Here’s your most misleading headline of the day: “Will Stunning Success in Libya Help Obama?” The headline is at RealClearPolitics, leading to David Remnick’s New Yorker column. And it’s not even really a question. Remnick comes right out and explains:
If, in 1992, George H. W. Bush could not rely on a successful hundred-hour war in Iraq––an operation carried out with military and diplomatic precision––to trump a relatively slight recession, Obama will have an infinitely more difficult time touting his résumé as Commander-in-Chief when millions are out of work and the signs of economic decline, gross disparity, and daily suffering are everywhere.
Nowhere did NY or Remnick ever use the word “stunning.” Hell, he never even wrote “victory.” That’s as bad a headline as you’re ever likely to see, and I expect better from the folks at Real Clear.
But let’s talk about why Obama’s leading-from-his-behind “victory” was anything but “stunning.” (I got so excited with the scare quotes, I almost put some around the word “was.”)
Back in 1911, Italy took Tripoli with 1,500 sailors. Italy, not Rome. And they did it in a few days, not months. They did it against the Turks, not just against the local Arabs who had a well-deserved reputation for fighting no better than… well, fighting no better than Italians. Yet the whole of Libya was in Italian hands in about seven months.
We needed eight months to beat Gaddafi? My friends, George W. Bush used to beat much tougher opponents in three-to-six weeks, tops. Three weeks, if he had access to the sea. Six weeks, if he needed to go all the way to Central Freaking Asia to kick some ass.
Obama needed two whole college semesters, minus Christmas break, to kill a guy who looked like Phyllis Diller in drag, but with more outrageous muumuus.
I’m glad Gaddafi is dead. So are millions of Libyans. Somewhere, Reagan is smiling.
But if this is a stunning victory, then I’m the Pope of Siam.