Rachael makes the same great point as Jonathan Freedland in the UK Guardian earlier this week: “…One former foreign minister who has seen the president up close believes that Bin Laden’s scalp will lead other world leaders to conclude that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “Obama may speak softly – but he carries a big stick”…”
Thank you Dorothy
Michael Tomasky (The Daily Beast): Ground Zero’s Politics Are Over – Obama’s low-key appearance at the Twin Towers site today has finally neutralized the area blatantly politicized by the GOP.
Without saying a single word, but in the simple act of showing up … silently laying a wreath, and respectfully speaking with dress-uniformed officers flanking him, Barack Obama managed to neutralize what has arguably been the most potent piece of Republican iconography of the last decade: its total political ownership of 9/11, and of Ground Zero itself.
….Starting today, they can’t use it anymore. How it must grate their cheese that it was Barack Obama – crypto-Kenyan, effete urbanite, paller-around-with-terrorists – who turned these tables! What’s been playing out in the four days since the killing of Osama bin Laden – the Republican insistence that Bush deserves credit too, the claim that torture must be given its due, and all the rest – is equivalent to, and about as charming as, a bully’s incredulity that a smaller but nimbler foe has bested him.
….Today’s appearance by Obama simply provides the symbolic capstone. It’s no wonder that Bush snappishly sees today’s event, according to a New York Daily News story, as an Obama “victory lap.” Ground Zero was his. Now it’s not. (Imagine the ceremonial orgiastics we’d probably be enduring right now if Bush or John McCain had brought OBL to justice.)
I know we’ve all had enough of yesterday’s man, Donald Chump, but LoriahR sent me a link to a really powerful piece by Etan Thomas on the CNN site:
Donald Trump’s most recent challenge to President Barack Obama took me back to my collegiate years at Syracuse University. I had studied for two weeks straight for a calculus class, harder than I had ever studied in my life. After I completed my exam, I was confident that all my hard work had paid off.
But the next day, my professor greeted me with accusations of cheating, saying three-fourths of the class had flunked. How could I possibly have managed to get a B minus without cheating?….
….The president should not have to prove anything to anyone. Yet, he has handled every unmerited insult with nothing but grace and class. He has risen above every act of insolence, and proved them all wrong….
….It is a sad situation that a man who has earned a degree from Columbia University, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, has been elected as president of the United States and received a Nobel Peace Prize has to continuously prove himself as a man worthy of respect. He simply shouldn’t have to.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic): ….What many white people fail to realize is that though Barack Obama and his family are unique to them, they are deeply familiar to black people. …we do live next door to them … We went to church and played in summer leagues with people like them. I went to college with people like them. This is not to slight Barack Obama’s truly remarkable story, nor the indispensable labor of the people who raised him…..
To see that country manifested in the White House is the sort of boon that you can’t really attach to statistics. But for those of us who are waging the fight against a crippling cynicism, who are urging our children on, who visit schools and begin our addresses with, “I remember when I was just like you,” the First Family is perhaps the greatest weapon in our arsenal.
….when broad sections of this country foolishly follow a carnival barker in the ugly tradition of attacking black citizenship rights, when pundits shriek that Obama’s successes are simply the result of the misguided largess of white people, they undermine our most intimate war. They undermine the notion that someone familiar to that kid on the corner could legitimately reach the highest levels of the country, that someone like that kid’s Aunt could be the First Lady. They undermine this country’s social contract, and the “hard work pays” message of my parents. And to that we object.
For if they will not take as legitimate a magna cum laude from their highest institutions, if they will not accept a man who tells black kids to cut off the video games and study, who accedes to their absurd requests one week, and slays their demons the next, who will they accept? Who among us would they ever believe?
Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman (Newsweek): ….the most obvious effect of Abbottabad is that it vindicates the president’s approach to the war on terrorism, and removes from the Republican arsenal the argument that he is a weak, naive, bumbling humanitarian. It is difficult to imagine the 2012 contenders questioning Obama’s commander-in-chief chops, as Republicans have done to Democrats for decades, and were hoping to do again. Why? Because that particular line of inquiry now gives the president a priceless opportunity to remind voters that he accomplished in two years what George W. Bush was unable to accomplish in eight. As rebuttals go, it’s a good one.
Less obvious is the fact that Abbottabad might also vindicate Obama’s broader approach to presidential leadership, which has always emphasized calculating, technocratic, goal-oriented tenacity over “Mission Accomplished” theatrics.
The problem with the Obama-Carter comparisons, which have been regurgitated by 2012 hopefuls such as Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty in recent months, is that they overlook the real-world results of Obama’s supposedly knock-kneed management: universal health care, Wall Street reform, a depression-averting stimulus package, the end of the Iraq War, and now, bin Laden’s head.
As much as Pawlenty & Co. might disagree with Obama’s policies, it’s hard to deny that the president has a knack for getting (most of) what he wants …. “The way Obama made this decision was very similar to way he makes domestic decisions,” says historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. “Gathering the info, talking it out, then making the most rational call.”
New York Post: A few months ago, 14-year-old Payton Wall, who lost her father on 9/11, bared her grief in a 1,500-word letter to President Obama. “I never thought he’d respond,” Payton said yesterday, after she was embraced by the president at Ground Zero following the wreath-laying ceremony. “I was so shocked when the White House called! It was all a dream come true.”
In the letter, which the Rumson, NJ, teen said is “too personal” to share with the public, she told Obama about her father, Glen Wall, who was an executive at Cantor Fitzgerald when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers.
On Monday, the day after Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs, the president was given his daily handful of letters from Americans to read, and Payton’s stood out, White House officials said.
…The next day, the White House called her mother, Diane – who didn’t even know Payton had written the letter, officials said. Obama invited Payton, her mother and her sister, Avery, to yesterday’s ceremony. Payton spent days practicing a strong handshake, but in the end Obama gave her a presidential bear hug.
NY Daily News: Christopher Cannizzaro was still in diapers when his firefighter father was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. And Thursday the 10-year-old wanted President Obama to know his daddy died a hero.
“I was talking to him about my dad and my necklace,” said the Staten Island fifth-grader, showing a small medallion with a photo of his father, Firefighter Brian Cannizzaro, in uniform in front of an American flag. “Then he said, ‘I feel bad for your dad.’ He was being really open to me about everything,” said Christopher, who greeted Obama with a fist bump.
The boy gave Obama a prayer card with his dad’s picture and the President put it in his pocket. “He said, ‘Thank you, it was truly an honor to receive this from you,’” Christopher said. “It made me feel great; it meant the world to me that he was talking to me.”
The 6-foot-1 leader of the free world stared the pint-size kid in the eyes and solicited his opinion about a subject that has captured the attention of the world. “He asked how I felt about Osama Bin Laden being dead,” the boy said. “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.”….
(This made me smile: “I said he could have done something a little less harsh to him, but it was nice to just know that after what happened to my dad, this guy was killed, too.” Sweet.)
President Barack Obama and firefighters toast during a lunch at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 Firehouse in New York, N.Y., May 5, 2011. The firehouse, known as the “Pride of Midtown,” lost 15 firefighters on 9/11 – an entire shift and more than any other New York Firehouse. The 15 men killed had 28 children between them. Firefighters from Engine 54 were the first to arrive on the scene for the attempted Times Square bombing last year. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)