For The Moment, Romney Standing Tall(er)
There are several reasons to criticize Mitt Romney. His reaction to the assassination of Osama bin Laden, however, is not one of them.
The remarks of potential GOP presidential candidates are interesting, if not telling. Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann and Mike Huckabee emphasized the evil of Islamic terrorism. Huckabee commented "Welcome to hell, bin Laden. Let us all hope that his demise will serve notice to Islamic radicals the world over....," though Huckabee welcoming someone to hell is rather curious, unless Mike figures he himself already is there. Bachmann expressed her "hope that this is the beginning of the end of Sharia-compliant terrorism," neglecting to offer endorsement or support to non-Sharia-compliant terrorism.
But enough nitpicking. Sarah Palin found time to congratulate the military, the intelligence services, the Special Ops forces, the American people, and America, but somehow not President Obama:
Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy.
This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda's other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world.
May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!
Newt Gingrich was more generous, praising President Bush but especially President Obama, the latter for having "continued and intensified the campaign in both Afghanistan and Pakistan." Gingrich giving credit to a prominent Democrat harkens back to his explanation on September 1, 2000 about then-Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore:
In all fairness, it’s something Gore had worked on a long time. Gore is not the Father of the Internet, but in all fairness, Gore is the person who, in the Congress, most systematically worked to make sure that we got to an Internet, and the truth is—and I worked with him starting in 1978 when I got [to Congress], we were both part of a “futures group”—the fact is, in the Clinton administration, the world we had talked about in the ’80s began to actually happen.
But the sleaze award goes to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who used the occasion to credit Bush:
This is terrific news for freedom and justice. In the hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice - and we did. I want to congratulate America's armed forces and President Obama for a job well done.
This was, unlike the statement of Gingrich, an effort to imply that the former President was the commander-in-chief most responsible for bringing bin Laden to justice. The praise for Obama was grudging, for his predecessor effusive (and misleading): "President Bush promised that America would bring Osama bin Laden to justice." He just forgot to add that it would occur only after he relinquished the presidency.
Donald Trump and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman generously praised the Obama. But Trump is a sideshow, entertaining though he is, and Huntsman, as an appointee (ambassador to mainland China, a post from which he now has resigned) of this president, is as likely to be the next Repub presidential nominee as I am.
That leaves us with Mitt Romney (and Herman Cain, but why bother?). The former Massachusetts governor stated
This is a great victory for lovers of freedom and justice everywhere. Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military and the president. My thoughts are with the families of Osama bin Laden's many thousands of victims, and the brave servicemen and women who have laid down their lives in pursuit of this murderous terrorist.
Yes, that's right. He commended the incumbent, Democratic president with no reference to the previous, Republican president. Hopefully, Romney will not "walk back," "clarify," or otherwise dilute his comment. Assuming he stands firm- or probably even if he doesn't- he'll need to expend much of his energy watching his back.
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