The brief lifespan of a dumb talking point

THE BRIEF LIFESPAN OF A DUMB TALKING POINT…. In book excerpts published yesterday, President Obama told Bob Woodward, “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

Fox News threw a bit of a fit over the comments, and some of the usual suspects quickly chimed in. Marc Thiessen insisted, for unknown reasons, that the president “is effectively saying: an attack is inevitable, we’ll do our best to prevent it, but if we get hit again — even on the scale of 9/11 — it’s really no big deal.” Liz Cheney did her best to feign outrage, complaining, “This comment suggests an alarming fatalism on the part of President Obama and his administration.”

In Grown-Up Land, the right’s whining is backwards. Obama’s comments were an endorsement of American resilience and strength. We won’t let fear and violence destroy us, or send us into hiding — we can absorb whatever’s thrown at us and come out even stronger. That the right finds this offensive says more about conservatives than the president.

What I found interesting, though, is how quickly the right’s new talking point faded away. It might yet may a comeback, I suppose, but I think the argument lived a short life in part because it was exposed for being even too stupid for the right.

Dick Cheney, for example, said in 2002, that the U.S. would inevitably get hit again by terrorists. Was this evidence of “an alarming fatalism”?

Steve M., meanwhile, found these gems.

“From the tragedy of September 11 emerged a stronger Nation, renewed by a spirit of national pride and a true love of country.” […]

“Over the past seven years, this system has absorbed shocks — recession, corporate scandals, terrorist attacks, global war. Yet the genius of our system is that it can absorb such shocks and emerge even stronger.

The first of those was President Bush’s 2002 proclamation designating 9/11 as Patriot Day. The second of those was President Bush’s statement about the U.S. economy on February 13, 2008, as he signed that year’s Economic Stimulus Act.

I’m well aware of the hair-trigger, talk-first-think-second attitude that leads to Republican attacks on the president. But this little outrage of the day deserved to die quickly.