Thursday, September 13, 2012

Republican Fantasy Meets Reality. Guess Which Loses

The background to Gov. Romney's statement Tuesday (and repeated at a news conference at a campaign stop yesterday) regarding what were still unfolding events in North Africa and now the Arabian Peninsula has yet to be made clear by many people.  I thought I'd perform a public service.

The Republicans think Obama has gone overseas during his time in office and apologized, well, to pretty much everyone.

Evidence?  Who needs evidence when Rush Limbaugh talks about "Obama Apologies Tour"?

In February of last year, I did a Google search and discovered exactly one apology Pres. Obama made on behalf of the United States.  He told the President and people of Guatemala he regretted that the United States performed experiments on human test subjects, prisoners in Guatemala, in the late 1940's.  So, um, yeah, a little late but that's a pretty necessary apology to make.

Other than that?  Nothing.

Don't take my word for it.  Put "Obama Apology", "Obama Apologizes for America", or some other iteration in Teh Google Box and, voila, all you get are links to right-wingers insisting it's happening without ever once actually pointing to a place and time where it has, in fact, happened.

The whole "apology" thing came up again and again at the Republican National Convention and most of the press ignored it, much the same way most people ignore the really stupid, rude drunk at an otherwise polite party.  Events in Egypt, Libya, and now Yemen, however, are bringing it back around again, however, because the right is convinced, without needing any evidence, that Barack Obama hates America, loves foreign countries more (sometimes it's European socialism, sometimes radical Islamic states), and spends much of his time abroad telling the world how sorry he is for America being America.

When Gov. Romney stated, falsely, that the Obama Administration sided with the mobs who attacked the American Embassy in Cairo, he isn't "lying" in the way most of the rest of us would understand that word.  Rather, he is acting upon a deep-seated impulse within much of the American right that Pres. Obama apologizes for the United States.  When confronted by the reality that the things he said were factually inaccurate, he reiterated his point (along the way making a totally irrelevant correct statement that one cannot deal with counterfactuals and such; the problem, of course, is the question was stupid, giving Romney a moment to look smarter than the press corps) even as many Republicans were shifting away from him, ever so slowly, trying to pretend he wasn't around.  By the end of the day, even his running mate put a bit of space between himself and his Number One Guy.

The President has, in fact, done pretty much what any (sane) President would do in a situation such as this: he's condemned the attacks, spoken with the leaders of the countries involved, offered prayers to the families of those killed, reiterated American resolve in the face of mob violence, and spoken of "bringing to justice" the people who killed Americans overseas.  Mitt Romney has continued to claim that the President apologized first, which he didn't, and hasn't been strong enough since, which all the evidence demonstrates is just not true.

At some point, reality and fantasy collide, and fantasy always crumbles to dust.  Except, alas, in the minds of those who have invested far too much in that fantasy to admit it is just that.    I made the point a couple weeks back, and the redoubtable Charlie Pierce has broken it down in to its constituent parts: Barack Obama is blessed by his opponents.  Mitt Romney is displaying all the adroitness of a troupe of tap-dancing walruses, gift-wrapping the election for a President who should, under normal circumstances, be facing the very real prospects of losing.

Virtual Tin Cup

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