Two of my favorite conservative bloggers, Ed Morrissey and Moe Lane, gave me a good chuckle this morning, and man, did I need it. The subject is President Obama’s latest “gaffe.” I’ll let my friend, Ed, introduce it:
Yesterday found Barack Obama in fine form while meeting with an audience comprised mainly of Russian business leaders, clumsily reminding them of a transaction that still rankles the Russians to this day, as Reuters explains:
Referring to the long history of Russia-U.S. trade stretching back more than two centuries, Obama told an audience of business people in Moscow:
“Along the way, you gave us a pretty good deal on Alaska. Thank you.”
Czar Alexander II’s sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million in gold, around 1.9 cents per acre, was regarded by Russians as a national disgrace — particularly once it became clear that the province was rich in oil.
Ed was characteristically measured in his criticism, calling the quip an insult, and an indication that the President might not understand diplomacy. On the other hand, he called it his “Obamateurism of the Day,” so I guess, when you’ve already decided you’re going to do one of these every day, you’ve got to work with what you’re given.
Moe Lane, on the other hand, ratchets up the mock outrage, comparing the Alaska Purchase, by turns, to the Boxer Rebellion and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
I get that blogging is all about hyperbole, but really? The Alaska Purchase? After 142 years and umpteen changes in the Russian government, I’m pretty sure the sting has worn off. When it was originally made, folks here thought we got hosed. How could anyone have foreseen that it would produce such a cash cow of a resource? No, not Sarah Palin, I meant the oil.
This is the very best of the American story, people having the foresight and wherewithal to make something great where others saw only far-flung territories that they were too lazy to hassle with themselves. We didn’t exploit the Russians here.
Hell, if the Russians had taken that money and bought IBM stock with it, then we’d be the ones getting zinged.
Is it possible that some Russians took offense to this? I doubt it, and I’m a little surprised that a movement that accuses liberals of having “bleeding hearts,” and of the crime of empathy, would ascribe such wafer-thin skin to the Russians.
This is the nature of political opposition in Obama’s America, though. There’s this alternate universe where Mr. Spock has a beard, and the President isn’t a duly elected leader worthy of reasonable scrutiny, he’s a bumbling amateur putting the country on a rocket sled to Hades. (All worth it, by the way, if we get to wear those cool gold sashes.)
At the root of this, I believe, is a desire to get revenge for all of the bile that was spewed at George W. Bush for 8 years. The constant refrain is, “Well, you did it to our guy.”
This ignores the fact that their guy was, at least, given a chance. Remember that 90% approval rating?
I’m not going to sit here and catalog all the ways that Barack Obama is not George W. Bush, or produce a pile of actual Bush gaffes, because that’s not the point. Obviously, conservatives think Bush was treated unfairly, but even granting that, is that a justification to treat Obama unfairly? I suppose if you’re bartering tits and tats, it is, but I’m in the habit of setting my own standards, not obeying those of my opponent.