Bizarre Attacks On Obama’s Response To Fort Hood Shootings

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Lacking much of substance to attack Obama on, opponents have been desperate to grab at anything. Several conservative sites have latched onto this criticism of Obama’s response to yesterday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood. The article complains about not seeing “a  somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion.”

One conservative blog even writes, after a ridiculous claim that Obama hates the military and sides with a Jihadist: “That he would call yesterday’s horrific act of violence an ‘outburst of violence’ validates that he deserves no respect. It is times like this that I REALLY miss President Bush.”

Beyond the absurdity of the earlier charges and objection to Obama’s objection to an “outburst of violence,” it is rather inane to use this to bring back the memory of George Bush. As most will recall, upon being informed of  the the worst terrorist attack on this country, George Bush continued to read a about a pet goat. He was then virtually absent for a couple of days after a tragedy far more serious than the one yesterday.

Following is Barack Obama’s actual response to the shooting:

This morning, when the President gave his opening remarks at the Tribal Nations Conference, the day looked very different.  By 5:02 EST when he was scheduled to give closing remarks, it was clear that all Americans were rightly concerned with the tragedy in Texas, and the President took his time to give his thoughts and prayers:

Now, I have to say, though, that beyond that, I plan to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead for Native Americans, as well as collaboration with our administration, but as some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.  We don’t yet know all the details at this moment; we will share them as we get them.  What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.

My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen, and with those who live and serve at Fort Hood.  These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis.  It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas.  It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.

I’ve spoken to Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and I will continue to receive a constant stream of updates as new information comes in.  We are working with the Pentagon, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, all to ensure that Fort Hood is secure, and we will continue to support the community with the full resources of the federal government.

In the meantime, I would ask all Americans to keep the men and women of Fort Hood in your thoughts and prayers.  We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident.  And I want all of you to know that as Commander-in-Chief, there’s no greater honor but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for and that their safety and security when they are at home is provided for.

So we are going to stay on this.  But I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy, and keep everybody in their thoughts and prayers.

It sure sounds like Obama changed his planned statements to provide “reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion” in response to the immediate situation. That is far more than what George Bush did after 9/11.

Update: Some conservatives are sure searching for a way to turn yesterday’s shooting at Fort Hood into yet another way to attack Barack Obama, failing to realize how disrespectful to the troops their sick attempts to play politics with this really are. Now even one of the Swift Boat Liars has gotten into the act. There’s yet another bizarre charge raised against Obama related to the shootings here.

Update II: Steve M. has more on the absurd attack from the right on Obama for calling the attack an “‘outburst of violence” while praising George Bush:

George W. Bush, responding to the conflict between Hamas and Israel last winter, in his weekly radio address, January 2, 2009 (emphasis added):

This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction.

These people will grasp at any straw, won’t they?

Hey, at least they aren’t still blaming Bill Clinton for everything.

Update III: Some conservatives have linked here with attacks claiming I brought up a comparison to George Bush. If they had the ability to actually comprehend this post they would see that the post was written in response to argument from the right that George Bush handled such situations better. Bush’s inability to respond meaningfully to 9/11 during the first forty-eight hours after 9/11 was far more significant. Obama’s response is nothing like Bush’s flippant comment to “now watch this drive” immediately after discussing terrorist killings:

This was a breaking news event on a day when Obama had a scheduled event. It made perfect sense for his staff to work to get the information on the shootings and write a statement to make at the conclusion of his scheduled appearance. Obama’s statement on the shootings should be judged by what he said about the shootings–not what he said in an unrelated scheduled event.

Obama did not make “shout-outs” during his actual statement on the shootings. Considering the nature of the breaking news there was nothing wrong adding a statement on at the time of his current engagement. If Reagan or Bush had done this conservatives would have said nothing.

Even if one really felt that it would have been significantly better if he had canceled his planned appearance at the last minute to make a statement solely on the shootings this is hardly a major point. Only those who already hate him, and his attempts to preserve our American values from the onslaught from the right wing, would use this as an excuse to show the degree of disrespect for the dead soldiers that we are now seeing from the right wing. This hardly justifies the claims from the right I cited that Obama hates the troops or sides with a Jihadist. This is purely a case of hating Obama and then working backwards from that point to make an attack which makes absolutely no sense to anyone outside of the right wing’s echo chamber.

Update IV: Video and transcript of Barack Obama’s statement at the Fort Hood memorial on November 10 are posted here.

