When you run for president you’re supposed to choose somebody who will help you in places where you might be weak. For example, if you’re from the Northeast, choose someone from the Southwest. If you are not really a “social conservative” pick somebody who is to help you with those voters. If you’re behind in the polls maybe pick a woman to be your VP? Or, if you’re thought of as being soft on terrorism… pick a dead mass murdering Islamic radical to be your running mate. Of course, he’ll be dead and because he wasn’t born in the U.S. he’ll never be president, but why not go for it anyway?
This is the danger.
There was a curious, albeit unintended, exchange of ideas while President Obama was fundraising in Texas (ignoring the wildfires of that state and the flooding of the Mississippi River) regarding Osama bin Laden:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you for getting bin Laden.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, there you go. (Applause.) Case in point. (Applause.) It should inspire us to finish what we started. Because of you, we were able to prevent a second Great Depression. But in the next few weeks, in the next few months, the next few years, we have to make sure that the new jobs in industries of our time are created right here in the United States of America. We have to make sure that America is prepared to win the future.
The message? I have several things to accomplish in my next term and killing bin Laden is now one less thing I have to do.
As reported by the LA Times:
Later, Obama ticked off what he described as his administration’s accomplishments: lifting the ban on gays in the military; bringing troops home from Iraq.
And then: “And because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation’s uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies,’’ Obama said, “Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States.’’
The crowd roared.
We rightly give credit to President Obama for ordering the SEAL team in to go after Osama bin Laden. This did take political courage. One helicopter crashed what if the second had, also, and the SEALs were trapped in Pakistan and slain? But the shooting of an unarmed man in cold blood, no matter how villainous he may have been (or who was president), was still morally wrong. But is Obama using the death of America’s #1 (former) enemy to burnish his credentials as not being soft on terror (even though he is)?
Remember, Americans want GITMO open but the Obama administration claims they are still trying to close it. Americans didn’t want terror trials in New York City while the Obama administration pressed for them until they lost that battle. On a variety of fronts, Obama is seen as being soft on terrorism.
With bin Laden out of the way, the president can (somewhat rightly) claim he is a tough guy like his predecessor (not really) although he hasn’t given the previous president any credit for putting him in the position to move on bin Laden (or for the Surge in Iraq, either).
The press seems to want to help Obama look as good (and popular) as possible. Case in point is the recent AP presidential popularity poll. Nearly 100% more Democrats were counted in the poll than Republicans (the AP mentions it in tiny letters) and Obama magically has a 60% popularity rating!
A Rasmussen poll, weighing Republicans and Democrats equally has Obama pegged at 48% popularity.
Rasmussen nearly predicted to the percentage point the victor of the last presidential election, by the way.
Remember when the shoe was on the other foot and Democrats laid into Republicans for “politicizing” the War on Terror?
I’m sure President Obama went after Osama bin Laden because it was the right thing to do, and he does deserve his fair share of the credit. The danger in having laid away the al Qaeda leader is that instead of moving on to the next order of business it will instead be a campaign issue.
For this, we shall wait and see.
We can imagine had Osama been killed or caputred under a Bush presidency we would be hearing how the president put the country in danger by angering a hornet’s nest and how he would have blood on his hands after the next terrorist attack. Predictably, we have heard no such thing because a Democrat occupies the Oval Office.
I certainly hope President Obama moves quickly on to other business but, if he doesn’t, it’s because Joe Biden will no longer be his running mate for the 2012 presidential election.
We shall be watching.