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The Politics Of The Death Of Osama bin Laden

Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin thinks that the death of Osama bin Laden represents an important turning point for Barack Obama’s Presidency:

One thing that must be acknowledged on this day is the fact that bin Laden’s death changes Obama’s presidency. He and his team will have many opportunities to blunder in the next year and a half and likely will. Yet the fulfillment of his campaign vow to kill bin Laden adds to his stature as a leader in a way that few other events could have done. It is ironic that the man who rose to the presidency in large measure on the strength of his critique of George W. Bush’s war on terrorism will now be remembered as the one who presided over a great victory of that war. Some may begrudge him that honor—as he begruded President Bush any credit in his official statement last night—but it is belongs to him nonetheless. It was Barack Obama who gave the order to launch the assault on bin Laden’s compound, and the credit and glory that belongs to the brave Americans who carried out that command will always be attached to their commander-in-chief as well. As they should.

Tobin goes on to speculate that these events mean that it will be harder to unseat President Obama in November 2012. In a similar vein, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza calls the death of bin Laden one of those unexpected events that tend to change the course of a political campaign. To some extent, both Tobin and Cillizza are right. A major foreign policy success like this tends to ensure to the benefit of the sitting President, but Nate Silver points out that it isn’t at all clear that bringing an end to Osama bin Laden is going to have that big in effect on 2012 in the end:

Yes, this is going to help Mr. Obama — to some degree or another — in November 2012. And yes, it’s also going to make Mr. Obama look much more formidable in the near-term.

But I’m not sure that the magnitude of the bump that Mr. Obama might get in the Gallup tracking poll is going to be especially predictive of how much the residue of this news might produce for him 19 months from now.

In 1991, the top 8 or 10 Democratic candidates skipped the presidential race because George H.W. Bush seemed unbeatable in the wake of the popular Gulf War. But by November 1992, Mr. Bush’s approval ratings were in the 30s, and Bill Clinton defeated him easily — as most any Democratic candidate would have.

That is not to suggest that this news won’t be helpful to the President. Of course it will help him.

But, the 2012 election was probably not going to revolve around national security. Instead, the Republican nominee was probably going to attempt to make the campaign about the size of government and the future of the welfare state: how to deal with entitlement programs in the face of an increasing national debt.

The 1992 election is probably the best reason to be careful when making any predictions about how the death of bin Laden is likely to impact American politics. As Silver notes, at this point in his Presidency George H.W. Bush seemed to be unbeatable thanks to the overwhelming success of the Persian Gulf War, but within a year that boost in the polls had largely disappeared thanks to a flagging economy, not to mention the fact that he had greatly annoyed his conservative base by going back on his “No New Taxes” pledge.  This time around, the President is likely to get a boost in the polls but it’s not at all clear that it’s going to last, especially since we’ve already seen plenty of evidence that Obama’s approval numbers are subject to wide fluctuations.

So yes, barring a disaster in Libya or elsewhere, this likely takes national security off the table as an issue in 2012, but the election was never going to be about national security anyway. Much as George H.W. Bush found it hard to translate his post-Gulf War popularity into domestic success (something that his son was also largely unable to do in the wake of the September 11th attacks), it isn’t at all clear that killing Osama bin Laden is going to make any difference at all in the political battles to come over the budget, entitlements, the deficits, and the size and scope of government, In fact, there’s no reason to think that it would.

It’s a good day for the White House, and the President deserves credit here, but the battles are far from over.

UpdateJazz Shaw agrees and offers some thoughts of his own worth reading.

 

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Bleev K says:

    Te difference is the war that Bush won wasn’t a war that two presidents were trying to win before.

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  2. jwest says:

    Let’s hope everyone enjoyed the few moments of bipartisan celebration. Now the blood sport begins anew:

    “This is the ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment President Bush only fantasized about,” Rep. Gary Ackerman said on CNN”

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  3. Axel Edgren says:

    Republicans have no reason whatsoever to improve macroeconomic indicators and they know that while the US no longer really has any power over gas prices, they will still insist drilling everywhere (preferably without those eco-faggots demanding the drilling results in any more spills or destruction of the commons) would get gasoline back at a price per gallon that is just as low as it was in dear old dad’s days. Those are the problems for Obama – there really is no way to get out of the biggest recession since the great depression if the opposition knows you will get burned worse than they will if the economy remains sluggish.

    Fact: republicans would rather have an unhappy and suffering population that might fight back a retch and vote T-Paw than a happier, more optimistic population that stays with Obama.

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  4. mantis says:

    Looking for predictions: In the upcoming polling that will surely take place, what portion of Republican voters will think bin Laden’s death was faked by Obama?

    I’m guessing it will get close to a plurality, but not a majority.

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  5. mantis says:

    Let’s hope everyone enjoyed the few moments of bipartisan celebration. Now the blood sport begins anew:

    Those moments never existed for the right. They started attacking Obama immediately.

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  6. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    I would have been nice if Obama had shown the least bit of class in his remarks, but that was asking too much.

    At least he didn’t take one of his trademark shots at Bush (or even Trump) during his address.

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  7. Boyd says:

    While I don’t disagree with anything you’ve written here, Doug, I do notice an omission that’s common when folks are looking back 20 years to the ’92 election: Ross Perot. He carved a huge chunk of voters out of Bush’s total, which helped Clinton to win with a plurality of the popular vote.

    We’ll never know how that election would have turned out without Perot’s candidacy, but that seems to me to have been at least as large a factor as our economic doldrums of the time.

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  8. ponce says:

    The first Republican primary debate is on Thursday.

    Romney and Pawlenty have already graciously complimented Obama on getting bin Laden.

    Michelle Bachmann went off on some lunatic attack on “Sharia-compliant” terrorists.

    Should be a fun debate.

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  9. Jay Tea says:

    jwest, Obama showed a little class by calling George W. Bush ahead of time and giving him time to prepare his own statement.

    But that was about it.

    J.

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  10. mantis says:

    I would have been nice if Obama had shown the least bit of class in his remarks, but that was asking too much.

