President Obama seems to be on the verge of turning the only positive accomplishment of his presidency into a campaign liability.
I don’t know what he and his campaign staff were thinking when they started saying and implying that Romney might not have given the go-ahead for the take-down of Osama bin Laden. Do they really think Obama or any Democrat is going to win votes by claiming to be more hawkish than a Republican opponent?
The Veterans for a Strong America ad embedded above is just devastating. The parallels with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 are obvious — but James Taranto makes an important distinction (second item):
It sounds a bit like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who helped sink John Kerry. We’re not the first to make that connection. On Wednesday Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson wrote a defensive piece titled “Why Obama Can’t Be Swift-Boated”:
Kerry may have been Swift-Boated, but Obama is not going to be SEALed. Republicans are used to calling Democrats cowards and worse. Not this time. Republicans have the squishy, soft, cosseted, consensus-building candidate, while Democrats have the fighter. Finally.
Liberal pundits always make us laugh when they cheer on Democratic macho posturing like this. That said, it seems to us Carlson is probably right to think the SEALs won’t be able to hurt Obama nearly as much as the Swift Boat veterans hurt Kerry. After all, Kerry wasn’t really a war hero, whereas killing bin Laden is a real accomplishment for Obama, one that even his braggadocio cannot completely erase.
He’d much rather have an argument with conservatives over the OBL raid than the economy since every minute spent talking about Bin Laden is (a) a reminder that O did in fact give the order to liquidate the bastard, however shoddy his behavior might have been afterward, and (b) a minute not spent talking about the thoroughgoing crappiness of, oh, pretty much every other part of his record.
It’s not just conservatives going after Obama for celebrating in the end zone. In the video, Arianna Huffington called the President’s politicizing of the matter “despicable.” I actually think that overstates it — I just think it’s stupid and counter-productive. But I’m delighted by Huffington’s reaction — it provides a lot of protective cover for conservative criticism on the topic.