Ed Driscoll

Old Testament or New?

In 2009, Evan Thomas, then an editor at Newsweek, declared that President Obama, then less than five months in office, was “sort of God.” Yesterday, Newsweek-alumnus Howard Fineman concurs — “in almost Biblical terms.” At Newsbusters, Noel Sheppard writes:

As we watched President Obama tell us Sunday evening of Osama bin Laden’s death, we knew the media would be starting the Mother of all victory laps.

Not surprisingly out ahead of the cheering throngs was Huffington Post’s senior politics editor Howard Fineman with his Monday love letter “Obama Gets Osama: Goodbye Vietnam“:

By calmly and meticulously overseeing the successful targeting of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama just proved himself — vividly, in almost Biblical terms — to be an effective commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States.

Good night, Vietnam. Goodbye, George McGovern’s anti-war campaign of 1972. Goodbye, Jimmy Carter’s pathetically inept hostage-rescue mission in 1980. Goodbye, Bill Clinton and the draft.

Or so Democrats have at least some reason to hope.

“This is a definitional moment for voters,” said Democratic polltaker and strategist Geoffrey Garin. “There’s no question that the Republicans will make a ‘national security’ run at the president in 2012,” he said. “But the most tangible thing for voters will be that Obama got the central job done. A lot of people were involved in baking the cake, going back years, but the cake turned out well and voters will notice.”

In Fineman’s view, the murder of bin Laden Sunday erased decades of failed military strategies and policies by Democrat presidents going back to Lyndon Baines Johnson, and voters can now rest assured that a liberal Commander-in-Chief can be just as strong on national defense as a conservative one.

Wow, the once pacifistic-sounding Obama morphed into General Patton so quickly, I hardly even noticed. But let’s take it a bit slower on such war-mongering language. George Orwell noted in World War II that British intellectuals tended to assume that whomever was winning the war at any particularly time, their gains would be permanent. (See also: Kent Brockman immediately volunteering to join the League of Gentlemen Space Ants.) But that sort of thinking in the age of new media got the MSM into much trouble over the past decade. Or to put it another way:

A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don’t mean the Democrats. I’m talking about the “mainstream media,” which is being destroyed by the opposition (or worse, the casual disdain) of George Bush’s Republican Party; by competition from other news outlets (led by the internet and Fox’s canny Roger Ailes); and by its own fraying journalistic standards.

Howard Fineman in Newsweek, January 13, 2005.