Obama's end zone dance
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted May 7, 2012
It's not often I agree with Sen. John McCain (R–Ego), but his description of Obama's Osama commercial is apt. "No one disputes that the president deserves credit for ordering the raid, but to politicize it in this way is the height of hypocrisy," McCain said. "This is the same president who said, after bin Laden was dead, that we shouldn't 'spike the ball' after the touchdown. And now Barack Obama is… doing a shameless end-zone dance to help himself get re-elected."
Even the Post Twins: Washington & Huffington find the ad distasteful, with Dana Milbank describing it and the campaign so far as, "sleazy."
Even judging the ad strictly on content and message finds it deeply flawed.
Start with Bill Clinton as narrator. When the late, credibility–challenged Richard Nixon was running for office, Democrats used to ask, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" But when it comes to Bill Clinton, I wouldn't buy a used car or date a used girlfriend.
Clinton is single handedly responsible for two of the biggest pre–9/11 failures. First he botched a chance to capture Osama bin Laden before 9/11. Second was his appointment of Jamie Gorelick to the Justice Department where her trademark "wall of separation" prevented the FBI and the CIA from connecting the dots and possibly preventing 9/11 in the first place.
The only raid I can recall Bill Clinton and his administration mounting was on a ramshackle compound in Waco, TX. But wait, that must be it! Religious fanatics holed up in a poorly–constructed dump located in the hinterland of some God–forsaken wilderness without a Starbucks. The symmetry is perfect! Call Clinton's people and see if he's available.
What's next, an ad on the fight against sex trafficking by the Cartagena 12?
The ad's message problem is the complete lack of a sense of proportion. Let's begin by addressing the operations side. SEAL Team 6's performance was characterized by skill, daring and professionalism. These anonymous warriors penetrated deep into hostile territory and successfully eliminated America's Public Enemy #1, without the loss of a single man. Each risked his life in the service of his country and their families faced the potential loss of a husband, father and/or son. So for them individually the scale of the operation involved their entire world.
But for the nation as a whole the scale is much different, in spite of the risible efforts of the parade of pantywaists in the White House who are attempting to conflate a small–scale incursion into "the most audacious plan" in 500 years.
Getting Osama was simply a raid: A short–term intrusion into enemy territory to eliminate a high value target. It was not D–Day. It was not dropping the atomic bomb. It was not the Inchon landing. It's not even Lincoln facing the election of 1864 wondering if Gen. William T. Sherman would fail in his march on Atlanta and doom the war effort.
The big deal these acolytes — most of whom have never served a day in uniform — make about Obama ordering the mission is simply ludicrous. In the commercial a lonely Obama stares out an Oval Office window into a threatening, overcast sky with the weight of a nation on his noble shoulders as he ponders the decision.
But what he's actually wondering is where he can get a can of Bag Balm to rub on his hands, because they are really chapped after being wrung non–stop for the many hours he agonized over an obvious decision.
The question is not would Mitt Romney have ordered the raid. The question is, who wouldn't have ordered it?
I suppose Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohammed Sadique Khan would have said "no," but I bet Muhammad Ali would have said "yes."
And unless one was conducting an informal survey in the tonier sections of Alexandria, VA or Bethesda, MD eight out of ten strangers encountered on the sidewalk would have said, "Hell yes, light him up!"
What if the raid had failed? I can assure you the US would not have collapsed into the fetal position and begun mewling like a kitten. (Although I can't speak for Joe Biden.) The military would have simply looked for another opportunity.
But I can tell you who is enjoying this ad: The maniacs in Iran, who are not holed up in a compound. After watching this they know there is no chance Obama, the Equivocator–in–Chief, will ever order a strike to prevent their building a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, it's a good that Osama was buried at sea. It removes the temptation to have Barack pose with the body in a new commercial should his poll numbers continue to decline.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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