It is tedious to constantly be wrestling with the goofy, conspiratorial narratives that the far-right continues to churn out about the Obama administration and the direction that America is taking.
But because those narratives have moved to the mainstream of our politics, it is unfortunately necessary.
So in reading through the various revelations contained in the Wikileaks documents, I found myself asking:
Is there any evidence here that any of the Glenn-Beck-Rush-Limbaugh-Sarah-Palin narratives are true?
First a bit of context. Whatever else they might offer, the Wikileaks dispatches published widely over the last week give a glimpse of the inner “id” of America’s behavior, diplomatic agenda and self-image overseas.
This is our chance to eavesdrop on the backroom chatter, the unguarded moments, the unvarnished stuff that we rarely get to hear.
If the far right were correct, we would be hearing some very specific stuff here.
We would be finding evidence that the Obama administration is apologist in its worldview, eager to kowtow and suck up to foreign powers, and bent on pursuing a dodgy new world order.
Last spring, Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru write the following in the conservative National Review:
“President Obama’s first year in office should be seen in the context of contemporary liberalism’s discomfort with American exceptionalism. The president has signaled again and again his unease with traditional American patriotism.”
This is a common and even an obsessive theme on the right. Sarah Palin spent an entire chapter in one of her books contrasting her own supposedly virile view of American “exceptionalism” with that of the president.
So is it true? Do we find the Obama administration deep in secret discussions aimed at establishing foreign “entanglements” that will slowly erode American sovereignty?
Do we find the mutterings of an administration bent on emulating socialist regimes in other parts of the globe? Do we find a lot of ivory tower hand-wringing and navel-gazing about our own flaws and shortcomings?
What we find is a pretty typical president in Barack Obama and a fairly typical secretary of state in Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Both are busily wielding American power around the globe and doing so fairly ruthlessly and unilaterally, dispatching diplomats to build the alliance against Iran, bullying Germany, and even sneering about Canada.
They are managing two overt wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan– while prosecuting a much wider and more aggressive war against terrorism, which includes regular and unapologetic forays by our military and secret agencies into other sovereign countries.
According to the Wikileaks documents, when Germany tried to complain about our accidental kidnapping of the wrong person on their soil, the Obama administration’s diplomats told them, more or less, to shut up and keep quiet.
Indeed, nowhere in any of the documents released thus far do we find any of the George-Soros-black-helicopter-Obama-needs-to-find-his-man-pants stuff that the right churns and rehashes obsessively.
There’s no sign of any softness on the question of supporting Israel. No secret plans to create some kind of vast new North American nation. No secret memos about Obama’s true nationality.
No plans to create a climate-change related world government driven by enviro-wackos. No schemes for a world currency. Heck, there’s not even anything here about putting fluoride in our water.
These revelations won’t change things much, of course.
The same sources that are discredited by this overwhelming release of facts and evidence will go on making the same absurd claims and they will go on getting interviewed and talked about.
But next time Glenn Beck and his ilk map out a complicated connect-the-dots conspiracy theory, claiming to describe the way the world really works, remember that we actually got a glimpse of the truth.
And once again it made their performance look both silly and cynical.
As always, your comments welcome.