    Racist shitbirds like you have no place telling anyone else about class. You don’t know the meaning of the word.

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  11. mantis says:

    And Jay knows about as much as you do about class.

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  12. sam says:

    “I would have been nice if Obama had shown the least bit of class in his remarks, but that was asking too much.”

    Says jwest consulting his Magic Eightball of cant.

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  13. Boyd,

    Of course Perot likely never would’ve been a candidate but for the economy and Bush I’s inept response to the same.

    Additionally, I am not certain that it’s true that Perot voters were automatically people who would’ve otherwise voted for GHWB. I seem to recall polling from immediately after the election that showed that Clinton was the second choice for a majority of Perot voters.

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  14. Boyd says:

    Regardless of who may be espousing the idea, it sure would have been classy for the President to acknowledge Bush’s contribution to the effort, even if he didn’t believe it.

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  15. Hey Norm says:

    Bleev…
    I’m curious about what war Bush won??? Is that the one where we invaded and occupied a sovereign nation based on intelligence we knew to be phoney, and lost 4000 troops, and spent upwards of a trillion dollars only to ensure that Iran became more powerful in the region?
    Axel…T-Paw can’t win his home state, much less the rest of the nation. I don’t think we have seen the eventual nominee yet. Although last nights news will not make anyone more confident about winning over Obama.
    As glad as I am that Osama is dead…it won’t make a hill of beans difference if gas stays where it is. Gas goes up…presidential ratings go down.

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  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    Those moments never existed for the right.

    Donkey Poop! I want to give President Obama a kiss and a hug for pulling the trigger, and another for doing it the right way:) Heck I’ll carry his golf clubs while telling him how much I hope he enjoys his vacation!
    He gets the week off from my mouth….

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  17. mattb says:

    Can anyone exactly spell out what is meant by the following:

    if Obama had shown the least bit of class in his remark…

    What was so classless about the speech?

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  18. mattb,


    What was so classless about the speech?

    It was made by Barack Obama?

    That’s all I can come up with.

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  19. Boyd says:

    @Doug:

    Thanks for inspiring me to look into that aspect of the election. It appears that Perot drew equally from both Clinton and Bush:

    Exit polls also showed that Ross Perot drew 38% of his vote from Bush, and 38% of his vote from Clinton, while the rest of his voters would have stayed home had he not been on the ballot.

    Although, paradoxically, he seems to have been supported in greater numbers by conservatives than by liberals (27% of his voters were conservatives vs 20% self-identifying as liberal).

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  20. Boyd says:

    I think “classless” goes too far, but a more gracious President would have acknowledged his predecessor’s contributions. It seems to me more a failure to gain brownie points than any kind of black mark, though.

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  21. sam says:

    Said Jay in the gas price thread:

    “This is precisely what we should expect from electing a man who’s spent his whole life learning how to NOT make decisions, and never had to face the responsibilities that go with them.”

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  22. jwest says:

    Mattb (and Doug),

    “What was so classless about the speech?”

    What was so classless was the absence of any credit to the Bush administration for their role in providing the initial intelligence through interrogations (which Bush took tremendous heat over) that lead to the identity of the courier. Instead of making this a moment of bipartisan national pride, Obama succeeded in polarizing half the country with his egotistical arrogance.

    The man is totally devoid of class.

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  23. mantis says:

    Instead of making this a moment of bipartisan national pride, Obama succeeded in polarizing half the country with his egotistical arrogance.

    jwest thinks he and his racist friends represent half the country. You do no, shitbird.

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  24. ponce says:

    Don’t blame the last few members of the “I Hate Obama” club for clinging to their irrational hatred.

    It’s all they have.

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  25. Andy says:

    Lost in the debate over Presidential responsibility is the simple fact that this successful effort was the culmination of many years of work and persistence by nameless people in our intelligence services.

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  26. sam says:

    I dunno Mantis. jwest said that Obama’s speech polarized half the country. My guess is that the one fourth who are discomfited are those who would like to smile at this but are afraid of being excommunicated.

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  27. Neil Hudelson says:

    A bit off topic (not that this thread has really been directional), I really was hoping that Osama’s demise would turn out to be something like this:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/152964/bin-laden-loves-a-camel

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  28. Herb says:

    “it isn’t at all clear that killing Osama bin Laden is going to make any difference at all in the political battles to come over the budget, entitlements, the deficits, and the size and scope of government,”

    Actually, it’s quite clear. The GOP’s political hill just got steeper. Frankly, if they’re hoping to win on budget issues, they’re not going to win.

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  29. Kylopod says:

    >He carved a huge chunk of voters out of Bush’s total, which helped Clinton to win with a plurality of the popular vote.

    The myth that refuses to die.

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  30. jwest says:

    Putting aside the discussion of our humility-challenged president, can someone explain what happened in that compound with the helicopter that malfunctioned?

    Some reports say the engine stalled and the pilot set it down gently then couldn’t restart the engine. Perhaps I’m wrong, but my understanding of helicopter dynamics are that when power is lost the “gently” portion of setting the chopper down is not an option. Also, the autogiro function that enables landings of disabled helicopters doesn’t work until a certain vertical airspeed is reached in order to achieve enough rotational movement of the blades.

    These pictures and the captions show the helicopter in an odd position against the wall of the compound. Also, they mention rocket fire:

    “Near miss: One of the U.S. helicopters crashed over a wall within the compound after coming under heavy fire from rocket propelled grenades. However, all special forces troops escaped safely “

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382645/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-How-Navy-Seals-killed-Al-Qaeda-chief-near-Islamabad.html#ixzz1LDFiOEv7

    No conspiracy here, just like to know the facts.

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  31. PJ says:

    @Boyd:

    Although, paradoxically, he seems to have been supported in greater numbers by conservatives than by liberals (27% of his voters were conservatives vs 20% self-identifying as liberal).

    That’s not a paradox in any way. More people self-identify themselves as being conservative, than moderate, or liberal. If all who would self-identify themselves as conservative voted for republicans, the GOP would win every election.

