Honestly, how difficult would it have been for President Barack Obama to mention the efforts of his predecessor in finding Osama bin Laden after the successful operation that eliminated the terrorist kingpin responsible for the murders of more than 3,000 Americans? Even if it was just an oversight in the initial statement, Obama could have noted the efforts of George W. Bush and his team that led to the compound in Abbottabad in later statements, especially since the lead was first developed in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay — a facility that only remained open because of Bush, after Democrats and some Republicans demanded its closure. Defying that political pressure was its own “gutsy call,” especially during the 2004 presidential campaign when Democrats began making it an issue (although not John Kerry, to my recollection; he wanted courts-martial at Gitmo rather than tribunals, but didn’t advocate for civilian trials) and during the 2006 midterms. Had Senator Barack Obama gotten his way, that lead might never have developed at all.
And then a week later, when it became apparent that the White House would have to acknowledge Bush, did Obama do it himself on his national platform in the 60 Minutes interview? No; they had Tom Donilon tell the media that Bush was Obama’s first call after the operation ended, a revelation that would have made Obama look gracious had he himself noted that sometime during the past week.
Obama had the opportunity to actually act in the post-partisan manner that he supposedly demands. Instead, he ended up looking petty and small by refusing repeatedly the opportunity to show a little grace, even while former President Bush rightly congratulated him publicly on a job well done.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!