If you’re wondering why America is no longer able to make even the most basic, common-sense decisions, there are two simple answers: extreme partisanship and willful hypocrisy. Forget the desire to seek truth. Many on the right and left are simply incapable of seeing the real picture, even if it’s smacking them in the face. And those rare souls who do rise above partisanship to tell the truth are viciously discredited by their own, branded “traitors” and “sellouts.”
The incessant calls for “bipartisanship” are nothing more than pure campaign posturing. Once the election is over, the personal attacks begin anew, demonizing adversaries for miniscule partisan advantage.
Nowhere is this more apparent that the right’s nonstop barrage against President Obama for his “politicizing” the killing of Osama bin Laden—an attack, by the way, that will backfire as it repels swing voters from the GOP and pushes the Prez closer to re-election.
There are countless articles, commentaries and videos (including this particularly appalling anti-Obama ad from Veterans for a Strong America) that bash the President on everything related to the bin Laden raid. Outside of throwing red meat to the far right (who obviously aren’t voting for Obama anyway), this misguided strategy is destroying whatever credibility the right may have had. Some common themes we are hearing include:
• Obama deserves absolutely no credit for the raid that killed bin Laden.
• It is George W. Bush who really should be praised for nailing bin Laden (as Obama did nothing at all to contribute to the hunt—he was just a lucky guy who happened to be on watch when the terrorist was located).
• The Navy SEALs deserve 100 percent of the credit, as they are the “real heroes” who did the job (see point one).
• The President never thanked the SEALs or the intelligence community, instead taking all the accolades for himself because he used the word “I” in a few sentences.
• A Republican would never politicize anything about high-profile killings, war, or terrorism—especially in front of a foreign leader.
Yeah, good thing George Bush never politicized Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, the capture of Saddam Hussein, WMDs, or anything related to national security. And not to throw a bone to the conspiracy theorists, but since national security/war on terror was, literally, the only issue in which Bush and the Republicans held an advantage over the Democrats (after 2004), didn’t it seem like there was a “non-specific, color-coded heightened terror alert” every other week, especially right before elections?
Of course, Bush politicized security matters. How many videos do you need to show the truth? Just Google it. And, for the record, Bush even politicized the terror issue in front of a foreign leader (the Iraqi Prime Minister). But to those on the right, those things are simply not acknowledged, conveniently overlooked, or hypocritically justified. Which is why they can’t make inroads winning the hearts and minds of the Great American Middle.
Speaking of hypocrisy, please explain how Bush should be credited with the bin Laden killing (he put the intel apparatus in place, we are told), but Obama should not. A) Most intelligence analysts uniformly agree that the search for bin Laden actually decreased under Bush, as assets were pulled from that mission and re-directed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the general war on terror. B) Obama made the search for bin Laden a priority. C) He ordered the raid. D) He is the commander-in-chief. Bush had eight years to get the job done, and didn’t. Obama did. What am I missing?
And because the President wasn’t physically carrying a machine gun into the compound means that he had nothing to do with the raid? So a coach should get no credit when he guides his team to a Super Bowl because he isn’t on the field? Parents don’t deserve recognition for their children’s academic performance because they aren’t in the classroom taking the test? CEOs shouldn’t be lauded when profits are up because they weren’t on the widget line?
And would the same “Obama wasn’t physically there” litmus test be used if Bush had been in office when bin Laden was killed? Not a chance.
Make no mistake about one thing. If U.S. personnel were killed or captured, or the helicopters crashed into a Pakistani house, you can bet the ranch the President would have been crucified by the right for incompetence. You can’t have it both ways. He either owns the mission or he doesn’t.
Were the SEALs courageous and competent? As always, yes. Are they unknown heroes? You bet. But let’s keep the emotion in check here. We don’t live in a military dictatorship. We are led by a civilian president elected by the people; the military—even the elite SEALs—work for him. Period. The SEALs didn’t go in until expressly authorized by the President, and, while that decision now seems like a no-brainer, it was infinitely more complicated and risky than the general public will ever know. The nation (and civilized world) owes a debt of gratitude to the SEALs, and they deserve high honors for their precision work. But without question, the bulk of the credit must go to their leader.
And the President did, in fact, congratulate and heap praise not just on the SEALs, but on everyone who helped make the mission a success. Let’s not forget that the SEALs didn’t find bin Laden; without good intelligence agents, there wouldn’t have been a raid.
And for a President who doesn’t deserve credit, here’s a pretty big irony: Barack Obama and his family will, for the rest of their lives, have a literal target on their backs from bin Laden supporters. Paybacks are a bitch, and as we have learned firsthand, Muslim fanatics redefine “patience.” Obama will always wonder if his house will be car-bombed, or a person at a (post-presidency) speaking engagement has a bomb strapped to his chest. Or if his children and grandchildren are safe. For all the dangers the SEALs faced, they will never have those worries. When their missions end, they’re done. Not so for the President.
For a guy whom the right tags as anti-American and in bed with the Muslim community, ordering the assassination of radical Muslims’ ultimate hero doesn’t exactly fit that mold.
Obviously, the right does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy. It’s just more pronounced because Obama currently occupies the Big Prize. It was no different when Bush was in charge, as the left refused to give him credit when the Fort Dix Six were captured, avoiding a mass killing spree.
I was a consistent critic of W. (and by no means am I on the left), yet I gave him total credit for that security victory, since it happened on his watch. Only fair, even though Bush did not physically participate in the operation.
Mitt Romney should, but won’t, have the guts to chide those who are attacking Obama for something that any President would do—take credit for removing the most dangerous thug in the world from the living. Regardless of Obama’s stance on any other issues, the decapitation of al-Queda by whacking bin Laden stands as a well-deserved mammoth achievement. For anyone who doesn’t like that, one basic question: Would you rather have bin Laden still walking among us?