    (For fun, compare the size of the subgroup conservative democrats with the now almost extinct subgroup of liberal republicans…)

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  32. michael reynolds says:

    Jewst:

    If Obama walked on water and raised the dead you’d still hate him. You’re a brain-dead racist.

    Here was the class: Obama did not point out that Osama Bin Laden was allowed to escape at Tora Bora because of Bush-Rumsfeld incompetence.

    He did not point out that Mr. Bush took his eye off the ball and launched a war in Iraq without sufficient resources and thus allowed Osama to enjoy life in his mansion.

    He did not point out that he, Obama, did isn 2 years what Mr. Bush failed to do in 7.

    He did not point out that Mr. Bush was overly deferential to Pakistan, and that it was Mr. Obama’s much more aggressive stance with Pakistan that made this victory possible.

    In all he was extraordinarily restrained.

    And you remain a racist idiot.

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  33. PJ says:

    For a third party candidate who actually did what Perot is “accused” of, look no further than Nader. Without Nader, Gore would have won in 2000.

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  34. mattb says:

    I see part of that argument, and I think he should have given a bit more credit to the previous administrations efforts.That said, I think that the invocation of the Bush Presidency’s efforts to divorce O/UBL’s and Al Quedia’s actions to mainstream Islam — was a far more important type of thanks (and in some respects helps to establish a certain legacy for the Bush administration that it typically isn’t remembered for).

    Serious question: can people find examples in which Bush — during a Major event — praised the previous Administration’s efforts as part of a culminating speech?

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  35. mattb says:

    As far as the issue of Guantanimo, looking at the link provided, it is clear that the name of the courier did emerge from detainee’s. That said, it would be interesting to discover if that information was gotten via either people “interrogated” outside US soil (as part of the “Extraordinary Rendition” program) or via “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka. torture) at “Gitmo.”

    Given the controversial nature of that Camp, I don’t particularly think it would have been useful in this speech to say — “See, torture was useful.”

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  36. Tlaloc says:

    Regardless of who may be espousing the idea, it sure would have been classy for the President to acknowledge Bush’s contribution to the effort, even if he didn’t believe it.

    What contributions were these? The torture of helpless civilians? The distracting war in Iraq to make daddy happy? The heavy handed crusade rhetoric that has set us so far back in our dealings with muslims of all types?

    Have we become so morally bankrupt that we will thank the man for these abominations if it means we get to kill our current boogeyman? Don’t bother, it was rhetorical.

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  37. hey norm says:

    Can someone post a link that says the intelligence developed four years ago, which kicked off this operation, was developed at gitmo and was the result of torture, as is clearly implied by the statement: “… credit to the Bush administration for their role in providing the initial intelligence through interrogations (which Bush took tremendous heat over)?”
    Let’s be clear…Bush took heat, and rightly so, for torture and Gitmo. But there is nothing wrong with interrogations in general. I’ve been unable to find much detail at all about this. Hopefully it will become more developed in the days to come. It’s all pretty fascinating.

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  38. wr says:

    Coming soon from jwest and Jay Tea — Obama has been in league with Bin Laden all along. Just last week the president had Bin Laden forge a long form bith certificate for him. But then he realized the terrorist knew too much and had to be eliminated.

    Don’t worry guys, no need for royalties when you start spreading this one.

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  39. wr says:

    “What was so classless about the speech?”

    It was given by a black man.

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  40. hey norm says:

    mattb…
    bush, and the rest of the far-right, were quick, and generous enough, to give credit to Clinton for 9/11.

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  41. Andy says:

    Michael,

    The President didn’t “do” anything except approve this mission. For that I think he deserves a lot of credit because a mission like this is a huge risk. And it’s important to point out to people like jwest that had things gone wrong, the President’s opponents would have heaped the blame on him.

    However, the people who developed the intel and the people who carried this mission out were all around when Bush was in office. They are anonymous, but deserve the lion’s share of the credit for this success, especially compared to any and all politicians.

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  42. PJ says:

    @hey norm:

    Can someone post a link that says the intelligence developed four years ago, which kicked off this operation, was developed at gitmo and was the result of torture, as is clearly implied by the statement: “… credit to the Bush administration for their role in providing the initial intelligence through interrogations (which Bush took tremendous heat over)?”
    Let’s be clear…Bush took heat, and rightly so, for torture and Gitmo. But there is nothing wrong with interrogations in general. I’ve been unable to find much detail at all about this. Hopefully it will become more developed in the days to come. It’s all pretty fascinating.

    If you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes the truth…

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  43. michael reynolds says:

    I want to hear again how Obama’s Cairo speech signaled a complete surrender to Muslim extremism.

    Then, I want to hear the one about how “unready” Obama is, and how “inexperienced” he is and how he’s “in over his head.”

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  44. Boyd says:

    Don’t bother, it was rhetorical.

    And opinion, not fact. But I’ll shut up now, since yours is the only voice that should be heard, Tlaloc.

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  45. hey norm says:

    @ reynolds…
    for a real laugh check out Trump on foxnews Sunday morning whining about how the President and Seth Meyers picked on him and saying something like; “…you would think the President would have better things to do…” I gather the announcement cut into Trumps fake reality show last night. Sucks to be a carnival barker.

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  46. jwest says:

    Michael,

    I can tell from your writing that you’re still racked with white guilt due to your years of support for racist liberal policies, designed to trade the hopes and dreams of the black community for the votes of the teacher’s union.

    Before coming to your realization that it was your fault generations of African Americans suffered in ignorance and poverty, you lived a reasonably happy life thinking you were one of the “good guys”. Now that you spend each waking minute with the knowledge that you (and others like you) crushed the future of nearly and entire race, it’s natural that you would lash out at the one that brought you enlightenment.

    I understand. Vent your spleen if it makes the pain of your guilt feel better. I wish I could tell you that your shame will subside in time, but that is not the case. Learn to live with the damage to humanity you’ve caused.

