The "swiftboating" of Barack Obama began today as a Republican-centric group called OpSec began airing a 22-minute film criticizing the president for -- well, when you get right down to it, for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
As numerous pundits already have noted, this is another GOP implementation of the Karl Rove technique that seeks to turn a political opponent's greatest strengths into liabilities, through lies and innuendo. But not to worry; success against John Kerry in 2004 notwithstanding, this time the swift-boating attack is so over the top only low-information voters and/or morons are likely to believe it.
OpSec is staffed by known GOP operatives, although its donors remain anonymous. It rants that Obama's simple, brief, dignified TV address from the White House announcing the raid that killed Bin Laden was nothing other than political grandstanding. I guess maybe if you're Republican it indeed would have been better had this stunning news come from, say, the assistant deputy secretary of agriculture or the PR guy at Chick-Fil-A. Or maybe just a short, printed news release from the History Channel. Or better yet, maybe Obama should have rung up George W. Bush and asked him to tell everybody.
OpSec's other complaint is that the Obama White House released too much information about the raid -- some of it classified, or so OpSec suggests. Not that any American citizen was interested in all those details, of course. Or that outfits like OpSec wouldn't have wanted to peruse even more information, had the raid failed.
You see, in the wingnut-o-verse, the president of the United States is out of bounds because he had absolutely no role in the operation to assault Bin Laden's compound. Which is odd, because, in 1979, when Jimmy Carter ordered a special assault mission to rescue the US hostages in Iran, the mission's failure was laid right at Carter's feet, by those same Republicans, and they ran with it all the way to the White House (and let's not forget evidence that the Reagan campaign sought to delay the return of the hostages for political gain).
In short, these kinds of military operations are, obviously, all the president's fault when they fail, or not to his credit when they succeed. The important exception being that when they succeed and the president is a Republican, he's our bold, decisive commander-in-chief and there's no amount of grandstanding that could be called out. Because it is, as Dick Cheney said, their due.
And while OpSec frets over alleged if not entirely imagined leaks of classified information, you'll not find Republicans who were upset with the Bush administration for illegally outing clandestine CIA agent Valerie Plame and putting her overseas network of foreign operatives at risk for their lives. Nope, Plame was "fair game" after her diplomat husband told the truth about the Cheney-arranged, fake reports that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium.
Furthermore, you won't be able to identify a single one of these OpSec dudes or their Republican pals, or right-wingers in general, ever getting upset when George W. Bush prematurely announced the "end" of the Iraq war with a "Mission accomplished" banner on an aircraft carrier flight deck, wearing an aviator's suit. Nor will you recall any of them shying from claiming that Ronald Reagan "won" the cold war against the USSR. Nope, in the wingnut mindset, only GOP presidents make decisions whether to send troops into harm's way. It's their universe; Democrats are just along for the ride.
In any case, this particular swiftboating -- complete with a STFU epithet aimed at Obama -- is one huge jumping of the shark. So over-the-top huge it's unlikely to gain any traction with anyone who isn't already in the GOP's declining base. But they couldn't help themselves. It's just too galling to consider that Democrats often enough produce budget surpluses, successfully send strike teams after the nation's most wanted enemies and otherwise generally get things done. They disloyal GOP opposition simply can't abide that sort of thing.