Monday, July 30, 2012

Are We SURE the Obama Campaign Didn't Pay for that Idaho Billboard?

Now THAT is a beautiful bit of trolling. I have no idea who or what the Ralph Smeed Foundation is, in fact like most people I had never heard of the organization before they generated national headlines and yet another stupid media controversy by paying for the billboard pictured above. Nevertheless, whoever they are they did such a masterful job of once again getting idiot liberals and progressives to misdirect their ire that it made me wonder (and only half in jest) if the Obama campaign wasn't secretly behind the whole thing.

Because here is the question I have for the members of my former political tribe who are frothing at the mouth about this latest "outrage": what exactly are you upset about? Yes, the message is crass and insensitive coming so soon after the recent Aurora shootings. But that doesn't mean it isn't fundamentally correct. Putting aside the "in your face" nature of the billboard, what it is really saying is that Americans only get upset when it is other Americans who are killed for no good reason by a marauding sociopath. Shoot up innocent movie theater patrons in suburban Denver = national outrage. Drop a drone missile on an innocent wedding party in Afghanistan or Pakistan = "(Yawn) Hey, honey, what time is American Idol on, anyway?"

The reaction to this story on liberal op-ed website Think Progress was particularly galling. Check out some of the comments:
Scott Merrick · Top Commenter · Vancouver, British Columbia
Proving yet again that there is no bigger liar than a Republican/right winger. They KNOW Bush/Cheney started that war, as well as Iraq (which they conveniently do not mention in this revolting billboard), so not only are they dishonest, their pathological hatred is also fully on display.

Margie Robinson · Top Commenter · University of Georgia
Thanks for this, Scott, because it's 100% true: "Proving yet again that there is no bigger liar than a Republican/right winger. They KNOW Bush/Cheney started that war, as well as Iraq (which they conveniently do not mention in this revolting billboard), so not only are they dishonest, their pathological hatred is also fully on display."

Mark Duwe · Top Commenter · Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
This nutjob could have donated the money he spent on this billboard to the Aurora Victim's Fund, if he really wanted to do something positive, but clearly, he doesn't.
(Bill's note: because paying for an advertising campaign advocating the end of an insane war isn't doing anything "positive" at all)

Anna Soull · Top Commenter · Toronto, Ontario
I have never witnessed the citizens of the USA attack a President in such a demeaning, hateful way as I have witnessed their public disrespect of President Obama. In previous decades any such deep, personal, slanderous attacks against the President of the country would have resulted in criminal charges against the culprits. I wish that Republicans would actually use some sort of political argument in their race for the Presidency rather than a personal attack on the man who is trying to steady the sinking ship of a country he got for his Presidency.
(Bill's note: Yep, Anna, and I'm sure you never referred to Bush as a war criminal. And if you didn't, you should have)

Rob Willhelm · Top Commenter
My concern is not with the sign itself but I definitely concern myself with the millions of supposed "Americans" who believe this crap, complemented by their total contempt for the fair and open democratic processes that finds Obama as the President of the United States, thus representing the greatest threat to my beloved country.

Scott Douglass · Top Commenter
I somehow don't think the people in Aurora "volunteered" for what they got. This person is an opportunist looking for their 15 minutes of fame. With any luck, the sign will fall on him as he's standing there admiring his 'handy-work'.
(Bill's note: notice how this idiot is only thinking of American soldiers and has no concern whatsoever for the civilian casualties of Obama's wars?)

Jackie Rawlings · Top Commenter
This is just one of the many examples of how insane our country has become with the current insane Law Makers and their King Mitt.
(Bill's note: yep, Jackie, this country is insane all right...and if you support Obama depite his war crimes, you are every bit as much of the problem as the conservatives you claim to loathe)

Aaron Keith Fewell · University of Louisville
This is so disheartening. While I'm a Democrat, I like to think I can look at things objectively and I work to see where people are coming from with their logic. But there is a growing faction of "movement conservatives" who have no logic...their strategy is simple, win on hatred, play on people's weaknesses. With each year, it becomes more outlandish. There was McCain heavily hinting at Obama as a terrorist at a rally and then he seemed shocked when he asked "Who is the real Barack Obama" and one of his mindless followers screamed "A terrorist". You can't practice the strategy of hatred and encourage it and then wash your hands of its effects.

