I have been blissfully crushing over Obama for the last few months, which has allowed me to nearly forget about your existence. Have no fear, not a day goes by that I am not reminded of your colossal mistakes, but the notion of you walking around on the planet tends to not hit me. Call it denial or maybe just a preoccupation with the future of our nation.
But every so often, something catches my eye that suddenly reminds me that you do still exist, that you still make decisions, and that you are still, perpetually, concerned about your legacy. An article that came out in The Times today says you regret your "gun-slinging rhetoric" and you are quoted as saying that "in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric.”
You go on to say that phrases like "bring them on” or “dead or alive” somehow “indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."
Mr. President, what you spoke of was not "tone" or "rhetoric." It was exactly, precisely, calculatingly what you were doing.
You said bring them on, you said dead or alive.
And so on they came, and so we went.
Dead or alive.
You can't decide now that this was just tone. You can't bring Saddam Hussein back from the dead and say that you made a error in judgment on those WMDs. You can't turn to the families who have lost their loved ones in a war and say that you misspoke and that you're actually quite peaceful.
Because that's the thing about dead or alive. There's no in between.
I remember, so many years ago, on the evening of September 11, 2001 when you said, gulping in front of an American flag, the following:
"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."
In that moment, you showed your hand. Your presidency has been colored in black and white, with no room for anything in between.
And so it will be for your legacy. Your supporters, few they may be, will remember you as a gunslinger, a fearless leader who led us into a noble war against terrorists and nuclear weapons. You should embrace that, rather than wilting six months before the end of your presidency and saying you should have used a different "tone." But that's for you and your supporters to work out.
And what about the rest of us, the remaining 68% of America who sit in your bottom-heavy disapproval ratings?
Bring it on, your post-presidential falsities about your "international diplomacy." Bring it on, your insistence that it's patriotic to lead your country into a war based on lies. Bring it on, your stubborn delusions that cause you to describe yourself as "a man of peace."
We will make no distinction between the acts you committed and the words you use to describe them. Dead or alive, you will go down as the worst president in history.