We understand well enough by now that were Obama to begin to walk on water Republicans would criticize him for failing to swim. No longer a party with any overriding concern for the United States of America as a whole beyond its own narrow political interests, they have either made it implicitly clear or stated it explicitly (Mitch McConnell, Rush Limbaugh) their wish to see Obama fail, and have demonstrated a willingness to do everything within their power to bring that eventuality about, at whatever expense to America and her people.
Republicans have fought any and every measure with the potential to boost the economy over the long or the short term, and have offered nothing other than shrill, baseless, hysterical and ham-fisted harping at the president over everything else under the noon sun. In fact they’ve done everything but hire an asteroid to flatten Kansas in order to blame Obama for devastating the American heartland (I’ll give Kansas one more election chance, but after that, I may do it myself just for spite).
In any case, the perennial Republican tactic of wishing foreign policy failures on Democratic presidents in order to make the hackneyed claim Democrats aren’t as hairy-chested or madly Geronimo in dealing with the rest of the world is taking several RPG hits under Obama. Republicans either start senseless, full-blown wars like Iraq for purely political reasons, or support doomed and immoral colonial enterprises like Vietnam; but given a chance to support a Democratic president engaging the nation in a proportional, cost efficient and intelligent effort to dislodge a brutish dictator or prevent a genocide, as Bill Clinton did in the Balkans, will start to whine and whiffle.
Obama wisely ignored both the small, unconditionally pacifist wing of the Democratic Party and the wholesale, inevitable pettiness of the Republican Party in his approach to Libya, recognizing that sticking too big a foot into an indigenous rebellion would have strengthened Gadhafi’s hand, and worse, risked stupidly hampering future efforts of rebellious populations elsewhere in the Arab Spring.
Obama’s course of limited financial and military investment in a collective NATO effort was exactly right. The final push in the last week or so resulting in the overrunning of Tripoli could not have occurred without both the coordinating and material assistance of NATO. One of the world’s looniest dictators, having held power for an astonishing forty-one years was defenestrated in five months. That is a highly efficient tyrant-removal program.
There may still be some fighting and some bloodshed to go in Tripoli, and Crazy Uncle Moammar’s eventual whereabouts and fate are impossible to predict. No one can know the precise course of what will follow in Libya or its exact nature. But on the basis of how those engaged in the uprising and the Transitional National Council have conducted themselves so far, there’s reason to believe the future in Libya is reasonably promising.
I wouldn’t expect Republicans to raise the rafters cheering the liberation of Libya anymore than I would have expected anything other than their, let’s say, reserved response to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Giving their response to the waxing of Osama, you could almost hear them literally muttering under their breath, “Damn, another exploitable terrorism bête noire bites the dust.”
Libyans themselves say nothing could be worse than Gadhafi, and it is well understood in the reality-based community that predicating the removal of Gadhafi on some absolute certainty about the personal bona fides of every Libyan engaged in the rebellion, or about the immediate aftermath was very, very silly.
In any case, the right wing criticism of Obama on Libya has been so incredibly cheap Scrooge himself would have called it crap.