Critics of Obama's move to politicize his bold decision to kill Osama bin Laden miss a deeper point about leadership.
Pete Souza, The White House/AP Photo
The first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden has opened up a political shootout of its own. But one with a lesson in it.
President Obama has used the anniversary to highlight his risky – and successful – decision to send Navy SEALs into Pakistan. But his courageous action is also a centerpiece of his reelection bid. And his campaign suggests Mitt Romney might not have made the same choice a year ago.
Critics of Mr. Obama have pounced on his exploitation of what was a unifying event for Americans. They call it self-backslapping – especially after the president said last May that “we don’t want to appear to be spiking the ball.” They now claim he’s become a glory hog and has not shared the credit widely enough with the SEALs, intelligence officers, and others.
Such criticism misses a deeper point. If anything, the president’s attempt to encourage accolades for this historic decision may be an election-year lapse into a kind of leadership that cares more about getting credit than getting results. That would be very much unlike the way he describes his leadership style.