Right-Wing Media Fixated On Obama's "Shameless" Bin Laden Speech

››› ››› SOLANGE UWIMANA

Right-wing media continue to attack President Obama over his speech announcing that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a firefight. These attacks even include people saying that Obama should not have made the announcement himself.

National Review Online Irate That Obama Announced Bin Laden Killing

NRO: "The President, In His Rush To Claim Credit, Made A Mistake In Delivering It Himself." A National Review Online post by Claudia Rosett on Obama's announcement declared: "Bin Laden's death is great news, but the president, in his rush to claim credit, made a mistake in delivering it himself." Rosett went on to write:

Osama bin Laden was a pied piper of mass murder, and every effort should be made to avoid in any way dignifying anything about him. Rather than using the presidential pulpit to break the news, President Obama should have left it to one of the U.S. military commanders or spy chiefs whose men took the real risks in this operation.

[...]

Obama should have then followed up by explaining the broader context of this war, and putting terrorists from Hamas to Hezbollah to Moammar Qaddafi on notice that anyone who attacks or even mortally threatens America, or America's allies, can expect the same fate. [National Review Online, 5/2/11]

Mark Steyn: News Should Have Been Announced By "Lowest-Level Official ... At The Department Of Nondescript Bureaucrats." In a National Review Online post, radio talk host and frequent Rush Limbaugh substitute Mark Steyn wrote that he "would have liked bin Laden's death to have been announced by whatever lowest-level official was manning the night desk at the Department of Nondescript Bureaucrats, preferably reading it off the back of an envelope." Steyn continued:

But, if you're going to put the head of state on TV to announce it himself, it would have been better to have been all brisk and businesslike -- "At 0800 hours American military assets entered an address at 27b Jihadist Gardens, etc" -- and finish off with a bit of Churchillian sober uplift about it not being the end or the beginning of the end but maybe the end of the beginning.

[...]

[The speech] managed to be both overwrought and generic -- all that telepromptered overload about cloudless Tuesday mornings was not only tackily over-prettified but came over as unfelt and hand-me-down, like a course exercise in some third-rate creative-writing school's Soaring Oratory class. Or, at any rate, as if they'd loaded up a first draft of September's tenth anniversary speech into the machine. The official announcement was delayed for all this? If ever there was a moment for the commander-in-chief to be real, plainspoken and off his glassy-eyed follow-the-bouncing-ball routine, this was it. It's as if nobody around him knows how to write except in the one tinny key.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to rally round the flag, and rally round the president, but rally round this speech? No thanks. [National Review Online, 5/2/11]

Conservative Media Launch Other Attacks On Obama's Speech

Geller: In "Shameless" Speech, "Every Other Word Was 'I.' " In a post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website, Pam Geller wrote:

When Obama spoke about the killing of bin Laden Sunday night, he was shameless. Every other word was "I." I am really surprised that Obama didn't insist that bin Laden be brought to Manhattan to stand trial. Seriously. Obama can puff himself up and shamelessly strut like peacock, claiming credit for the death of Osama bin Laden, but Gd bless our troops. Hats off to the US military that has been relentless, dogged and brave for ten years in their mission to kill that devout bastard. [Big Government, 5/2/11]

Daily Caller Op-Ed: In Speech, Obama "Made It All About Himself." In an op-ed piece for the Daily Caller, George Landrith, president of Frontiers for Freedom -- an organization whose mission is "to promote conservative public policy based on the principles of individual freedom, peace through strength, limited government, free enterprise, and traditional American values" -- wrote:

President Barack Obama should get some credit for Osama bin Laden's death, since bin Laden was killed on his watch. However, I was struck by two things during Obama's speech on Sunday night. First, had the policies that Obama championed during his campaign and his time in office actually been followed, bin Laden would still be alive today. Second, it was stunning how frequently Obama used the words "I," "me" and "my" in his speech. He made it all about himself.

[...]

Obama's speech was self-absorbed, misleading, and marks the beginning of his effort to rehabilitate his leadership image for the 2012 campaign. He used the words "I," "me" and "my" a combined 13 times in his approximately 1,300-word speech. And more often than not, he used those words to exaggerate his role, portray himself as central to the success, and build himself up. It wasn't as if Obama said 13 times, "I want to thank our armed forces and our intelligence officers for their courage, devotion and bravery." Rather, Obama's speech was almost over before he got around to thanking those who made the operation possible and carried it out.

[...]

Obama apologists argue that Reagan and both Bushes spoke to the American people about American military actions that they had authorized. But the difference is that Reagan and the Bushes announced major military actions as they were beginning to happen -- before it became clear that those actions would be successful. Obama's announcement came after the fact. The operation went well, so he took credit for it. Had it not gone well, is there any doubt that Obama would have distanced himself from it? While Obama could not have announced this action beforehand, it is unseemly that he was so self-absorbed and self-congratulatory afterwards. [The Daily Caller, 5/3/11]

NRO's Lopez Highlights Claim That In Speech, Obama "Tr[ied] To Take Personal Credit For The Years Of Painstaking Work By Our Intelligence Community." In a post on his Council on Foreign Relations blog highlighted by National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez, former Bush national security adviser Elliott Abrams criticized Obama's remarks, accusing him of "want[ing] more than that fair share [of credit] the American people will naturally and rightly give him" for bin Laden's death and "trying to take personal credit for the years of painstaking work by our intelligence community." Abrams asserted that a "shorter and more straightforward announcement would have been more appropriate for this occasion." From Abrams' post as highlighted by Lopez:

It is entirely appropriate that Mr. Obama and the Administration get and take a fair amount of credit.

