Romney: not worth catching bin Laden

A fat pitch for the Democrats to hit.

Yep, you heard that right. Not worth the money.

In the interview, Romney also said the country would be safer by only “a small percentage” and would see “a very insignificant increase in safety” if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” Romney said. Instead, he said he supports a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic jihad movement.

This is actually a tricky one for Romney’s Republican rivals. How do they disagree with him without highlighting one of the most spectacular failures of the Bush Administration? For Democrats, on the other hand, it’s a hanging curve ball.

Kevin Drum is right: Democrats can’t win by whining about how unfair it is that Republicans have made fighting terrorism a partisan issue. Instead, they need to make the case that they could do it better, making the country safer. Pointing out that Republicans are complacent about having the murderer of 3000 Americans still at large would be a good start.

h/t Eric Kleefeld at TPM, who wonders what the press reaction would be if a Democrat had said something that stupid. So do I.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com