It takes a law professor to pack as much Obama Derangement Syndrome into 153 words as Rick Esenberg does in his latest opus,"Shame on Obama." The subject of his Ese's ire: Obama not going to Berlin to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Shark sets himself up as a voice of considered moderation. "There are some criticisms of Barack Obama that go too far," he says. Like, I dunno, fact-free accusations that Obama's stage at the Dem national convention was going to be a Greek temple. But Obama skipping the Berlin ceremonies goes too far! The fall of the wall was "one of the most significant and improbable events of the past fifty years; brought about, in large part, by constancy in American policy."
- "Significant" -- sure
- "Improbable" -- only improbable if one believed in hyped estimates of Soviet strength
- "Brought about, in large part, by constancy in American policy" -- in this formulation, false; drop "large" and this phrase works fine.
Ese moves on:
To stay away is to send a message and it is the wrong message. Whether he seeks to placate the Russians, repudiate American exceptionalism or refuse to acknowledge a Republican accomplishment, rejecting what brought about one of the most remarkable and peaceful victories over tyranny is shameful.
- Given Medvedev was in Berlin -- and Obama did deliver a message via video -- it's difficult to see how Obama's absence was motivated by fear of Russians
- I'm not sure how Shark would articulate American exceptionalism, so can't comment on this. Obviously it's not clear that American exceptionalism, broadly defined, is a good thing.
Republican accomplishment. Ah, a laugh out loud line. This is Rick's defense of this statement, in comments at his site:
It's a Republican accomplishment because Reagan decided to win the Cold War. Had Carter been reelected, it would not have happened because he wouldn't have applied pressure when he had to.
One hopes that Rick expects a bit more supporting evidence from his students because this is about as fact-free assertion as one can make. Here are some facts. There is no evidence that the Reagan arms buildup "bankrupted" or weakened the Soviet Union. There is no evidence that bellicose Reagan rhetoric frightened the Soviets out of their wits -- quite the opposite (and seriously, apparatchiks who survived the Hitler invasion, either as vets or as kids, were going to quiver over comments by Reagan?) . To the extent the ending of the Cold War was anyone's accomplishment, it was the accomplishment of Mikhail Gorbachev,who didn't want to play anymore. Had he wanted to take the USSR down the bellicose path, the country could have lumbered on. But he gambled that he could change it (and lost). Reagan's contribution was recognizing that Gorbachev could be dealt with and tried to deal (earning the wrath of the right). As James Mann puts it in "The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War": "Reagan didn't win the Cold War; Gorbachev abandoned it."
Just ask Angela Merkel:
She lauded Gorbachev, with whom she shared an umbrella amid a crush of hundreds, eager for a glimpse of the man many still consider a hero for his role in pushing reform in the Soviet Union.
"You made this possible — you courageously let things happen, and that was much more than we could expect," she said.
Now, the Brawler doesn't know why Obama didn't show. Presumably it had to do with passing a health care bill -- a defense Esenberg sneers at before muttering about the need for more debate as if the GOP had any interest in being an honest debate partner.
In any event, Esenberg demonstrates his true seriousness by concluding thusly:
For the winner of a faux peace prize to ignore one of history's singular triumphs for peace is an embarassment.
OH! Faux peace prize. The Brawler would suggest that the Shark should think about who's embarrassing himself here.