Richard Nixon isn’t exactly a president to admire or emulate. But Nixon’s choreographed trips to China and Russia during the reelection campaign of 1972 are the stuff of political campaign legend. They showcased him as a world leader and reinforced his campaign strategy.
President Obama’s campaign advisers have read the history books, they’ve seen the old footage of Nixon touring the Great Wall of China. And they’re good students. The President’s trip to Afghanistan was pure political theater. It was choreographed, it was calculated. It may be a master political stroke, and if he is reelected, it will be called such. But let’s call it what it is, campaign politics. The war, or whatever one calls that struggle, in Afghanistan is not over. Al Qaeda is not vanquished, in fact recent analysis indicates it is morphing into splinter groups and new leaders are emerging.
The President deserves credit for taking out Bin Laden, no doubt about it. He should take a victory lap, any president would. But to suggest, as he does, that a Republican president would not have done the same is pure fantasy, and it cheapens his accomplishment.
Let’s be honest, both parties are hypocrites. Democrats will cheer Obama, Republicans will criticize. When Bush was in office, it was usually the reverse. However, the better presidents in our country’s history, Democrats and Republicans, were able to rise above partisanship and plan for the long term.