Leaders, then and now

- May 1st, 2012

There’s a lot of controversy over the Obama campaign ad celebrating the anniversary of the death raid on on Osama bin Laden and questioning whether Mitt Romney would have had the guts to go after the old terrorist. Which is a very risky strategy, one that is most likely to blow up in Obama’s face. Here’s the ad:

And here is perhaps the best way to capture just what’s wrong with Obama’s strategy. This is how real leaders behave…

The man from whom President Obama has sought incessantly to distance himself, George W. Bush, also had occasion during his presidency to announce to the nation a triumph of intelligence: the capture of Saddam Hussein. He called that success “a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq.” He attributed it to “the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers. . . . Their work continues, and so do the risks.”

He did mention himself at the end: “Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate them.”

That is not to say that great leaders, including presidents, have not placed themselves at the center of great events. But generally it has been to accept responsibility for failure.

President Obama was right to go after bin Laden the way he did. I honestly never thought he’d have the guts to order the strike. Turns out he did. He gets credit for that. My advice to him would be to avoid wasting it by making unbecoming, self-serving comments about it.

Categories: General

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