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    Andy:

    Bullsh*t.

    Obama refocused on getting OBL after Mr. Bush dropped the ball.

    Obama’s intel team has been running this for the last 2.5 years.

    Obama’s team kept this thing absolutely secure — not a leak in those 2.5 years.

    Obama has taken a much more aggressive posture toward Pakistan.

    Obama is the one who people like you would have blamed had it gone wrong. So cut the crap. If this had failed you’d be ranting about how unready and inexperienced and incompetent Obama was.

    Why don’t you try being honest and admit that this was an example of great presidential leadership since you’d surely have said the opposite had the mission failed.

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  48. michael reynolds says:

    Jwest:

    Oh, is “white guilt” replacing “race card” as the new meme for racists?

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  49. Modulo Myself says:

    Andy,

    You’re totally right, but here’s the deal: the history of the Bush administration is basically the history of flim-flam artists overruling the anonymous career types. For all of the blather about how Obama is arrogant, it was Bush and Cheney who couldn’t be told anything they didn’t want to hear. I mean, check out anything written on Cheney’s nutjob circle-jerk fest which gave us Iraq. Those guys blanketed themselves in mirrors and nonsense and in their skulls, you could find a little Internet troll, busy spinning away everything.

    And as politics, it works, at least for the Americans who will buy anything. There were and are millions of people invested in the image of someone like Cheney as serious, rather than a clown.

    But in the end, it’s the elitist narcissists like Obama who actually sit down, listen to the anonymous career types, put a plan in action that works, and follow it through to the end.

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  50. Tlaloc says:

    But I’ll shut up now, since yours is the only voice that should be heard, Tlaloc.

    That and you don’t have an answer, but I knew that, that’s why it was rhetorical.

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  51. anjin-san says:

    Andy… Obama campaigned on getting bin laden. “we will kill bin laden” … his exact words. bush made it clear that getting bin laden was not a priority. he decided getting saddam was more important. or more accurately, he allowed sronger men to manipulate him into that decision.

    judge the words of both men, then judge the results.

    after 9.11, the party line from the right was ” this was inevitable, nothing could have, stopped it. if there is any blame we will assign it to clinton”. now we’re hearing “this was inevitable it would have happend no matter who was president. let’s give the credit to bush”.

    no sale in either case. obama promised, and he delivered. naturally this is a catastrophe for jwest and the other nitwits, and they have to spin it as best they can.

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  52. Boyd says:

    Okay, keep telling yourself that, Tlaloc, if that’s what makes you feel better about yourself.

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  53. hey norm says:

    anjin-san,
    “…bush made it clear that getting bin laden was not a priority…” i think you have to discount those statements as purely face-saving. it is my understanding there has always been a group of people focused on bin laden. certainly bin laden was not in iraq which is where cheney was focused (and bush could not say no to dick). certainly obama ratcheted up afghanistan after years of neglect by the previous administration. and obama may very well have re-focused efforts on bin laden. but i never tooks those statements from bush or cheney seriously.

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  54. Andy says:

    Uh, Michael, maybe you should read what I wrote again a bit closer. Leon Pannetta and the rest of the President’s “national security team” weren’t running around the hinterlands gathering intel, nor did they wile away the years in windowless rooms piecing together bits and pieces of ambiguous data in order to figure out where OBL was. That kind of work was done by the intel people who work in the trenches – not political appointee-managers. If you’ve paid any attention to the reporting on this you’d know that a lot of the intel that lead to this operation is older than 2.5 years. The people who actually did the work deserve the credit IMO – that goes for any administration, not just this one.

    Secondly, as I said, Obama DOES deserve credit too because approving this operation was a real risk for him. As I also said, had this thing gone bad, people would have given him the blame. Unlike what you apparently believe, I would not have been one of those people. President’s don’t plan or execute these operations. For the same reason the failure of President Carter’s effort to rescue the Iranian hostages was not his fault. He approved a very risky plan and things did not go well. That failure, however, lead to the creation of JSOC and SOCCOM and today we see the results of learning from that failure.

    Now, perhaps I’m biased because I worked in the intel community and I personally know some of the people who’ve spent the last decade (and more) working in those windowless rooms. My only point here is that in the rush to claim credit for “your side” (whatever side that might be) we shouldn’t forget the people who actually did the heavy lifting and who actually risked their lives to make this possible.

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  55. Andy says:

    anjin-san,

    Yes, partisans act predictably toward politicians. Who knew?

    Again, my point is that the people who deserve the most credit (not all credit) are the anonymous non-political public servants who’ve been working on the UBL problem since 1995.

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  56. SKI says:

    @hey norm

    Unfortunately, anjin-san’s comments are accurate. It wasn’t just the several public statements.

    In July 2006, the Bush Administration disbanded and reassigned the CIA group that had as its mission to hunt Bin Laden. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/washington/04intel.html). This fit Bush’s comments later that year to Fred Barnes that focusing on OBL “doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.” (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/696wnfcp.asp)

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  57. hey norm says:

    ski…
    hey i tried to give the tremendously incompetent former administration the benefit of the doubt. i mean…i’m beginning to feel bad for them. they destroyed the economy, and failed to finish two wars they started, and let bin laden escape at tora bora. what exactly did they accomplish? i think maybe there was something about abstinence and aids in africa. but hey…if i’m wrong i’m wrong…

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  58. jwest says:

    White House Officials Debate Releasing Photographs of Bin Laden’s Corpse
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/05/white-house-officials-debate-releasing-photographs-of-bin-ladens-corpse-1.html

    But…but… they can’t do that. Hawaiian law is perfectly clear forbidding any release of any photos of people Obama has had killed. Everyone will just have to accept the Health Department’s short form certificate of foreign death.

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  59. TG Chicago says:

    If nothing else, this might help the right track / wrong track number get back in an Obama-friendly direction.

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  60. michael reynolds says:

    Andy:

    My side is the Americans. Including our president.

    Of course we honor the secret warriors who read the satellite photos and interpreted the scraps of data and planned the mission and then carried out that mission.

