So much time has been spent in the last week proving that the President of the United States used the word "terror" within 48 hours of a horrible attack on one of our embassies that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including an Ambassador.
Additional time has been spent on "proving" that the White House was not "lying to the American people" in the first few days after this attack.
As usual, the attacks are cynical posturing, yet more examples of the GOP grasping at anything to tear the President down, even if it means endangering people by leaking their identities in an attempt to embarrass the White House.
And as usual, the Democrats get caught up in the facts - facts which totally support the POTUS - instead of just rejecting outright the premise that the President has to have said the word "terror".
What if the President had not said the word "terror"?
It was only hours after a horrible incident a world away, the area still in utter chaos, the CIA still on the ground trying to piece together what happened.
The State Department was busy securing our other embassies in the region, the President most assuredly devouring every CIA update.
Almost immediately, apparently, they began to suspect it was not just a riot over a video that exploded into unconscionable violence, but either an opportunistic or planned attack by an organized group - an act of terror.
But did we know everything two days after the event - two emotional, hectic, challenging days with a million moving parts, fraught with confusion and anger?
No, we did not, and it's unreasonable to think we would have all of the answers or be assured of anything within that short period of time.
So why are we accepting the premise that the President should have quickly called the incident "terrorism"? It's on video and yet the GOP still denies it, parsing his words. Although it made his opponent look bad to be stupidly wrong in front of the nation, the Democratic response still comes from a position of (a) accepting a specious premise, and (b) needing to respond to ridiculous and meaningless accusations in order to 'prove' something.
Of course, Issa has been hoist on his own stinking petard in his zeal to prove some sort of coverup. And Romney looked like a clueless, desperate hack insisting the President didn't say something that he clearly did.
But why are we accepting the premise that it's the responsibility of the White House to report every detail to us as it unfolds in real time, and then accept being accused of covering something up as we learn and report new facts? Why do we accept the premise that Obama would have somehow failed us as President if he hadn't said "act of terror"?
The fact is that the words spoken by the President of the United States matter. They matter not in the way the Republicans insist they do, that they have to be as aggressive and knee-jerk and jingoistic as possible - in fact, just the opposite.
What if a President knew exactly which group carried out an attack, and wanted to give them a false sense of security by publicly blaming it on spontaneous (or stoked up) protest against an asinine video produced by a racist hack, as the CIA closed in on them? Is it the President's duty to make sure the public knows every detail or to concentrate on securing the region and bringing murderers - terrorists - to justice?
What purpose would it actually serve to blurt out TERRORISTS!!!!! when all the facts were not in? We all know that if he had asserted without reservation that this was a terrorist incident only to find out later it was not, the republicans would have attacked him for that as well. And if he knows it's an act of terror, does he have to use the word terror in public speeches to prove that to us or to be an effective leader?
It's strange to think we need to hear the President bluster and posture about TERRORISTS!!!!!!!!, when in fact murdering an Ambassador inside of an embassy is pretty much always terrorism even if it's just about a stupid film. Killing Americans simply because of a fanatic need to show displeasure and punish us over some perceived slight is always terrorism. Does the President have to call it that for us to believe he is a competent leader?
Of course not. Shrieking "terror!!" at every incident is the modus of fearmongers like Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, who want to frighten us into handing them the reigns without further question. Ironically, the very same Republicans who want to keep us frightened and meekly reliant on a paternalistic government who accuse Democrats of using entitlements to keep us dependent on government.
The White House tells us what's going on because they trust us. (Although I'm not naive enough to think they tell us remotely everything that they know.) Contrast this, even when it's a bit clumsy, with a government that scares us with some trumped up boogie man story to goad us into supporting a ghastly and unjustified war.
While it's really satisfying to see the look on Romney's lying face when he got caught flatfooted, we can't count on having such a prime opportunity handed to us again.
It's ridiculous for the GOP to try to tell us our safety and security depends on whether the President used the word "terror". Their insistence on aggression and knee-jerk hyperbole as an answer to every situation has grown stale.
Jingoism is not diplomacy; diplomacy and vigilance are preferable to war; there will always be volatile situations around the world and they are usually addressed better by nuance than violence; it's better to rely on facts than on dogma; and cooperation with other nations is strength, not weakness.
The President's words matter. That's why we need a President who is mature enough to choose them carefully - like the one we have.