Following President Obama's statement calling for lawmakers to set aside their differences and "harness" the "same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11" to "confront the many challenges that we still face," right-wing media figures rejected the call, with Fox News' Laura Ingraham suggesting it was a "political" ploy and a "trap." In 2003, however, Ingraham repeatedly attacked progressives for supposedly "eroding our national unity."
Obama Calls For "The Same Sense Of Unity That Prevailed On 9/11"
Obama: "It Is My Fervent Hope That We Can Harness Some Of That Unity And Some Of That Pride To Confront The Many Challenges That We Still Face." In remarks to congressional leaders at a White House dinner, Obama stated:
OBAMA: Obviously we've all had disagreements and differences in the past. I suspect we'll have them again in the future. But last night, as Americans learned that the United States had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of Osama bin Laden, we -- (applause) -- you know, I think we experienced the same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. We were reminded again that there is a pride in what this nation stands for, and what we can achieve, that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics.
I know that that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illusions about the difficulties of the debates that we'll have to be engaged in, in the weeks and months to come. But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family, whether it was the tragedy in Tucson or, most recently, our unified response to the terrible storms that have taken place in the South.
Last night was one of those moments. And so tonight, it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face. But to all of you here tonight, we are joyful that you could join us. And please have a little bit of fun. All right? Thank you very much, everybody. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/2/11]
Obama: "Let Us Think Back To The Sense Of Unity That Prevailed On 9/11." During his live televised address announcing bin Laden's death, Obama stated:
OBAMA: [T]onight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it's the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. [WhiteHouse.gov, 5/1/11]
Fox's Ingraham: Obama's Call For Unity Is A "Political" Ploy, A "Trap"
Fox's Ingraham Casts Obama's Call For Unity As A "Political" Ploy. In an appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends, Ingraham discussed what she thought of Obama's call to come together, saying:
INGRAHAM: I must say that I didn't get that. We as Americans were applauding the capture of bin Laden. That's a fact. I mean, I was. It was a smart call by him. It was extremely well-executed. Our military as usual performed above and beyond. That's just a fact. But how do you go from that to "We all have to get along. We have to work shoulder-to-shoulder"? I mean, I didn't capture bin Laden, and the, you know, the people debating the debt ceiling on Capitol Hill didn't capture bin Laden. They're working on another problem, and there is a big debate that needs to be had.
So the idea that we can scuttle that debate and because Obama's [sic] been caught, we all have to have a Rodney King moment and get along on these momentous issues like immigration and all these things that are bubbling up to the surface -- that's just ludicrous. I mean, that's not how our country works. And it's -- that seemed to me -- that seemed to me political. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/4/11, via Media Matters]
Ingraham: Obama's Call For Unity Is A "Trap." In a post to her Twitter feed, Ingraham wrote: "BHO calling for unity? Republicans and conservatives must be aware of this trap." She concluded: "Sometimes disunity is good for us." From her post:
Ingraham: "Beware The Call For Unity. Beware The Call For Bipartisanship." On her radio show, Ingraham elaborated on what she thought of Obama's call for unity, saying:
INGRAHAM: You know where there's a lot of unity? China. A lot of unity there. Well, because if you're not unified, you get thrown into a re-education camp. But thankfully, in the United States of America, we have wonderful and brave souls who've struggled, bled, given their lives to the cause of freedom over the generations, who keep us free to have this disunity. Beware the call for unity. Beware the call for bipartisanship.
Now that might sound really inflammatory and I'm sure all you liberals out there are tweeting, Ingraham after bin Laden killing calls for disunity. [groans] Why don't you do this thing called think for a moment before you tweet? Think before you tweet. I'll give you a tweet, not a trick. Here's a tweet: Sometimes, disunity is good for us. I think a lot of the slave owners wanted unity -- yeah, behind the idea that certain people were really property. And I think a lot of people believed in segregation. They liked unity around their ideas. And a lot of people who believe we can spend our way out of an economic disaster, they sure certainly would like unity.
