Phony Outrage and Embarrassment Over Obama’s Overseas Trip

As conservatives, we should not be ideological. We should assess situations separately, judging them on their own merit, not taking into account the political views of the people we judge (unless we’re judging those political views, of course). What I mean is that we should determine whether something truly is worth getting worked up over or whether our outrage is contrived just because it’s directed at a liberal.

A good way to determine this is to switch the object of our ire with a conservative we like, and then imagine liberals directing the same criticisms toward that conservative that we’re giving the liberal.

What I have in mind is President Obama’s recent trip to Burma and conservatives’ making hay out of his multiple gaffes there.

One such gaffe was Obama’s reference to Burma as Myanmar, which is what its former militaristic government called it. If Mitt Romney had won the election and he made a trip to Burma and called it Myanmar, yes, liberals would mock him for it, but conservatives would brush it off as a harmless gaffe. Which is what it would be in Romney’s case and what it is in Obama’s case–a gaffe. And a very minor one at that.

The other gaffe Obama made was not calling the president of Burma by her first and last name together. He called her President Sein rather than President Thein Sein, as is proper in Burma. Who knew? Yes, Obama is one of the world’s leaders and he should have been briefed about this detail, and he probably was briefed on it. But let’s not pretend it was not an easy mistake to make.

And the third gaffe that conservatives are really latching onto is that Obama called Aung San Suu Kyi by the name Aung Yan Suu Kyi. He got one letter wrong. This is a big deal, supposedly, because Aung San Suu Kyi is the “most famous” human-rights activist in the world. I’ve never heard of him. Most conservatives have never heard of him either. If this had happened to George W. Bush (as it probably would have, only he probably would have botched the name even worse then Obama did), conservatives wouldn’t care.

Conservatives wouldn’t care about any of these gaffes had a fellow conservative made them. We need to relax. Let’s not replicate the pettiness of liberals. It serves no purpose other than to make us hypocrites.

There is one thing that can legitimately be said about all of this, however, and that is that the media is not criticizing Obama for these gaffes as they would were he a Republican, because the media people are petty. So rather than using these gaffes to score unsportsmanlike political points among our peers, let’s instead use them, and similar instances of gaffes in the future, to point out the double standard of the liberals and the media. Otherwise we’re just engaging in a double standard of our own.