When the right demands jingoism

WHEN THE RIGHT DEMANDS JINGOISM…. It’s hard to guess what far-right media personalities are going to find worthy of a feeding frenzy. Apparently, President Obama’s comments — four days ago — about renewing the U.S. partnership with our European allies are the new rallying point for hysterical conservative whining.

It started in earnest on Saturday when Sean Hannity engaged in a little creative editing and blasted the president for acknowledging that there have been times in which the U.S. had “shown arrogance” towards our friends in Europe.

This line of attack didn’t seem to go anywhere. There was no buzz on the morning shows yesterday, little from Drudge, nothing from Politico, nothing from Halperin. Hannity’s condemnation came and went, except for those who noted Hannity taking the president out of context.

And yet, today, Fox News seems to be talking about little else. Hannity, Karl Rove, Nicole Wallace, Steve Forbes, Mike Huckabee, and a variety of Fox News personalities are positively outraged that the president dared to say something mildly critical of previous American attitudes. Obama’s speech, they insist, is evidence that the president doesn’t love America as much as they do.

Even by the (low) standards of the Republican network, this is idiotic. Consider exactly what Obama said in Strasbourg on Friday that has them so worked up:

“It’s always harder to forge true partnerships and sturdy alliances than to act alone, or to wait for the action of somebody else. It’s more difficult to break down walls of division than to simply allow our differences to build and our resentments to fester. So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we’ve allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there’s something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

“But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.

“On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.

“So I’ve come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where our friends and allies bear their share of the burden. Together, we must forge common solutions to our common problems.

“So let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes. We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination.”

Just how twisted must one be to think these remarks represent a U.S. leader “running down America,” as Karl Rove insisted?

Again, Obama’s comments were aired live to a national television audience on Friday morning, and it wasn’t considered remotely controversial. Now, the far-right is apoplectic because, well, just because.

Given that Fox News didn’t care on Friday, but cares about little else today, what do you want to bet that some Republican National Committee staffers, after strategizing over the weekend, sent out a memo this morning to Fox News, encouraging them to hit this “story” as the “scandal” of the day?

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