Before the teleprompter gets revved up and President Barack Obama’s stylists agree on an appropriate tie for his comments on Syria tonight, allow me to remind you of (or perhaps introduce you to) one of the funniest movies ever made: 1997’s Wag The Dog.
With the vast majority of planet Earth expressing “substantial distrust” over our plans to light up Syria like an Iraqi pinball machine and the current administration’s sudden insouciance towards Europe’s opinion, it might be time (actually, it’s always time) to throw a thimbleful of critical thought at what we’re being fed from the White House.
Given that this site is known as Red Millennial, I’m guessing not many of its readers have very lucid memories of 1998. Allow me to catch you up. President Bill Clinton was knee-deep in a variety of scandals. Everything from Whitewater, to the sale of nuclear secrets to China, and of course, everybody’s favorite, The Monica Lewinsky debacle.
With the shadow of impeachment growing longer over his head, President Clinton did the only thing he could do: He ordered cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan (which arguably led to the 9/11 attack). Then later in December, just five days before being officially impeached, a heavy and unexpected bombing campaign was launched on the city of Baghdad, Iraq, without even a single vegan hipster out to accuse the Democratic Superman of war crimes or baby killing.
I can’t be the only one who has noticed how Benghazi, the IRS scandals, and most importantly #DefundIt seem to have collectively fallen off the radar over the last two weeks. We’re now merely 21 days away from the opening of Obamacare exchanges and what started out as a last ditch effort to avoid medical fascism, then exploded into a national rallying cry for true conservatives everywhere, has now fizzled out again into a series of pre-recorded talking points used as commercial bumpers on talk radio.
Although I do applaud the work of Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz at today’s anti-Obamacare demonstrations, I’m disappointed by how the Obama camp has been successful at knocking the grassroots wind out of the movement when it mattered most.
In a work of political genius, somebody at the White House (probably Valerie Jarrett of Benghazi fame) realized how the American right is sick and tired of defending war. So they launch a “wag the dog” style campaign on Syria in which they purposely open themselves up to the endless chants of hypocrisy and Iraq comparisons, allowing the Republicans to have a field day while the Obamacare deadline slides right by and nobody notices, with talk radio and Twitter streams chock full of anti-war rhetoric and all the outrage the White House had hoped for.
Just as you don’t remember Bill Clinton as a bloodthirsty tyrant who irradiated innocent Iraqi babies, nobody will remember Barack Obama as the guy who bombed Syria. Keep that in mind as you watch the President’s address tonight. Maybe compare and contrast it from a strategic point of view with Clinton’s version, bearing in mind that it served, essentially, the same political purpose.
We have precious little time left to collect the votes needed to defund the President’s swansong legislation and leave his legacy as a shattered window with pieces of scandal strewn asunder.
Let’s take a lesson from the Conservatives of the 90’s and stay on task.