Bush, Obama, Ground Zero…

…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.


  • MikeCG says:

    My working theory was just that Bush assumed, based on the past two and a half years, that Obama is going to screw up this Ground Zero event and Bush didn’t want any part of it. Also, Bush simply might have realized that there is nothing anyone (including Bush) can ever say at Ground Zero that will ever top Bush’s own speech from atop the still-smoking rubble of the WTC, so why bother making the trip when he can watch the thing from the comfort of home?

  • Rob crawford says:

    They really are over-celebrating this, aren’t they?

  • Jim B says:

    Obama wanted a photo op of him standing side-by-side with President Bush at Ground Zero so he could use the photos in his 2012 campaign. Obama NEEDS that visual to shore up his national security cred: “See I’m as strong on national security as President Bush was. And he’s standing here next to me, so that proves it!”

    Sadly, a lot of people would be, at least subconciously, moved in by that visual.

    THAT is the reason Bush said no. He wasn’t about to be used as a Greek styrofoam column in Obama’s re-election campaign. Good for him. And even better for us.

  • SeeBS says:

    Don’t forget another example of teh Won insulting a guest from the podium: Trump last week. That case is different in that he is less important than Ryan or SCOTUS, and the comments about Trump were full blown taunts as opposed to the mere lies and demagoguery Obama treated the others with, so it was even further below the standards of his office than usual.

    I could also see Bush wanting to stay away because of the way Obama has used every opportunity he can to blame him for our economic problems. Why lend credibility to someone who has been publicly trashing you for the last 6 years?

  • KG says:

    I know GWB doesn’t think this way, but if I were him I would be tempted to attend the event, determined to stand up and walk out when the bashing begins.

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