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"God Has A Special Providence For Fools, Drunkards, And The United States Of America"

On January 20, 1835, a crazy guy tried to assassinate President Andrew Jackson. He pulled a gun on him just outside the Capitol Building and pulled the trigger, but the pistol misfired. He pulled a second pistol and pulled that trigger, and that one misfired, too.

I think the United States has had its Andrew Jackson moment.

On Christmas Day last year, a would-be terrorist with a bomb in his underwear tried to blow up the plane he was riding on as it descended into Detroit. The bomb failed to explode; instead, it just set his crotch on fire. He was beaten into submission and restrained by fellow passengers.

(At the time, I almost wrote that a plane crash, if it came down in certain parts of Detroit, might not even be noticed -- and, conceivable, could actually improve real estate values.)

And barely a week ago another would-be terrorist set a very powerful car bomb in Times Square on a very busy Saturday night. The bomb fizzled and was spotted by a couple of nearby street vendors, who notified the police. The authorities found the SUV a veritable treasure-trove of evidence, and managed to identify, find, and arrest the bomber in just over 53 hours (albeit as the guy was minutes away from escaping the country).

According to legend, after the second pistol misfired, Jackson beat his would-be assassin with his cane until both men were restrained by others, including Congressman Davy Crockett. Later, both guns were tested thoroughly -- and fired every single time.

As a nation, in less than five months, we've had two major terrorist attacks that failed only because the attackers were incompetent -- not because of any efforts of our own. In other words, we were not good, but lucky. Remarkably lucky. Almost Andrew Jackson lucky.

Being lucky is a good thing. But counting on being lucky as our major defense against terrorist attacks is a foolish thing. President Obama got into office on a "Hope And Change" platform, but "hope" is as bad a principle for fighting terrorism as it is a birth control method.

I find myself wondering what it will take for the Obama administration to recognize that the presidential campaign is over, that they won, that they need to stop campaigning and actually govern.

There's an old saying, largely fallen into disuse, that "politics stops at the water's edge." It seems nowadays that the Obama administration thinks that its enemies stop there. It's so obsessed with portraying its political opponents as its enemies, it has little time or interest in stopping the nation's real enemies.

Here's a hint, Mr. President: The people who tried a little radical urban renewal in Detroit and New York City weren't Tea Partiers. And the vast majority of those you're treating as enemies don't want to kill you -- they would be content to simply see you leave office, enjoy your presidential pension, and go back to what you did so well for years -- absolutely nothing of substance.

A lot of people have compared Obama's administration to that of Jimmy Carter's, and there's a lot of merit in that. But in this area, he reminds me a lot more of Richard Nixon's paranoia.

And we all know that didn't end well.

Andrew Jackson's would-be assassin didn't have a third pistol. The terrorists are far from running out of bombs and would-be bombers.

The title quote is, in various forms, attributed to Otto Von Bismarck and Winston Churchill, among others. Even a die-hard agnostic like me has trouble refuting the notion.


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Comments (33)

When Nixon was busy demoniz... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

When Nixon was busy demonizing the press, academia, and the antiwar movement, conservatives applauded him, claiming he spoke for the "Silent Majority."

When Obama asks BOTH SIDES to tone down the rhetoric, conservatives (including Tea Partiers) claim victimhood and pretend they are being "treated as enemies."

Either they lack any memory of history, or they lack shame. Hard to decide which.

Yeah, Bruce. Obama's wonder... (Below threshold)

Yeah, Bruce. Obama's wonderful. He ignores that nearly all the political violence is coming from his side, people heeding his call to "get in their faces" and "hit back twice as hard," and talks about the "teabaggers" in private, then in public decries the vitriol while continuing to dish it out.

I really am inspired when I listen to him. But unlike you, I hear him saying precisely the sorts of things he says others shouldn't say.

Over and over and over again.

If Obama wants people to tone down the rhetoric, he can start with his own rhetoric.

J.

As anyone who's seen the mo... (Below threshold)
Bob:

As anyone who's seen the movie "Match Point" knows, its better to be lucky than to be good. However, luck doesn't last forever. Let's hope that our government takes this opportunity to beef up security so that we don't only have to rely on good fortune.

"And the vast majority o... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"And the vast majority of those you're treating as enemies don't want to kill you -- they would be content to simply see you leave office, enjoy your presidential pension, and go back to what you did so well for years -- absolutely nothing of substance."

I think there you're forgetting his history, Jay. He sees those who are not with him politcally and wholeheartedly as much more of a threat than those who want to attack the US. He can sympathize with the latter, while those who don't support him unquestioningly are a threat to his power.

Of the two threats, he knows how to deal with the domestic political - but nothing in his background has given him any capacity for dealing with the threats against the US. His belief (near as I can tell) is exceedingly simplistic, that if we just abase ourselves and apologize for even our existance as a nation, then we'll be allowed to play with the cool kids again.

