Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gerard Henderson, Stephen Colbert, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and all those fine Obama moments

People, nation, you know an Australian commentator has reached some kind of nadir when discussing Barack Obama, if he introduces Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly as authoritative experts in his column All the way with Obama's world.

Gerard Henderson, our prattling Polonius, has reached that despairing, desolate rock bottom part of the world:

Obama is not the left-wing socialist that some of his right-wing critics in the US maintain. On Fox News, Glenn Beck runs the line that Obama is some kind of leftist fascist intent on destroying individual liberties. This view has been challenged by, among others, Fox News presenter Bill O'Reilly. But, due to Beck's polemical force, it is likely that his opinion will have some impact on the American electorate.

Hold it right there. Now you can see why I've taken the liberty of putting Stephen Colbert's latest very funny hatchet job on Beck at the start of this column. Let's deconstruct what Henderson's just written. "On Fox News" somehow implies the populist, hysterical demagoguery of Glenn Beck should be given some credence, when lately he's gone so over the edge and far away, you couldn't even find him as a bizarre character in an Enid Blyton book.

As for presenting Bill O'Reilly as some kind of balanced alternative argument, this is so far out of kilter with reality as to make me wonder what Henderson is on. Any day of the week you can find Billo telling his audience that Obama wants to sign up for a one-world combine of governance, and with his blather about global justice, that Obama's some kind of Marxist who wants a one-world government to seize private property and distribute it so that every human being has roughly the same amount of resources.

Never mind the absurdity of that view, what's really absurd is Henderson trawling through US right wing gas bag talking points, and flipping them into his own discussion in a way that suggests he's taking seriously two of the most extreme loons in the very big and seriously disturbed pond of loons to hand in the United States.

Anyhoo, it makes me happy that if Beck and O'Reilly are talking points for Henderson, then Colbert and Jon Stewart, two Comedy Channel comedians, are the best alternative talking points for everyone else. At least they're funny.

Humor is something Henderson conspicuously lacks. He reaches some kind of second high point by quoting Team America: World Police as a way of demolishing the Hans Blix approach to North Korea. 

Well the alternative approach in Iraq worked so well didn't it - we will be very angry with you, and we will bomb the shit out of you, and then we will get bogged down in a very expensive war for 8 years in which your country will be comprehensively fucked over, and we will run our own country into bankruptcy. Or how about Afghanistan? We will get very angry with you over your treatment of women, we will get bogged down in a war like the Soviet Union, and then we will let you pass a law worse than the Taliban's treatment of women, and then we will have won. Ha de hah hah, as Nelson Muntz might say.

The rest of Henderson's tired column is spent in idle and mysterious speculation. 

Obama has spent much of his adult life as a social activist in Chicago with a career marked by almost untrammelled success. We do not know how he will react if he fails to prevail in Afghanistan, or Ian, concerning a Middle East peace settlement and so on.

Well go on Gerard say it, don't just hint man, speak up boy, tell us what you think. Damn sure I know how the momma's boy will react if his toys are taken away. He'll break down and sulk, he'll cry and he'll whinge, he's such a momma's boy. Wait, second thoughts, he'll reveal he's a psychopath and nuke his tormentors. No, maybe he'll decide to become a Tibetan monk, or perhaps so upset by his failure, he'll decide he's a woman in a man's body, and begin pre-op procedures. Oh heck, I give up, I guess you're right Gerard, we don't know how he'll react. Maybe he'll react like a clever politician and re-define his goals, or try to negotiate a compromise. No, you're right, that's just absurd. A politician acting like a politician? Dearie me. (Note to self: must watch Glenn Beck for the answer).

Or maybe he'll be just like George W. Bush, and dance all over the corpses of his many and varied failures, while pundits like Henderson do their very best to absolve and exculpate him.

Meanwhile, Henderson finds time to gloat at the way typical politics in the Senate will likely neuter Obama's legislative move on carbon emissions, and how Obama's comments on North Korea were heavy with evocations but extremely light on resolutions. It seems Obama uses the word "must" way too much, when of course he should be talking about an axis of weevils. After all, George Bush was heavy on evocations, and the way he nuked North Korea - such a firm stance, such a determined action - still makes my heart glow a neat radiated green.

Yet here's a funny thing - after spending an entire column dancing on the grave of Obama's current or future policy failures, Henderson urges Australia to support the Obama administration's policy in Afghanistan.

It figures. It's the policy most likely to fuck up, and therefore inevitably attracts the loons bent on a crusade. Just a few paras before, Henderson was gloating about the way Obama came away from the Strasbourg NATO conference with little additional support from allies such as Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Then he's suddenly telling Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop to ignore the position taken in western Europe regarding further troops for Afghanistan. That's right, keep the course in Afghanistan, so then we can point out how exactly like the Soviet Union Obama became.

Yep, and in the same breath, the dear boy insists he actually wants Obama to succeed internationally, even if what success is achieved seems destined to fall a long way short of an Obama moment.

Yes, and a long way short of all those fine Bush moments we endured for eight long years, as Henderson cheered on the shrub from the sidelines. And if Obama follows any of Henderson's advice - and remember Gerard is our very special envoy and advisor to princes, potentates and popes - my own bet is he'll fail in ways currently unimaginable.

Now in response to all this blather, all I can suggest is that you go to Comedy Central, watch Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, and go about your daily business with a smile on your face, a diaper on your bottom and a shotgun in hand.

PS last week Henderson wrote that Stephen Smith's meeting with Chinese minister Zhou Yongkang last November was held in secret. That was incorrect and he apologizes. As for the rest of the red peril, commie under the bed nonsense that he wrote at the same time, that too was incorrect, but he can't be fagged apologizing, amending, clarifying, or improving, when any distorting mischief he's gotten away with will suffice and can stand on the public record.

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