There’s a lot of turmoil today among liberals, progressives, Democrats, or whatever label fits for people who are more inclined to like and support President Obama than not. Maybe it’s time to step back. I just read Nicholas Schmidle’s account in The New Yorker of the raid in Pakistan that put an end to Osama Bin Laden last May. This is an enormous accomplishment. Read the article here, which I picked up in a link from huffpo/aol because my copy hasn’t yet come in the mail—and get the magazine if you want more.
The President, Joe Biden, Leon Panetta, and Hillary Clinton, all Democrats, repeat, Democrats, with Republican Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, did what they had to do on the policy side to get the job done—and the Navy SEALS of Team Six, combined with the best military experience, talent, and operations in the country, went in to close down Bin Laden as a dangerous person.
Everything is connected. I wonder if the intimate collaboration with military personnel of this caliber somehow changed Barack Obama the politician? I wonder if there’s a key in the episode to understanding how he has handled this debt ceiling crisis invented by extreme anti-government national Republicans? Is he repulsed by the selfish politicking of some of those in Congress who attack him compared to the values and behavior of the volunteers in the military? Some of those same SEALS and Pentagon officials may not agree with Obama’s policy vision on the domestic and foreign sides, but they worked with him to achieve something important on this high priority assignment, something that was important to people in this country and beyond.
One thing I imagine is true is that the same Republicans were scared for their political lives after the President and his team on their watch worked with the military’s elite fighters and planners to track down and eliminate Bin Laden—something their guys in the White House had not been able to do in seven years of trying. I wonder how much the killing of Bin Laden is now driving the national Republicans in their fevered opposition to all things Obama, including a housekeeping task like raising the debt limit? What’s at the bottom of their willingness to crash the economy to deny Obama a procedural win in raising the debt ceiling?