Then, the next morning, Rush Limbaugh launched into a weird sarcastic rant about how unique Obama's role was in the mission. Sarah Palin later offered congratulations to the military, and gave prominent mention to former President George W. Bush without mentioning Obama by name. Glenn Beck later said he thought it was "disgusting" for Obama to visit Ground Zero in New York City on Thursday, May 5th, because, apparently, he thought the President was trying to draw extra attention to himself. (In fact, Obama went to meet with 9/11 families, firefighters and police, and, in fact, didn't give a speech there).
Other Republicans who commented on the US raid on Bin Laden seemed determined to give much public credit to Bush, and usually stressed his contributions at least as much as Obama's and often more.
Consider the statement the next morning from "Keep America Safe," an organization run by Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol and Debra Burlingame:
"Today marks a major victory for the people of the United States and the forces of freedom and justice all over the world," the statement said. "We are grateful for the bravery of the Americans who raided the compound near Islamabad and killed Osama Bin Laden. We are also grateful to the men and women of America's intelligence services, who, through their interrogation of high-value detainees, developed the information that apparently led us to Bin Laden.......
How small and cowardly of this group to disregard President Obama, who, indisputably, played a central, commanding role in the planning and order for the raid that led to killing Bin Laden. Of course, Kristol was a big booster of the invasion of Iraq who I've never heard utter any regret for being on the side of such a disaster that killed thousands of human beings.
As the next few days unfolded, the trend became even more clear: Republicans often gave far more emphasis to Bush's contributions even if they praised Obama.
My reaction: When Bin Laden has just been killed nearly ten years after 9/11, any Republican choosing to bring up Bush as someone who should share credit with Obama is either can't face the truth, is stupidly partisan or has a lack of character in more ways than one.
After all, it's the Republicans who are always running over each other to compete for the "most patriotic" label. Why not show a little loyalty to your country, you Republicans, by acknowledging that the current President had a lot to do with the raid on Bin Laden? In fact, it would not have happened if he had not given the order, you turkeys!!!!!
But, even after Obama played an impressive, commanding role in this huge event - the killing of the world's most wanted terrorist and mass murderer - some of his reactionary critics still are unwilling to acknowledge reality. It's embarrassing. Why don't Democrats ever challenge these kind of ludicrous remarks? Why can't they stand up for Obama even when he's pulled off a great achievement the whole country has waited for?
Bin Laden was responsible for the worst mass killing of Americans (nearly 3,000) in the U.S. since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Bin Laden essentially led the Bush Administration to make its disastrous decision to invade Iraq for no good reason. This led to thousands of people dying. Hate for the US intensified and multiplied around the world. Bin Laden has caused a lot of bad things to happen for the US. Now, thanks mostly to Obama and his team, Bin Laden is gone.
Further, it takes a lot of gall for Republicans to push Bush's name out there at all when it comes to Bin Laden. Bush failed in several enormous ways regarding Bin Laden while Obama did much better.
First, 9/11 happened on Bush's watch and while I'm not blaming Bush for that directly, news stories have surfaced through the years about certain reports of an increased likelihood of terrorist activity in the days before 9/11. I won't second-guess it now, but, I'm just stating that the Bush administration was in power.
Second, Bush's outlook toward catching Bin Laden seemed to change dramatically in 2002, when he and his team were planning the invasion of Iraq. I've seen the tape on TV the past week of Bush saying he didn't know where Bin Laden was and it was not a real concern of his. Then, of course, the Bush Administration dragged the US into a completely unnecessary war with Iraq, but, before they did, they attempted to substitute Saddam Hussein in their propagandist rhetoric for Bin Laden, who they seemed to view as less relevant then.
Obama, by contrast, as a presidential candidate, said he'd go after Bin Laden aggressively and said that if he had to go after Bin Laden in Pakistan to get him, he would authorize that.
Third, Bush, by reports and indications, was a President who relied very heavily on VP Cheney and other advisors to make key decisions, including on foreign policy and intelligence matters.
Obama, by contrast, apparently, oversaw at least nine meetings held to discuss the details and ramifications of the raid on Bin Laden. He's been heavily involved in deliberations with his military team about Afghanistan. He comes across as a President who's more knowledgeable, more hands-on, more intelligent, more competent, more able to participate in discussions, and more eager to seek out others' opinions. (You'd think such a leader would deserve a few words of praise after this historic raid)
Fourth, Bush and his team actually caused an increase in Al Qaeda involvement in parts of the world, particularly Iraq, where Al Qaeda men poured in to take part in the war there. Obama, by contrast, from the first months of his presidency, intensified US attacks on Al Qaeda in various locations and sometimes used drones, unmanned vehicles, to fire missile attacks.
Some of these more aggressive attacks have reportedly been successful, and, at times, reports have indicated the killing of various Al Qaeda leaders.
I feel one could write a book documenting why Obama deserves more credit than Bush for this recent raid. Frankly, I think it's sad and discouraging that people are discussing Bush's role
at all. One of the only reasons, I guess, is that supporters of the use of torture (like Liz Cheney's group) claim that the enhanced interrogations used under Bush led to bits of information that proved useful to the Obama team. However, this conclusion is premature and people are still debating what led to what. My bigger point is that even if some intelligence was passed on usefully, how can anyone forget that Bush's main response to Bin Laden and 9/11 was to invade a country and kill thousands of people there along with our own men.
I'm just tired of Obama never receiving unqualified praise for the good things he's done. I know he's made many mistakes. I disagree with him no some important issues like Afghanistan. But, I believe that people set unrealistic standards for him because he's black. No matter what he does, people seem a bit more eager and a bit more able to voice some grievance. Why is that?
People blame the economy on Obama. That's not really fair, either, because Presidents can only do so much to impact the whole economy, especially with today's complex, interactive global economy. When Obama took the advice of most economists and got a stimulus package passed, he was ripped from all sides that the stimulus didn't work. He helped bail out the auto companies, which were on the verge of collapse. Some ripped him for that. He bailed out the banks, to help the economy, in the longer run. He got criticized. Obama took a lot of heat for his handling of the BP oil spill, which was largely out of his control.I saw journalist Jonathan Alter being interviewed by Chris Matthews on Hardball last week. Alter was asked about the impact of the killing of Bin Laden on Obama as President. Alter said that Presidents are often rightfully held responsible for things that happen on their watch.
"..So, if Obamais going to take blame for the economy, he needs to get credit for this," (killing of Bin Laden) Alter said.
That sounds fairly sensible to me even though some things that happen on a President's watch are truly out of his control.
All I know is I do not recall any President taking on more enormous crises and problems all at once in his first two years than President Obama. That he tried to get a major health care reform bill passed while his plate was so full probably was a mistake. His bill ended up being very flawed. Yet, he'd probably argue that it was a giant step for the country to get something done - to get the ball rolling.
There are reasons Obama gets criticized and it's another blog topic. But, his particular strengths really helped him show leadership in the raid on Bin Laden and if Republicans or others cannot see that in perspective, then we'll have even more meaningless partisan sniping all the way until Election Day in 2012. I predict that, anyway, I guess.