"…over the past week I’ve been watching the almost pathetic desperation with which conservatives are trying to denigrate Obama’s part in the bin Laden operation. Really, it’s been awesome. On radio, TV, blogs, op-eds, pretty much everywhere, they’ve been virtually in a lather insisting that Obama himself played no real role; that he’s arrogantly hogging the spotlight; that he screwed up by announcing the operation so soon; that the entire success is really due to Bush-era torture policies; that he shouldn’t have killed bin Laden; that he’s being churlish by not giving George W. Bush enough credit; etc. etc. etc. It’s been a virtual feeding frenzy, and the stink of fear that Obama is appropriating the traditional Republican role as killer of bad guys is palpable.
[…] But Republicans already have a message that they want to stay laser-focused on: tackling the deficit. The fact that they’re taking so much time out from that to denigrate Obama’s role in the bin Laden operation suggests that they think this is a big deal. And if they think it’s a big deal, then maybe it is. They’re usually pretty good at reading the public mood, after all."
— Kevin Drum
I’d say it has more to do with the GOP’s lockstep use of the bogeyman approach to 9/11: using Osama bin Laden as the unique personification of international terrorism on Earth and their implicit agreement that, until this particular bogeyman is caught, the War on Terror must continue without recourse to question or even reason, along with attendant military spending, shoot-from-the-hip wars in any country be they “ally” or ally, endless civil liberties roll-backs, and etc… They’ve pumped their followers and the country at large so full of this super-villain schtick that now, when a Democrat they constantly tar as weak, indecisive, ineligible, and “dangerously inexperienced” is the man who ordered a direct, face to face assassination inside a sovereign nation ostensibly our ally and but also who were notably not informed of said operation is decidedly inconvenient. Even Sainted Reagan never dared such a thing, preferring to invade largely defenseless islands or lob in a few bombs in vain hope of catching his particular bogeyman (a tactic Obama recently trotted out in Libya as well).
So, if you’re a Republican, this event cuts at both your go-to bogeyman of the last decade (and the reaction in the streets certainly was more on the order of that seen at the demonstrable end of a long war rather than an infamous international criminal finally being brought to justice; I’ll grant them that their noise machine definitely works) and simultaneously cuts against your beloved hobby horse about weak-kneed Democrats and their inability to “do” national defense. Pile on that Obama the campaigner said words along the lines of “bin Laden should be our priority,” Obama the President said the same, and Obama the results man delivered exactly that result. There’s simply no way to spin it away. Their inability to take this political lump, let Obama have a win in their home court, and just let it drop is all that’s keeping the “story” side of this event going.
Rarely do you see the GOP victimized by its own noise machine tactics, but every so often they seem to forget they run the noise machine and if they stop talking about it, the noise machine along with the broader MSM will go on to some other shiny penny in about 16 minutes. Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
(Source: Mother Jones)