…and the Law of Unintended Consequences: “Former President George W. Bush has declined an invitation to join President Barack Obama at a New York City ceremony later this week marking the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, NBC News reported on Tuesday.” The – ‘ostensible’ is too strong a word; ‘primary’ probably works better – reason is that former President Bush chooses to not emulate Jimmy Carter’s horrible example by insinuating himself into national affairs; but there’s certainly speculation as to what the secondary reasons are. Allahpundit’s suggestion that Bush desires to avoid what AP didn’t, but I will, call a Wellstone funeral-style campaign op makes a certain amount of sense. Then again, so does Instapundit’s commenter’s observation that perhaps Bush didn’t feel like being insulted to his face by President Obama, in much the same way that Obama went after Rep. Paul Ryan and the US Supreme Court in venues where they had to sit there and take the hits. I favor the latter as being the secondary reason.
And that’s where the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in. It is actually very likely that President Obama has no intention of listening to the fools on his side who want to use the event for Bush-bashing, if only because it’s not the antiwar movement that the President needs to woo right now; even their protesters are committed to voting for him*. Obama needs independents and the disaffected portion of his 2008 vote, and those two demographics like seeing their Presidents take the high road. So you’d think that he’d take it, right?
But we don’t actually know that the President is going to be that smart (more accurately, that he’s going to be that not-dumb); tomorrow’s speech could possibly be yet another endless exercise in tedious sniping and dull hyper-partisanship. And if Obama isn’t going to be that smart, and Bush had gone… well. That would have been the last straw. I know that this is incomprehensible to many on the Left, but more people than the Left thinks still like George W. Bush – and watching him have to sit there silently while his successor tries (unsuccessfully) to bully him would touch them (us) off. And that would be bad for the President, because by and large the people who still like Bush have been holding back a bit on going after Obama hammer and tongs on national security.
Again, is it high probability that Obama will be stupid tomorrow? …Again, no. But because it isn’t zero probability, it’s too risky; which means that Obama’s feel-good bullying attempts have pretty much eliminated a chance at a nice, bipartisan celebration that would have given him some credibility with independent voters on national security.
Karma. It’s what’s for dinner.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Even though they’ve just validated waterboarding as a valid technique in the GWOT.