All weekend, and again today, the talk is about tomorrow’s one-year anniversary of the demise of Obama bin Laden.
But Republicans are incensed that last Friday the Obama campaign released a web video—a web video, mind you—featuring President Clinton saying—surprise, surprise—nice things about Obama’s decision to send the terrorist bastard to the bottom of the sea.
The ball-buster was at the end when this question is posed:
Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?
That is a question worth asking because of Mittens’ remarks in 2007 that it wasn’t worth “moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” John McCain found it in his politically duplicitous heart to criticize Romney at the time, but that was then and this is now. These days McCain is bad-mouthing Obama, claiming he is “doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get elected.“
Well, after years of watching Republicans slander Democrats as being weak abroad, it is about time we danced and spiked the ball after our guy sent bin Laden snorkeling without a snorkel.
But more important, the Obama web video also featured a quote from a Reuter’s article from 2007:
Mitt Romney criticized Barack Obama for vowing to strike al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if necessary.
Whoops! Mittens shouldn’t have done that. Makes him look weak. And it is certainly fair game for the Obama team to point out that Romney couldn’t have been more wrong.
And that, of course, is what has Republicans, and their cable “news” channel friends, so theatrically indignant.
The truth of the matter is that it is more than okay for Democrats to point out their successes, even if it pisses off the entire Obama-hating world. And the reason it is okay is because the other side would be quick to point out Democratic failures. Just imagine what kind of campaign commercials we would be seeing from Romney, should the mission to get bin Laden have failed.
Some of us still remember Operation Eagle Claw.
That was the name given to the failed attempt in April of 1980 to rescue the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran by a mob of revolutionaries who had stormed our embassy in Teheran. That failed mission, and the fact the hostages would not be coming home before Election Day, figured greatly in President Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan.
Anyone think that the Reagan campaign in 1980 simply ignored the botched mission? Anyone think that Republicans simply refused to go there? Refused to be divisive about a national failure? Or criticize Jimmy Carter for failed leadership?
Of course not. The campaign time and again emphasized Carter’s alleged foreign policy and leadership weaknesses.
Here’s the text of an ad that aired in 1980:
Do you really think Iranian terrorists would have taken Americans hostage, if Ronald Reagan were president?
Do you really think the Russians would have invaded Afghanistan, if Ronald Reagan were president?
Do you really think third-rate military dictators would laugh at America and burn our flag in contempt, if Ronald Reagan were president?
Isn’t it about time we had the strong new leadership Ronald Reagan would provide as president. Isn’t it about time America had a president whose judgment we can trust?
Nothing subtle about that.
In an ad aired just before election day, and “paid for and authorized by the Reagan Bush Committee,” a somber narrator read the following text:
In a copyrighted story in the New York Times on October 27th, William Safire wrote: “The smoothest of Iran’s diplomatic criminals was shown on American television this weekend, warning American voters that they had better not elect Ronald Reagan. Ayatollah Khomeini and his men prefer a weak and manageable U.S. president, and have decided to do everything in their power to determine our election result.”
Here’s another ad that aired that campaign season:
MALE NARRATOR: Very slowly, a step at a time, the hope for world peace erodes. Slowly, we once slid into Korea, slowly, into Vietnam. And now, the Persian Gulf beckons.
Jimmy Carter’s weak, indecisive leadership has vacillated before events in Angola, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan. Jimmy Carter still doesn’t know that it takes strong leadership to keep the peace. Weak leadership will lose it.
REAGAN: Of all the objectives we seek, first and foremost is the establishment of lasting world peace. We know only too well that war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong. It is when they are weak that tyrants are tempted…
“Jimmy Carter’s weak, indecisive leadership…” Hmm.
The Republicans in 1980 even used Ted Kennedy in an ad against Carter. Kennedy ran against him in the Democratic primary and hurt him by saying things like this:
EDWARD KENNEDY: I say it’s time to say: No more American hostages. No more high interest rates. No more high inflation, and no more Jimmy Carter.
MALE NARRATOR: The time is now for strong leadership. Reagan for President.
“Strong leadership” is always worth emphasizing. It’s just that Republicans aren’t used to our guys emphasizing it. And it is just too damned bad that Republicans are upset that Obama’s team is showing American voters that this election year Democrats aren’t going to sit back and let Republicans smear them once again as foreign policy and military weaklings.