Hear the audio version here (segments older than 3 weeks may be unavailable)
So Barney Frank has warned Eric Cantor not to politicize the death of Osama bin Laden. Good grief. Not that I should be overly surprised that Frank has once again wondered into the land of incoherence, but you think even he would be a little more aware of his surroundings than that.
Cantor, for his part, had given credit to President Obama AND President Bush for their tireless efforts to track down and kill bin Laden. You caught that, right? Cantor gives credit to BOTH presidents, and Frank calls him out for politicizing the death. Apparently to Frank, giving President Bush any credit for putting into motion the very wheels that Obama rode to kill Osama is a bridge too far. In Frank's mind, this event is to be Obama's sole victory. One that only Democrats can rejoice in. And he's complaining about politicizing the event?!
Here's what we know from intelligence officials: Obama acted on the mounting evidence that bin Laden was living in this compound. He felt like the evidence was sufficient to make the decision to execute the operation. But where did that evidence come from? It came from the multi-year tracking of one of bin Laden's couriers who was observed going in and out of the compound. But how did we know the courier was one of bin Laden's henchmen? We received that information from the aggressive interrogations of other terrorists caught by U.S. troops on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. This includes the mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the man who was "waterboarded." Additionally, we launched the operation from an Afghan base - something only possible because of Bush's move to depose the Taliban and liberate Afghanistan.
Barack Obama deserves extraordinary credit for his handling of the intelligence and his decisiveness in pulling the trigger. But attempting to divorce the Bush Administration and their policies from this great success is absolutely ludicrous, and no serious person can do so. Which is why Barney Frank has entered the discussion - he thrives in the land of being unserious.
But Frank might want to actually try opening his eyes and ears to the world around him - if only for a moment. While every conservative Republican - from Boehner to Limbaugh to Cheney - who has gone on record has praised Barack Obama for his leadership on this issue (thus, not politicizing the death), he and his allies on the left are the ones failing to acknowledge the work and effort of Bush (thus, politicizing the death).
Andrea Mitchell, before the President even announced the success was mocking Bush's "mission accomplished" moment and his "failure" to get bin Laden at Tora Bora (even shamelessly reciting John Kerry talking points that were far from accurate then or now).
Barbara Walters announced with great glee that she would hate to be a Republican running against Obama right now.
Democrat Gary Ackerman taunted that this was a "mission accomplished moment" that Bush only "fantasized" about (as though we all haven't been desperately fantasizing about this great moment).
And the list keeps going.
Frank is right in saying that the death of bin Laden should not be politicized. The reason is two-fold: first, doing so glosses over some folks who deserve a great deal of credit themselves...the studs of the SEAL team who performed the operation; and second, it is a victory presided over by a Democrat who would have never had the opportunity without a Republican. In other words, it was a truly American effort that drew on the strength and skill of folks across the political aisles.
The only ones failing to note that are ironically, the very ones complaining about not politicizing the event.