Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 2, 2011

'HOW ABOUT A SMILE?'.... I've seen all kinds of conservative responses to the killing of Osama bin Laden over the last 15 hours, but only one literally made me laugh out loud.

Sarah Posner flags this remarkable item from David Brody, the chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, created by radical TV preacher Pat Robertson. Brody wrote:

I know President Obama understands that getting Bin Laden doesn't mean an end to the war on terrorism but how about a smile? How about showing a little joy? How about a word or two saying something about how this is no doubt a happy or joyous occasion for Americans? We got nothing like that at all. Instead, we got Mr. Monotone. Mr. Bars and Tone. Mr. Non-Emotion. President Obama missed an opportunity to connect with Americans last night.

So why did he announce the big news like he was reading the dictionary? You know the answer. It's because his speech wasn't so much aimed at Americans. He was being careful of how the "Arab Street" would interpret his remarks. Any hint of gloating or happiness might be rubbing it in the face of some of the crazies in the Arab World and heaven forbid we get them upset! How dare we Americans look like we're celebrating his death! The travesty of it all!

Give me a break. Isn't it time to stop catering to thugs?

I swear this isn't satire. Brody thinks, by killing Osama bin Laden, and then not smiling about it during a speech, the president was "catering to thugs."

Anyone hoping for a more sensible, more mature discourse about the president and national security going forward is likely to be disappointed.

Steve Benen 3:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Steve, in fairness to Brody he has a point. I mean, Brody was merely saying that Obama failed to...that he should have...that instead of what he did, he really would have been better off...

Ok, I got nothing.

Posted by: unabogie on May 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

I have no doubt that GWB would have delivered the news with a very serious, solemn message and tone as well. These guys know it's a symbolic victory (and a huge one) but that AQ remains just as lethal.

Posted by: Mark on May 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

As a representative of the Christian Broadcasting Network, somber reflection is the Christian way of responding to a renegade's death by gunfire.

Posted by: jerry Elsea on May 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Brody: I know President Obama understands that getting Bin Laden doesn't mean an end to the war on terrorism but how about a smile?

Obama: Because I am a good Christian.

Next question?

Posted by: Adolphus on May 2, 2011 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I scanned through some of the morning news shows early this morning. The reporters all looked very somber - I was surprised none of them looked happy that OBL was killed.

Posted by: foosion on May 2, 2011 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, if he had only come out with blood dripping from his teeth, then the right would know he was truly a codpiece president.

Posted by: martin on May 2, 2011 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking as a resident of the "American Street" who could see the smoke from the Pentagon from my house on that day, I am very pleased that President Obama acted like a leader and not like a cheerleader.

Posted by: Redshift on May 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

I know I'm not known for being a big Obama booster on this site, but I thought his speech was spot on. Look, I do get that Obama is far better than the alternatives and that he absolutely has a completely insane opposition party fighting everything he does.

If he says the sky is blue, it must be green. If he kills enemy number 1, the enemy the Bush Administration gave up trying find, but doesn't smile about it, he's catering to thugs?

Well, nothing says catering to a thug like putting a bullet in his head.

These people are truly nuts.

Posted by: Vince on May 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe because gloating about causing someone's death is pretty creepy, even if that death were a horribly evil and crazy terrorist.

You think an organization like the CBN would understand that simple truth. But Evangelical Christians are a special breed of assholes.

Posted by: Rochester on May 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of how James Lileks complained that the music on NPR when we invaded Iraq was too somber.

Posted by: Frank Lynch on May 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Of course Obama didn't smile, he had to kill his bestestest friend in order to "Wag the Dog" in an effort to distract from the really big issue: Obama's long form birth certificate is a phake!!!! Indeed, the stunning thing is that there is new evidence that Osama and Obama are related! They even have the same first name (mostly.)

Now if you don't mind I have to polish my guns and practice my wife beating skills. Heil America!

Posted by: Wingnut McCrazypants on May 2, 2011 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

That's right. Republicans are assholes, even the ones associated with the "Christian" Broadcasting Network.

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on May 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brody should have a word with the commenters over at Red State. Most of them are convinced that Obama used his announcement last night to preen and take all the credit for himself. They (the right) might want to compare notes and get their talking points straight. Otherwise the rest of us might think they're being, ... oh, I don't know... petty and vindictive?

Posted by: DNS on May 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

At the risk of overusing a sports metaphor:

When Ohio State beats Youngstown State in football, the fans don't storm the field.

