Quotes of the day

“The preezy of the United Steezy is making me queasy.

“I’m not troubled by President Obama’s slow jam with Jimmy Fallon, who dubbed the commander in chief ‘preezy’ during Obama’s appearance on late-night TV. No, preezy is making me queasy because his nonstop campaigning is looking, well, sleazy — and his ad suggesting that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have killed Osama bin Laden is just the beginning of it.”


“The White House strongly denied Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s surprise trip to Afghanistan was executed for political motives, saying the visit was more than a year in the making…

“‘We had a window of time here, a number of weeks, to sign the agreement,’ the official said. ‘It was the president’s preference to sign that agreement on Afghan soil, it was President Karzai’s preference to invite President Obama to sign that agreement on Afghan soil, because it’s an indication of the progress that we have made together and the future that we are building together here in Afghanistan.’

“The anniversary of bin Laden’s death was a ‘resonant day’ for Obama to visit troops in Afghanistan, the official said, because of the hard work of the U.S. military in the raid that brought down the al Qaeda chief.”


“The Obama campaign’s crass politicization of the killing of Osama bin Laden seems to have struck a nerve in just about everyone – from expected quarters (like the Wall Street Journal editorial page), to moderately conservative ones (like David Brooks of the New York Times), to liberal ones (like Dana Milbank of the Washington Post). But perhaps the most important criticisms are being made by Navy SEALs themselves, as Alana points out.

“This cannot be what the Obama campaign predicted; and the fact that they would take their most notable achievement and employ it in a way that would be potentially counterproductive is a sign that the mindset of all the president’s men is so aggressive, so hyper-partisan, so mean-spirited and so desperate that they are acting in ways that are amateurish and self-defeating. It might also be a sign that Obama has so few genuine accomplishment to his name that when he actually is able to identify one, he mishandles it. They don’t have enough practice to know what to do with a real achievement.”


“Last week, the Obama campaign ran a cheap-shot ad on the death of Osama bin Laden. Part of the ad was Bill Clinton effectively talking about the decision to kill the terrorist. But, in the middle, the Obama people threw in a low-minded attack on Romney. The slam made Clinton look small, it made Obama look small, it turned a moment of genuine accomplishment into a political ploy, but it did follow the rules of gangland: At every second, attack; at every opportunity, drive a shiv between the ribs…

“But it’s probably bad sociology and terrible psychology, given the general disgust with conventional politics. If I were in the campaigns, I’d want to detach from the current rules of engagement and change the nature of the campaign. If I were Obama, I’d play to his personal popularity and run an “American Idol” campaign — likability, balance, safety and talent.”


“For veterans of John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, the past week of debate over the fairness of making political attacks out of national security issues has brought about a bit of nostalgia and, in many cases, the chance to sit back and smirk…

“‘The difference here is that we won’t be swift boating Mitt Romney,’ Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s campaign manager said in an email. ‘We are sticking to actual facts, not dishonest attacks and distortions. Romney said he wouldn’t go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden, and then hit one of his opponents Mike Huckabee when he said that he would. That’s important information to voters, because it shows a lack of judgment and a lack of strength, particularly if Romney is now saying that he would have given the same order the President did to get Bin Laden. He had a chance to get it right, without the enormous pressure of being the Commander in Chief, and he got it wrong.'”


“Romney has kept up a barrage of attacks on Obama’s national-security record — which is puzzling, to say the least, since there are no politically palatable routes to criticizing the president on this score, except from the left, which is hardly an angle that Romney or any other Republican (except Ron Paul) would traverse…

“More likely, he and his proxies in the right-wing press are adopting Karl Rove’s strategy of attacking the opponent’s strengths. In the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry’s war-hero status posed a threat against George W. Bush, so Rove and the Swift Boaters painted Kerry as a war coward; Kerry and his team were so flummoxed, they didn’t know how to respond. Now Mitt Romney, who has no foreign-policy experience whatever, is painting Obama as the dangerous naif.

“There are two big differences this time out. First, Obama’s political operators seem more adept at dousing these sparklers than were Kerry’s. Second, like Bush in 2004, Obama is the incumbent in this election; he can demonstrate experience and competence in foreign affairs as a matter of course, on a daily basis; hence his trip to Kabul.”


“See, it works like this. The rule is: Only Republicans are allowed to even mention September 11. Because it happened on their watch, you see. In a rational world, that would count as a demerit—and indeed might have led to George W. Bush’s removal from office, or at least to far more strenuous demands that he offer proof that he took that August 6 PDB seriously. But in the ‘Americaland’ parallel-universe amusement-park ride the GOP took us all on over the past decade, it actually registers a plus, because it gives them the right to speak about how it felt to be in charge on that awful day, how hideously unknowable the burden was, etc. They own, so they believe, the stories, the images, the pain. So they’re allowed to speak for America on the subject in a way they believe Democrats are not.

“Given this context, it really grates their cheese that Obama, of all people, is the one who has earned the right to boast about killing bin Laden. Bush had seven years. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, no stone would be unturned in the search, he vowed. A mere few months later, Bush was ‘truly not that concerned about him.’ This was one of the most jaw-dropping things I’ve ever heard a president say. Imagine if Roosevelt had said that in the spring of 1942 about Admiral Yamamoto. Or indeed, imagine if Obama had come into office saying that. He’d have been … I guess I’m not allowed to say crucified, but something close to that. Instead, Obama did the opposite. He actually was concerned about where bin Laden was, and he did the brave thing that Bush notably and demonstrably failed to do.”


“For all the debate over whether it’s fair game for President Obama’s campaign to tout the killing of Osama bin Laden and suggest that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have ordered the raid, the reality is that the issue is very unlikely to have much impact in the election. As it is, when news of the operation broke one year ago, Obama received a small six-point bounce in Gallup’s daily tracking poll that had dissipated within two weeks. In contrast, at a time when national security was a greater focus for Americans, President Bush got a 15-point bump after Saddam Hussein’s capture that lasted seven weeks…

“However many problems I have with Obama’s national security policy, I believe that in the political context, he’ll be able to point to the bin Laden killing to help neutralize charges that he’s too much of an appeaser. But I don’t think he’ll be able to get much of an actual boost out of it, because the War on Terror has receded in importance to most Americans.”


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“Today, Mitt Romney released the following statement on President Obama’s visit to Afghanistan:

“‘I am pleased that President Obama has returned to Afghanistan. Our troops and the American people deserve to hear from our President about what is at stake in this war. Success in Afghanistan is vital to our nation’s security. It would be a tragedy for Afghanistan and a strategic setback for America if the Taliban returned to power and once again created a sanctuary for terrorists. We tolerated such a sanctuary until we lost thousands on September 11, 2001. Many brave Americans have sacrificed everything so that we could win this fight for a more secure future. Let us honor the memory of the fallen, not only by keeping them in our daily thoughts but also by staying true to their commitment. We are united as one nation in our gratitude to our country’s heroes.'”

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