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Reggie Love, the erstwhile presidential assistant and “body man” to Mr. Obama, recently reported on the critical moments of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. The president apparently was not glued to live video feeds, as the photos from his re-election campaign suggested.

“Most people were like down in the Situation Room,” Mr. Love said, “and the president was like, ‘I’m not going to be down there. I can’t watch this entire thing.’ So he; myself; Pete Souza, the White House photographer; Marvin Nicholson, we must have played 15 games of spades.”

The commander in chief was playing cards while Navy SEALs risked their lives to kill America’s No. 1 enemy — only later to use photos of himself watching live feeds for his re-election sloganeering: “Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive.”

That pretense sums up the growing void between real and trivial America.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.