Friday, August 31, 2012

"It's the economy, stupid."


Remember in the movie Pink Floyd's The Wall, when young Roger Waters' Giant Self-Absorbed Ego Pink finds the drawer with his dad's old war stuff in it, and the lyrics start out "Kind old King George sent mother a note when he heard that father had gone..." and end with "...and my eyes still grow damp to remember His Majesty signed with his own rubber stamp"?

Well, the Right half of the blogosphere has been going bezonkoids over finding out that the Executive Branch, posing as Barry O. himself, sends out form letters signed by electric pen to the families of deceased servicemen, as though George W. Bush had stayed up late hand-composing the things...

Has a service member's next-of-kin, outside of extremely extraordinary circumstances, received a hand-signed, actually-dictated-to-the-president's-secretary letter since... hell, since Lincoln?

Folks, seriously, of all the real things to dogpile on Barry about, this is just a non-starter.


(H/T to An Ordinary American)
.

44 comments:

Woodman said...

Well, if we made Presidents sign them all manually at least we'd minimize the damage they could do.

Think about all the laws that wouldn't get signed. Wars would end just to relieve presidential carpal tunnel.

fast richard said...

If anyone believed this president had any respect for these fallen Navy Seals, or sympathy for their families, this would not be a big deal.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Big O complaint is how he spends so much time playing golf. Hell, I wish he'd golf till January. When he's not out house-hunting.

Joel

jctwok said...

According to GWB's book 'Decision Points' he personally wrote a letter to the families of every soldier killed while he was president (don't get me wrong though, i still think he was a douche-bag and a tyrant).

staghounds said...

As though the touch of the Anointed's hand on paper had magic value.

I cannot imagine that the manual signature vel non, notification in person, fancy funeral, or anything else really makes a difference to the dead or those who knew and loved them.

Death rites, like wedding receptions, are for those not directly engaged.

Dwight Brown said...

I swear to Ghu, I remember people on the left complaining about Bush II autosigining condolence letters, though I can't find any of the news stories from that period now...

Tam said...

jctwok,

While having no facts with which to dispute that claim, I still find myself dubious. That's a lotta letter-writin' time in a busy day...

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

While I agree with your point, W was actually quite conscientious about stuff like this. Remember, he met with Cindy Sheehan twice. Once *before* she went off the rails. W personally met with quite a few next-of-kin, not all of which were under "extremely extraordinary circumstances". Not all of them, certainly. And I'm sure that most of them did receive electronically signed form letters. So yes, next-of-kin, even outside of extraordinary events have gotten more than a form letter. It hasn't been the norm, for sure, which is why this isn't an appropriate line of attack.

Boat Guy said...

I'm with fast richard on this one. The thing that may help to illustrate why those of us from the community are chapped by it is that ObaMao DID take the time to hand-sign a somewhat less-form letter to some rapper's NOK.
Whatever GW's flaws as President; he was a far better Commander-In-Chief than the current one.

Tam said...

Boat Guy,

"Whatever GW's flaws as President; he was a far better Commander-In-Chief than the current one."

Oh, there's not a doubt in my mind about that.

og said...

Top ten things that would be a better commander-in-chief than the current one:

10:Gravy.
9:Small rocks.
8:Ducks.
7:Wood.
6:Witches.
5:MOAR WITCHES!
4:Stilton.
3:brie
2:hash browns
1:inner tubes.

It's a low standard, actually.

mustanger said...

1- Regarding notification of NOK, I recall hearing that during Vietnam a good many got addressed "to whom it may concern".

2- I'm recalling how Obummer tried to claim all the credit for killing bin laden... Hey Barry, you didn't shoot him; that was somebody else in the U.S. Navy... and then that Chinook load of SEALs got shot down a week later.

BTW, have y'all seen today's Day by Day?

John Stephens said...

Usually, the form letter doesn't even pretend to be from the President, reading something along the lines of "The Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you...". The handwritten letter of condolence is traditionally written by the soldier's company commander, or other commissioned officer who actually knew him (or her).

But of course, BO has to put his OWN name on the goddamn thing, and that's what the outrage is (or should be) about. Remember his Neil Armstrong tribute, with a picture of himself? That's the narrative here. Distasteful tactics, but we live in distasteful times.

