The death of Osama bin Laden forced Republicans to abandon their usual strategy of making Democrats look like foreign policy weenies and instead portray President Obama as having "spiked the football" taking credit from the real heroes, according to one conservative group's ad. Chen Guangcheng let's them to return to the wimp argument.
Obama is "caught in a thorny foreign policy situation his administration didn’t ask for, tried hard to avoid and that risks setting up the president as a lead negotiator unable to close the deal," Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere and Jennifer Epstein write. The situation offers plenty of powerful visuals: the blind human rights activist in a wheelchair versus the massive authoritarian Chinese government, as the latest iteration of the iconic Tank Man of Tiananmen Square as shown above, tweeted by @ExJon.
When Mitt Romney said "even Jimmy Carter" would have ordered he bin Laden raid, it didn't go over so well. "Even Jimmy Carter?" Politico's Roger Simon wrote. "Even the guy who had the guts to order a military mission into Iran in 1979 to try to rescue U.S. hostages? Sure, the mission was a disaster, but Carter tried. And why beat up on a guy best known today for climbing up ladders and building homes for Habitat for Humanity?" While Obama was in Afghanistan on the anniversary of the raid, Romney was delivering pizzas to firefighters. But the Chen saga gives Romney a new way to call Obama a weaklings. "If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom, and it's a day of shame for the Obama administration," Romney said Thursday. He hinted he'd offer Chen asylum, though the U.S. can't do that unless the potential defector is already outside of his country. Still, it's not with out risk. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol warned Romney Thursday night on Fox News:
I’m happy to be critical of the Obama administration as anyone is, but I think this is fast moving story. And if I were advising Governor Romney, I’d say you don’t need to get in the middle of this story. If this turns out badly, and it would be a terrible thing, it will turn out badly. People will know. … To inject yourself into the middle of this way with a fast moving target I think is foolish. [...]
Romney should wait, Kristol says, to see how it all shakes out. If things go wrong, then "Romney can say, 'I'm afraid this has gone very badly… this is really an indictment of the Obama administration…'" Better to wait for a failure than to have to struggle to attack another success.