George Bush was relentlessly mocked for waiting seven minutes (actually waiting for his security detail to ready the exit and for his vehicle to be readied) before leaving the school he was visiting. He calmly finished reading My Pet Goat for the kids before going to his now-ready helicopter.
On the other hand, after Obama was told (most likely for the fifteenth time) that the CIA was really, really, really quite confident that Osama bin Ladin was at that compound in Abbottabad, he decided he needed to sleep on it.
Sixteen hours later (hours during which Osama might have fled– bear in mind, his courier’s name had just been outed by WikiLeaks), he made up his mind.
How does the media report this? Well, relying upon those in Obama’s inner circle (that is to say, his political flunkies and spinners), we’re told this:
“But the next morning after 16 hours, Obama summoned four top aides to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could speak, the president put his fist on the table and declared ‘It’s a go’.”
Why does it matter that he did this “before they could speak”? They had spoken already yesterday when they strongly, strongly urged the president to give the order, and he had decided to sleep on it.
They were only waiting on him, after all.
So, after 16 hours of vacillation, during which the operation might have been rendered a failure by intervening invents, he fist-bumps a piece of furniture and finally makes up his mind.
This is something to brag about? This is, in Howard Fineman’s words, “almost Biblical”?