Much of the 2012 politics of the Libya disaster lies in front of us, not behind us. President Obama must seek justice for the slain Americans. Before the election, Obama will identify some of those who participated in the raid that murdered the American ambassador and other brave Americans, and the president must take action to have them killed. Then he must report these actions in such a way that it doesn't appear to be a campaign event.
Not many Republicans have commented on the fact that this is coming or have been vocal in demanding swift, brutal justice. For Obama this is another political gift. A few terrorists that need killing will get what is coming to them, and they will get it before Election Day. No one will fault Obama for pulling the trigger, and it will likely be a boon for him politically. An eye for an eye is good politics. But will the coming retribution look too political? If it does, it would be bad politics. National security adviser Tom Donilon is an old campaign hand, and the president will have zero inhibitions about making sure that something that needs to be done anyway is done with his selfish political ambitions in mind.
I'm sure the political arm of the White House thinks the higher the body count and the more drama in coming attacks, the better. I'm sure those folks are already thinking about the posed photos of the president that will be released immediately after the first killings. They are likely also already thinking about the tick-tock stories that will be written, and who among their favorites in the media will publish a flattering account of the president's firm command and cool execution of the raids and bombings. And maybe there is even planning for privileged access and information that will be given to moviemakers and others writing the most flattering books about Obama.
Obama has been handed his own "October Surprise." Romney and Republicans can just sit and watch. Go get ’em, Mr. President.