

Oh that's hilarious. That's even more pathetic than the $5 billion his vaunted Buffett rule is projected to bring in. At least that's like 0.3% of our 1.2 trillion deficit. $100 million? That's like . . . a rounding error of a rounding error, more slight than the faintest shadow of a penumbra. Or about 0.008% of our budget deficit.

Kirk Parker said...

C'mon Darrell, GM is only mostly dead.

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Aridog,

"And nothing says *spontaneous* more than an RPG device! "

Precisely! I always travel with a bazooka in my trunk; doesn't everyone? You never know when you'll run into an opportunity to join in with a spontaneous movie review.

furious_a said...

Obama went line by line through the budget...

...and couldn't even get a single Senate Democrat's vote, 0-97.

The only reason Obama's Zilch/Zero/Nada budget even came up for a vote was because the Republican Senate Majority Leader forced it to the floor.

SeanF said...

Kirk Parker: I always travel with a bazooka in my trunk; doesn't everyone?

"I think I got him."

wyo sis said...

When I read the headline I assumed swagger was referring to Obama and exceptionalism referred to Romney.

Silly me.

Scientific Socialist said...

Yet another MSM editorial disguised as news "analysis" by Scott Wilson, whose writing is typically saturated with contempt for Israel and Republicans. I particularly enjoyed the "broad strokes/CEO" Romney vs. "details/community organizer" riff in his most recent piece. This characterization is so perverse that it makes me wonder whether the article was written as satire. Then again, I may be wrong but Wilson doesn't strike me as being a particularly funny guy.

anjella martin said...

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