    But they were on OBL’s case because Obama put them there after Mr. Bush pulled them off.

    It was Obama who put Bin Laden back up there as target number one, and allocated the resources, and put the right people in the right civilian commands. To minimize Obama’s credit for this is no different than minimizing FDR’s role in winning WW2. (Albeit this was a much smaller task.)

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  61. michael reynolds says:

    jwest thinks Osama was killed in Hawaii.

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  62. mantis says:

    jwest thinks Osama was killed in Hawaii.

    He also thinks Hawaii is a foreign country.

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  63. mantis says:

    Let’s have a look at what Jay Tea considers “class.” Yes, you guessed it, it entails attacking the president constantly, especially when something good happens (yes Jay, I linked to your swamp. Happy?).

    Candidate Obama would be gravely disappointed in President Obama.

    For going after bin Laden. Here’s what candidate Obama said:

    And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out.

    We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.

    Yeah, candidate Obama would be so pissed at President Obama for doing what he promised.

    Jay also jumps right into conspiracy mode about bin Laden’s body (likely to appease his many conspiracy-minded commenters, the same way he did repeated tidbits of the birther crap).

    I believe that Obama and his administration is lying about this — I wager that the corpse is on ice somewhere, awaiting or undergoing as complete and thorough examination as possible,. including DNA identification and seeing if we can figure out anything about where he’s been, what he’s been doing, and whatnot. Only after that is finished will it really be dumped in the drink. And I’m OK with that deception. Hell, they’d be fools if they didn’t do just that.

    The fake deception that Jay Tea promoted about Obama spending millions to “hide” his birth certificate? That’s an outrage. Deception about bin Laden that Jay just invents from whole cloth? He’s OK with that.

    And then he moves on to playing defense for Donald Trump:

    This was a very, very bad weekend for Donald Trump. First, he gets invited to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he gets cheap-shotted by Obama and everyone else in a venue where he’s not allowed to respond, but just sit there and take it.

    Poor thin-skinned Donald! He’s such a considerate, thoughtful fellow, and that mean ol’ Obama won’t stop attacking him!

    Then, on Sunday night, he has his “Celebrity Apprentice” show get bumped by Obama himself, announcing Bin Laden’s death. I doubt that was deliberate, but it certainly looks like Trump was getting under Obama’s infamously thin skin — and Obama hit back.

    (not really shorter) Jay Tea: “Oh, I doubt Obama deliberately timed the killing of bin Laden just to screw with Donald Trump, but obviously he did.”

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  64. reid says:

    “Actually, it’s quite clear. The GOP’s political hill just got steeper. Frankly, if they’re hoping to win on budget issues, they’re not going to win.”

    That kind of assumes an honest, open discussion. I’m sure the R’s will be hoping for and relying on a combination of general economic malaise, vague unease over deficits and spending, vague promises involving cutting spending, and the usual demonization. I think they need some charismatic candidate that will use all of that and energize the middle to come out of the woodwork, too. (Trump and Palin don’t qualify.) I’d say it’s a long shot, but they were able to pull it off in 2010. I think they used up a lot of that ignorant energy, though.

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  65. reid says:

    “Putting aside the discussion of our humility-challenged president”

    Yes, why can’t he be more like the humble GWB, who swaggered and talked like an old west caricature? Somehow I don’t see jwest mentioning GWB’s lack of humility….

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  66. michael reynolds says:

    Interestingly, George Will describes the speech as “pitch perfect.”

    But then, Will is a conservative. Not a racist douche.

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  67. Andy says:

    Michael,

    The hunt for UBL under Bush never ceased. This isn’t even the first time JSOC went after him in Pakistan.

    Secondly, the “war” isn’t exactly over yet. To adjust your analogy, I think Obama gets as much credit for this as FDR got for the Normandy invasion.

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  68. jwest says:

    Mantis,

    I hope Jay Tea is right about holding on to Bin Laden’s body.

    First, it would make a lot of sense to take their time examining the body and to fabricate a story of burial at sea to placate the Muslims.

    Next, it would be a shame not stuff the corpse with rancid pork before disposing of it.

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  69. Boyd says:

    In a digression from the ongoing discussion (especially since no one is convincing anyone on the other side of the debate), as a Texan, my favorite W quote is from the 2004 GOP convention:
    “Some people say I swagger. In Texas, we call it ‘walking.’”

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  70. Tano says:

    I have to disagree with Dough’s post, for several reasons.

    First – this absurdity:

    we’ve already seen plenty of evidence that Obama’s approval numbers are subject to wide fluctuations.

    Actually, we have seen quite the opposite. His numbers have been remarkably stable. For almost a year and a half, his approvals and disapprovals have both slowly oscillated within 3.5 points, more or less, of 47.5, according to the RealClear averages.

    The comparison with ’92 is flawed as well. Bush, as a Republican, and a former CIA chief, was expected to be a competent leader in national security issues. Winning the Gulf War gave him high and broad appeal, but it merely reinforced an existing strength. His weakness, on the domestic economy, was not helped, and ultimately his fatal weakness – on taxes with this own base – was also not helped by the war

    Obama, as a Democrat and a neophyte on national security issues, would not have been expected to be a strong and competent leader on these issues. Dems would hope that he would be sufficiently strong to get by, but his real strength would be with more traditionally Democratic issues. So this victory greatly helps him with a perceived weakness – thus it might well have a lasting and significant effect.

    Bush Sr. was undone because he was a zero for Dems on their issues, and he had a revolt from his base on one of their most important issues, taxes. The war cred was simply not enough to overcome that. Obama will not face a revolt from his base, and this Osama capture will earn him some cred with Republicans (the quiet ones out in the country, not the talkers and shouters that we all hear everyday.

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  71. jwest says:

    Michael,

    You know how testy you get when you forget to pick up your hemorrhoid cream.

    But then again, the burning in your ass can’t compare to the burning in your soul, supporting all those liberal programs that robbed the dignity of people of color. Living with yourself must be hell on earth.

