Friday, August 17, 2012

Obama Takes On Navy Seals

Earlier this week a group called the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund came out against the president for leaking information related to national security and for focusing so much of the credit for killing Bin laden on himself. To make it clear, this group is comprised of former Special Forces and intelligence officials including former Navy SEALS. They know their stuff.

Their campaign consists of television ads and a 22 minute long film that blast Obama for his behavior, it seems they've picked a good fight too.  As a May 2011 USAToday/Gallup poll showed, Americans overwhelmingly credit the U.S. military and the CIA for the mission over the president. “The U.S. military and the CIA emerge as the big winners in the public’s eyes,” wrote Frank Newport who works for Gallup.



Still, the president has come out swinging, comparing these brave men and women who are peerless experts in their field to the swift boat veterans who went after Kerry in 2004. This goes way beyond a risky move and borders on political suicide, traditionally Americans support their armed services far more than their politicians and if any real media coverage of this scuffle occurs it could damage the president's personal likeability numbers, which remain his biggest real advantage in this election.

There are avenues the president can take, as The Los Angeles Times noted yesterday, a number of OPSEC leaders identify as Republicans, such as Fred Rustmann, who worked for the CIA for 23 years before retiring in 1990, Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL and chairman of OPSEC, and Chad Kolton, an OPSEC member and former flack in the Bush administration. At this point, the effectiveness of the OPSEC attacks rely almost exclusively on the identity of who’s leveling the attacks (former Navy SEALs) rather than the merit of the attacks, and the pres could play it off as being partisan by pointing out the condemnatory tone it takes.  Still, the jury’s out on whether it’s a fight worth picking for the Obama campaign, it's going to be a tough fight to win at the very least and not one he can take without expecting to bleed a little when it comes to his image.


UPDATE!
Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, that George Soros sock puppet, has called the Navy SEALs of OPSEC "gutless" for running a smear campaign. Typically this sort of attack is going over like a lead balloon and you can follow the response on Twitchy here.

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