Conservatives still look for reasons to call the president weak. It's going to backfire.
The debate over the photograph of Osama bin Laden's corpse reached its low point when bicoastal media elite Sarah Palin wrote this: "Show photo as warning to others seeking America's destruction. No pussy-footing around, no politicking, no drama; it's part of the mission."
What's noteworthy here is the line about "pussyfooting around." It so perfectly captures a core flaw that warps the thinking of Palin, her sycophants, and other Obama critics on the right. Behold the absurd emphasis on talk over action: The Obama administration sent trained warriors on a covert special-forces mission inside Pakistan, where they fought their way into a fortified compound and shot Osama bin Laden in the head. In the aftermath of this violent and successful mission, President Obama decides to withhold a photograph of the corpse. How does she describe this?
She isn't alone in having issued complaints that amount to President Obama's bite being worse than his bark. It's been one of the most persistent critiques of his presidency. Here is National Review's Andy McCarthy in an excerpt from his bestselling book:
President Obama's administration has been roundly ridiculed, and deservedly so, for its aversion to the language of war -- indeed, for the word war itself. From the Bush language purge, though, it was but a short hop to this sorry destination. Short and inevitable. Saul Alinsky, Obama's community-organizing inspiration, waxed at length about language in "Rules for Radicals," about the power of words to inspire ... or to enervate ...
War is a powerful word, redolent of power, force, zeal and national purpose. That is why the left routinely invokes war in its beloved campaigns against poverty, obesity, and other abstractions. Real wars, the forcible defense of our nation and the pursuit of our interests, are to be avoided. So are real enemies.
It's a bizarre mindset. The Obama administration shifts its rhetoric, abandoning the locution "The War on Terrorism," even as it sends more troops into Afghanistan and radically increase drone runs into Pakistan. Summing up this new reality, McCarthy and others somehow conclude that less talk of war and more actual war signify a belief that "real wars... are to be avoided."