It’s 9/11, so right on schedule here comes the Republican Party with a story about how Obama has made America less safe. Only this time, the American people aren’t listening.
The right wing propaganda machine started spinning with former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen’s claim that Obama has attended less than half of his intelligence briefings. Dick Cheney then picked it up, and through a spokesperson told The Daily Caller, “If President Obama were participating in his intelligence briefings on a regular basis then perhaps he would understand why people are so offended at his efforts to take sole credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.”
The megaphone for the right wing masses, Rush Limbaugh, put the talking points out there this way, “The New York Times today has a piece excoriating Bush about 9/11 because of that daily intelligence brief on August 6th that they want us to believe he ignored. If he had not ignored it we would have known bin Laden was coming. Nowhere do we read that Bill Clinton was offered bin Laden three times on a silver platter. Nowhere do we read — you have to find it in the Daily Caller, Chatsworth Osborne, Jr.’s website, Obama is not even attending half of his intelligence briefs. He’s playing golf. I don’t know when the guy works. George W. Bush attended the intelligence briefing every day. Obama has not even attended half of them. He sends surrogates. That to me is significant.”
A full scale promotional effort is underway as the right is working hard to get this one off the ground, but they are already meeting with failure.
Republicans appear to be trapped in the delusion that the country is still trapped in post-9/11 hysteria and they think they can scare America into believing that the nation is at risk because Barack Obama is president. It worked on John Kerry in 2004, so they think it will work on President Obama in 2012, but the White House’s response has already killed their ploy dead in it’s tracks.
When Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about Obama’s attendance at intelligence briefings, he responded, “The president of the United States gets the presidential daily briefing every day. There is a document that he reads every day when he is not — well, he always reads it every day because he’s a voracious consumer of all of his briefing materials. And when he is physically here, most days he has a meeting in his office, the Oval one, with participants in his national security team.”
Carney then told Republicans to look at the scoreboard, “I believe if you compare our foreign policy record with the one that preceded this one, we’re comfortable with that comparison,” Carney said. “And this president is very much steeped in the details of national security issues and the information that as president he received.”
The biggest reason why this attempt by Republicans to paint President Obama as a risk to our national security has failed is that this president’s record contradicts everything the right is pushing.
Yesterday, it was announced that the #2 leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen was killed in a missile strike. Whether you agree or disagree with these tactics, there can be no denying that the Obama administration has either killed or captured most of al-Qaeda’s leadership.
The Bush administration talked a good game about a war on terror, but it is the Obama administration that is wiping these terrorists off the face of the earth. The difference between the two administrations is that the Bush administration intentionally launched an unending unwinnable war against a concept for political gain, while the Obama administration is targeting the people and organizations who plot and carry out acts of terrorism.
For Republicans, their war on terror was a political strategy that allowed President Bush to claim limitless war powers through the perpetual existence of a conceptual war that would be limitless and unending. Republicans have no interest in ending their war because it fits in with their interpretation of Executive Branch powers and they view it good politics for them.
The whole purpose of this attack on Obama is to try to reclaim the political terrain that has been lost to Obama’s actual and effective foreign policy. Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team is loaded with Cheney disciples who all believe in the former boss’s war on terror.
This line of attack is another attempt by the Romney campaign and their supporters to try to halt Obama’s momentum, and place the president on the defensive.
The problem for Republicans is while Bush and Cheney attended intelligence briefings, they gave up on getting Bin Laden, let al-Qaeda run wild, adopted polices of torture, and domestic spying, and most importantly led the nation into an unrelated and unjustified invasion of Iraq.
What matters isn’t the number of intelligence briefings attended, but how intelligent a president and his administration are. Intelligence is nothing more than raw data and information. Briefings can’t replace good decision making skills, and Obama’s record on terrorism shows a president who has made many excellent decisions.
Not only does this attack by the right have flop sweat all over it already, but it has the full potential to backfire and remind voters about all of the Republican failures on terrorism and national security.
This smear will play well with those on the right who believe Obama has failed at everything, but to the rest of us on Earth who understand the president’s record, today’s gambit is more spaghetti thrown against the wall by a desperate Republicans who see Obama gaining steam towards winning a second term.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association