Like Chavez. And Kim. And Castro. And Mahoud Ahmadenejad. Maybe even Putin will like us!

Seriously, though - Obama's just making it up as he goes along. And so far he's not been exactly sterling in his performances but he's not as bad as he could have been. When you consider just how poorly prepared he was/is for the job, it's remarkable he hasn't screwed things up completely.

Well, Mr Tea, who said Obam... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, Mr Tea, who said Obama is wonderful? Not I.

You made the comparison to Nixon. Do you want to recall what Nixon said about his political opponents in private? We have tapes of that.

Conservatives. When they're IN power, their opponents are traitors, commies, "fellow-travelers," "terrorist sympathizers." When they're OUT of power, their opponents are "victimizing" them, "demonizing"them, pouring out "vitriol."

Hilarious, really.

Bruce, you must think Presi... (Below threshold)
Rodney:

Bruce, you must think President Obama is wonderful, you always defend or agree with him. Have you ever disagreed with Mr Obama? If so what on?

Also, when Jay Tea compares President Obama to President Nixon he in no way implied or stated that Mr Nixon was doing the right thing. So pointing out the dirt of an opponent in no way mitigates the dirt on your on guy.

No, Bruce, they're still tr... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

No, Bruce, they're still traitors, commies, fellow-travelers, and terrorist sympathizers.

Here's a hint, Bruce: my co... (Below threshold)

Here's a hint, Bruce: my comparing Obama to Nixon was NOT favorable to either man.

I said "Obama's bad, like Nixon."

You said, "Nixon was really, REALLY bad."

My response? Shrug. In this context, the worse you make Nixon look, the worse you make Obama look -- because the parallels you're drawing are even more enlightening.

Especially since you don't even realize that you're doing it.

So you wanna bring up more ways that Nixon was bad, like Obama? Feel free.

J.

BruceH- Nixon, really? How... (Below threshold)
zaugg:

BruceH- Nixon, really? How desperate are you libs getting if you have to go into that canard.
Obami will go down in history as the WORST president ever. The doom has only begun with this clown.

Bruce-When Obam... (Below threshold)
914:

Bruce-

When Obama asks BOTH SIDES to tone down the rhetoric, conservatives (including Tea Partiers) claim victimhood and pretend they are being "treated as enemies."

I dont take suggestions from socialists so stick it Barry. You too Bruce.

At the time, I almost wr... (Below threshold)
Babyface:

At the time, I almost wrote that a plane crash, if it came down in certain parts of Detroit, might not even be noticed -- and, conceivable, could actually improve real estate values.

Thanks, Jay. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that :P

"Either they lack any memor... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Either they lack any memory of history, or they lack shame. Hard to decide which."

Bruce, you're so full of shit. How often does Barry DEMONIZE one segment of society? How often do we get the "who to hate" message of the week from Barry?

Let's face it pal, Barry's got a thin skin and NO FUCKING CLASS. He can dish it out, but he sure as hell can't take it.

As another prominent (and actually honest) Democratic president once said "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen". HOPEFULLY Barry will be kicked out of the kitchen in 2012.

JT:
"I find myself wondering what it will take for the Obama administration to recognize that the presidential campaign is over...."

Ain't gonna happen. You play to your strength, and that's all Barry has. He's good at campaigning.........and nothing else.

As is your prerogative, Mr ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

As is your prerogative, Mr Tea, you excerpt teeny tiny bits of my argument to try and refute.

It's your prerogative, but its not really honest.

You say, "Obama's bad, like Nixon."

But my counterpoint wasn't that "Obama is bad, and Nixon was worse." It's that when the President demonizes his opponents, conservatives were all for it -- as long as it was Nixon, or Bush, say, doing the demonizing.

When Nixon and his surrogates claimed the press was a tool of Hanoi, when academia was characterized as a bunch of fuzzyheaded pinkos, when antiwar demonstrators were beaten, and even, as at Kent State, shot and killed, where was conservative whining about the President's rhetoric? When Bush's rightwing apologists painted all opponents as terrorist sympathisers, did you hear conservative voices pressing for civility?

Conservatives seem to be fine with treating one's political opponents as enemies, depending on who "one" is.

And that's what I mean. You guys can dish it out when you're in power, but out of power you squeal like little girls and claim victimhood when criticised.

Conservatives s... (Below threshold)
Conservatives seem to be fine with treating political opponents who treat them as enemies, as enemies in turn
FTFY.
So, Mr McGehee, you're defe... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, Mr McGehee, you're defending Obama?

Saying he's justified in his response to Limbaugh, FOX, Tea Partiers, etc.?

Don't they treat Obama as an enemy? Haven't they, from Day One?

