On Monday 2nd of May it was not looking cushy for the American right. Yes, along with the rest of America they celebrated the death of global terrorist Osama Bin Laden, but politically they had taken a significant beating.
Only a few days before the death of Bin Laden was announced, the White House had revealed the long version of President Obama’s birth certificate, effectively ending conspiracy monger Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. While many on the right (myself included) were thankful that it finally killed off this nonsensical obsession with Barack Obama’s birthplace, it also meant that the entire American right were tarred with the “conspiracy theory” brush – even though the birthers only represented a minority of right-wingers.
The announcement of the death of Bin Laden only made the birther issue worse. The narrative became that while the right-wing were thumbing through copies of Obama’s “Dreams of My Father” to find evidence that he was a closet Kenyan, Obama was off focusing on bigger issues such as killing the world’s number one terrorist. Not only did the right look defunct thanks to its loony fringe, but Obama had overcome his reputation of being useless on foreign policy by killing the man that George W Bush had been searching for since 2001.
Immediately, commentators in both American and the UK were drooling over Obama’s prospects for re-election, claiming that his boost in the polls would be enormous, and that the 2012 election was all but over. Yet a week later, no-one is saying that anymore, and the boost in the polls has (depending on whose polls you read) been either non-existent, or a small jolt that no pollster expects to last until November 2012. A recent Gallup poll stated that 95% of respondents stated that the death of Bin Laden would not change who they’d vote for. So what happened?
The first thing that went wrong was that Obama tried to do what he usually does – make himself the hero. So instead of praising the men and women on the ground, and those who had been doing intelligence on Bin Laden for years, Obama’s announcement speech was filled with continual references about himself and self-congratulatory remarks about his administration. People like applauding for an actor on stage, but are less likely to do so when the actor starts applauding himself as well.
Also, the blatant hypocrisy of Obama trying to take sole credit of this feat (along with the victory tour to Ground Zero) was fully exposed when it was revealed that the information that found Bin Laden was obtained at Guantanamo Bay (which Obama wants shut down) using waterboarding (which Obama banned) back in 2007, when Obama wasn’t even in office. Trying to take credit for something that was achieved by methods that he expressly condemned has rightly struck many Americans as trying to have one’s cake and eat it too.
This childish display of taking credit for other people’s work (notably that of President George W Bush, who had to fight tooth and nail against lip trembling lefties like Obama in order to keep such effective methods in place) has been followed up by a laughable show of incompetence from the White House in providing information.
First we were told Bin Laden used his wife as a shield, then he didn’t, then he was armed, then he wasn’t, then he made an act of aggression, then he didn’t, then it was a kill order, then it wasn’t, then it was again, then they were going to release a picture, then they were definitely going to release a picture, then they definitely weren’t going to release a picture. Even a political junkie like myself still cannot make out exactly what happened in that compound.
This isn’t just about information though, it is about how the Obama administration has been trying to both celebrate and cover up this action at the same time. The truth is clear; Obama doesn’t like this and neither do the left. From arch-leftists in Britain such as Ken Livingstone and the Stop the War Coalition to the usual leftist cronies in America such as Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, we have seen condemnation after condemnation as to how this action was carried out.
Don’t be mistaken; if this was a Republican President, Obama would be amongst those howling in agony at the thought of Bin Laden being “murdered in cold blood”, wailing about his human rights and the abandonment of “our common values of justice.” Yet because he is President and his numbers were falling, he has had to become part of the American jubilation and patriotism that he finds so distasteful.
On that first day he was fine, but since then his attempt to balance his hard-left credentials with taking the credit for what was essentially a right-wing act performed predominately by other people, has made him seen weak, confused and hypocritical.
Back to business as usual for President Obama