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Monday, April 30, 2012

Imagine if Osama bin Laden had been killed in May 2003 under Bush instead of May 2011 under Obama

This is maybe the best, most comprehensive and complete take on the Osama bin Laden raid I've read to date: How it went down. It is written by a man who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and goes into depth about every aspect of it, including why planning over months then making a decision was so smart, why the changes in the intel community were critical, among so many other things.

But on the politics: Imagine if Osama bin Laden had been killed a year and a half before President Bush's attempt to get re-elected. Do you think the conversation would be the same?

Do you believe the people trying as best they can to underplay the importance of President Obama's role in the raid would have done the same to President Bush? Do you believe President Bush's post-bin Laden bump would have been as small and short-lived? (Remember, after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush's approval rating shot up to a record-high 90 percent - meaning Democrats, Republicans and independents lined up behind that president.)

Do you believe the Bush campaign would not have made ads highlighting that accomplishment, or do you think they would have rarely mentioned it, if at all? (Remember that during the 2004 campaign, Republicans pretty much openly said that the country would be safer from terrorists if President Bush was re-elected. They made speeches from the floor of the Republican National Convention to that effect.)

Do you believe the accomplishment would have quickly been overshadowed by a debate about how much the previous president deserved? (Remember, the anti-terror and covert tactics that were critical in the bin Laden raid have been evolving for more than three decades across Republican and Democratic presidents.)

And if the raid last year had gone terribly wrong - for whatever reason - do you believe the people who are trying to downplay President Obama's role would still be pulling President Bush into the conversation? Would they have still been saying, "Yeah, President Obama pulled the trigger, but President Bush deserves a lot of the blame for this failure because it was his CIA." I doubt it.

What I also find funny is that the same people who claim President Obama is afraid to run on his record howl and scream when he runs on his record, especially if he mentions the huge risk he took in green-lighting and shepherding the bin Laden raid. Funny how politics works.

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