With his wet-blanket op-ed in today's New York Times cutely titled "The Audacity of Hype," William Safire -- who is yet to apologize to the American people for lying about the false story of Saddam Hussein's henchmen meeting in Prague with Al Qaeda operatives -- tries to deflect the acclaim and enthusiasm of Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech. Safire only succeeds in telegraphing his own cluelessness about the most important political movement to emerge in decades in this country. He actually argues that holding the speech at Mile High stadium where 84,000 filled the place was a political error. I never thought I'd see the day when esteemed pundits criticize a political figure for generating so much excitement that he can fill a stadium with 84,000 people. Safire seems to be saying that we should diminish Obama's accomplishment because, after all, he's just a black guy.
"In this day and age," Safire writes, "it is not a huge throng wildly cheering on cue" that matters; "On the contrary, the target is the individual American voter watching a TV or computer screen at home." According to Safire, Obama's speech was a failure because it was "all too like the collectivist fantasy that opened and closed the Beijing Olympics." Memo to Bill Safire: The Obama campaign is networking via the Internet with the "individual American voter" with more skill and dexterity than any presidential campaign in American history.
Safire then matter-of-factly informs his readers that Obama's promise to end the war in Iraq is moot because "it is already ending responsibly." Oh really Bill? I haven't seen American soldiers embracing their families on the tarmac as waves of them come home. Safire, the self-proclaimed wordsmith, doesn't bother to define what he means by the word "end." I guess in Bill's view the car bombings and suicide bombings that took place in Iraq last week signal an "end" to the war.
Safire mocks Obama's statement: "Don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country," "Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe," and asks rhetorically: "Who's telling him that? By escalating criticism, he knocked down a straw man, the oldest speechifying trick in the book." Memo to Bill: YOU are the one who created a "straw man" here. Just listen to what John McCain, his campaign, and his ideological allies (like you) have been bellowing about for months at the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Washington Times, the National Review, right-wing talk radio and Fox News, relentlessly charging that the Democrats are weak on national security. Once again, Safire telegraphs his dishonesty. Don't tell me Bill doesn't read William Kristol and David Brooks.
Safire accuses Obama of "hubris" for filling a stadium and making a historic speech. He is wholly unimpressed with the first African-American nominee for president from a major political party. He scoffs at a black presidential candidate speaking to a television audience of 40 million Americans on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
William Safire's tone and below-the-belt cuts and put-downs targeting Obama sound a lot like the racist diatribes coming off the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens' web site these days. You know, Bill, those guys are also anti-Semitic.
Safire's tired fabrications don't deserve to be disseminated in the Times. He is a liar and a demagogue and he still owes us all an apology for spinning out of whole cloth the story of Mohammed Atta's non-existent meetings with Saddam's agents in Prague prior to 9-11.
When are you going to apologize Bill?