Anonymous said...

@Og

You left out boar hog teats...

davek

og said...

And methodists.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @8:44AM.

Unfortunately, the machinery of government continues to grind with new laws -- er -- "regulations", even while the Boss is out playing golf.

Which is why we have FEDGOV dictates from one agency threatening legal action if you do a certain thing, while a different agency threatens legal action if you DON'T do that same thing. Or agencies "going rogue" and demanding you do the impossible, and then punishing you for not achieving it -- EPA and its cellulosic fuel mandate springs to mind.

A rudderless ship is a dangerous thing to all those aboard.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if the mighty 0bama autopen is good enough to re-up the Perpetual PATRIOT Act, it's good enough for form letters to a corpse-man.

-SM

Kevin said...

I was touched when I got a form letter from the white house after my Dad passed away.
I knew it was just pushed out by some low level flunkey clicking an icon and sending it to the print spooler but Someone made an effort to remember his WW II service. (or someone had at least made an effort to integrate the Social Security Death Notices with the VA Database and chron a short perl script to pop them out automagically)

however getting 3 copies of the same letter in 4 days made me rail a bit about the competence of the clerical staff in DC.

docjim505 said...

Apparently, Bush DID personally write letters of condolences:

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/22/bush-cheney-comforted-troops-privately/?page=all#ixzz24xKdewEI

Perhaps it's my bias speaking, but I never got the idea that Bush had anything but respect and gratitude for the troops. Further, I think he took his role as CinC very seriously, so I can believe that he WOULD spend his time writing letters.

Earl said...

I have a bunch of letters from Presidential staffs for their boss. The best one was the one I received from Bush the Elder, it was standard but had a note in reference to my letter and had the felt marker sign of the man his self. It was cool. Made waiting in the desert worthy.

Matt G said...

There are sides to each issue. Our opinions will not --could not-- be taken seriously, until we look plainly upon both our favorite side, and the other one.

Also, Joel wins at 8:44.

Kristopher said...

I think they should be happy that he ain't taking credit for their valor, and let it go.

Les Jones said...

"Bitch eating crackers" FTW. One of my all time favorite image macros.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Here, Obama did write personal condolence letters. To the family of a dead entertainer.

I guess he figures the SEALs knew what they were getting into...

tanksoldier said...

GW _DID_ hand-sign many condolence letters, and the point is NOBODY should be doing it.

Do we have to wait until a Republican is elected to point that out?

RKN said...

Yet another reason to bring our troops home, we won't need to concern ourselves over whether the POTUS's death letters are hand- or e-signed.

Nylarthotep said...

Did some googling and there are reports of both the auto pen in use by George W, and large numbers of personal letters. Like all things I'm betting there is a middle ground on this one. Funny that I was going to swear W did just the autopen since that's all I could recall from the whining of the left and the MSM at the time.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/22/bush-cheney-comforted-troops-privately/?page=all#ixzz24xKdewEI

BGMiller said...

Wait a second.....
Og...
You consider Brie a better option for CinC than Stilton?

Really?


BGM

og said...

Well, real brie and real stilton, no. But US made brie and US made stilton, ill take the brie.

mariner said...

Any rhetorical stick to beat that shithead with is fine by me.

Justthisguy said...

Hey, Og! As someone who is still officially a Methodist (though he has attended only Anglican services for the last thirty years or so) I resent that, you Papist!

Justthisguy said...

P.s. One of the first Methodist Camp Meetings in the state of GA was founded by, among others, a Great-Great-Grandfather of mine back around 1830. It is Shingle Roof Campground, and still exists, with a website and all.

Kevin R.C. O'Brien said...

I'm an SF veteran of the Global War on Tourism, as the TSA has made it at home... friend of mine was notification officer for one of the first SF KIAs in 2001. One of his tasks was to deliver a letter from SecDef Rumsfeld. The letter was hand-written (not just hand-signed) and included his direct phone number.

There was also a letter from the President (the survivors assistance officer delivered that one). It was not a form letter, it was hand signed. That was his practice. He also met with most families -- the incumbent has met with almost none. Since retiring, President Bush has been God's gift to politics (or economics) but he's a decent and humble man.

