Updated With Ironic Info: For Conservatives, Being America Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry:
Oh, their stars and garters. Reading some of the reaction from right-wing pundits to President Barack Obama's speech to the United Nations last week is like reading the diary of an adderall-popping high school cheerleader who delusionally thinks that her jock boyfriend is cheating on her. They're upset at what they see as the nearly traitorous act of Obama acknowledging that the United States fucked up in its relationship with the world during the previous, let's say, eight years or so. They see it as arrogantly associating the world's perception of America with the world's perception of him.
Here's Michael Gerson, wringing his hands with worry like a panic-attack-driven mental patient waiting for soup: "The thesis: pre-Obama America is a nation of many flaws and failures. The antithesis: The world responds with understandable but misguided prejudice. The synthesis: Me. Me, at all costs; me, in spite of all terrors; me, however long and hard the road may be. How great a world we all should see, if only all were more like...me." Obama is driven by narcissism, you see: "At the United Nations, Obama set out to denigrate American goodness so he can become our rescuer."
Over in the National Review (motto: "Thank God Buckley's dead so we can go bugnuts like the rest of the movement"), Jonah Goldberg moves from stupidly snide to snidely stupid in a few short sentences: "'For those who question the character and cause of my nation,' the president pronounced Wednesday, 'I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.' America is 233 years old. Some think that there are ample accomplishments speaking to our character and cause that predate Obama’s ascension to the presidency. Feh, Obama seems to be saying. Look instead to our new greatness, for we have elected a man like him!
Having anointed himself America’s vindicator and redeemer, Obama’s real purpose seems to be to become the leader not of the free world but, simply, the world."
Beyond the strange desire to have America of today judged by actions two centuries ago (did he judge French character in 2002 based on that country's revolution 200 years before?), Goldberg, a man who really should be forced to bathe his own vile mother, then veers into the most paranoid of conspiracy theorist fantasies. How dare Obama want the world to see things his way, how dare he ask the world to join his "cult of unity," as Goldberg puts it. Yeah, unity is for pussies. Build that completely unnecessary and worthless missile shield because we said we were gonna.
Exactly why was Obama doing some measure of saying, "Look, the last guy fucked it all up. Let's make it better, but you gotta get on board, too"? Fuck, who knows?
Maybe it was this speech by George W. Bush on September 20, 2001, where the man who was our president said to the world, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Maybe Bush still angry then, except that this is what he said on November 6, 2001: "Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." Maybe it was that 2002 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, where he told the nations of the world that they would make the U.N. irrelevant if they didn't believe him on Iraq and agree to a resolution leading to war. The United States, through its face to the world, the President, told the world, "You will now only be judged by a simply choice." If you were, say, Austrian or Bolivian or Cambodian, you might think, "Umm, fuck you?"
What Obama, our new face to the world, also said was "After all, it is easy to walk up to this podium and point fingers and stoke divisions. Nothing is easier than blaming others for our troubles, and absolving ourselves of responsibility for our choices and our actions. Anybody can do that." Like Gerson and Goldberg, anybodies if there ever were some.
Update: By the way, you know who was one of the people responsible for that September 20, 2001 speech? Who may have written the words that divided the world solely on the United States's terms, setting the attitude the Obama has had to overcome? Michael Gerson, once one of Bush's speechwriters, now just a douchebag pundit.