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  72. reid says:

    “Some people say I swagger. In Texas, we call it ‘walking.’”

    Heh. Good one, but you wouldn’t call a Texan “walking” like that “humble”, which apparently is a pet peeve of jwest. Man, he must have been fuming at Bush when he said “bring it on”!

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  73. PJ says:

    Here’s a fun part. Compare how right wing bloggers is reacting to Osama bin Laden being killed to how left wing bloggers reacted to the news that Saddam Hussein was captured.

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  74. Boyd says:

    In Texas, “Humble” is just a town near Houston.

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  75. [...] took a look over at Outside the Beltway, where Doug Mataconis had already weighed in on the subject. The 1992 election is probably the best reason to be careful when making any [...]

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  76. jwest says:

    Reid,

    Listening to Obama, he did everything except clench a knife in his teeth and slide down the rope to kill Bin Laden himself.

    Bush always went out of his way to spread the credit around, trying to “change the tone in Washington”. From his inaugural address forward, Obama has taken cheap shot at every opportunity.

    Typical (for a liberal) low class behavior.

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  77. CB says:

    JWEST, ET AL…

    you guys really cannot help yourselves, can you. you hear what you want to hear, i suppose.

    but the contorting and spinning that you are doing in order to castigate the guy is pretty embarrassing.

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  78. mantis says:

    Listening to Obama, he did everything except clench a knife in his teeth and slide down the rope to kill Bin Laden himsel

    Why don’t you tell us which quotes from the president’s address come anywhere near that type of rhetoric?

    Bush always went out of his way to spread the credit around

    The credit for what? Not catching bin Laden?

    From his inaugural address forward, Obama has taken cheap shot at every opportunity.

    Typical (for a liberal) low class behavior.

    This from a ############# who traffics in birther conspiracy theories and asserts that Obama only succeeded due to affirmative action. Tell us more about class, jwest. It’s fascinating.

    WARNING: Comment in violation of site policies. Keep the responses addressed to the argument, not the commenter.

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  79. G.A.Phillips says:

    I got two words:FLAWLESS VICTORY.

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  80. G.A.Phillips says:
  81. mattb says:

    On the location of the body — Andy’s probably the right person to comment on this, but I see little reason to doubt that they did bury the body at sea. T

    he fact is that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to keep the body under wraps (if you will). And there would be very little to gain from doing so.

    I also imagine that we still have a number of parts of the body on hand. Beyond blood and tissue samples, I’d guess that a full autopsy was performed (to confirm things like if the body was diabetic).

    I’d also guess that high res photo’s/scans of things like finger prints were made. Heck they probably MRI’d it (I believe there isn’t a problem doing it postmortem) or some equivalent form of medical modeling.

    In other words, there’s no reason to keep the whole body on hand. Bits and pieces would be more than enough for the tasks at hand.

    All the body would do is risk creating a target (where ever it existed) or a piece of further anti-US propaganda material.

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  82. Herb says:

    Listening to Obama, he did everything except clench a knife in his teeth and slide down the rope to kill Bin Laden himself.

    Bush always went out of his way to spread the credit around, trying to “change the tone in Washington”.

    If this is your big complaint, you don’t have much to complain about.

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  83. mantis says:

    One note about the politics of this: potential Republican candidates, with the possible exceptions of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, are probably glad they haven’t been focusing on foreign policy in their arguments about the president.

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  84. mantis says:

    Er, against the president, rather.

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  85. Hey Norm says:

    “…Bush always went out of his way to spread the credit around…”. For instance he took great pains to credit Clinton with 9/11

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  86. mattb says:

    Bush always went out of his way to spread the credit around, trying to “change the tone in Washington”. From his inaugural address forward, Obama has taken cheap shot at every opportunity.

    Ok, just going by oval office addresses, it sure seems like Bush really pushed his position as “Decider in Chief” in this address on the eve of Iraqi Elections:

    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/wariniraq/gwbushiraq121805.htm

    It is a long speech, and there are more parties *might* get mentioned, but I think you’ll find that the tone is exceedingly similiar — again emphasizing the Presidents role in making lots of decisions. Likewise, the ration of “self-references” to those in the “military” or “civilians” isn’t particular higher in Bush’s text.

    BTW, for a listing of past oval office addresses (those given to the American People, remember that the Mission Accomplished speech was “addressed” directly to the Military), please see:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/06/presidential-addresses-from-ov.html

    Oh, and this is a wonderful site for actually finding the texts of those speeches:
    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/

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  87. rodney dill says:

    I just hope there’s a large pilgrimage of the faithful that visit his body each year.
    (BYO rock and rope)

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  88. mattb says:

    BTW — still looking for major positive shoutouts to past administrations in any of the “big” speeches GWB gave.

    BTW is the formula that if you’re from Texas you have “swagger” and if you’re from Chicago you’re “uppity”?

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  89. mantis says:

    Sorry for spend so much time humiliating Jay Tea, but I thought I’d take a trip through the old wayback machine and what did I find? Jay’s October 2008 predictions about a (then possible) Obama presidency, one year in. Let’s look at the bin Laden prediction, shall we?

    Obama’s single greatest achievement in foreign policy, though, also led directly to the greatest danger we now face. It was a happy day when US Special Forces found Osama Bin Laden’s grave in Pakistan, but the incursion into that nation led to the fall of the government to Islamic radicals. But instead of a Taliban-style government taking control, we have a chaotic mess of a nation with factions squabbling for power.

    So prescient!

    You can check out all of Jay’s predictions here and here. Some favorites:

    On the other hand, maybe it will keep the Justice Department busy from continuing the endless investigations into the former Bush administration. I stopped counting the number of indictments of various and sundry officials that were tossed out of court at two dozen, but that was a long time ago.

    Heh.

