In the 2008 election candidate Obama took political heat from his opponents, and from Mitt Romney, for promising to go into Pakistan to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. The Obama detractors were convinced that his promise to bring Bin Laden down, where ever he was found, would lead to open warfare between America and an ally nation. John McCain ridiculed Obama, calling him an “inexperienced candidate who once suggested that we invade our ally Pakistan”.
In fact Romney echoed President Bush’s unconcerned attitude about Osama when he said that killing Bin laden would only make America safer by a “small percentage” and that it wasn’t worth spending billions and moving heaven and earth to just kill one guy. Of course leave it to Bain Capital Grand Poobah Dollar Bill Romney to gauge the value of the effort to bring the most notorious mass murdering terrorist in American history to justice on how much money it cost.
Now Republicans are outraged that Obama is taking credit for killing Bin Laden on the anniversary of his death. Nevermind that President Bush continuously politicized terror, with just one example being the 2006 midterms when Bush said of a prospective win by Democrats “the terrorists win and America loses”. Nevermind that the whole world knows that if President Bush had managed to kill Bin Laden that the anniversary of the death would be celebrated as a national holiday.
The fact is that Obama took political heat specifically for his position on bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice in the exact way he did it. Having taken those barbs in the past election it is completely understandable that he would claim the credit for successfully moving forward as he promised. Obama took a position that was different than that advocated by Romney and McCain and he was castigated for that. It seems completely one sided to only expect that Obama would take heat for his position, but when that policy paid dividends that he would not be allowed to take the credit.
Pointing out the differences in stated policy and how Obama’s position proved correct is not spiking the ball. It might feel like spiking the ball if you are a Republican, but we didn’t make them take a boneheaded position so too bad for them.
Further, proclaiming that anyone given the same choice would make the same call is belied by the previous statements of Republicans. If they would have pulled the trigger on “invading” Pakistan to get Bin Laden, why attack Obama for saying he would do it as well? One suspects that this was an early manifestation of a conservative anti Obama reflex, where in Republicans say they can not agree to anything Obama agrees with. Even when the president espouses conservative positions the need to stand against Obama is so over riding that they will disavow their own beliefs.
So we can never count on Republicans acknowledging anything that the president deserves credit for. No matter what the subject is the president only deserves blame and opprobrium, so what should we expect when it comes to one of the signature successes of President Obama?