Wednesday, December 30, 2009

True Believers: Abdulmullatab and Cheney

"Passionate hatred," Eric Hoffer wrote half a century ago, "can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance."

Days after a 23-year-old Nigerian demonstrates the enduring truth of this observation by Eisenhower's favorite philosopher, along comes 68-year-old Dick Cheney to confirm its universality.

The former Vice President emerges to deplore not the attempted bombing but Barack Obama's response to it. Cheney, apparently at loose ends before his memoirs are published in May, can't resist another airing of the fanatical grievance of his holy cause--to prove that Bush's successor cares only about "social transformation" of American society.

"As I’ve watched the events of the last few days," he says in a statement, "it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war...He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

“He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency--social transformation."

It's not clear whether Cheney pounced on Obama's first cautious reaction to the incident or simply chose to ignore his subsequent condemnation of a "systemic failure" and order of a top-to-bottom review of security procedures.

But as Cheney and other rabid Republicans continue their attacks on the Administration, the rest of us may take comfort in another observation of the longshoreman-philosopher who wrote "The True Believer" and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan.

“It is cheering," Eric Hoffer wrote, "to see that the rats are still around--the ship is not sinking.”

Update: The White House responds on its blog, with Commmunications Director Dan Pfeiffer writing that "we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer."

Pfeiffer declares that "this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."


Holte Ender said...

Eric Hoffer had a superb understanding of people, a favorite quote sums up Republican behavior in the past year:

A dissenting minority only feels free when it can impose its will on the majority, what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.

Rational Nation USA said...

And the same can be said of the elitist and minority leftist Democrats. Doubly so as the lefts definition of tolerance is "be tolerant in so long as one agrees with extreme leftist views."

The left still doesn't get that America remains center right. Rhey are so intent on pushing their agenda they are just as or more guilty of that which they accuse the Republicans.

The wonderful world of dissenting opinion and the right to life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness.

The far left expects us to give up all of the above rights.

The right, unchecked, is capable of the same.

Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Serious Implications said...

One of my favorite quotes of Hoffer's is "there's no such thing as an empty head. It's full of garbage."

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Rational Nation USA is right as far as I am concerned.

I do find it odd, though, that the BO administration loves to blame Bush for any and everything, but the second someone from the Bush administration responds, it's suddenly distasteful to "point fingers." Stranger still is the weird propensity this administration has for arguing that BECAUSE Bush did something, it's somehow okay (sending terrorists back to Yemen, for instance). It was a mistake when Bush did it, and we learned from it because he made that mistake. Except we didn't. That's one thing Bush did that is now okay to do and should be carried on? *shakes head* Let's perpetuate the mistakes of the last administration while simultaneously baiting them at every turn (so we can petulantly declare them in the wrong). Sorry, but this liberal propensity to blame Bush (when they aren't eagerly holding him up as the model for what they *want*) is just sad. And it's going to backfire. Many people don't find it appealing to have an administration that cannot stand on its own without either blaming President Bush or using his actions as a reason to do the same. It's conflicted, strange, and ineffective. Which is why we on the right hope they keep doing it. :p