Robin Potter
This is outrageous. I do not agree with the war, but come on, Obama did not start this war. I believe he is trying to end it and although, I am very sad about any deaths( American AND Afghans AND Iraqi"s) but I hardly see that we can lay this at THIS presidents feet.
(Bill's note: holy shit, nearly four years and one huge troop surge later, Afghanistan is STILL Bush's war. The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one)

Margaret Ann Williams · Works at The Dow Chemical Company
this is about as absurd as I've seen, such a shame that they would spend money to advertise such ignorance.
(Bill's note: yeah, and it's also a goddamn shame that the Guantanamo Gulag is still open despite the campaign promises of that lying sack of shit in the White House)
And so it continues on in this vein for nearly 100 more grueling comments. I didn't even have to selectively choose among them to make my point here. Sadly, the Ralph Smeed Foundation could not have done a better job of getting the delusional Obamabots fired up, and thereby more likely to go to the polls and vote for President Sellout again this November, thus helping to legitimize President Hopey-Changey's aggressively warmongering foreign policies, if that had been their intention all along.

There was a time in this sad, sorry ass country about 45 years ago when the American left brought down a Democratic president for waging aggressive war and slaughtering innocents abroad. ("Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Remember THAT one, fuckers? What...because it isn't YOUR ass on the line anymore it no longer matters? Is THAT it?) And thus has the American left has been reduced to reflexively supporting a President who does exactly the same thing because, hey, you know, at least he isn't George Bush, Dick Cheney or Mitt Romney.

Bonus: "Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore...they're already overcrowded from your dirty little war"


  1. This kind of thing really will only help Obama. I can find little fault with the message, though- it's true...only people with a perceived equivalancy matter to most Americans. They can see themselves at a movie being shot at so they empathize with those people. It's too dangerous to consider a similar reciprocity with innocents being killed by drones elsewhere.

    Sometimes there's a little actual hope, though.
    I was at an Avett Bros concert a couple of nights ago in Kansas City- I was struck by this...they were singing a song with the lyrics:

    "When nothing is owed or deserved or expected
    And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected"

    Well, the majority of the crowd actually cheered that. It made me feel warm inside in a good way, like the mask is slipping for more people. And we're talking an outside concert, 99 degree weather (it cooled off a bit that night!)- hell, to feel motivated to cheer for that message in the heat- I think people meant it.

    I kept thinking that I wished that the crowd would embrace this part of the song, too...

    "There was a dream and one day I could see it
    Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it"

    I just feel like we are all trapped in their cage. And idiots who apologize for one side or the other sure aren't helping. But hey, hokey or not, that song still makes me long for something better and I think a few others feel that way, too. I have to think that, and sometimes hints are there that it's true.

    It'll never be a majority, though, I'm sure. Just a different kind of 1% that actually dreams about something better.

    1. Many of the liberals and progressive I know are not actually mindless Obamabots and are disappointed with the man to at least some extent. They would probably cheer the line in that song, but nevertheless most will go to the polls this November and vote for him once again. The Evil of Two Lessers dynamic has immobilized them, likely because, as I said, it doesn't affect them personally. At least not yet.

  2. Most treat politics as a form of tribalism. It's an "our team versus theirs" mentality - and anything that is perceived as negative against one's team is attacked without a full consideration of whether it's true or not.

    The thing you're reacting against is that you're disappointed many liberals do not show themselves to be very deep thinkers. It is a "liberal" concept to be against the use of state power in needless war, and it shouldn't matter whose team is represented in the Presidency.

    I looked briefly at the Ralph Smeed Foundation website ( They're very much against forms of state power that do anything except protect property rights. It's classic libertarian stuff - they're big fans of Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, and John Stossel.

    One can only assume they'd mock George Bush, too, for the same principles - but there aren't any indications of it on the website. I tried to read some of the articles, but it's old and pretty meandering stuff. Most criticize the Democrats, a tiny handful criticize Republicans. Here are some of their recent billboards:

  3. I agree Bill, while the billboard was a bit crass, it was definitely true. Bummers is just as much of a "war criminal" as Shrub and Darth Cheney.

  4. The bit that bugged me about the sign is that it should be reversed. He won the Peace Prize and then went on to kill thousands.

    1. Good point...
      Nobel prizes don't kill people - American politicians kill people...