Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Obama Is On His Game Right Now

Obama - or at least his campaign - is firing on all cylinders.

First, using the occasion of "Mission Accomplished Day" as a back drop, Obama is assailing Romney for his weakness on going after bin Laden - as stated by Romney himself back in 2008.  Chait has a nice summary here.  Josh Marshall says this (his unfortunate phrase) "bitch slap politics".  Obama can rightfully point out that Romney publicly opposed in 2008, exactly what Obama ordered done in 2010.  What's more, Romney's response was (predictably) weak.  Jimmy Carter?

Wasn't Jimmy Carter the guy who ordered a cross border raid that ended disastrously because there weren't enough helicopters?  And wasn't Obama the one who insisted on another helicopter which turned out to be pretty durned important?

Meanwhile, Romney can't use his new foreign policy attack dog, because this particular attack dog likes to hump other boy dogs and we can't have that now, can we Precious.  So Romney by the end of the day has caved to anti-gay bigots and fired Richard Grennell and eventually caved on congratulating Obama for ordering bin Laden's death.

That's what Marshall means by "bitch slap politics".  Ever since Reagan, we've been conditioned to think of the GOP as the manly national defense party.  Carter's disastrous Eagle Claw saw to that.  Before that it was Wilson, FDR, Truman and Johnson who led us into the nation's 20th century wars.  But Obama made Romney look weak.

If he can continue to keep Romney looking weak, this thing won't be close.

Second, Obama decides to drop into Afghanistan (I hear Kandahar is lovely during the spring when the snow melts and the landmines spontaneously explode in the thawing earth) and announce a clear withdrawal plan.  Romney will HAVE to say, "No, we should stay."  Just like in 2008 he HAD to say, "Bin Laden isn't important."  That's the GOP position and Romney of all people can't deviate from it.

So Obama just reassured the American people that we will be leaving Afghanistan in 2014 and troop drawdowns will continue apace as we shift away from combat missions.  Most Americans want to be gone yesterday.

But their choice is between a guy who wants to leave in two years and a guy who doesn't want to (or can't say that we should) leave.

Obama seems to have some clear positions he can stake out that Romney just can't angle himself into a good position to rebut.

Etch-A-Sketch or not, Romney has tied himself to so many different positions that Obama can fence him into any of them he wants to.

On a final note, can we stop being offended that the President is committing politics during an election year?  Bush politicized the hell out of 9/11.  He held the 2004 convention in New York.  Remember the "Wolves" ad?  Obama has every right to beat the living crap out of his opponent.  Please, Mara Liasson, just shut up.

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