It continues. The Obama machine we saw in 2008 that just couldn’t do anything wrong is not what we’re seeing in 2012. Yes, a large part of it is the fact that the president has to try to overcome a paltry record that he has amassed the last few years. But more than that, the media is unable to cover for him in ways that they once were. Additionally, he is facing a much more organized and better financed opponent. And perhaps most significantly, every calculated political decision our campaigner-in-chief makes is not coming off with the same magic that he once possessed.
Case in point, the decision of the president (the “anti-war” candidate in 2008) to make his case for re-election on the basis of being Rambo. This decision to exploit the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is a direct contradiction of what even he understood and grasped a year ago: this was an American victory, not an Obama victory. Trying to politicize it will make him appear small and tacky. Yet, that is the desperate nature of this campaign right now.
I advise you to stop and consider that reality. Many on the left love to talk about how much of a cakewalk this election will be for Obama and how he is in such great shape. You tell me – if the president’s re-election is all but assured, why is he engaging such a risky strategy of “spiking the bin Laden football” so brazenly when even he knew that was a bad idea just one year ago?
Nonetheless, he has done so, and as expected, the public displeasure has been immense. But maybe an even bigger problem for the president is that he has managed to tick off the very military men whose brethren carried out the actual raid. Navy SEALs are coming out of the woodwork to condemn the president’s actions. That’s something. And this will resonate with the American people far more than anything a conservative commentator or media journalist has to say about it:
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice - it was a broader team effort.’
A couple things about this. Thing 1 – “The decision was a no brainer.” I think all this crowing from the president about his unbelievably tough call should actually call us to question his judgment. How tough of a call was this, really? The chance to pick off bin Laden? What was the decision? The fact that the president is publicly acknowledging how grueling of a call this was – how he could have gone either way – is actually a pretty sad commentary on the state of his judgment.
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Thing 2 – I don’t think that Obama would be taking as much flak if he hadn’t done the classless thing of questioning whether Mitt Romney would have made the same call. It’s one thing to highlight a good decision you made that benefited the country. But speculating that others wouldn’t have is a different story, and there’s a different level of accountability for a sitting president who says that.
A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because (his) speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
I think there’s a key point here (beyond the obvious fact that Kyle's assertion that the War on Terror continues is directly contradictory to this administration who has announced that the "war on terror is over"). The president is backtracking big time right now, and the resistance and criticism he’s taking for using this bin Laden killing politically is only going to intensify if he doesn’t alter course. Obama may have just created a land mine for the election season for himself, and the one significant victory he has experienced during his time in the Oval Office may now be politically “off limits” for him for the remainder of the campaign.
Additionally, check out this uncomfortable piece of information that – should the president continue pushing this template – will become public:
‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
The more the president pushes this story, the more people are going to realize that the narrative being told by the Obama campaign, the imagery they are using to surround this incident, all of it...is not exactly true. Other military leaders made the call, other military leaders directed the operation.
This is what I mean when I say the Obama campaign of 2012 is not like the Obama campaign of 2008. Four years ago, nothing they did went wrong. Now, the mojo is missing. They look frazzled, out of touch, and most of all, desperate.