Monday, May 02, 2011

What I did last night: Or live blogging the big news from memory

Around 10:15: Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the TV (or as my yeshivish friends call it, the endtable) is reporting the president will address the nation at 10:30. I go to the trusty old iPad, and attempt to discover what's up.

10:20 or so Wife is getting a little nervous, and her anxiety is starting to be contagious. I point out that we'd know about it already if this announcement regards something that affects us directly.

10:30 or so I have CNN on my iPad and Wolf Blitzer is attempting to make it seem like he knows what's up. I'm not fooled. No matter how many times he mentions his sources, and attempts to be all Nostradamus its clear he's completely in the dark.

After 10:30 Still on CNN. The anchor pitches to someone who has the story, confirmed by 3 sources. Shortly thereafter John King says the words "Osama bin Ladin is dead" He will repeat those words about 3 million times in the next 5 minutes ("for viewers just joining us..." / "How long have we waited to hear these words...." / etc.) causing millions to think what @blackaddler tweets: If John King keeps up his melodramatic repeating of Osama-bin-Ladin-IS-DEAD I'm going to reach through the screen and slap him. #getagripman

After 10:30: I turn to Twitter where, natch, the story has already broken. My wife calls her father. "Turn on the TV", she says,"There's good news" Short Pause. "No Abba, OSSSSSSAMA is dead. oSama. Not Obama" Later we find a Fox News affiliate has made the same - hahaha - perfectly innocent mistake.

After 10:30: Twitter is alive with partisan remarks, jokes and clever/not so clever observations:

:: Best partisan remark: @DanFriedman81 What's this do-nothing potus been up to while Republicans were deadlocking the budget and  chasing birth certificates? Oh.

- Honorable mention: RT @awienick: After all the [bad word] about Obama making us less safe I would like to say to the GOP "[bad word] you" #p2 #tcot
- @bobcesca_go No one can accuse the president of being "just like Bush."

:: Best joke:  Poor Michelle...she gonna have a long night #ikilledaterroristsex @vonbadass

Honorable mention: R.I.P Osama Bin Laden - World Hide And Go Seek Champion (2001 - 2011) @nzafro

:: Best Observation: W. declared Mission Accomplished exactly 8 years ago, on May 1, 2003. As my brother-in-law, the Stephen Colbert wannabe, might say Tzadik gozer v'hakosdosh brouch hu mikayem

:: Worst Observation: This all happened on Yom Hashoa. Um... so? For reasons I can't quite fathom, various people think this coincidence is significant.

Honorable mention: @patricktrawick‎ Bin Laden is in hell not because he was a terrorist, he's in hell because he did not follow Christ...

:: Best spontaneous moments: The celebrating outside the White House and at Ground Zero (Peek a Jew!) and the chanting of USA!USA! at the Phillies game.

:: Worst spontaneous moments: Sarah Palin neglecting to mention POTUS in her tweet. Various RW  friends of mine choosing to give all credit to Bush, or to use this moment to remind us that the economy is still in trouble. FOX idiots doing same.

After 11 pm: The president still hasn't made his speech. Twitter begins to worry the president is going to miss his moment, that if he delays too much longer he won't seem to "own" his own accomplishment. As several note, OBL's Wikipedia page has already been updated, and still no Obama.

After 11:30 pm Finally Obama appears looking all presidential. His speech is an instant classic. He tells us what happened, thanks all the right people, pays tribute to the dead, and ends with a clear and moving statement of America exceptionalism. Micheal Grunwald makes two additional, excellent points:
First, Obama made a point of noting that killing or capturing Osama bin Laden has been his top counter-terrorism priority since he took office. He was trying to emphasize that this wasn’t some kind of fluke. But he wouldn’t mind if Americans remembered that President Bush took a different approach immediately after his election in 2000. When top Clinton administration officials warned Bush’s incoming national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that bin Laden would be her biggest problem, she was dismissive. When Bush received a CIA briefing that bin Laden was poised to strike in the U.S., he was dismissive. And while Bush got serious about bin Laden after 9/11, ["Wanted dead or alive!"] he did shift his focus pretty quickly from Afghanistan to Iraq, which in the view of some experts may have contributed to bin Laden’s escape at Tora Bora.

Second, Obama noted that he first heard about bin Laden’s possible location last August. In other words, he had a chance to try to make a political splash by taking a shot at bin Laden before the congressional midterms, but he waited until he felt more comfortable with the intelligence. Here the implicit contrast is with President Clinton, who famously took his Wag the Dog cruise-missile potshots at some Afghan tents–and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan–at the height of his impeachment controversy.
In other words, unlike his two most immediate predecessors, this president did what he said he was going to do, and did not allow politics to corrupt the mission.

New York Times Headline

Around midnight: It begins to dawn on me that the Republicans are going to do two things: (1) They are going to claim credit for Obama's achievement* and if the Islamofacists strike back in revenge, (2) They are going to accuse the president of weakness all over again.

* This has already happened. Already every Republican I know is busy reminding me that the hunt for Obama OSAMA was initiated by Bush. Uh no. The hunt was initiated by Clinton, and he missed --as RWers used to happily remind us. I see no reason at all to credit Bush for the events of the last 9 months leading up to yesterday's triumph. None at all. During his term in office,  Bush showed us with his words  ("I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you.") and his actions that the hunt for Bin Ladin was not one of his top priorities. I have to credit archconservative @bethanyshondark for being the only fair and honest Republican I saw on twitter. Again and again she credited Obama, and again and again she pointed out to her Republican friends that they would not be carping and nit picking if it was Bush at the podium. Well done @bethanyshondark


Around midnight: Israel starts to wake up. On Twitter, some are giving all credit to the Israeli military. My usual crew starts discussing the correct spelling and pronunciation of the word hanetz


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