The reactionary Left is pissed - pissed, I tell you - that President Obama has ordered air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq. The successes of the air strikes, most recently the beating back of ISIL from the Mosul dam notwithstanding, the "militant pacifist" movement in this country has been out for President Obama's blood. Their leading general: the one and only self-proclaimed "Congressman with guts", Alan Grayson, whose campaign website's sections of issue positions have been replaced by a varitable look-how-good-I-perform-as-a-talking-head-on-TV collection of his big-screen appearances.
To be sure, Grayson does maintain another campaign website - much milder-named Grayson for Congress - with some position summaries. The last update on the news section of that site was made in September of 2013, and it mentions nearly nothing about his national security crusade, except to state his support for withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Grayson's chief fundraising tool is nothing if not dripping with irony. Alan Grayson has been twice elected as a member of Congress, and both times on the same ballot as President Obama. The one time he had to fight an election on his own (2010), he was thrown out of office by his constituents. But of course, reactionary politics has little room for loyalty. As Grayson's own campaign-site videos demonstrate, his primary tool to fill campaign coffers is a crusade the President's national security decisions.
Since almost the day President Obama launched airstrikes against the advancing ISIS in Iraq, I have been getting emails from Alan Grayson telling me to "stand up" against the president and send money to Alan Grayson. Grayson has gone to a bizarre length implying that the President is essentially commandeering public funds for his trigger-happy fingers that he doesn't have authority over, since he didn't check opinion polls before doing what he believed was necessary to protect American security. Heck, I'm surprised he isn't suing the president.
There is little to be said for the fact that Alan Grayson is stupendously ignorant of the threat from ISIS. Like the Left's version of Rand and Ron Paul that he is, Grayson with great credit notes that the Iraqi forces have failed to perform anywhere even close to adequately against ISIS. He immediately deduces from that failure that - therefore - the United States has no business preventing Iraq from falling to a caliphate declared by a madman.
Grayson remains willingly ignorant of the military sophistication of ISIS - a group military experts say fights like an organized national force rather than a bunch of rebels - and their brutality (and why should we expect more from a Congressman whose response to children being gassed is a hearty belly laugh?), but far more critically to his own point, the challenge they pose to American security.
Earlier this month, the President noted the success of the airstrikes in beating back ISIS/ISIL from the Mosul dam, helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces recapture the vital infrastructure, the damage to or fall of which wouldn't only create a widespread humanitarian disaster for the civilian population of Iraq but a clear and present threat to the US embassy in Baghdad.
Since a poll found a good majority of Americans against any US responsibility to act in Iraq's violence, Grayson acts like an innocent lamb who has no idea that the American people by and large are not superbly informed about the specific threats to American interests. True to his propaganda tactics, Grayson fails to note that the poll he quotes did not ask Americans specifically about airstrikes or about the group ISIS.
In the mean time, Grayson issued no apologies or corrections about his grandiose presumption to represent the American people writ-large against the President the people elected overwhelmingly twice as a subsequent poll from the same organization found the same size majority Grayson relied on to make his case against the President now support the President's airstrikes. The poll also shows that in the minds of most Americans, the president has struck the right balance between an all-out ground war and doing nothing.
I mean, yes, Grayson may have turned his chief campaign fundraising website into a version of snapchat. He may be willfully picking and misquoting public opinion polls. He may be willfully ignorant - or flat out lying - about ISIL's challenge to American national security. He may be farcically trying to represent the American people against the Commander in Chief with regards to a responsibility he doesn't have. He may even badly misunderstand the numbers of ISIL (which is nearing 10,000 and not "in the hundreds", as Grayson claims).
But at least his blunt instrument of jihad against the president has a critical endorsement: Breitbart. And that's what really matters in "progressive" politics, right?
It isn't Grayson's opposition to the specific airstrikes in Iraq that bothers me. In every national security decision, there is room for debate and dissent. Without it, we wouldn't be much of a democracy.
It is Grayson's callous disregard for the facts and seething disrespect for the president I take issue with. Grayson line of attack is no different from the right wing American domestic Jihadists - it doesn't allow for respecting even the president, let alone allowing any room for respecting the president's decision, even if he disagrees.
It is a respect Barack Obama has earned and is too often denied. It would be enough just to be president to earn that respect, but this president has gone above and beyond anyone in recent memory not just to earn that respect but to merit it. While blowhards like Grayson has talked, this president has acted for global peace and security. Grayson may need a reminder that this is the president who:
- Secured the world's loose nukes.
- Ended two wars, withdrawing boots on the ground from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Disarmed a middle eastern dictator without firing a single shot - in what even hawks in the region have high praise for.
- Killed Osama bin Laden.
- Made Vladimir Putin drop his aggressive gesture and abandon pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine.
Yet, the every-disturbance-in-the-world-as-a-bombing-opportunity (Breitbart) and the nothing-is-ever-America's-business (Grayson) crowds seem to have found unison in their deep disrespect for this president - and yes, even in their declared domestic crusades against this president, albeit as a fundraising tool.
The Left's provocateurs have again and again disregarded President Obama's credits, discredited (and simultaneously claimed credit for) his accomplishments, and disrespected his decisions.
Grayson's problem isn't that he opposes a particular decision of the president's. His problem is that he is more concerned about getting to the next green room than gathering an in-depth understanding of issues which he is about to flap about. His problem is that in his zeal to rack up his YouTube views, he has forgotten his own responsibility as a member of Congress - to legislate, explain an lead, not inflame. His problem is that in his drive to stuff his campaign coffers with cash, he has become a "peace activist" who is undermining the greatest force for peace in the Oval Office in most of our lifetimes.