RSS
Are Republicans falling into Obama's 'bin Laden trap'?
Republicans are slamming Obama for playing politics with Osama bin Laden's killing... and the president might have the GOP right where he wants it
 
President Barack Obama addresses troops at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan on May 2: The Romney campaign has gone on the offensive since the president began touting his authorization of bin Laden's killing as a political win.
President Barack Obama addresses troops at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan on May 2: The Romney campaign has gone on the offensive since the president began touting his authorization of bin Laden's killing as a political win.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Republicans are going "bananas" over President Obama's use of Osama bin Laden's killing as a marketing tool in his re-election campaign — and Team Obama couldn't be happier, says Mark McKinnon at The Daily Beast. Obama has every right, even an obligation, to highlight one of his biggest accomplishments, and questioning what GOP rival Mitt Romney would have done is fair game, argues McKinnon, a veteran of George W. Bush's 2004 campaign. But Republicans don't have to walk into the same kind of trap Bush's team set: "When Democrats went crazy about our 9/11 ad in 2004, all they did was bring more attention to the message we were trying to communicate." Is the GOP falling into Obama's "bin Laden trap"?

Yes. They took the bait: Team Obama's bin Laden ad was an obvious trap, and Romney inexplicably "walked right into it," says John Cassidy at The New Yorker. By whining about the unfairness of Obama's attacks, all Romney and his surrogates did was turn a web-only campaign video into a weeklong discussion of how Obama killed America's top enemy. That's a fight Romney "cannot hope to win," and Obama's Chicago re-election team "must be swapping high fives all the way down Michigan Avenue."
"Romney walks into Obama's bin Laden trap"

No. Obama's setting himself up for a fall: Obama "has been milking the first anniversary of the bin Laden raid for all its worth," and Republicans are right to slam him for it, says Nile Gardiner at Britain's The Telegraph. Any president would have pulled the trigger on bin Laden, and bragging about it is an obvious attempt to distract voters from the woeful economy. Obama's "heavy-handed grandstanding this week will ultimately backfire with a U.S. electorate that will swiftly see through it."
"Barack Obama is no Henry V. America's liberal media has gone overboard..."

Either way, Team Mitt had to hit back: This brouhaha is only tangentially about bin Laden, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. Modern campaigns are "meta-battles over power, masculinity, and dominance," and by smacking Romney across the face, hard, Team Obama is trying to "unman" him. Romney's only real response in "this sort of schoolyard power play" was to hit back, or risk getting "owned" by his rival. This brash move is only newsworthy because Obama is a Democrat, and the weapon is national security.
"Inside the Mitt Laden smackdown"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week