    In retrospect, the meetings between Obama administration officials and Moqtada Al-Sadr in Iraq were a very bad idea — as I and a lot of other said at the time. Sadr used the credibility that gave him and the backing of Iran to leverage his power and make himself once again a major force in Iraqi politics. Indeed, many lay at his feet the sudden demands that the US reduce its forces and set a firm timetable for complete withdrawal. And some of us are convinced he is behind the resurgence in attacks on US forces that has undone so much of the progress achieved in the past few years.

    Well, Obama is a sekrit muslin, after all. What else would he do?

    Further, with Obama willing to use more clear threats of sanctions and withholding arms and hinting that the US might not come to Israel’s defense, they are backed into a corner that’s starting to look very much like 1973 all over again.

    Yes, the past two and a half years have seen all US support for Israel disappear…

    remember Chrysler? It was a sad day for a lot of people when they shut their doors

    and the implementation of the Kyoto Accords by executive order put a similar hurting on the electric utilities

    Indeed, I’ve seen some arguments that directly tie the Obama energy program to the rise of Hugh Chavez’ Venezuela as a regional superpower and the fall of the Colombian government.

    I had had high hopes for NATO with Obama’s election, considering how popular he was in Europe. But the great alliance that kept the Soviet Union in check for decades is now all but defunct.

    If anyone here was ever tempted to find Jay’s thoughts on politics, foreign policy, Obama, or really anything but Heinlein novels compelling, think about those predictions.

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  90. wr says:

    “If anyone here was ever tempted to find Jay’s thoughts on politics, foreign policy, Obama, or really anything but Heinlein novels compelling, think about those predictions”

    Why would I find his opinions about Heinlein novels compelling?

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  91. Boyd says:

    BTW is the formula that if you’re from Texas you have “swagger” and if you’re from Chicago you’re “uppity”?

    C’mown, mattb! Pay tension! Ah alreddy tole yew we “wok” in Texas. Don know nuthin bout how they perambulate in Chicago.

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  92. mantis says:

    Why would I find his opinions about Heinlein novels compelling?

    Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but at least he has taken the time to familiarize himself with the details of those novels (he’s a big fan). As for politics, current events, policy, and Obama, not so much. For that, he just makes stuff up or repeats whatever nonsense bubbles up from the Freepers and other wingnut dregs.

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  93. mattb says:

    God Boyd, you win the thread for using “perambulate” correctly.

    Ok, what do Chicagoans do? Shuffle?

    I think that thanks to Travolta, “tri-state” area Jersey still owns the “groove” for a while (’cause you can tell by the way he walks his walk…).

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  94. Boyd says:

    Jis cause we tok funny don mean wees ignant, mattb.

    Remind me sometime to tell you the one about the Texan freshman at Harvard asking for directions to the library.

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  95. Neil Hudelson says:

    Jay Tea is a big fan of Heinlein? Well, color me surprised. We have something in common.

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  96. Southern Hoosier says:

    Yes Bin Laden is dead and the world is better off. The sun rise on the same unemployment, the same housing slump. the same national debt, the same problems of the night before, the same searches by TSA. even the same terrorist threat. Yes, bin Laden is dead and nothing changed.

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  97. Drew says:

    I just read this entire thread. “Juvenile” is the only word that comes to mind.

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  98. mantis says:

    Yes Bin Laden is dead and the world is better off. The sun rise on the same unemployment, the same housing slump. the same national debt, the same problems of the night before, the same searches by TSA. even the same terrorist threat. Yes, bin Laden is dead and nothing changed.

    Hey xxxxxxxxxxx, did anyone ever claim that killing bin Laden would do anything about the economy?

    WARNING: Comment in violation of site policies.

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  99. Southern Hoosier says:

    Hey racist shitbird

    Spoken like a true liberal

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  100. Kylopod says:

    >Well, Obama is a sekrit muslin, after all.

    A secret muslin, you say? Well, no wonder he’s such a softie. And by the way, does this somehow have anything to do with his escalation of the Afghan war?

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  101. mantis says:

    That was sarcasm, Kylopod.

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  102. mantis says:

    WARNING: Comment in violation of site policies.

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  103. michael reynolds says:

    Drew:

    I just read this entire thread. “Juvenile” is the only word that comes to mind.

    It must be that we needed you here to tell us how “incompetent,” and “unprepared,” and just generally negro Obama is.

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  104. Kylopod says:

    >That was sarcasm, Kylopod.

    I know. I was just having a little fun.

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  105. mantis says:

    I asked upthread this morning about the right moving towards “Obama’s death faked” conspiracies. They are already starting .

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  106. Southern Hoosier says:

    Got a problem with it?

    Nope. but you sure seem to.
    Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder
    Michael Savage.

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  107. mantis says:

    I know. I was just having a little fun.

    Ah. Sometimes it’s hard to tell in text.

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  108. mantis says:

    Nope. but you sure seem to.
    Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder
    Michael Savage.

    Michael Savage! Now, that’s funny. But yes, you’re right, the fact that I dislike racists like you is clearly a sign that I’m deranged. Of course it is!

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  109. Southern Hoosier says:

    @mantis Looks like about half your post should have been deleted.

    Remember that the people under discussion are human beings. Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

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  110. mantis says:

    Racists like you have no decency or integrity to challenge.

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  111. jwest says:

    Michael,

    If we conservatives were the raging racists you think us to be, we would be crediting this unqualified incompetent’s one correct call in the past three years to his white half.

    Can’t liberals simply accept the fact that bumbling haplessness has nothing to do with the color of someone’s skin? Did you believe Jimmy Carter was secretly black? You really need to be able to move on in this post-racial world.

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  112. Southern Hoosier says:

    @mantis
    What makes you so self-righteous anyway?

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  113. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone else get the sense that jwest is a sad little man who gets no attention in real life, leading him to overcompensate by making crazy statements that get attention in here?

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  114. Southern Hoosier says:

    anjin-san says: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 18:08

    Does anyone else get the sense that jwest is a sad little man who gets no attention in real life, leading him to overcompensate by making crazy statements that get attention in here?

    No.

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  115. anjin-san says:

    SH.. as you are of a kind you are hardly an objective observer. I think one of the reasons for the pathological hatred of Obama is he correctly identified your ilk as embittered cranks back in ’08.

