Bush declines Obama invite to Thursday's Ground Zero event

No reason given, but I think we can guess.

President Barack Obama plans to visit New York City on Thursday to mark the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

NBC News reported that Obama invited former President George W. Bush to attend the event but Bush does not plan to attend.

NBC said Bush plans to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 at ground zero in September.

Only two possibilities. One: Bush recognizes that this is, more or less, an Obama campaign commercial and would rather not be part of it. Two: Bush doesn’t want to encroach on the singular role that Obama, as president, should rightly have in leading the ceremonies marking Bin Laden’s demise. Given how gracious Dubya has been in retirement, does anyone doubt that the second explanation is correct?

Needless to say, it was also gracious of The One to invite him. Not everyone in his party is so big-hearted:

[O]ne Democratic communications hand sent advice to a slew of other Democratic operatives in the wake of the announcement hammering on the need to make sure Obama comes out on top.

“In your day jobs, do not let Republicans turn this into continuing the Bush legacy. This has to be about Obama’s decisive leadership,” the guidance said. “He is the one who oversaw bringing bin Laden to justice, much like how Bush failed to do so at Tora Bora and then claimed Osama wasn’t a priority.”…

Bin Laden’s death, said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), is “the ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment President Bush only fantasized about.”

As a gloss on that latter point, go read Ace’s take on the left’s outrageous outrage over Bush’s seven minutes of stunned silence on 9/11 versus their perfect contentment with Obama for having waited months — plus an additional 16 hours — before deciding to take out Bin Laden. I don’t fault O for thinking long and hard about whether to greenlight a mission whose failure would have cemented his reputation as the new Jimmy Carter, especially when the CIA wasn’t 100 percent sure that Bin Laden was in the compound. Hard choices take time to make. But do understand that that hesitation carried incredible risk: Even though OBL had apparently been at the compound for years, the arrest of one of Al Qaeda’s top operatives in the same town just three months before must have alarmed him. He could have bolted at any time, and still Obama waited. No harm, no foul in hindsight, but had Bush done the same, we’d be buried underneath stories about Dubya’s “dangerous” propensity for hesitation, quite unlike The One’s cool, cerebral insistence on deliberation. What a joy it must be to be liberal, when even your mistakes are evidence of virtue.

Exit quotation from two of the kids who were in the classroom with Bush that day: “I think he was trying to keep everybody calm, starting with us… I think he was trying to protect us.”