Remember this? Most people don’t, at least not correctly.
Most people probably remember George W. Bush swooping down out of the sky in a fighter jet and alighting onto the deck of the USS Lincoln aircraft carrier to give a rousing war speech under a gigantic “Mission Accomplished” banner.
You probably remember that the USS Lincoln was in the Persian Gulf at the time and our “Wartime President” was there to celebrate the liberation of Iraq. Right?
After a week of listening to endless drivel from conservative war hawks/chicken hawks like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and Mitt Romney tell us how egregious it was for President Obama to dare mention the killing of Osama bin Laden on the event’s one-year anniversary, it’s useful to remember the exact details of that day: May 1st, 2003.
The day Bush landed on the USS Lincoln, it was just 30 miles from shore near San Diego, California.
In other words, it was a completely staged theatrical display, designed to make a man who avoided military service look like the warrior he never was.
So, please, spare me the [p]outrage and faux indignation. That dog does NOT hunt.
I’m not even sure it will get up off the porch for dinner.
UPDATE: Turns out that one of the groups making the biggest stink about this is admitting that they are trying to “swift boat” the president:
Veterans for a Strong America describes itself “a grassroots action organization committed to ensuring that America remains a strong nation by advancing liberty, safeguarding freedom and opposing tyranny.” Founded in 2010, the ostensibly nonpartisan group kept a low profile until earlier this week, when it posted a splashy online ad that uses statements from President Barack Obama to suggest that the commander-in-chief boasted about his role in killing Osama bin Laden, dishonoring America’s military in the process. [...]
Karl Rove praised the ad on Twitter, calling it “powerful,” and it rapidly burned up the right-wing blogs. “The swift boating of Obama has begun,” The Atlantic announced. “One thing that’s clear from this advertisement, if more current and former SEALs decided to come out of the woodwork in opposition to Obama, it could do real damage to him.”
Joel Arends, Veterans for a Strong America’s founder, chairman, and sole staffer, tells me he’s proud of his organization’s viral video, even if it’s characterized as swift boating. “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president, in the sense of using what’s perceived to be his greatest strength and making it his greatest weakness.”
And, with that, you have an admission from President Obama’s political opponents that his greatest strength is national security.
Game. Set. Match.
[CC image credit: Jebur | Wikimedia Commons]