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  116. Southern Hoosier says:

    anjin-san says: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 18:51

    SH.. as you are of a kind you are hardly an objective observer. I think one of the reasons for the pathological hatred of Obama is he correctly identified your ilk as embittered cranks back in ’08.

    I don’t see to many people falling all over themselves to agree with you.

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  117. PJ says:

    About the topic. As a reader points of over at the Daily Dish, they had tracked the courier to the compound in August, in September the CIA thought it was a strong possibility that Osama was there.
    Obama could have launched an attack in October, creating an October surpise that would have helped the democrats in the midterms. Instead he decided to wait.

    Compare that to the terror alerts issued by the DHS in 2004 before the election. Or the leaking of terrorist plots.

    Isn’t it great that the grownups are in charge?

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  118. Southern Hoosier says:

    PJ says: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 19:15
    Obama could have launched an attack in October, creating an October surprise that would have helped the democrats in the midterms. Instead he decided to wait.

    Once they ID bin Laden, it takes time for the military to plan. Simply put Comrade Obama did want another Eagel Claw or Bay of Pigs on his hands.

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  119. PJ says:

    @Southern Hoosier:

    Once they ID bin Laden, it takes time for the military to plan. Simply put Comrade Obama did want another Eagel Claw or Bay of Pigs on his hands.

    Personally, I believe that military could have drawn up and executed plans for this in less than two months, sorry to hear that you don’t. Don’t you have faith in their abilities?

    And even with your lack, Obama could just have ordered the compound to be bombed.

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  120. sam says:

    “Simply put Comrade Obama did want another Eagel Claw or Bay of Pigs on his hands.”

    Duh. Why would any president?

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  121. An Interested Party says:

    Oh, is “white guilt” replacing “race card” as the new meme for racists?

    I’m just curious, when someone who isn’t white makes the same arguments that Michael Reynolds does, what is that person’s problem? Surely it can’t be “white guilt”…

    “Some people say I swagger. In Texas, we call it ‘walking.’”

    After Bush, one wonders when a candidate from Texas will ever be elected president again…

    Typical (for a liberal) low class behavior.

    Indeed, it would have been much classier for the president to land on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier with a “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him…

    Simply put Comrade Obama did want another Eagel Claw or Bay of Pigs on his hands.

    If only Bush had thought the same way before he decided to invade Iraq…

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  122. Southern Hoosier says:

    PJ says: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 19:39

    Personally, I believe that military could have drawn up and executed plans for this in less than two months, sorry to hear that you don’t. Don’t you have faith in their abilities?

    Of course I do. I know a thousands things can go wrong and each and ever one of those thousand things have to be planed for. They probably built a mock up of the whole compound down to the last detail. And then it was practice practice practice.

    And even with your lack, Obama could just have ordered the compound to be bombed.

    Yeah bomb it good, kill even more civilians. Plus you don’t have a body to take pictures of or to collect DNA from.

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  123. Southern Hoosier says:

    An Interested Party says: Monday, May 2, 2011 at 20:08

    If only Bush had thought the same way before he decided to invade Iraq…

    He must have.

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  124. Michael Reynolds says:

    Jwest:

    You are not a conservative. Joyner is a conservative. You are a racist douche.

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  125. Scott O. says:

    I wonder how Bush would have done the announcement had Bin Laden been caught or killed on his watch. Probably not anything as dramatic as a carrier landing but I can see him doing it at a military base the following morning in front of a large group of soldiers.

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  126. PJ says:

    The win here for Obama will be independents reacting to meltdown on the right.

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  127. rodney dill says:

    I asked upthread this morning about the right moving towards “Obama’s death faked” conspiracies. They are already starting.

    Thanks for providing the link to the comments of liberal pawn, anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan, mantis.

    Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan wrote her supporters, “I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid. Just think to yourself—they paraded Saddam’s dead sons around to prove they were dead—why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent—just put your flags away and THINK!”

    Actually I’m far more worried that some of the Islamic world won’t accept he’s dead, than anything the right says. (of course Al Qaeda may get as much value out of a martyr as a live leader). Overall, Obama made a good decision, and the right decision. I won’t add any further qualifications as to Obama’s actions in this matter.

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  128. jwest says:

    Michael,

    “You are not a conservative. Joyner is a conservative.”

    James Joyner, Jim Jeffords, Lincoln Chafee, Andrew Sullivan, Dave Weigel – proud conservatives.

    I don’t blame James for his style of “conservativism”, he probably believes the things he writes. Between writing, editing and waiting by the phone for the call from MSNBC, he has his hands full.

    His style is probably what attracted you to OTB in the first place – a “conservative” website that is in basic agreement with most liberal views you hold. By aggregating articles and ideas from Think Progress, Huffington Post and Media Matters, OTB is a place where liberals and conservatives of like minds can come together to decry the unreasonableness and racism rampant on the far right.

    Is there a benefit to having the voices of “racist shitbirds, (douches, etc.)” questioning the “settled science” of liberal orthodoxy? If it prompts one lurker to actually think, then yes, it is.

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  129. [...] is he a shoe-in? Yesterday, Jazz Shaw linked to Doug Mataconis’ Outside the Beltway post on “The Politics Of The Death Of Osama bin Laden.” As Mataconis wrote: The 1992 election is probably the best reason to be careful when making any [...]

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  130. [...] get bent about the “he may get re-elected” part, because as Doug Mataconis demonstrates, George H.W. Bush didn’t see his post-Desert Storm bounce last long: he was [...]

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  131. An Interested Party says:

    James Joyner, Jim Jeffords, Lincoln Chafee, Andrew Sullivan, Dave Weigel – proud conservatives.

    As opposed to jwest, Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter…some choice…

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  132. jwest says:

    Interested Party,

    That’s some stellar company you’ve grouped me with. Thank you.

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  133. An Interested Party says:

    You’re most welcome…I figured you wouldn’t mind being included with that gruesome group…

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