Right after Sean Hannity’s show aired on the East Coast, I began to get mail describing a supposed smackdown by Bernie Goldberg on his host for not giving Barack Obama credit in the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from pirates this weekend. I waited until I could watch the segment myself and sat through all seven minutes of it. I don’t see a smackdown — in fact, Bernie goes out of his way to remain polite, and Sean mostly sticks to his guns — but I did see a good debate, and one mirrored on the Right this week:
For my part, I agree with Bernie here. I have some criticisms about the way the crisis was handled initially, including negotiations with Somali “elders” and the pirates themselves, although one reader suggested that Obama may have used that time to get the Navy SEALs in position. In the end, Obama made the right call and resolved the crisis in the proper way, and managed to rescue the hostage to boot. Jimmy Carter spent 444 days not resolving a hostage crisis properly, and to this day still thinks he did the right thing. At least Obama learned quickly.
When things go wrong, we blame the Commander in Chief, and therefore when things go right, he gets the credit. This is how the game is played, Bernie reminds Sean, and pointedly suggests that Sean may have taken the lead in tossing blame had things gone badly. That would have been perfectly legitimate, too, so denying Obama credit for success in this instance seems churlish and bitter.
Watch for a good Casablanca reference when Bernie talks about the media. They’re blowing the success out of proportion, of course, but anyone shocked by that hasn’t been paying attention. We’d be better off pointing out that aspect of the coverage rather than deny the obvious.