It is therefore unfortunate that Mr. Obama seems to want more than that fair share the American people will naturally and rightly give him. His remarks last night were far too much laced with words like "I met repeatedly," "at my direction," and "I determined," trying to take personal credit for the years of painstaking work by our intelligence community. Mr. Obama might have noted that this work began under President Bush, but as usual he did not. It was also a mistake for him to use this occasion to deliver unrelated comments about "the pursuit of prosperity for our people" and "the struggle for equality for all our citizens." A shorter and more straightforward announcement would have been more appropriate for this occasion.

Once again here the White House appeared unable to get the messaging quite right, a failure magnified by the amateurish delay of more than an hour in Mr. Obama's remarks. The White House told the nation at roughly 10 p.m. that the President would speak at 10.30. Had the President done so, he would have delivered fabulous and shocking news. By the time he actually spoke nearer to midnight his words were an anticlimax, for all the news had leaked. Whatever the cause of this delay -- Mr. Obama editing the remarks for too long, or a belatedly discovered need to brief Congressional and world leaders -- it suggested that the calm professionalism in the face of crisis shown here by our military and intelligence professionals has yet to be achieved in the White House. [National Review Online, 5/2/11]

Wash. Times' Green: Obama Speech "Was Short On Key Details," "Sounded More Like An Extended Pat On The Back." In an opinion piece for The Washington Times, assistant editorial page editor Anneke Green criticized "how eager" Obama is to take credit for bin Laden's killing and wrote: "Apart from the method of the military operation -- who knew he had it in him? -- his speech announcing the demise of the world's greatest villain was short on key details and sounded more like an extended pat on the back." [The Washington Times, 5/3/11]

Wash. Times Accuses Obama Of Showing "No Class" In Bin Laden Speech. The Washington Times wrote in an editorial that Obama showed "no class" in his speech announcing the death of bin Laden, claiming that Obama "snub[bed]" former President Bush and "prais[ed] himself." The Times further wrote, "Had Mr. Obama been in Mr. Bush's position on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden would still be alive today, and probably winning." From the Times' editorial, headlined, "No Class: Obama snubs Bush, praises himself":

It can be awkward when a dove tries to pass himself off as a war hero. From the tone of President Obama's speech Sunday night, it'd be easy to conclude he was the one who came up with the idea that America should hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden.

[...]

The national unity, sense of purpose and offensive posture were largely the result of Mr. Bush's decisive action and strong leadership following national tragedy. Had Mr. Obama been in Mr. Bush's position on Sept. 11, 2001, bin Laden would still be alive today, and probably winning. [The Washington Times, 5/2/11]

Wash. Times' Decker: Obama Speech Was "Consistent With His View That Everything Is About Him." In a Washington Times column, editorial page editor Brett Decker wrote that Obama's statement about bin Laden's death "made it clear that the campaign season for his 2012 reelection bid is fully underway." Decker added that this is "consistent with his view that everything is about him." Decker later wrote: "Bin Laden's death is more Mr. Bush's victory than Mr. Obama's." From Decker's column:

President Obama took to the airwaves shortly before midnight to confirm the good news and take credit for it. The wording of his short statement made it clear that the campaign season for his 2012 reelection bid is fully underway. He used the words "I," "me" and "my" so many times it was hard to count for such a quick message. Not only is this consistent with his view that everything is about him, it also reflected the reality that this president is weak and perceived by the world to be a lackluster leader who has undermined American power. He needs to grab any opportunity he can to make himself believable as a commander in chief. Crowds flocked to White House gates to celebrate bin Laden's demise, giving this unpopular president a rare glimpse of public support that won't last long.

Mr. Obama called his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, to tell him the news. This was only fitting as it was Mr. Bush's policies that took the fight to the enemy and didn't back down despite opposition from timid politicians such as then-Sen. Barack Obama. Bin Laden's death is more Mr. Bush's victory than Mr. Obama's because American forces wouldn't even be fighting in South Asia had Democratic doves had their way. Mr. Obama may indeed have instructed CIA Director Leon Panetta to make the capture of bin Laden a top priority, as he boasted Sunday night, but he was reiterating a mandate already established as national policy. [The Washington Times, 5/2/11, emphasis added]

Stephen Hunter: Obama Speech "Was Vulgarly Overwritten As Per Obama's View Of Himself As Some Kind Of Gifted Orator." In comments posted at the Powerline blog, former Washington Post chief film critic and novelist Stephen Hunter wrote:

Any joy one might feel in the intelligence of our analysts and the bravery of our door kickers was significantly diminished by Obama's malignant narcissism. The first part of the announcement, evoking 9/11, was vulgarly overwritten as per Obama's view of himself as some kind of gifted orator. The adjective bloated compote was unworthy of the subject, banal and self-indulgent.

Then there were his tasteless claims of personal leadership, his over-emphasis on "I" and "at my direction." Clearly, all he did was sign off on initiatives other, better men had originated. [Powerline, 5/2/11]

CNN's Loesch Suggested Obama "Politicize[d] The Hell Out Of" Bin Laden Announcement. In a May 1 post on Twitter, CNN contributor Dana Loesch wrote: "Geebus. All he had to do was walk out and fist pump. Not politicize the hell out of it."

[Twitter, 5/1/11]

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