By Brigitte L. Nacos
The ad shows the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where several weeks ago Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and three other Americas were killed in a terrorist strike. As Salon describes it, a voice states that President Obama spent the day of the attack campaigning in Las Vegas. After Mr. Obama’s appearances on the TV shows “The View” and “Late Night with David Letterman” are mentioned, the voice says, “President Obama needs to learn being president isn’t just about being on TV and protecting your job. It’s about leadership.”
The implication here is that President Obama did not do his job, that he did not discharge his responsibilities as president, and that therefore the U.S. mission in Benghazi was attacked.
The ad is sponsored by the Super-PAC “American Crossroads” that is controlled by Karl Rove.
The most recent "American Crossroads" ad hits even harder. The president and the administration deceived the American people about the true nature of the attack.
Known as George W. Bush’s “Brain,” Rove is now Mitt Romney’s Godfather.
His Super-PAC disregards any rules of fair play. This is all about landing blows below the belt and defeating the sitting president by whatever it takes.
In that Rove and Romney have become the Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee of the campaign.
On the stump, Romney blames President Obama’s alleged lack of leadership for the Benghazi tragedy and other problems in the Middle East and elsewhere.
He and his surrogates knock President Obama as the reincarnation of President Carter with the Iranian Hostage Crisis allegedly symptomatic for the former president’s lack toughness in the international arena. They conveniently forget that all hostages returned eventually home unharmed.
Up to now, the public viewed President Obama’s foreign policy handling more positive than Ex-Governor Romney’s foreign policy agenda.
This was a dramatic turn-around from decades of Republicans considered as stronger in foreign policy than Democrats.
Reason enough to launch a vicious attack on Obama and by extension on all Democrats—not the least on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2016.
To be sure, Rove and Romney do not want to touch the record of past Democratic and Republican presidents when it comes to terrorism.
But that is precisely what is needed in reaction to their politicization of the Benghazi tragedy.
To begin with, if Rove and Romney blame President Obama for the Benghazi attack and the death of four Americans, they should revisit the attacks of 9/11 and the death of nearly 3,000 people right here in America.
After all, weeks before the 9/11 attacks President George W. Bush was vacationing at his Texas ranch when he was presented with a memo that warned of an imminent terrorist attack inside the United States. He did nothing and continued his vacation.
Are Rove and Romney blaming George W. Bush for 9/11? I bet they do not. Nor do I. But if they blame Obama for Benghazi, they must blame Bush for 9/11.
Or take the presidency of Ronald Reagan that was plagued by waves of terrorism against Americans abroad.
In April 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was attacked by a suicide bomber who drove an explosive –laden truck into the compound killing 63 persons, 17 of them Americans.
Six months later, 241 Americans were killed by a truck bomb driven into the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon.
During President Reagan’s terms, there were hijackings of U.S. planes and of the cruise ship “Achille Lauro” that carried mostly U.S. citizens.
So, again, if President Obama is responsible for the Benghazi attacks because of lack of leadership, as Rove and Romney claim, they must certainly blame President Reagan for the terrorist spectaculars on his watch—including the kidnapping of Americans in Lebanon that resulted in prolonged hostage situations.
Yes, there were two major terrorist incidents during the Clinton years, the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 223 persons and injured many more. The attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole in 2000 in the port of Aden killed 17 Americans and injured several dozens.
But if we compare the records of Democratic and Republican presidents, beginning with the Carter administration, there is no doubt that there were far more and far more lethal terrorist attacks against Americans during the Reagan and George W. Bush years than during the Carter and Clinton administrations.
Of course, Karl Rove knows. And perhaps Mitt Romney, too.
But unless the news media, some pundits, set the record straight, Rove's and Romney's below-the-belt punches will score points for the GOP candidate.