The only explanation with even a whiff of plausibility, for that campaign nugget rolled out earlier about President Obama hogging all the credit for eliminating bin Laden, revolves around good old moola. Maybe the geniuses who hatched this one got kayoed real soon after leaving the starting gate, dashing hopes of what they figured to be a nice run, aping the 2004 number done on John Kerry. But that this 2012 variant would actually get a fanfare launching is the type of absurdity for which only the massive anti-Obama cash overflow offers some kind of twisted rationale.
Trying to make George Bush a one-termer in ’04, Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was advised, or curiously advised himself, to not respond with rapid-fire ferocity when the infamous Swift Boat characters made their distortion of the man’s service record a piece of heavy pro-Bush artillery in the campaign. This time around, some former Navy SEALS and other military types congregated in an ad hoc outfit — whose intentions belie any non-partisan flag they might fly — are similarly fixated, like the ‘04 bunch, on destroying the Democratic nominee by any means necessary. Their weapon of choice is a video, reeking of smear and falsehoods that purport to dramatize an abundance of dirty pool engaged in by Obama in the run-up to bin Laden’s capture and execution, and to draw attention to the president taking sole credit for the operation’s success.
If nothing else, such villainy is indicative of the brainless limits to which zealots are prepared to take their passion for vitriol. Not prepared to rest their case after some vague, unfounded claim that the president had leaked sensitive information as intelligence and military personnel intensified the bin Laden hunt, these self-styled guardians of the military’s interests couldn’t resist tossing into the brew the charge that Obama wanted all attention focused on himself when he announced to the world that the despicable paragon of evil had been put out of business. They just couldn’t resist going where their perfidy would instantly expose itself. No-brainer!
On MSNBC’s Hardball program a few days ago, a representative of the evidently desperate former Navy SEALS, one Gabriel Gomez, faced off against a former Army captain who served in Iraq. Hewing to the company line, the ex-SEAL insisted that the president, although he acknowledged the contribution of the military, was all about promoting himself as the true hero of the bin Laden takedown. Subbing for Chris Matthews, Michael Smerconish allowed that it was uncomfortable for him as host to disagree with what this former military man was saying, but he couldn’t help the (relatively mild) rebuke that Gomez and his organization’s offensive video were merchandising “a mischaracterization” of the president’s conduct “I have a transcript right here,” Smerconish said as he waved a copy of Obama’s statement that fateful Sunday evening at this sap, so obviously enveloped in blind fury toward the president as to be lacking any capacity for fair-minded observation.
By contrast, the former Army captain, Jon Soltz, praised the president for making a courageous call for the raid on the bin Laden compound to proceed, and affirmed, as everyone knows, that Obama profusely credited the military and counter-terrorism personnel whose joint efforts had been responsible for what went down in Pakistan. Soltz, who is involved in an organization called VoteVets, dismissed Gomez and his confederates as a “fringe group” that was “spreading lies.” And he charged that “a lot of right wing neo-conservative activists” were part of the group.
Just as surely as Mitt Romney will get nowhere championing himself and Paul Ryan as Medicare’s best friends, so too is foreign policy, military action and the like, considered by many to be the province of the GOP side of the national political divide. Quite improbably, if we care to be honest, President Obama has proven to be one heck of an exception to that general rule. So much so, in fact, that his policies on the foreign front have run afoul of some progressives who saw him as being too reminiscent of the Republican he succeeded. Upshot of this is that there isn’t much in the way of low-hanging fruit in the foreign policy area for Republicans to reach for. Thinking that the biggest Obama administration foreign policy achievement, the bin Laden mission, could be mined for possibly producing some bonanza, is a tactic so preposterous, it’s scary to think there’s money enough on the other side to fund even stuff like this.
What perhaps is most valuable about this 2012 reprise of the Swift Boat blindsiding maneuver is the cautionary tale aspect. Between now and November, what else is likely to jump out of the woodwork that speaks to what constitutes the other side’s state of battle readiness? And what of inscrutable Karl Rove? What devious stratagem, maybe straight out of where bottom feeders dwell, might he be fixing to unleash? There is evidently more money than they need to deluge the electorate with advertising. Dare we speculate that the hordes of cash are so obscene as to literally buy votes where this might seem desirable? It’s clear we have arrived at where nothing is sacred.
Oh, incidentally, that shameful Obama/bin Laden video was touted as getting 800,000 YouTube hits. The betting here is that the only thumbs-up votes reside with those already convinced Obama is bad news.