How the far-right explains the Arab Spring

Revolutionary movements in the Middle East have quickly brought some fundamental changes to much of the region, and domestically, most conservative Republicans are pleased with the Arab Spring. Some even want to make the case that neocons contributed to the developments.

But the right’s line hasn’t quite come together yet. Last week, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry argued, “For three years, the Middle East has heard a wavering and aimless foreign policy and they’ve seen it all too often out of this White House, apologizing for America, apologizing for America’s exceptionalism. I think that message has been the driving factor in the instability in the Middle East.”

Now, that’s pretty dumb for a lot of reasons — President Obama neither apologized for America, nor apologized for American exceptionalism — but what struck me as especially strange is the notion that the president’s rhetoric has been “the driving factor” behind recent events in the Middle East. I can’t imagine even the most strident Obama supporter actually trying to argue that the president’s words have fueled the Arab Spring, and yet, here’s Perry effectively crediting the president for the regional revolutions.

Yesterday, Michele Bachmann made a similar argument, insisting that President Obama’s remarks in late May on Israeli borders led to the regional uprisings in the Middle East.

“Just like Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s didn’t have the back of the Shah of Iran, we saw the Shah fall and the rise of the Ayatollah. And we saw the rise and the beginnings of radical Jihad which have changed this world and changed this nation,” she added.

“So too under Barack Obama, we saw him put a lot of daylight between our relationship with our ally Israel. And when he called on Israel to retreat to its indefensible 1967 borders, don’t think that message wasn’t lost on Israel’s 26 hostile neighbors,” Bachmann continued.

“You want to know why we have an Arab Spring? Barack Obama has laid the table for an Arab Spring by demonstrating weakness from the United States of America,” she said.

Most of this is just idiocy, but it’s the layers of stupidity that are astounding.

Bachmann believes revolutionary protests in the Middle East, which began in December 2010, were driven by Obama’s comments in May 2011 (comments that weren’t especially controversial anyway). Perhaps the right-wing Minnesotan believes the people of Tunisia have a time machine?

Bachmann also believes the Arab Spring itself is an awful development — she wanted Obama to “have the back” of Middle Eastern dictators — that, again, has a direct connection to the rhetoric of the U.S. president and policy towards Israel.

I realize that Obama is known for occasionally giving powerful speeches, but do Bachmann and Perry really believe the president’s spoken words can launch regional revolutionary movements?

Oh, and have I mentioned that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) thought it was a good idea to put Michele Bachmann on the House Intelligence Committee?