Posted by Brad @ 6:50 pm on May 2nd 2012

In All Seriousness…

Can anybody here, even playing Devil’s advocate, articulate a reasonable case, in our modern political context—not in hypothetical cases, but in this specific one—for why President Obama referring to his killing of Osama Bin Laden in a mission that the last Republican nominee explicitly stated he would not undertake and the last President was unable to accomplish and in a campaign where the presumptive opponent plans to question his foreign policy toughness and his seriousness in winning the War on Terror, would in any way be out of bounds?

Normally I would chalk this sort of thing up to just chirping from a rival campaign, but enough conservative commentators (Jonah Goldberg, for instance), seem to be seriously putting forth that notion that I’m at a loss. I pride myself on really empathizing and working hard to understand the perspective and reasoning of people with whom I disagree, but in this case, I literally cannot get a foothold on this way of thinking. The closest I can get is Margaret Thatcher’s dictum “Being powerful is like being a lady; if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t,” but that’s a big reach (and I doubt that’s where the people putting forth the argument is coming from). The nearest I can figure, there is a class of Republican who simply views any success of that magnitude as being some kind of inherently unfair advantage, such that it’s very existence is objectionable – sort of akin to an eight year old getting incensed that you got Boardwalk in Monopoly and suddenly viewing the whole enterprise as foul.

Anyone want to take a stab otherwise? Bonus points if you can find a quote or post somewhere from somebody honestly taking the view that explains their reasoning.


  1. “An Obama campaign ad suggested Mitt Romney wouldn’t have agressively pursued Osama bin Laden by citing Romney’s statement that, ‘It’s not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.’

    The Obama campaign is right that Romney used those words, but by cherry-picking them, it glosses over comments describing his broader approach. Romney said he wanted to pursue all of al-Qaida, not just its leaders.”

    Comment by Rojas — 5/2/2012 @ 8:15 pm

  2. Is that the best? That’s not really out of context, though – he explicitly said he didn’t think Bin Laden should be a priority, and has also argued that the President is not aggressive enough in prosecuting the War on Terror. You can debate either on the merits, which is indeed precisely what Obama’s team is doing in campaigning on OBL – which Romney had already engaged in as a campaign issue.

    Realizing you’re not making the argument yourself, but that still doesn’t articulate a reason why Obama ought not bring up his killing of OBL in his campaign for reelection, which is roundabout the Republican line (in some circles).

    Comment by Brad — 5/3/2012 @ 12:25 pm

  3. You promised bonus points. I want my bonus points.

    Comment by Rojas — 5/3/2012 @ 2:16 pm

  4. It is absurd but not even in the top ten of absurd partisan arguments of convenience involving mental gymnastics and Jedi mindtricks this season. Why would Jonah Goldbergs usual trick of managing to hand wave logic out the window in order to arrive at the correct GOP answer of “Obama bad” be even remotely surprising?

    Comment by Jack — 5/3/2012 @ 7:39 pm

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