By Bill Maher
The poll numbers regarding how Americans feel about the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap are in, giving Republicans a first glimpse into how effective they’ve been with their feigned, hypocritical outrage. A Reuters/Ipsos survey reveals that nearly eight in ten Americans think the U.S. should make “every effort” to recover prisoners of war. So, a hugely solid majority of us are for the happy-ending result. In theory. But 44 percent of Americans believe that trading those Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl was not “the right thing to do” and 27 percent said they’re “not sure.” So much for “every effort.”
There are very few no-brainer, win-win decisions for presidents. They have to weigh all the facts and all the ramifications and then choose a least-worst course of action. There are no perfect solutions and if you hesitate, searching for a scenario that achieves all your goals and makes everybody happy, then nothing gets done and the country becomes rudderless.
Republicans know this as well as Democrats, but the last six years of the Obama presidency has been a Groundhog Day-esque farce where they wait for the president to take some action, look immediately for the naturally-present downside, and then go berserk with faux outrage over the worst, most reckless, most Republic-threatening decision ever made. This coordinated, repetitive, over-the-top performance of Kabuki theater would be hilarious if the media and half the public didn’t fall for it every time.
Here’s how it works: The Obama administration tries to do something. Doesn’t matter what – give Americans healthcare, issue an update on a Libyan consulate attack, get kids to eat vegetables and do a sit-up – and then Republicans crank up the outrage machine over the downside or missteps in achieving any of these goals. It’s a catfight, and “CNN is there.”
Take Bowe Bergdahl. Please. Apparently we don’t want him. The president had to weigh the POW’s health, a Taliban threat to kill him, the likelihood and degree the prisoners swapped for him would pose a future threat, the fact that these prisoners would have to be released anyway as the war ended, and dozens of other factors. Presidentin’ ain’t easy.
If a mission to rescue Bergdahl had failed, killing seven Navy Seals, or if he was left there indefinitely and was ultimately killed by the Taliban, these same 44 percent would be screaming,
“How could you? You broke the sacred trust of leaving no man behind!”