I have three words for anyone – like Matt Lewis – who thinks President Barack H. Obama abused the successful assasination of Osama bin Laden for partisan benefit in an election year: I like Ike! Meanwhile, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have funnier takes, but Lewis persists. I wonder if Lewis would make the same argument if President George W. Bush had succeeded Obama in the White House. Memory is 20/20, but Lewis adds presentism to selective memory problems.
I like Ike on leadership. Instead of seizing the bull pulpit, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delegated his subordinates to be moving targets, to rlrvate the authorty of the presidential office. In the context of the Suez Crisis, David A. Nichols argues in Eisenhower 1956, that Ike, not John Foster Dulles, ran foreign policy as an experienced master of bureaucratic politics accustomed to dealing with men with big egos. Ike, according to insiders, used Foster Dulles, whom many beleved was an anti-Communist firebrand, as a lightning rod. Ike ” In order to govern effectively, he needed to protect is popularity with the American people. His new subordinates would soon discover that he would not hesitate to leave them…”out on the proverbial limb.”
Obviously, neither Bush nor Obama are as masterful as Ike was. It’s bipartisan to say, that neither president is man enough not to steal the spotlight.