Here’s a great column by Krauthammer, as usual, on Obama’s handling of the Libya attack situation. Great tactical analysis and great tactical recommendations.

But Krauthammer misses the bigger strategic point, the real “narrative” of Obama’s failure (and inherent weakness) on this issue.

It’s not just that this Administration appeared to have covered up an incredibly weak, confused and inept handling of a terrible situation. The portion of the electorate paying attention to this issue knows that already. Republicans want Romney to hammer it home; Democrats want Obama to escape being technically pinned with the loss. For those of you who understand baseball, Democrats are willing to concede that Obama may have had a rough start and given up a few runs, but they are hoping that Hillary or James Clapper or someone else takes the formal “loss” in the box score.

As I said, that misses the point. What Romney needs to do in order to reach those casually attentive voters in the middle who are not paying close attention to the ins-and-outs of this issue is to present it as follows:

He needs to re-cap the event and the Administration’s failures and contradictions (the repeated references to the video by Susan Rice on the Sunday talk shows, Jay Carney’s unwillingness to be straightforward, and Obama himself at the UN talking about the video), but an historical re-cap is not the main thrust at this point.  What matters, Romney needs to emphasize, is what the President had not done since:

- He has not addressed the nation in a prime-time speech and elevated this incident to a level of national outrage, which it should be.
- He has not put forth a plan as to how we’re going to avenge our countrymen’s deaths
- He has not put the terror world on notice that deadly retribution is coming, and quickly
- He has ignored the matter the same way that President Clinton ignored the USS Cole attack
- He has not told the truth about al Qaeda, claiming that they are ’back on their heels’ after the bin Laden raid and by implication, that his policies have removed the al Qaeda threat to America

In short, he has not shown Presidential leadership. He has not stood up for the American people. He has not let the world know that we’re not going to stand for this. He is, at heart, an apologist for America, more concerned with appeasement than promoting and maintaining American Exceptionalism.

“Why not, Mr. President? When can we expect you to act and speak out on our behalf? Tomorrow, now that I’ve pointed out your failings this evening? When, Mr. President? We’re waiting for leadership. We’re outraged about what happened, but you give the impression that you’d rather have this whole matter go away, because it’s uncomfortable or embarrassing to you.”

It’s a forward-looking Presidential leadership issue, not a backwards-looking “Who-said-what-when” issue. Obama is no doubt preparing his debate defenses and answers for a “Who-said-what-when” attack.

But he has no defense for the “lack-of-Presidential-leadership” attack, because there is no defense. It’s true, and if that line of attack is properly utilized by Romney (not too heavy-handed, not too arrogant or too personal, just factual and that Obama’s actions are a result of a too-deeply-ingrained non-America-first belief system), voters will see that quite clearly.

And that’s another legitimate reason why Romney will be a better President than Obama, and Romney needs to frame this Libya issue in those terms., so all voters–keenly-attentive and barely-informed alike–can see that clearly.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Basically, you believe the President should have pretended this was another 9/11, spent more money we don’t have overseas, lost more of our young soldier’s lives “avenging” the deaths and in general, just more RAH RAH KILL BROWN PEOPLE neo-con drivel. You and your ilk are the most disgusting and savage people on the planet. You’re exactly like the people who you want to kill so much.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/PD_Scott Scott A. Robinson, Editor

      Rob,

      The question for you is, are you watching the “3rd party debate” tonight.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I watched it. Not that crazy about any of the 3rd party candidates. Jill Stein is well spoken, but ultimately misguided. Gary Johnson has it right on some issues, but his convictions aren’t all that strong and he seems more interested in coopting the RP movement.

        • Steve M.

          I thought Jill Stein was quite impressive … if I lived in a totally non-competitive state, I might think about a vote in that direction. However, I’m going to try to keep PA Blue.

    • Anonymous

      One can always expect when Rob appears from his pot smoke filled cloud to participate in the discussion a most enlightened and articulate insult will be expressed.

      The good news is that the Robs of the world are not and have not ever been a threat to the GOP. They are not Republicans and have never been. I have always submitted and stand by my proclamation that the Robs of the world were the Deaniacs, Naderites, and now the Paulective of the political process. Every election cycle the fringers attach themselves to some goofy unserious candidate. Ron Paul has been their intellectual leader the last two cycles but they will attach themselves to another fringer in the next election and all those thereafter. They are, truly, the “1%”.

      • Anonymous

        Looks like Brian’s prescription drug addiction has gone fully out of control. Barely can understand what the crazed fool is ranting about these days.

        • Anonymous

          Not at all, Rob. My prescription drug addiction is completely under control. You will know when my supply runs thin when I begin ranting about Ron Paul and third party lunatics.

  • Anonymous

    How desperate must the Obama team’s internal polling be. He has, and continues, to play small-ball with “Romnesia” and other silly stand up comedy cats while on the stump. Does he really believe he is looking presidential or has he simply thrown in the bowl and is now just looking to bite Romney’s ear off like Tyson/Holyfield?

    I believe the internals of team Obama must be abysmal. I cannot understand his strategy or his thinking going down the stretch. The last 100 yards are in front of the two horses and Mitt is up by 1 link. Barring a breakdown on the stretch of the final 100 yards this race is over.

    • Steve M.

      Mitt is up by 1 link and barring a breakdown, the race is over? You do realize that a vast majority of the projections still have Obama winning the election, right? RCP, Nate Silver’s 538, CNN, InTrade, etc. all have Obama winning the electoral college. Romney has certainly taken it from a blowout around the time of the Republican Primary to a very close race — but to say that if Romney doesn’t faulter he’ll clearly win is a bold statement with little support from state-by-state polls.

      • Anonymous

        I look at any poll and then remove the D +9 bias to find the real results. If you do that then Romney is far ahead in almost every poll.

        • Steve M.

          First, I’m talking about state polls — not National. The state-by-state polls are most often the best way to predict the Electoral College. Most reputable polling places use a different model for each state poll, reflecting that state’s likely turnout — not a standard national model.
          Second, removing the “D+9 bias” entirely isn’t reality even at the national level. Yes, many polls used 2008 turnout as a model for 2012 election … which likely overvalues 2012 Democratic participation. However, registered Democratic turnout is still likely to above registered Republican turnout.
          Finally, it appears that many polls adjusted their models after the uproar over “skewed polling.” Of course, this makes their week-to-week comparison meaningless, but the more recent polls may be “less skewed” than you are thinking.