Home > Politics > How We Know that Politicians and the Media Don’t Take Politics Seriously

How We Know that Politicians and the Media Don’t Take Politics Seriously

The political battles surrounding the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden reveal an important truth about our political and media class. After the Obama campaign released an ad celebrating the president’s decision and questioning how Romney might have acted, Republicans started hyperventilating and the media started asking if it’s appropriate for Obama to “politicize” this.

I think politicizing it and trying to draw a distinction between himself and myself was an inappropriate use of the very important event that brought America together –Mitt Romney

[Obama has] managed to turn it into a divisive, partisan political attack –Ed Gillespie

Politics of bin Laden: ‘Fair game’ vs. ‘divisive’ –CNN

GOP says Obama playing politics with bin Laden anniversary –CNN

Is the president politicizing the bin Laden mission? –Fox News

You can find virtually endless debates about whether or not it’s ok for Obama to have politicized his decision.

That, in a word, tells you all you need to know. Politicians of all stripes and the media apparently believe that political discourse necessarily trivializes issues. It’s a game to them. If it wasn’t why would national security be off-limits for politics, as is often argued?  Foreign policy and the decisions stemming from executive power are exactly the type of issues we should be divisively clarifying for the electorate.

It’s quite reasonable to believe that Mitt Romney was correct that it’s “wrong for a person running for president of the United States to get on TV and say we’re going to go into your country unilaterally” as he argued in 2007. Or you could criticize the raid and the selective leaking of details from the Left as Glenn Greenwald has on numerous occasions. And it’s perfectly acceptable that Obama tout his decisions as successes and to criticize his opponent.

As I said at the time, I think the world is better off because of the decision Obama made. People can disagree with that conclusion, people can disagree with the specifics of the operation and aftermath. These are issues that should be politicized because politics is the arena where we publicly discuss public policy and government action. Anytime anyone decries politicization you know they don’t take politics seriously. Of course, since politicians seem to think it’s just a cynical team sport, I often wonder how seriously anyone should take politics.

Categories: Politics
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