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57 Comments

  1. 1
    Lonni says:

    I have read and I do “get it”.  An article based solely on comparing Obama to Bush(or anyone else)is still questionable to me in “Why?”.  As this article apparently intends to refute others who also make the comparison, I understand, it also falls into the same trap it supposedly abhors.  That is/was my question, which has yet to be answered.  Let Obama stand or fall on His own merits.  As long as constant comparisons are being made it will continue to appear that Obama has to be defended at every turn.  And, to dismiss anyone else’s opinion of Obama that is not in strict line with the liberal mindset as “haters” or even “racists” is just as fragile in that, once again, it is an attack on the “feelings” of people instead of a discussion of the policies and merits of Mr. Obama himself.  Have I made myself clear this time? Oh, and I’m not a “he”….I’m a 62 year old white woman…..should that make a difference.  Thank you for your reponses even if we have to agree to disagree.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    “An article based solely on comparing Obama to Bush(or anyone else)is still questionable to me in “Why?”.”

    The original post was a response to a comparison between Bush and Obama. The discussion and later via updates the post itself also responded to the criticism of Obama. It doesn’t make any sense to say there should not be a comparison. By what standard do we judge situations like there where there are no absolute rules? Looking at how other presidents have acted in analogous situations is one way to look at it.

    “And, to dismiss anyone else’s opinion of Obama that is not in strict line with the liberal mindset as “haters” or even “racists” is just as fragile in that, once again, it is an attack on the “feelings” of people instead of a discussion of the policies and merits of Mr. Obama himself.”

    But this attack which you repeat is not based upon policies and is not a serious complaint. The attack is so absurd that there is no other possible explanation other than hatred of Obama to bring it up. This has nothing to do with a liberal mindset. It is an opposition to smear tactics, regardless of where they are coming from. This is purely a smear campaign without any meaningful content.

  3. 3
    Plum says:

    Ron Chusid,
    This is my first time to visit your blog.  I just want to give my comment about your responses.  I am impress with the way you respond your audience in a civil manner with enlightment and professionalism.  I applaud your work….Thank you.

  4. 4
    Randy says:

    It is amazing firstly, that supposedly intelligent individuals would think that they could come up with a ridiculous statement regarding Pres. Obama’s remarks following the Ft. Hood massacre.  What is more amazing and much more disturbing is that there are a great many people that will accept it as fact and actually broadcast it either by electronic mail or more aggravating by mouth.  They will try and debate some issue, (health care) by insisting that Pres. Obama doesn’t care about the American people and especially America’s servicemen and will point to this idiotic innuendo as proof.

    The inane and pathetic attempts by our conservative politicians to come up with anything that will get their name mentioned and feed the frenzy of the so-called conservative movement would be laughable except for the number of people that seem to believe it.  

    I honestly believe that having witnessed the media success of Glen Beck and his ilk that the conservative politicians have decided that rather than working hard and having serious debate about these very important issues, they will pattern their behavior after Mr. Beck and the other conservative talk show hosts.  I would caution those conservative politicians that have sacrificed their self respect for 15 minutes that other people have been successful on television and radio too,  Jerry Springer comes to mind.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Plumb,

    Thank you

    Randy,

    To some degree it is because they don’t have rational arguments. They have driven away most of the conservatives who actually think and can make coherent arguments.

    Part of it is circular logic, reinforced by their echo chamber. There is nothing in Obama’s statement to justify the claim that he hates the troops and hates America. They already have this view, despite the lack of anything to back it up, and therefore they find a way to spin what he says to support their prejudices. As there is nothing in what he actually said, they come up with convoluted arguments such as that he was too cool and calm in how he spoke (ignoring that this is how he always speaks) or they mix up his planned event with the statement on Fort Hood that was quickly added on in response to the breaking news.

    Republicans are increasingly adopting the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh style. It seemed to work for a while, and continues to work among portions of the country, but for the most part this is why they have become primarily a regional party and have lost the support of an entire generation.

  6. 6
    Mike Hatcher b.t.r.m. says:

    Not all  talk show hosts are on that bandwagon.  Dennis Miller Comedian and talk show host is no fan of Obama but he came out in staunch defense against these attacks of Obama’s comments.  Miller rightly brought up comparing how much he disliked the critism of Bush’s immediate reaction to hearing about the 9/11 attacks and believes these complaints against Obama are very unfair.

  7. 7
    Basimah says:

    Why is the RIGHT often so WRONG?
    Like all Fanatics Here and Beyond? 
    They are raising the Chatter,
    They are raising the heat,
    It’s “THE WORD WAR”,
    Using sound bites Using Rhetoric.
    We have to fight with Metaphor. 
    Their GOD has color,
    Their GOD is GREEN,
    Like the FOCK-US Channel,
    And they are MEAN.
    Like GLENN BECK, PILLSBURY BOY
    Rolls in your neck, Ends your JOY
    Kills your Gray Matter
    Turns your Brain into mush
    Then you become a PUPPET
    Like GEORGE BUSH.

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