A lot has been made in conservative media and blogs about the president not being able to spell out the title of the Aretha Franklin song "Respect". It's fair to say that the reaction has been overblown - clearly it was just a flub. It's also fair to say that there's a double standard in the media when it comes to giving the president a pass on it versus say Dan Quayle having done the same thing decades ago and because he was a Republican, having it turn into a federal crime.
But what is truly insidious about how presidential defenders try to use the opportunity to lash out and denigrate conservatives. Maureen Dowd is typical in her defense of Obama. In a recent NYT column, she intertwines the spelling error with the Ukraine situation and then starts bashing conservatives as a den of vipers, starting with the asinine assertion that foreign policy has suddenly become non-partisan, by quoting the president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. With a title like that, his comments have to be full of gravitas, don't they?
“What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” says Terry McCarthy, the president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. “The way Republicans are dumping on the president, saying anything short of Armageddon shows that he’s weak, is silly. It’s kind of shocking that foreign policy, which used to be nonpartisan, now becomes partisan so quickly.”
Excuse me? Did she forget all of the "Bush lied, people died." stuff? The warmonger denouncements were reserved for only Bush, when Democrats voted to support war in Iraq too. That was totally non-partisan? Please Maureen spare us the phony indignation.
But she doesn't and uses that as a jumping off point to deflect the discussion of Obama's flaws (be they spelling-related or foreign policy related) by denigrating his political opposition.
More calculating conservatives pounced. Trying to rehabilitate himself, Marco Rubio told a CPAC audience here that America must “stand up to the spread of totalitarianism.”Sarah Palin, who seems ever more viperish, deployed her Yoda syntax with Sean Hannity: “People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.”
To Dowd, Rubio is merely calculating rather expressing a legitimate concern, and Palin is "viperish". That is clearly assigning motive those individuals. Ridicule your political opposition - Alinsky would be proud, but now that people know who Alinsky is, it won't work quite so well.