Rightbloggers' Shutdown Shuffle Shifts Spotlight from GOP to Obama's War on Veterans
Obama and the Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't go for it and Week One of the 2013 shutdown was on. In the run-up, some conservatives had cold feet, but this time rightbloggers went all-in for the big win. Their consensus was that 1.) the shutdown is absolutely the right and patriotic thing to do and 2.) it's all Obama's fault.
Along with rah-rah for the Republicans ("In Case Republicans In D.C. Haven't Noticed, They're WINNING The Shutdown Fight"), we got a lot of talk about "President Obama's shutdown," as Allen Ginzburg's post at Red Alert Politics had it.
"One thing that has been ignored in this discussion is that President Obama has publicly declared he is refusing to negotiate on these issues," wrote Ginzburg. "...[The Administration] has made efforts to deal with Syria, Iran, and the Taliban --- but it is simply refusing to look for common ground with Republicans." "Obama's Shutdown: Don't Be Fooled," wrote Ryan Hite at Eagle Forum. "President Obama and Harry Reid's Senate are holding national parks, monuments, buildings, and federal employees hostage until Republicans and the public give in to their demands."
"Obama's Iron Fisted Shutdown Of America," declared Ironic Surrealism. "Is This the GOP Shutdown -- Or President Obama's?" asked Bernard Goldberg; guess how he answered. "All the president and his equally hyper-partisan pal Harry Reid over in the senate had to do was throw the Republicans a bone," said Goldberg -- for example, another 20 years at least of people getting treatment for fatal illnesses in emergency rooms and of America as the civilized world's last national healthcare holdout. And he won't do it. What a dick!
Nick Gillespie, whose Reason magazine is the flagship of conservatives who prefer to down-low as "libertarians," headlined "Obama Deserves Chief Responsibility for Gov't Shutdown," because "He's the deciderer, right, the top dog?... it's your name on the era." True, the Republicans had put up the ridiculous bills, but Obama was being "peevish," said Gillespie -- why, just the other day Obama said, "[Republicans are] not doing me a favor by paying for things that they have already approved for the government to do." Plus, Obama "blames Congress for 'dysfunction.'" Hmmph! Gillespie showed his superior self-control by comparing Obama to "a head-in-the-clouds grad-school layabout." But he also said some bad things about Bush, so don't worry, "libertarians," your girlfriends will never know.
No such campaign is complete without a few rounds of Blame the Media. "The Christian Science Monitor does its bit for the MSM narrative that Republicans are the cause of everything evil in Washington, D.C., both in the past and today," announced National Review's Michael Auslin. The Monitor had not only mentioned the holy name of Newt Gingrich, who'd run a highly unsuccessful shutdown run in 1995; it had also quoted another publication quoting former GOP congressional staff member John Lawing to the effect that Gingrich was a "'take no prisoners' kind of Speaker,'" which was simply more liberal media bias than Auslin could take, spurring him on for three paragraphs about how mean Democrats had been to the dangerous lunatic Robert Bork. "Back then no one may have heard of Saul Alinsky," said Auslin, "but the tactics were the same..." Saul Alinsky! Drink!
At National Review John Fund told readers to be brave, that Gingrich had actually almost won the 1995 shutdown; this time for sure! Also, Democratic officials were sounding "defensive and petulant in their public statements," said Fund. Why, the other day Obama called Republicans "reckless and irresponsible." If only Americans judged these things by tone of voice!
PJ Media Ozymandias Roger L. Simon thought this would be a great time for "a Republican 'charm offensive' toward the American people. Start to seduce them... This doesn't mean, of course, you don't tell the truth. This isn't rehashed 'compassionate conservatism.' It's more pragmatic than that -- and frankly more cynical." Well, at least Simon's finally admitting that no one's paying attention to him.
The Obama Administration said, okay, you want a shutdown, you'll get a shutdown, and they started putting barricades around monuments in Washington and the surrounding area. Rightbloggers raged -- they hate government, but not the telegenic parts!
So while cancer patients were turned away from the NIH and the WIC program to feed children ran low on money -- and really, who cares -- rightbloggers wrestled national attention toward the World War II Memorial in Washington, at which a crowd of veterans were helped past some barricades by a bunch of Republican Congressmen, which was declared a great victory over Obama's cruelty toward The Greatest Generation.
"'Greatest generation' veterans sweep past barricades at memorial in their honor," cried Fox News. "Why the malice towards the greatest generation?" asked Tea Party at Perrysburg. "Greatest Generation Storm the Beaches of Washington DC," cheered Conservative Byte. "The Greatest Generation teaches those in DC a lesson in backbone and courage," apotheosized Diane Sori of The Dryer Report. "The Dems tried to play games with the shutdown and figuratively tried to spit in the face of the greatest American generation of all time," snarled AJStrata of The Strata-Sphere.
The Battle of Who Gives a Shit became the subject of more purple rightblogger prose than any event since 9/11, e.g. Matthew Vadum at FrontPageMag: "...jackbooted police refused to allow World War II veterans to make a pilgrimage to the open-air Washington, D.C., memorial that was created to honor them. As a whiff of fascism blows through the nation's capital, the president is demonstrating to the whole world how revoltingly out-of-control the hyper-bloated U.S. government..." argh blargh etc.
"Obama admin. knew about WWII veterans' request and rejected it," hollered Charles C. Johnson at The Daily Caller. "Obama really seems to be going out of his way to piss off veterans, doesn't he?" sniffed Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. "If the Nazis couldn't keep them out of France, Harry Reid can't keep them out of their memorial," roared Vision to America. "The White House and Democrats seem determined to prove their own toughness by punishing the least deserving," wrote the Washington Post's Kathleen Parker, for which John Boehner owes her dinner at least.
Later, the Vietnam Memorial was also treated as closed, which enraged Hot Air's Jazz Shaw to metaphor, and bathos: "After the previous incidents with veterans and the added expenditures involved in closing open spaces to keep veterans from paying their respects to the Honored Dead one would assume that even a novice politician would move to staunch the bleeding," claimed Shaw. "But instead, it seems that the White House is doubling down..." Bleeding and doubling down! They must really hate both Greatest Generations!
Days later, William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection was still celebrating V-O Day: "WWII Vet - Removing Iwo Jima Memorial Barricades 'Blew My Mind ... It Was Great,'" headlined Jacobson. "This World War II Veteran... could not contain his joy at moving the barricades at the Iwo Jima Memorial." Beating Hitler was pretty good, but this! (Elsewhere from Jacobson: "Barry-cades become symbol of Obama's shutdown.") National Review's David French threatened to sue Obama over the closings unless "there is a sufficient -- and proper -- public response," like maybe someone treating him like a big man.
The punchline to all this is that the Obama Administration has been the Department of Veterans' Affairs' best friend in years, if you go for a very dark sort of humor.