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Obama Starts 2012 Campaign With a Bang

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I am looking good

Having essentially capitulated to the GOP / Corporate agenda on health care, financial reform and the nation’s debt “crisis”, Obama is now ‘rising above’ the fray with a savvy opening salvo in the 2012 campaign. It was a good ‘un too. Assassinating Bin Laden has bumped him up a dozen approval points in 48 hours, and put any GOP contenders on the defensive.  They can’t accuse him of being a wuss anymore.

Remove your weakness. That is what good politics is all about.

If only Obama had used more (now demonstrably popular) muscularity to do something useful when he had control of both Houses of Congress, like insist on a public option, cripple the Wall Street succubus when it was down, or raise taxes on the wealthy when he had the chance. Because that would have been ‘change’.  Sadly, instead he prefered to do things the old fashioned, unreconstructed, neo-conservative way, with a big, fat, meaningless statement that makes him look like the tough guy that everyone thinks he isn’t. Putting a bullet in the bad guy’s head is nothing if it’s not Bushlike business as usual.  Wrapping himself in the flag with a completely gratuitous visit to Ground Zero is pure Bush. It’s “Mission Accomplished” all over again, with the slight, but all important difference, that the mission – a far simpler mission – actually was accomplished.

Karl Rove must be proud. This comes right from his playbook.

Maybe Obama plans to use his new-found strength to actually be a Democrat, but not many expect it. He’s chosen his presidential path, and it’s all about unity and ‘coming together’ and bipartisanship. It always escapes Thereisnoplan how one can ‘come together’ and ‘find common ground’ with a pack of unhinged hyenas like today’s GOP, but that’s another story.

Killing Bin Laden was a ‘victory’ of little strategic significance, and although making it public sure had multo propaganda value at home, in security terms doing so was in many ways rash. As targeted assassinations go it was an anomaly. Most of them (usually conducted by Israel) are not broadcast by the perpetrators, who deny all knowledge of their handiwork. That could and should have been the case here.  And because of the sensitivity of where Osama was holed up, it would have stayed that way. The Pakistanis would have been hugely grateful to the US for not embarrassing their military and intelligence services. And on their side the US would have been able to extract far more from the Pakistanis, merely by threatening to make the truth of the circumstances of the attack known if Islamabad didn’t tow the line. In that respect we could have advanced our security cause in this most sensitive of regions far more by keeping the killing quiet. Not only that, but we would have had a window to act on the information we captured in the compound before Al Qaeda operatives were aware USL was dead and went to ground. Finally, we could even have created a shadow Bin Laden, inserting our own missives to operatives, helping us sow further confusion and distrust.

Not broadcasting the attack would also have had other major benefits. The public announcement of the attack is almost certain to fire up far more lone wolves that otherwise both Stateside and in Europe, who could easily channel intact Al Qaeda franchises to develop home grown plots like the failed attack in Times Square last year. Let’s hope that the stash of hard drives in Bin Laden’s study will cut off that possibility, but it’s unlikely they can close every avenue when most don’t even exist yet. And finally, Obama could have announced the killing of Bin Laden when it was more politically useful, ie, closer to the next presidential election – justifying keeping it secret because it protected the US people, and advanced our national security agenda. He would also have looked sober, selfless, and effective for doing so.

But short term political considerations came first. Keeping the killing quiet would have denied Obama his eleven point bump.

The National Security Council no doubt kept their mouth shut when Obama announced his ‘victory’ in his dramatic late night announcement. I’m sure more than a few of their number knew that it was politically motivated move dressed up as a transparent public duty that would open us to more terror,  just so the boss could look good in time for the new campaign season. But to suggest POTUS keep the whole thing under wraps to protect Americans would have implied that he was endangering them for his own political ends. Clearly, Obama was aware that the political gains of the public announcement could be jeopardized by releasing the photos of a dead Bin Laden post head-shot.  Even he knew the politics of his shoot first strategy had limits.

Whatever the new terror landscape looks like, The President has given himself a significant – if not decisive – leg-up on victory next November.  Or to put it another way, the economic ‘recovery myth’ can now be a little less robust and provable to still insure him victory.  Thereisnoplan’s obvious cynicism is only tempered the fact that despite his being a spineless, ideologically suspect lackey of Wall Street, we still need the guy to win. Because without his at least sensible veto pen in the Oval Office, and with GOP control of both houses of Congress likely, the Republican know-nothing knuckledraggers would without any resistance dismantle the American Social Contract beyond redemption, leaving our nation permanently hobbled and on its irredeemable path to private luxury-public squalor third world status.

The truth, though, is that the cupcakes the GOP were looking at to topple Barack, (perhaps with the exception of baggage-laden Gingrich) never really did stand much of a chance of taking the White House in ’12, unless Mr. No Mistakes made one. And if there’s one thing he doesn’t do it’s that.  Sure Obama rolled the dice a little on being sure Osama was at home when the SEALS came a-calling, but although the uber-terrorist might have been catching a flick the multiplex down the road or something, it was a pretty sure thing he was cooped up at home in the West Point meets Beverly Hills of Pakistan as he had been for the last five years.

So the political gambit played out. Osama bin Laden’s death could breathe new life into a dying organization that few economically hobbled Americans were really thinking about at all. In the face of the “Arab Spring”,  Al Qaeda was looking a little long in the tooth, and needed a shot in the arm. The President duly delivered it with a kill-shot to the head, whipping us up into a frenzy, just like the previous occupant of his office had done so cynically and so frequently.

Finally, Obama’s reversion to being more of the same reaches its logical conclusion.

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Written by coolrebel

May 4, 2011 at 2:24 am

2 Responses

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  1. One thing's fore sure: Obama knows how to win. And, like you said, we need him to to forestall the devolution of the US to third world status.

    Ann T.

    May 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  2. What he said.

    John

    May 4, 2011 at 7:01 am


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