The Republican Party has been playing politics with terrorism since the 9/11 attack, in a manner similar to how they played politics with anti-Communism in past decades. Republicans are now upset and in denial about two things: the Democrats have been far more successful on national security and, even worse, they dare to promote their success for political gain. The web ad by Bill Clinton which points out that Barack Obama made the decision to kill bin Laden, while Mitt Romney would not have done the same, has the right wing especially upset.
Right wing blogs are full of utterly senseless arguments to deny credit to Barack Obama for his accomplishment. Many come from a rather irrational post at Breitbart.com–a site which specializes in distorting the facts to support right wing narratives. Their argument comes down to attacking Obama for wanting information on the risks involved before proceeding. This sounds quite prudent and provides no evidence of their claim this was to avoid taking the blame if the operation did not succeed. If only George Bush had not ignored warnings about the risks involved in occupying Iraq before rushing to war.
John McCain, the war-mongering jingoist who has never shown reluctance to use war for political gain, actually had the chutzpah to attack Obama for promoting his success against bin Laden. There are endless examples of McCain and the Republican Party using national security for political gain, even managing to capitalize on Bush’s massive failure on 9/11, and claiming “Mission Accomplished” as their policies failed in Iraq. Digby has provided a handful of videos demonstrating how Republicans have used national security. Far more could be added.
Just as the Republicans, who wrecked the economy and have been doing everything possible to slow down recovery, are trying to claim can do more for the economy, Republican who have gravely harmed our national security are trying to turn this into a political plus for them. It was the Republicans who tried to block Bill Clinton’s actions against al Qaeda, but despite this Clinton showed successes, such as stopping the planned Millennium terrorist plot. George Bush ignored both recommendations passed down from the Clinton administration for handling al Qaeda and ignored CIA warnings before the 9/11 attack. After ignoring numerous warnings before 9/11, Bush made matters even worse by going to war against the wrong country. Even when he had an excellent chance to kill or capture bin Laded at Tora Bora, Bush managed to mess it up.
Republicans object to Obama taking credit for his success because they do not want the facts to intrude upon the false narratives they create to run on. They want to claim to be stronger on national security despite their disastrous record. They want to run on fiscal responsibility despite their policies which are responsible for the deficit as they try to place the blame for their actions on Obama. They want to run as the party of small government and freedom despite a record of increasing the size of government and increasing government intrusion in the private lives of individuals.
Looking at the facts, there is really no question as to which party has been more successful in recent years, as the Republicans have increasingly ignored reality. Democrats have been successful in protecting the country against terrorism, while Republican policies led to a preventable terrorist attack succeeding and to a war which we never should have engaged in. Republican economic polices have been similarly disastrous for the country. Republicans will continue to whine and try to distort the facts, but this does not change the reality that bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is alive.