Seven days ago, author David Eggers announced the creation of a website dedicated to reelecting President Obama. The website is called "90 Days, 90 Reasons," and its goal is to provide 90 "daily reasons—concrete, factual, plain—to re-elect Barack Obama…[and] likely outcomes of a Romney presidency." I wanted to wait a while before declaring this project the most pretentious piece of Team Blue propaganda of the campaign season, but after today's entry by Oscar-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, I'm calling the fight.
Eisenberg's entry is titled "PRESIDENT OBAMA UNDERSTANDS THE WORLD WRIT LARGE," and it goes like this:
I'm traveling through Mongolia and currently staying in a yurt. This was not by choice; I'm with persuasive friends. If it were up to me I'd never leave my apartment and, more specifically, the bedroom area. But my comforts have given me a nagging sense of discomfort. I think traveling and seeing how other people live, even if I'm not totally immersing myself, assuages some of my unease because it re-sensitizes me to the difficulties and existential inconveniences that most other people face. In this way, I think Barack Obama is a good leader for our diverse country because he's seen how the world lives. It doesn't take a lot to realize that seeing the world forces you to interact with it in a different way and I know that I feel more comfortable being represented by someone who's seen it.
That's it. That's Eisenberg's case that Obama understands foreign policy. He's in a yurt with wifi and Obama has visited a lot of foreign countries.
Dave Eggers, who published this turd of a paragraph, should know better. Apparently, he does not. In his introduction of 90 Days, 90 Reasons at the vaunted web magazine McSweeney's, Eggers wrote:
Republican leadership is not better for the economy than Democratic leadership. Bill Clinton brought the country eight years of peace and eight years of prosperity. George W. Bush brought two wars, crippling recession, and engendered a tangible, unshakeable feeling of national malaise. Two wars and a recession will do it every time.
President Obama inherited all this. And he's done a very good job of trying to get us out of the hole Republican leadership put us in. The economy is in better shape now than it was in 2008—that is beyond debate. He ended the war in Iraq and he's nearly finished our role in Afghanistan. And he accomplished what Bush's two wars were meant to do: he removed the threat of Osama bin Laden.
A few minor corrections: Actually, Clinton did embroil us in international conflict, in a little country called Bosnia. Clinton claimed that if the U.S. did not intervene, the Bosnian War would destabilize all of Europe, which would hurt the U.S. If that argument sounds familiar, it's because Obama used it to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, which–thanks to our help–is now mired in tribal anarchy just elected its first interim president, one week after armed men attacked a Red Cross outpost for the fifth time in three months. Furthermore, Bush did not invade Iraq to kill bin Laden, but rather to find nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. This does not excuse the war, which was a terrible, terrible idea made possible by the Democratic Party and The New York Times, but facts do matter.
As for all that jazz about Obama ending all the warzzzz? Here's FireDogLake on the "end" of the Iraq War in December 2011:
The NYT, which played a key propaganda role in getting us into the Iraq war, has a 1000-word article telling us the Iraq war has officially been declared over.
And while it is true that the Administration had a campaign event dog and pony show yesterday declaring the war over, it is not.
After all, Rand Paul tried to formally, legally end the Iraq war last month. And 67 Senators refused to do so.
Credulous journalists may want to accept the Administration's propaganda about the Iraq war ending. But until we take the expanded powers given to the President pursuant to a vile propaganda campaign away from him, the Iraq war is not over. And Obama should not be able to use it as a campaign line until he actually gives up those powers.
Obama still has troops and U.S. military contractors in Iraq, and plans to have them in Afghanistan–in some form or another–indefinitely. He is flying predator drones over Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and he is using them to kill teenagers with brown skin, under the auspices that any Muslim male old enough to grow pubic hair is old enough to die for the uncommitted future sins of men with similar religious convictions. He has murdered American citizens without giving them the increasingly quaint benefit of due process (negative rights are atavistic, don't you know). He has shipped weapons to the Bahraini government, so that it may murder more of its people. His DEA agents have killed pregnant women in Honduras, and violated the rights of innocent men and women right here at home. Also? Obama is open to the idea of bombing Iran. It hasn't happened yet, but it could.
Eisenberg's foray into this Team Blue circle jerk is excusable; his job, after all, is pretending to be people who know things, not actually knowing the things those people supposedly know. Dave Eggers, on the other hand, is a writer and a public intellectual. Maybe he should know these things, I think?
For more blood-boiling tribalism from 90 Days, 90 Reasons, see "Obama teaches us to believe hope can lead to real change" and "President Obama faced down the GOP and the health industry to finally reform American healthcare." Yes, the "health industry."