President Obama has written a custom letter and hand-signed it for some doucehbag rapper. (Actually, for all I know the guy was a great fellow, and my loathing of his genre of music is my problem). But the President placing a higher priority on some entertainer than our special operations troops who are dying carrying out his orders -- that's the nation's problem.

For the time being, anyway.

Kevin R.C. O'Brien said...

I'm an SF veteran of the Global War on Tourism, as the TSA has made it at home... friend of mine was notification officer for one of the first SF KIAs in 2001. One of his tasks was to deliver a letter from SecDef Rumsfeld. The letter was hand-written (not just hand-signed) and included his direct phone number.

There was also a letter from the President (the survivors assistance officer delivered that one). It was not a form letter, it was hand signed. That was his practice. He also met with most families -- the incumbent has met with almost none. Since retiring, President Bush has been God's gift to politics (or economics) but he's a decent and humble man.

President Obama has written a custom letter and hand-signed it for some doucehbag rapper. (Actually, for all I know the guy was a great fellow, and my loathing of his genre of music is my problem). But the President placing a higher priority on some entertainer than our special operations troops who are dying carrying out his orders -- that's the nation's problem.

For the time being, anyway.

Kevin R.C. O'Brien said...

Sorry for the double send. And for he missing section, which should read: ...President Bush has been quietly active in assisting the recovering wounded. He has amputees visit his ranch and go mountain biking. He may not be God's gift...

Sorry again for barging into your blog and stomping all over the comment section.

Justthisguy said...

Sorry about the sectarian religious comments, but Og did start it. Re-fighting the Thirty Years War in the comments to Tam's blog seems, well, silly.

Don said...

Most of the condolence letters sent by the White House are typed, form letters, not handwritten, but are signed by the President. Not every serviceman receives one from the White House, but when it happens, it is always signed personally.

Casualty Assistance doesn't always get it right, but that one had been invariable. Until now. That's what the bitch is about.

og said...

Justthisguy: Hey, I did say Methodists would make a better president than wingnuthead.Yes, that may be damming with faint praise, but it's not a downright insult. Really.

Otherwise, all I can say is "Oh yeah! So's your mom!"

Robin said...

W had his problems, but when it came to treating the family of service casualties right, his heart was clearly in the right place.

It is a small thing, you are right, but its indicative of the lack of character of the current occupant of the White House.

John B said...

I believe the FaceBook bit bitched that he sent a hand-writ heartfelt letter to the family of a dead rapper, and autopenned the troops letters.

He's not gonna make everyone happy. If he committed seppuku, someone would say he did it wrong.

blindshooter said...

"He's not gonna make everyone happy. If he committed seppuku, someone would say he did it wrong."

#1 Not fast enough.

Geodkyt said...

#2 Had to make a big production out of it, doing it ceremonially.

#3 Seppuku is Un-'Merican. Shoulda used a shotgun like a real man.

Sigivald said...

John Stephens said: Usually, the form letter doesn't even pretend to be from the President, reading something along the lines of "The Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you...". The handwritten letter of condolence is traditionally written by the soldier's company commander, or other commissioned officer who actually knew him (or her).

But of course, BO has to put his OWN name on the goddamn thing, and that's what the outrage is (or should be) about.


In the President's defense on this one, he is Commander In Chief, after all.

Arguably if the Secretary of Defense is appropriate for being "In Charge" he's more appropriate for being the top of the pyramid.

It's not like it's actually inappropriate in terms of chain of command for him to put his name on the form letter - in fact one could argue that putting the Secretary's title on it instead of the President's is buck-passing.

(I wouldn't, since it's traditional and we try to avoid cults of personality in this country, at least traditionally, but the argument isn't entirely empty...)

If we're going to give him crap for trying to take personal responsibility for Killin' Bin Laden, we should at least note that taking personal responsibility for dead soldiers by putting his own name there instead of the SecDef is fair play on his part.

Consistent, you know? And consonant with being CinC. At some level he is responsible for it, at least in that he approved the warfighting at the highest level...

(That said, I agree that by all evidence President Bush was better at it and "cared" more. But this one? Non-starter.)

NewJerseyThomas said...

It's Political silly season. People are just throwing shit against the internet to see what sticks.