Because what did Obama say? Well, if I were president of China for -- what did he say? Oh, the president of China, they can just -- he can --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a lot easier.
INGRAHAM: It's a lot easier for him. Yeah. They don't have to have these things called meaningful elections. They don't have to be held to account by the people. Unity. Do you see this as I see this? Republicans, beware. Conservatives, be alert. Independents, continue to think and analyze before you buy what you're hearing from the brilliant prognosticators and punditacrocy and all the smarty pant politicians who are always telling us to sit down and listen to them. Think for a moment of how the election will look in the fall of 2012 if the Republican nominee is standing before the country agreeing with President Obama that we need to be unified. We need to work in a bipartisan fashion. Do you think that presidential candidate, that Republican will have a snowball's chance in hell of being the president of the United States?
I'll tell you who's not interested in getting along and the groups that stick to their guns day in and day out regardless of where the country is on any particular issue: It's the organized left. They're staying on their viewpoints on Afghanistan -- immediate pullout. They're staying on their -- on point for Planned Parenthood, protecting them at all costs. They're staying on point for continuing to grow the welfare state. They're staying on point for continuing to see and enable a porous border that especially now we should seal up. They are staying on point. [Talk Radio Network, The Laura Ingraham Show, 5/3/11, via LauraIngraham.com]
Ingraham: "Fellow Conservatives: Don't Fall For ... The White House Playing The Unity Card." In a post to her Twitter feed, Ingraham reiterated her call for conservatives to reject Obama's call for unity, writing: "Fellow conservatives: don't fall for ... the White House playing the unity card." She also included a link to her radio show clip in which she advised conservatives to "[b]eware the call for unity." From her Twitter feed:
But In 2003, Ingraham Repeatedly Attacked Progressives For "Eroding Our National Unity"
Ingraham: "Ivory Tower Reds" Are "Undermining America And Eroding Our National Unity." From Ingraham's 2003 book, Shut Up And Sing:
Coast to coast, our students' curricula are designed and dictated by the K-12 edu-elite. In years to come, those children will grow up and attend college, their heads filled with all sorts of anti-American, politically correct nonsense. At college, their prejudices will be confirmed, encouraged, by the Ivory Tower Reds. This is a surefire way of undermining America and eroding our national unity. [Shut Up And Sing, Page 258-259]
Ingraham: Progressive Elites Try To "Ensure That Our Sense Of Unity And Loyalty To America Fade Away." In Shut Up And Sing, Ingraham quotes from a Japanese American leader pledging loyalty to the United States during World War II. She then writes:
Can you imagine a similar statement being issued nowadays when the educrats [sic] teach that America represents nothing more than a shameful tale of exploitation, hatred, oppression, and imperialism perpetrated by a ruling class of Dead White European Males? Dream on. The elites tell immigrants to resist assimilation to ensure that our sense of unity and loyalty to America fade away. [Shut Up And Sing, Page 58-59]
Ingraham: Iraq War Protesters Wanted To "Subvert America." From Shut Up and Sing:
We faced exactly this scenario in the lead-up to the war in Iraq. The "antiwar" elites backed a dictator over our president. They trusted Kofi Annan over George W. Bush. They said their concern was for the lives of innocents, "the children," etc., but they were willing to prolong the war, which kept Saddam's torture regime in power longer, devastating the very population the peace pushers say they care so much about. To them, the Iraqi people were only pawns in their quest to subvert America. They weren't antiwar protestors -- they were protesters against freeing Iraqis from their bondage. [Shut Up And Sing, Page 163]
Other Conservative Media Figures Joined Ingraham In Refusing Obama's Call For Unity
Limbaugh: "We Are Not Unifying Around Obama." On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh refused Obama's call for unity, saying it was a veiled attempt by Obama to get the American people "to set aside our principles." From his show:
LIMBAUGH: The point is we come together on issues we all agree on. No, we are not unifying around liberalism here, folks. We are not unifying around Obama. Every narcissist's dream is to have the world agree them with and adore them, but that's not our dream here. That's not what this unity is all about. No, the American dream concerns our families, our life goals, jobs, homes -- those that still have them -- our disposable income -- those that still have that -- and the liberty -- those that still have that.
