Monday, April 30, 2012

Neptune Spear, Politics, and the 2012 Election

The Osama bin Laden killing is an absolute net positive for the Obama administration and should be highlighted as evidence of President Barack Obama’s leadership on national security matters. After all, Republicans and the Republican primary candidates have been criticizing Obama’s foreign and national security policy for months and it is appropriate for the Obama campaign to respond to those attacks. What better way to do this than to show a contrast between Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney using Romney’s own words against him?

And to the complaint by Republicans that the Obama campaign is “turning a unifying event into a divisive political attack”: in 2004, the Bush reelection campaign did not hesitate using the events of 9/11 for campaign purposes. Who can forget Vice President Richard Cheney warning that a vote for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was asking for another 9/11: It’s absolutely essential that…on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because ifwe make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again.” And perhaps the most powerful ad of the 2004 campaign featured President George W.Bush hugging and comforting Ashley Faulkner, an Ohio girl who lost her mother in the attack on the Twin Towers.

So, yes the Obama reelection campaign should milk the very successful bin Laden killing for all it’s worth. The fact remains that after eluding justice for almost a decade, it was President Obama who made the difficult call to green-light Operation Neptune Spear. Not all commanders-in-chief would have made the same tough decision.


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