Soft on terrorism? Bin Laden kill shatters another Obama myth

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 5/10/2011, 3:40 p.m.

Confronted with the political game-changer of the bin Laden killing, it is amusing to see the tortured gyrations that conservatives and GOP officials are going through to heap credit on Bush, the military, special ops teams, the CIA, the 9/11 victims’ families and even the general public.

The bin Laden action comes at the worst possible time for the GOP. Obama’s approval numbers had been sagging, and more Americans continued to voice displeasure over the direction the country was heading. This was the one bright spot for Republicans, especially coming on the heels of other polls that showed the GOP base was bored, disheartened and even contemptuous of the crop of would-be Republican candidates.

At the same time, a majority of voters were repelled at the clownish showboating of purported GOP contenders Donald Trump, Palin and Michele Bachmann.

In his televised address announcing bin Laden’s death, Obama wisely did not revel in this victory. He portrayed it solely as a grim but necessary action in the war on terrorism. Bagging bin Laden was purely a national security priority. Just as smartly, the president took pains to assure that the attack on al Qaeda’s leader was not an attack on Islam.

Both messages were necessary, and both have left the GOP even more hapless and reeling for a way to recover politically, now that another of their cherished myths about Obama has been shattered.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally syndicated columnist.