President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and signed a historic agreement that details how the U.S. plans to end the war in Afghanistan. This happened on the anniversary of the mission President Obama ordered, which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Many Republicans are saying Obama is “spiking the football” when it comes to the anniversary of bin Laden’s death and his trip to Afghanistan is icing on the cake. What is interesting is that nine years ago, a different President was being hammered for doing something very similar.
On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which was on it’s way back to port from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. On the Abraham Lincoln, Bush made a speech stating that “major combat operations” in Iraq were over. Behind the President was a giant banner on the control tower, which read “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”.
President Bush was hammered by Democrats for landing on the Abraham Lincoln and making a grand speech with “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” displayed behind him. Now today Republicans are responding in kind and blasting President Obama for flying to Afghanistan and making a speech on the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death. I think just like Democrats hurt themselves in 2003 attacking Bush for his decision to make the speech on the Abraham Lincoln, Republicans may very well hurt themselves blasting Obama for making his speech in Afghanistan.
The facts are, both President Bush and President Obama looked very presidential in their speeches on May 1 and that is what gets the opposition party so mad. You see they are running a campaign against the President and they can’t look presidential the way these presidents did in these speeches. So the only way to combat that in their mind is to attack it. This is a bad move, because it makes the other party look petty and even less presidential! That is not what the American people want.
The bottom-line is that foreign policy is not going to be the issue of the November 2012 elections. Republicans know this and should accept President Obama’s speech for what it was and quickly pivot back to the economy and jobs. That is what people care about. If Republicans keep pressing though, they run the risk of running voters away from them in November for looking petty and losing focus on the real issue at hand. Millennials more than any other group want jobs to be a top priority! Republicans need to keep their focus there!