Barack Obama, Mitt Romney — May 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

How the Death of Osama bin Laden Sent the GOP Chasing Its Tail


Politicizing 9/11 is terrible. But using it as a premise to invade the wrong country is cool.

Hi. I’m one of those death penalty hating, rule-of-law loving American progressives who cheered the death of Osama bin Laden a year ago today. Without a trial, the personification of Al Qaeda was summarily killed and dumped into the Indian Ocean. And I, like most Americans, was pleased.

As time went on, I reconsidered the mission in the context of what I thought were my values. I wasn’t—I think—glad that a man was dead or that justice was handed out summarily. I was cheered because suddenly we could move forward.

After a decade of the tragedy of 9/11 being morphed into color-coded terror alerts, scary mushroom cloud analogies and unilateral aggression, we finally did something right.

Credit the Navy SEALS, the CIA. And, most of all, credit the President who followed through on a controversial promise he made during the campaign to go into to Pakistan regardless of the costs to get bin Laden, given the chance.

Mitt Romney opposed Obama’s bin Laden policy in 2007-2008. You know that, even though the GOP sends John McCain out to shame you whenever you point this out. But, still, we must point this out because it’s key to how this President has made this country a better place.

In aftermath of bin Laden’s death, we became a little saner. The birther story all but disappeared as did any significant opposition to a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Mitt Romney’s No Apologies, strong-on-defense-and-foreign-affairs approach that he had adopted in 2009 forced him to move his warmongering to Iran. Now even that well is drying up for Mitt.

Anyone who lived through the Bush “Mission Accomplished” administration knows how they campaigned on 9/11 in 2002 and 2004. They used it to march to war, killing tens of thousands of civilians. In the process, they accomplished nothing except destabilizing the Middle East, likely delaying what we now call the Arab Spring.

Now the President is pointing out that Mitt Romney was wrong about bin Laden, just as all of the Bush/Cheney policies he endorses are wrong. His plan to destroy the social safety net and increase defense spending while offering trillions in tax breaks for the richest is simply insane. He’s learned nothing from the failures of Bush/Cheney. But America has.

Today, there’s a right wing attempt to “Swift Boat” the President with conservative Navy SEALs airing their resentment of this issue becoming political. Karl Rove knows the only way to defeat someone America likes is to make their strengths their weaknesses.

But that won’t happen.

Why? Rove is on the defensive here. The Swift Boat ads attacked Kerry, inventing an issue that did not exist. Besides: Any time the words Osama bin Laden are mentioned, America remembers what it’s like to finally move forward. And that’s a nice feeling.