COMMENTARY | The anniversary of the translation of Osama bin Laden to the infernal regions, thanks to the courage of a Navy SEAL team, draws nigh and with it come unseemly chest thumping by the commander-in-chief, as illustrated by a new campaign ad.
It did not help that the president used former President Bill Clinton, who passed up the opportunity to grab bin Laden on numerous occasions before 9/11, as a surrogate. Nor is the implication that Mitt Romney would have eschewed putting the terrorist chieftain in the grave sitting well.
The Daily Mail is quoting a number of current and former Navy SEALs taking President Barack Obama to task for his boasting about and politicizing of the execution of the most wanted man in the world. The death on bin Laden was almost universally celebrated. President Obama's most fervent foes nodded with satisfaction, noting he at least got this one right. They also pointed out the intelligence gathered under President George W. Bush using methods that candidate Obama had condemned led to the ending of bin Laden.
From the two opposite sides of the political spectrum, pundit Charles Krauthammer and liberal media mogul Arianna Huffington condemned Obama's braggadocio. Huffington actually used the word "despicable," according to the Daily Caller.
It is understandable that Obama would want to raise the execution of bin Laden in the context of a political campaign. But there is a way to do it without giving people the impression that one thinks one had more to do with the deed than one actually did. Obama should have confined his remarks to praising the courage and the skill of the Navy SEALs and noting the world is better off without bin Laden in it. People would have been able to draw their own conclusions about who gave the final authorization without ham handedly pointing it out.
The bin Laden card is the latest campaign gambit to blow up in Obama's face. The spectacle suggests Obama has lost the magic he had in 2008. Everything he tries to buttress his case for re-election only has the opposite effect. It is a Greek tragedy playing out in which the nemesis of the voters threatens to follow the hubris of the president, with disastrous results.