Posted by: buckyor on May 2, 2011 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Progressives tend to view war as something unpleasant but necessary, and above all deadly serious. Conservatives tend to view war as just another professional sports event. Their side just fumbled, our side scooped it up and scored - Yah for our side!

Posted by: J. Frank Parnell on May 2, 2011 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Mr. Brody forgot that yesterday was World Laughter Day, and that everyone, including Obama, might just have been all laughed, and joyed out.

Posted by: Bill on May 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

And if Obama *had* smiled, Brody would have said that gloating over this accomplishment was rubbing it in (Bush didn't manage) and behaviour unbecoming to the President of the US and a Christian. BTW.... Where was Brody born and raised? I had no idea he was a cannibal.

Posted by: exlibra on May 2, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"I have no doubt that GWB would have delivered the news with a very serious, solemn message and tone as well", with a smirk that would have belied that SOMBER tone and message. Killing someone, no matter how evil, is never something to smile about... unless you're not really human. Funny how the Chimp-in-chief ignored OBL, and it took Osama to get Obama...

Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 2, 2011 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

If you go with the premise that the American "Christian" Right is actually a cult that loves death in almost any form, Brody's comments make sense.

Posted by: Wapiti on May 2, 2011 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

We need to cut Brody a break here. After all, he loved GDumbya. You know . . . the empty suit who ALWAYS had a shit-eating grin on his face because he was blitzed through most of his presi-dunce-y.

Posted by: Bo on May 2, 2011 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

We need to cut Brody a break here. After all, he loved GDumbya. You know . . . the empty suit who ALWAYS had a sh*t-eating grin on his face because he was blitzed through most of his presi-dunce-y.

Posted by: Bo on May 2, 2011 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I was heartened to see that most of the commenters disagree with him, including this one:

"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble." Proverbs 24:17

Posted by: Vondo on May 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

First he's accused of smirking at Trump's antics and Ryan's plan as evidence of not taking issues seriously, now he's too serious? Ha!

Actually, he did say this is a good day for America, didn't he? (or someone on his staff did).

I love how everyone is saying it took 10 years? Huh? Oh yeah? I say it took two..the other eight were a wild goose chase thanks to Bush. What a waste of life, of money and all that heartache for families..all the while Al Queda grows..

Posted by: agnes on May 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Obama used up all his smiles laughing at Trump while attending the correspondants dinner.

Posted by: bignose on May 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK


I agree. It was a pleasant surprise to see most of the comments were reasonable, intelligent and mature. Not something you see on the internet very often.

Maybe there is (a little) hope for humanity after all.

Posted by: Mitch on May 2, 2011 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it time to stop catering to thugs?

Yes, David Brody. it is. So why the fuck are you still getting attention, you obnoxious hypocrite.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on May 2, 2011 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Vondo. I've had that verse in mind all morning. And I'm not even religious.

Posted by: Grumpy on May 2, 2011 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

If only Professor Obama had strolled out into the east room holding a boombox up to his ear blaring Lee Greenwood in his left hand, and a fistful of lit sparklers in his right...THEN he would've connected with the American people!

Posted by: Aaron on May 2, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sunglasses and music from "Shaft"

Posted by: hornblower on May 2, 2011 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

He had no reason to smile.

When you think about how the Pakistanis have some explaining to do, no one should be smiling.

Yes, a man may be dead, but his hiding in plain sight in a country that gets billions of our tax-dollars is sad.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 2, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Obama simply cannot win with these folks.

He doesn't smile - he's too serious.

He does smile - he's making light of things and mocking America - national security is a serious matter.

The right wing world view:

Obama does X. It's wrong. No matter what. Make up story about it.

Posted by: Eeyore on May 2, 2011 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

This headline from Balloon Juice sums up the right-wing reaction: "Midway through the Obama recession, George W. Bush wins the war on terror"

Posted by: dr. luba on May 2, 2011 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, David Brody got it more right than even he could believe!

We have already passed the "time to stop catering to thugs!" We elected Barack Obama for president in 2008, thereby ending the thugocracy of the Bush years! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

We already went the fist pump/codpiece/bring it on route, and got lots more dead soldiers for it.

But why avoid the hornet's nest, when smacking it with a baseball bat shows those Godless insects who is the boss?

-collateral damage is what happens to someone else. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 2, 2011 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Also, it sounds like Wingnut McCrazypants @ 3:16 is a very busy man!

I wonder if he's a conservative entrepreneur? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 2, 2011 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Brody isn't some voice in the wilderness either -- he's been on Meet the Press several times.

