Thursday, September 13, 2012

They think you're stupid

Well-meaning pundits often presume that you, dear readers, are idiots. In his latest column, The Atlantic's Clive Crook asks: "Romney or Obama: Who Loses More From the Crisis in Egypt and Libya?" Okay, wait. Don't tell me. Lemme think. Damn, this is so hard, dude. OK, OK -- I got it: Romney loses. It's obvious, right? Wrong, says Crook.

Crook writes: "The administration's posture of calm, cool confidence on foreign policy is going to need, let's say, tweaking. The power of leading from behind, quietly delivering such excellent results in Egypt and Libya, is no longer an achievement in the bank. If he had a semi-capable opponent, these events would have been seriously bad news for the president. He doesn't, I grant you. Nonetheless, it's too soon to know who'll sustain the greater damage."

My initial reaction was, Clive, you gotta be kidding me, man. Romney figuratively shot himself in the head. The "greater damage" is plain to see. Moreover, you'd need to be dense indeed to buy Crook's arguments. And people, especially Atlantic readers, aren't as dumb or as ill-informed as he evidently thinks they are. Then I got mad.

First, Crook comes within a hair's breadth of calling Obama "uppity" for his winning and nuanced stoicism. Second, he lazily repeats the fiction that Obama is "leading from behind." The charge is misleading and wholly inaccurate. Third, he suggests that a swaggering Obama promised to deliver "excellent results in Egypt and Libya." He did no such thing. In fact, Obama promised the opposite late last year: "We’re under no illusions -- Libya will travel a long and winding road to full democracy. There will be difficult days ahead." Yesterday was such a day, was it not? Fourth, Crook takes it as an article of faith that Obama is winning only because he is facing a political dolt (i.e., Romney). And that a more capable challenger would have had the abracadabra to cut Obama down to size. Right. And the moon is made of cheese.

So on the basis of these thin reeds, Crook concludes Obama can still make a hash of things, thereby giving Romney a shot at winning. Ergo, the proverbial jury is still out. But this conceit only works if one bends the truth, ignores the facts and refuses to see what is in front of one's own nose. Simply stated: Romney got his clock cleaned, and he won't be snatching victory from the jaws of defeat any time soon. Most folks get that without the tiresome equivocations.

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