It takes a special kind of self-absorbed dissimulation to murmur some platitudes about an organised and murderous assault on American interests on the anniversary of 9/11, while acting as if the perpetrators were genuinely provoked, and encouraging your media cheerleaders to back you up. And then go to a rally in Las Vegas.
One would like to think that Barack Obama has miscalled this one, and will accordingly suffer at the ballot box. If not, then the US is in more trouble than I realised. I will happily concede that breaking the barrier of the first black president was a genuine and probably necessary achievement.But being cool, black and useless is no mandate for a second term.
The Knife finds the recent violence in Libya genuinely disturbing, and it’s not because I have a problem with violence per se. Obama’s response – and that of much of the media – is so hopelessly misjudged and dangerous, our jaded tolerance of blatantly bad behaviour by the usual Islamic suspects, makes me vomit. When 9/11 happened, there were almost no reprisals in the US, despite rather more provocation than a YouTube video. When our own 7/7 happened, Blair’s first response was to tell us that muslims were peace loving – and again, no reprisal attacks. After the latest Libyan murders, US officials immediately tweeted similar tripe. Yet citizens of western democracies do behave well, automatically.
Despite lots of smug pessimism, I wouldn’t write off Romney’s hopes of unseating Obama in November. The whole Middle Eastern nightmare can hardly become a vote winner for Obama and his wretched appeasement policies.
So, on a highly symbolic date, mobs storm American diplomatic facilities and drag the corpse of a U.S. ambassador through the streets. Then the president flies to Vegas for a fundraiser. No, no, a novelist would say; that’s too pat, too neat in its symbolic contrast. Make it Cleveland, or Des Moines.
The president is surrounded by delirious fanbois and fangurls screaming “We love you,” too drunk on his celebrity to understand this is the first photo-op in the aftermath of a national humiliation. No, no, a filmmaker would say; too crass, too blunt. Make them sober, middle-aged midwesterners, shocked at first, but then quiet and respectful.
The president is too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that a government that spends more money than any government in the history of the planet has ever spent can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private wide-bodied jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion. So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt: “And obviously our hearts are broken . . . ” Yeah, it’s totally obvious.
The Knife has just blogged on one similarity between Obama and Blair, but in fact there are too many to count.
A breathtaking disregard for serious issues whilst spinning like mad for re-election is just one of them.