Posted by: the_dan on May 2, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people around the world, and he is, no doubt, acutely aware of that fact. Does anyone really think that should make him happy?

I guess MLK should have laughed as he sent the children to face the dogs and batons in Birmingham; Truman should have had a big smile on his face when he ordered the total destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Lincoln could have told a joke or two about the hundreds of thousands who died for the abolition of slavery.

Do people even think anymore?

Posted by: chi res on May 2, 2011 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

More evidence that the right wing doesn't think past the present moment. Killing bin Laden was justified, depending on your moral philosophy, but everyone (except the wingnuts) realize that there is an excellent chance for some very harsh blowback. People who have the ability to think beyond the moment are satisfied, but they are not joyous. Now we have to think about and prepare for what may happen as a result. Dingbats, on the other hand, don't give a thought to possible consequences of actions.

Has anyone else ever thought that maybe the wingnut mentality is that of a two year old?:)

Posted by: Texas Aggie on May 2, 2011 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

interesting how a leading "Christian" would have the outlook that the killing of one of God's children is reason to be celebrating with bravado and a smile. I wonder what would Jesus think of that. (I often wonder if "leading Christians" read the same words in the Bible that I have.) Surely bin laden's life was a horrific travesty for the suffering he inflicted on so many others and how twisted his violent thinking was. But somehow I missed those exemptions in the teachings of Jesus for not treating every unnatural death of one of God's creatures as NOT worthy of a smile.

Posted by: spek on May 2, 2011 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

It is always something - but the goal is the same. The relentless narrative is that EVERYTHING that President Obama does is portrayed as being wrong, offensive, embarassing, shameful, off-key, corrupt or a lie. The narrative needs to be reinforced with a daily outrage. It becomes a brainwashing loop.

There must always be criticism. Always. That includes situations like this ... where there is really nothing left to criticize but style points. Because the people that depend on right wing talk radio and religious broadcasting for their daily feed and reinforcement have to be given SOME angle, SOME line, SOME basis for reacting negatively to what otherwise seems like a positive event.

And here? The criticism is that Obama wasn't outwardly happy enough. He wasn't smirking enough or celebrating openly. Unlike, say, what George W. Bush did when celebrating a triumph.

Maybe Obama should have grinned, used fireworks, and parachuted onto an aircraft carrier, and done a fist-pump while landing.

But even then, the right would probably gin up some fake controversy, and find something else to criticize (like, Obama's choice of aircraft carriers to land on - why didn't he choose the USS Ronald Reagan? How DISRESPECTFUL! How SHAMEFUL! Or something).

Posted by: Bokonon on May 2, 2011 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

[...]it took Osama to get Obama...
Posted by: Captain Obvious on May 2, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I don't believe that what came out from under your fingertips (somehow) is *quite* what you had meant to write :)

Posted by: exlibra on May 2, 2011 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, maybe he should have pumped his fists, high-fived Panetta, and poured a bucket of Gator-Ade over Biden.

Fucking simpletons.

The frat-boys outside the White House last night reminded me of a scene outside Huntsville on execution night.

Posted by: g on May 2, 2011 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should have said, "I told you I wanted that mutherfucking snake offa my mutherfucking plane!"

Posted by: g on May 2, 2011 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

A commentator at another site I frequent had similar criticisms with regard to Obama's speech: too dry, too unemotional, too - I dunno - statesmanlike. Not, you know, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" enough.

I myself have gotten comments from coworkers to the effect that I don't "look excited enough" today. Anything short of waving your foam #1 finger, screaming "WOO-HOO" and generally treating this like your favorite team just won the Super Bowl is, apparently, evidence of insufficient love for the Republic.

I also can't help comparing Brody's comments with those of Vatican spokesman Frederico Lombardi: "In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred."

Of course, Catholics ain't Real Christians to the 700 Club crowd anyway, but it's an interesting contrast regardless.

Posted by: Chet on May 2, 2011 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, not laughing about how you murdered someone is probably reasonable. It was extrajudicial murder.

Posted by: DrJ on May 2, 2011 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

I agree, maybe that same dumb grin George Bush used in his "Mission Accomplished" skit. And like Bush, Obama should have tried the banana in his underwear gag.

Posted by: ottercliff on May 2, 2011 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Christian Brodcasting Network is in no way a news organization. They are a fascist propaganda organization to promote the overthrow of the USA and replace it with a theocratic dictatorship. All employees of this organization and especially the man on the top can go f**k themselves all to hell.

Posted by: manoffire on May 4, 2011 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK
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