Bruce, you're pulling an "O... (Below threshold)

Bruce, you're pulling an "Obama."

I'd say they've treated him like "the opposition," not "the enemy."

Ask yourself who has Obama (or his proxies) spoken more harshly of: Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, or Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad? The Tea Party movement or the Taliban? Fox News or Iran?

Obama knows how to campaign, not to govern. He's never had to deal with "real" enemies, just political opposition. So he doesn't know how to differentiate between the two.

And he's so convinced he's the smartest man ever, he simply can't accept that he's wrong about that. And those around him have the same blind spot.

J.

"You guys can dish it out w... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"You guys can dish it out when you're in power, but out of power you squeal like little girls and claim victimhood when criticised."

Looking in the mirror aren't you Bruce? - only you liberals are in power and still claim victimhood and squeal like little girls when criticized.

Any president, unless he ha... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Any president, unless he has military combat experience, like Eisenhower for instance, can be said to have never had to deal with real enemies, only political opposition, Mr Tea.

What "enemies" did GWB have to deal with as Texas governor?

The President has had plenty of harsh words for Ahmedinijad and the rest of the Iranian leadership. You might have missed them; they got short shrift on FOX, and you're rather focused on statements you can twist into an "attack" on Tea Partiers. It's true that he hasn't had a great deal to say about the buffoon Chavez. Probably because Chavez is not the EXISTENTIAL THREAT you guys claim he is.

And, Mr GarandFan, I noticed you have stopped referring to me as "Brucie." Is that because you didn't like being called "Garand Fanny?"

In any case, your "I know you are but what am I?" arguments are tiresome, dude.

Bruce: have you been drink... (Below threshold)
epador:

Bruce: have you been drinking LW's Kool Aid or something?

Bruce:"Harsh words... (Below threshold)
epador:

Bruce:

"Harsh words" indeed, that's the point, that's about ALL he has for them, and snubbing our Allies from UK to Israel at the same time. Its a gross demonstration of weakness to our ENEMIES and allies alike, further destabilizing the world scene and engendering more attacks on the US on US and foreign soil than we've seen in a long time.

This is indeed just the beginning.

Sadly.

I'm sorry, Mr Epador. Forgi... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I'm sorry, Mr Epador. Forgive me if I haven't kept up, but I'm drawing a blank. Who the hell is LW?

Lawrence Welk? No, he was t... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Lawrence Welk? No, he was the bubble guy.

Mr Tea asked me about who O... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Mr Tea asked me about who Obama has spoken more harshly of, Epador. That was the context.

I suppose you think Obama should have turned Iran into a sheet of radioactive glass and invaded Venezuela immediately on assuming office, then? Because we all know that would have stabilized the world scene and prevented any further attacks on US and foreign soil, right? That woulda learnt them Islamonazis a thing or three.

Bruce, the press were on th... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Bruce, the press were on the other side, and academia was full of pinkos. Kent State, however, was tragic.

Don't they trea... (Below threshold)
Don't they treat Obama as an enemy? Haven't they, from Day One?
Only because he's treated them as enemies since Day Zero.
Taking debating pointers fr... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Taking debating pointers from GarandFan, Mr McGehee?

Were you alive and paying a... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Were you alive and paying attention during the Nixon Administration, Mr Wuzzy? I was.

Taking debating... (Below threshold)
Taking debating pointers from GarandFan, Mr McGehee?
Don't be an @$$hole, Bruce.
Sorry, Mr McGehee. I just t... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Sorry, Mr McGehee. I just think that "He started it!" is roughly equivalent to "I know you are but what am I?"

What, you don't?

... in less than five month... (Below threshold)

... in less than five months, we've had two major terrorist attacks that failed ...

Nope.

We have not.

So let's get it right, shall we?

Neither attack failed.

Both were successful.

Only the bombs failed.

And we don't have even a president, let alone one with a big stick, to bang the terrorists upside their heads.

Brucie, no matter how much ... (Below threshold)
914:

Brucie, no matter how much you post you just cant seem to get any positive response or make any sense?

The re-select Obumma campaign needs more willingly willful idiots like you, so sign up today!

I don't expect many positiv... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I don't expect many positive votes in the Wizbang comment section, Mr 914. I do it for the sense of satisfaction I get from shining a light in this dark corner of political thought.

And I only make sense to those who read and understand English, I'm afraid. But keep studying, you'll get that GED someday!

I think people criticize Ob... (Below threshold)

I think people criticize Obama's for the slightest thing. This guy on the no-fly list, but yet he was able to board the planes. Our intelligence was there, but people at whereever, in Egypt?, failed to do their part of not letting him fly and he got on an airplane. How is that Obama's fault? He can't tell people in Egypt what to do, nor watch over their back.




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