There’s an easy way to tell when Republicans know they are on the losing side of an argument. If Republicans seem to be very very concerned with the tone of a debate, they know they are losing. If Republicans complain that a debate is divisive, they know they are losing. If Republicans become uncomfortable about using national defense or the war on terror in a political context, then they really know they are losing.
The Republicans really don’t like this ad:
Mitt Romney now says that “of course” he would have ordered the raid on bin Laden. He said that “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” (Of course, Jimmy Carter did give a similar order to rescue the hostages in Iran, and it went very badly, and he was attacked mercilessly for it by Republicans at the time. That’s part of the point. Thanks, Mitt.)
Look, I’m all for comity in our political discourse. (Well, theoretically.) I think politics really should end at the water’s edge. But we are trying to pick a president, and this is a clear example of competency on the part of the president, and a significant difference between him and his opponents.
To review, here’s what Mitt Romney said 4 years ago about candidate Barack Obama’s statement of going into Pakistan to take out bin Laden:
“I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours… I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort,” Romney told reporters on the campaign trail. […] Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is one of the Republican front-runners, said U.S. troops “shouldn’t be sent all over the world.” He called Obama’s comments “ill-timed” and “ill-considered.”
Now Romney etch a sketches that “of course” he would have done the same thing. Here’s the thing: having a president who makes the tough, correct decision before he knows the result is kind of important. Whether it’s the auto bailout or a military action, changing your answer after the fact isn’t an option.
The Romney campaign is shocked! shocked! that anyone would ever attempt to politicize 9/11 or killing a terrorist or getting Osama bin Laden. To drive this point they are going to spend today campaigning with… Rudy “Noun and a verb and 9/11” Giuliani. Good thinking Mitt. That’ll change the conversation.
bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. Four more years.