President Obama traveled to Manhattan today to pay his respects at Ground Zero, a gesture of closure after the killing of Osama bin Laden. He participated in a small ceremony and greeted family members of those who had been killed there, but made no public remarks.
Later, at a nearby firehouse that lost 15 firemen on Sept. 11, Obama did speak briefly.
“What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say. Our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party.”
Obama had invited former President George W. Bush to join him at the site, an offer that Bush declined. The invitation was appropriate, and Bush’s decision to decline surely offers no cause for criticism or speculation about his “real reasons.”
Moe Lane, writing at RedState about Obama’s “feel-good bullying attempts”, says Bush declined out of fear that Obama might — just “might” — use the occasion for “Bush-bashing.” He writes:
“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.”
In an editorial, The Washington Times admits that “honoring those who fell on 9/11 days after Osama bin Laden’s demise is fitting,” yet goes on to say that Obama’s actions have “the appearance of opportunistic political theater.” It concludes:
“The president who stood on the smoking ruins of the Twin Towers pledging American resolve in the war on terrorism does not have to return there to participate in the first photo op of Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign.”
It’s all rather sad.
– Jay Bookman