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Thank You, Mr. President

May 16, 2011

The world's foremost terrorist is dead, and it seems that thanks are in order. When a leader is deserving of praise, it is only right that those of us who opine on the nature of such things should give credit where credit is due. So I would like to say thank you, Mr. President. Yes, that's right. I would like to say thank you to the man responsible for getting Osama bin Laden. That man is George W. Bush.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA, who is testing the waters for a presidential race of his own, first made this point in last week's debate in South Carolina. Every foreign policy initiative that Barack Obama has gotten right, Santorum said, was a strategy put in place by George W. Bush. From GITMO to Iraq to Afghanistan to tracking down bin Laden, all of it was Bush doctrine. Of course, these were all policies that candidate Obama had criticized on the campaign trail in 2008, but which, to his credit, President Obama had had the good sense to keep in place once he took office much to the chagrin of his radical leftist base.

As for the foreign policy decisions Obama himself has made, they have all been wrong. He has tried appeasement with the mullahs in Iran, backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, turned his back on Israel, insulted our closest ally in Europe Great Britain and cozied up to dictators like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

For the past two years, Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, has been conducting a witch hunt against CIA agents involved in waterboarding enemy combatants even though we now know that this enhanced interrogation technique was directly responsible for some of the intelligence that led to the location and subsequent elimination of bin Laden.

All politicians use the advantages handed to them for political gain. They would be foolish not to exploit those things that enhance their reputations. But the double-standard applied to this president versus his predecessor is staggering.

On May 1, 2003, President Bush copiloted a Lockheed S-3 Viking aircraft onto the deck of the carrier Abraham Lincoln as it returned from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. After posing for pictures in his flight suit with members of the ship's crew, the president gave a speech with a banner behind him that read "Mission Accomplished." The Left and their dutiful lackeys in the media went crazy. They called it a stunt. They said Bush was using it to get re-elected; and to this day they will not let go of that image and the message they believe it conveyed.

Fast forward exactly eight years to the day May 1, 2011. Osama bin Laden is dead, which is good news for civilized people everywhere. After calling Bush to give him the news, it was all photo-op time for Obama in a week calculated to maximize the perceived PR victory he thought he had just won for himself.

These shameless "look at me" plugs for the reelection of Barack Obama culminated in an odd, wreath-laying ceremony at Ground Zero, as if it were suddenly September 11th again and it was vitally necessary that he be there. He tried to get former Presidents Bush (43) and Clinton to join him, but to their credit, they declined. Then, to cap off his week in the limelight, Obama flew to Fort Campbell, KY, to incorporate the troops into his campaign efforts.

All this after telling us he would not release photos of a dead Osama bin Laden because "we don't spike the ball." Uh huh.

So as Barack Obama basks in the sunshine of his imagined personal victory, I say to George W. Bush, "Thank you, Mr. President. You protected our country during your tenure and you put us on the trail of the biggest human cockroach on the planet. Your successor, wearing your large shoes, just happened to step on him."

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Copyright ©2011 Doug Patton

Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at dpatton@cagle.comand/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.