Fast forward 45 years. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted on Friday that Muslims are rioting in many countries solely because of grievance: they’re protesting that video that almost no one has seen and which lay there somewhere in the Internet for some time without much protest. The riots and attacks were “not a response to United States policy and not obviously the administration or the American people,” Carney said, but “in response to a video, a film we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” In this week’s Weekly Standard Lee Smith demolishes this argument and Stephen Hayes notes that the administration at first on Wednesday walked back the unauthorized Cairo Embassy statement condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” but then turned back to the grievance blame-the-video stance that Carney took on Friday.
Why the switch? Because the continued rioting undermines, perhaps fatally, one of the underlying premises of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and of his campaign now for reelection: that electing this man president will make the peoples of the world love America and Americans. I make a similar point in my as yet unpublished Sunday Examiner column, which should be accessible here when it goes online. The rioters in Cairo expressly reviled Obama and hailed Osama. They hate America and Americans. They hate our way of life and our freedoms. Obama’s election has made no difference; his campaign bragging about dispatching Osama bin Laden has perhaps got them hating us more. One powerful argument for reelecting him is being refuted by what we see on our television screens.