Republicans are reacting badly to President Obama's apparent politicizing of foreign policy success...how extraordinary.
Last time I checked, Obama never claimed he killed Osama, but why let the facts get in the way of a good piece of Republican whinging?
It’s campaign season stateside and each political party is equally adept at taking the moral high ground when it suits (remember ‘high’ is relative as we are talking politics).
The Republicans’ collective dummy spitting over the reality that, as Joe Biden put it this week “bin Laden is dead, General Motors is alive”, takes some beating.
This double whammy for Obama hurts the Republicans because their presumptive challenger Mitt Romney opposed both...no matter how hard he tries to etch-a-sketch the record.
Now there’s the Obama election advert in which the President is positioned front and centre as being hired by the American people to make the tough decisions when nobody else can.
In George W. Bush parlance, Obama’s ‘the Decider’.
He decided, against some very high level advice it turns out, that it was worth the risk sending the Navy SEALS in to the compound at Abbottabad to take out bin Laden one year ago this week.
The operation worked - if targeted assassinations are your thing.
Bill Clinton croons in the advert that Obama reasoned that in good conscience he could not ignore the intelligence he had...he took the harder and the more honourable path, and the one that in Clinton’s belief produced the best result.
So far so good.
Then the advert quotes from a 2007 Reuters story that “Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary”.
This is followed by a clip of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (unnervingly set to music) quoting Romney as saying “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person”.
The Democrats are also in possession of a wealth of campaign-friendly footage showing other Republicans praising Obama’s gutsy decision.
However, the Republicans are sore over the entire issue and have, rather hilariously, called Obama tacky for politicizing...what? 9/11? See George W.Bush and Rudy Giuliani for tips on how to do that. For politicizing a military operation? See George W. Bush for tips on how to dress in a combat suit on board an aircraft carrier to pronounce “Mission Accomplished” in a war/invasion of choice that was far from over, far from accomplished, killed tens of thousands, wrecked a country and had its true costs kept off the books so as to be hidden from Americans.
For some strange reason (not) Republicans are all miffy about reference back to Obama’s success in getting the guy they chased the entire Bush Jr. years. Suddenly this foreign policy success is out of bounds in election year.
Cry me a river.
Romney claims Obama is trying to divide Americans and distract from the failures of the Obama first term! Heaven forbid.
McCain opines that Obama is unacceptably politicizing a shared and sacred moment in American history, and is diminishing the memory of 9/11. Refer George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani.
The real problem is Obama has nicked the Republican war cojones.
Some Obama supporters would rather he had followed through on promises about Guantanamo than order assassinations.
Obama detractors are quite happy he hasn’t followed through on closing America’s dirty little off-shore prison where torture was officially sanctioned. Interestingly W. devotee Karl Rove feels quite free to politicize this in comments on Fox ‘News‘, claiming Obama was served “quite well” by Bush’s “tool” of ‘enhanced interrogation‘.
Just don’t mention that Obama was President when America's Nemesis was indeed beaten.
And to add insult to injury, while Republicans were frothing about Obama being too cocky and crowing about his military prowess, Obama winded them brilliantly, albeit in a rather contrived manner.
He went to Afghanistan and in a news prime-time slot, talked directly to young American troops, thanked them for their service, without which a year ago bin Laden could not have been killed, and America would not be as safe as it is today.
His off-the-cuff speech was about troop sacrifices and not the President’s personal slaying of America’s most menacing contemporary dragon.
Them, not him.
If the Republicans are genuinely disgusted by the politicization of foreign policy achievements then they had better clean house.
The ability of a candidate to question the judgement of a rival in an election campaign, even if that judgement concerns foreign policy rather than fiscal policy, has never been off the table...and this election year will be no different.
As for the self-appointed right to order targeted assassinations...now that’s a topic that should get people going. Alas, no matter how disgusting and immoral the practice is, neither Democrats nor Republicans have the mettle to step out from the shadows of political expediency on that one.