I mean, there's really nothing to leverage here. The celebration over Osama's assassination isn't transferable to a domestic political agenda, but they're trying. You see, the American people know what to celebrate. We did that. We know what not to celebrate too and that's liberalism. We don't do that no matter how it's positioned. And asking us to set aside our principles as the means of showing unity is absurd, transparently absurd. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/3/11, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh Suggested Obama Was "Making All Of This About Him" In Call For Unity. Later on the same program, discussing the debate over whether the White House should release the photos of bin Laden's corpse, which Obama has since decided against, Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: There's no intel or security issue with releasing them. We can decided if they're appropriate to look at or not. I mean, for crying out loud, we all sat and watched for hours the World Trade Centers tumble. Some saw people leaping to their deaths from 110 stories high. So, I think they're purposely stringing all this out. What else does he have? What else does he have to distract people from the bad economic news?
And I also think he's desperately trying to recreate the nation's unity after 9/11, and frankly, he can't. You know, the main reason is that speech he gave. We didn't rally around Bush after 9/11; we rallied around the nation. We rallied around our fellow citizens after that shock. We demanded retribution. Bush's poll numbers went up, but it was never about Bush. He never made it about himself. Obama is making all of this about him. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/4/11, via Media Matters]
Napolitano "Hope[s]" Bin Laden Death Doesn't Bring "Too Much Joy And Unity" Because Obama "Wants To Borrow Trillions Of Your Dollars." On his Fox Business show, Napolitano stated:
NAPOLITANO: As we know from today's reaction across the country, from Republicans, and Democrats, and liberals, and conservatives, the demise of this monster has brought great joy and unity. I hope not too much joy and unity, because the same president who ordered the killing of bin Laden also wants to borrow trillions of your dollars that your children and grandchildren will need to repay so as to finance his welfare and warfare state. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/2/11, via Media Matters]
Breitbart's Big Government: "Bin Laden's Death Won't Get Me to 'Unite' Behind Out-of-Control Spending." In a post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website titled, "Bin Laden's Death Won't Get Me to 'Unite' Behind Out-of-Control Spending," contributor Kyle Olson suggested that Obama's call for unity is an attempt to "marginalize legitimate critics." From the post:
Obama will be visiting Ground Zero Thursday. According to FoxNews.com, the president explained:
"I know that unity that we felt on 9/11 has frayed a little bit over the years, and I have no illu about the difficulties, the debates we'll have to be engaged in in the weeks and months to come," Obama said. "But I also know there have been several moments like this during the course of this year that have brought us together as an American family, whether it was the tragedy in Tucson or most recently our unified response to storms that have taken place in the South."
It is this type of response that leads me to believe these kinds of events, Tucson specifically, are used by politicians to marginalize legitimate critics.
As the president said, it was a "good day" for America when Bin Laden's last memory was apparently the barrel of an American gun.
But that euphoria won't and shouldn't silence legitimate criticism regarding out-of-control spending and debt that is piling higher than we can imagine.
So let's stand united in defeating our terrorist enemies, but not use it as an excuse to silence critics. After all, in the words of Bush-hating radical leftists, "Dissent is Patriotic." Right, Mr. President? [Big Government, 5/4/11]
Malkin: If Obama Really Wanted To "Show Unity, Rather Than Just Tell And Preach It," He Would Acknowledge That Bush Administration Deserves Credit For Bin Laden. On Fox News' Hannity, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin criticized Obama, saying that if he really wanted to "show unity, rather than just tell and preach it," he would "acknowledge the structures that were put in place by the Bush administration" and "the relentless criticism and demonization, not just suffered by President Bush, but all of his top officials at the Pentagon, at the Justice Department." [Fox News, Hannity, 5/4/11, via Media Matters]