If you could get past all of the not-so-subtle references to the policies of his predecessor and his insistence that they are completely different, President Obama still managed to get in a subtle jab at his conservative detractors during his prime time address on Syria Tuesday evening:
And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
Ace aptly reflected on the moment from the official White House transcript:
Note that Obama’s “friends on the left” believe in freedom and dignity in all people. People on the right don’t, apparently.
What do people on the right believe in? “Military might.” Pure force. Note that he decouples military might from any moral purpose — he doesn’t say “your commitment to keeping the nation safe” or “your commitment to a patriotic defense of America.” No, such moral approval is stripped away so that Obama can speak neutrally of the one thing Obama thinks conservatives care about, naked martial power.
We share this love of naked martial power, shorn of any moral or ethical purpose, with some of his other friends on the right, such as Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler.
His friends on the left, see, support the values which might be attained by exertion of raw military might, such as “freedom and dignity of all people,” but his friends on the right are just about having the biggest bombs and stuff.
Even when he’s supposedly “reaching out to us,” this Master Diplomat and Coolly Brilliant Poet-Warrior steadfastly refuses to pay the right the slightest degree of respect.
And this man represents us in our dealings with foreign actors. Imagine how his similar haughtiness plays overseas. Imagine how it’s already played for five years, and how it will play for another three.
Smart diplomacy, huh?