Ed Driscoll

The 25 Percent Solution

Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times asks, “Why do one-in-five American voters now believe Osama bin Laden is still alive?”

Additionally, Obama aides’ eager and hurried attempts to tell the raid story to their boss’ best advantage lead to countless conflicting details and confusing inaccuracies.

The botched recounting turned a PR homerun into a merely impressive triple, needlessly eroding Obama’s credibility even among those wishing Bin Laden ill.

To assuage criticism among some influential Washington pols — the people who really matter in Obama’s non-fundraising day-to-day world — he offered to show the not-so-nice photos to select members of Congress.

However, although global audiences have been treated to countless photos of atrocities and gruesome scenes in recent years — severed heads online, bound Abu Ghraib prisoners, Saddam Hussein hanged and burned, mutilated American bodies hanging from a Falluja bridge come vividly to mind — Obama clearly was more concerned about possible foreign reaction than domestic disbelief, which he doesn’t place much stock in.

A strange reaction from someone who tried for four years stonewalling skeptics of something as simple as documenting his birthplace, only to finally give in and release his sealed long-form certificate just this spring — and then see virtually all the wind immediately disappear from the sails of the so-called birther movement.

Operating in a longtime one-party city like Chicago, Democratic politicians do not often feel beholden to explaining themselves to the obedient public. So, the lesson this president from there obviously drew from his unnecessary birth certificate-sealing confrontation was to do it again with the Bin Laden photos.

But isn’t it a statistical given these days that 20 to 25 percent of Americans believe some sort of conspiracy? Just look at the conspiracies that have been floated by the news media and Hollywood during the past few decades:

Richard Hofstadter wrote his “Paranoid Style in American Politics” essay in 1964 in an effort to assert the superiority of his worldview, and to attack anyone who disagreed with it. But since then, there seems to be plenty of paranoia to go around on the left as well, with the media blasting it like a megaphone to the rest of the American public. If these past efforts have caused 25 percent of the American public not to take the word of the president when he says that OBL is DOA, America’s leftwing elites have only themselves to blame.