Bin Laden: And now for the politics of it all

The notion that President Barack Obama sealed his re-election next year by nabbing Osama bin Laden is premature and overblown. Too much can and will happen during the next 18 months. And, barring further dramatic events overseas, I still think the economy will be the single biggest factor in the 2012 race.

That said, this episode very clearly strengthens Obama’s political hand, and I disagree with those who say the issue has no staying power. Overseeing the completion of the 13-year manhunt for bin Laden, and doing so by acting with a decisiveness that many commentators on the right said Obama couldn’t muster, burnishes Obama’s antiterror credentials and will raise his stature in a lot of people’s eyes.

Of course, what the president does next will be crucial. Imagine, for instance, if we follow this up by using the intelligence gathered in Abbottabad to kill or capture other al Qaida leaders, including new top dog Ayman al-Zawahiri. On the other hand, it could be that nothing much — or nothing good — happens on the terror front between now and November 2012, or that Iran or Syria or Hamas refocuses our attention, or that Libya develops into a stalemate. History offers examples of wartime success begetting political success — but it also, as Ed Driscoll reminds us over at Hot Air, offers other examples of political leaders who followed victory in war with defeat at the ballot box.

Like I said, a lot can and will happen during the next 18 months.

I do think, however, that one certainty in all of this is the need for Republican contenders to get very serious about foreign policy, very quickly. (Speaking of “serious,” let’s hope this event puts to rest the idea that Donald Trump is a real contender.) For the first time in years, the Democratic nominee may have the upper hand over the Republican on defense and national security. That will depend on which Republican wins the nomination, but The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn surveys the field today and wonders whether anyone in the GOP has an answer:

Apart from Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin, few Republicans even talk about foreign policy. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty probably comes closest to offering a coherent vision, having come out for a robust foreign policy that backs up our friends and takes on our enemies without apology.

Within the GOP, however, there remains a strain that is deeply suspicious of U.S. involvement overseas, especially since the end of the Cold War. The irrepressible Ron Paul, of course, has been most explicit. Before announcing he wouldn’t run in the GOP presidential primaries, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour sounded a similar note when he complained about trying to turn Afghanistan into Ireland and suggested we start shrinking our troop presence there.

As for the rest, the former governors from last time around (Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee) seem to be hedging their bets. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels served under President Bush, but he would hardly be confused for an advocate of any freedom agenda. For the most part, the Republican hope appears to be that eight-plus-percent unemployment along with six-dollar-a-gallon gasoline will be enough to defeat Barack Obama.

Unemployment, gas prices and other inflation, the debt and deficit — these things will still matter greatly in 2012. But the political upshot of bin Laden’s death is that they might not have the outsized influence they stood to wield just three days ago.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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74 comments Add your comment

Usama's Baby Mama

May 3rd, 2011
12:05 pm

BOO GOT SHOT !!

BOO GOT SHOT !!

Independent Thinker

May 3rd, 2011
12:07 pm

The issue is the competence of Obama’s national security team. Kepping Gates at Defense was brilliant. U*sing Hillary’s knowledge and credentials at State was brilliant after she and Obama kissed and made up. Pannetta proved he has the skills for ther CIA. For all his foibles, Biden nknows and understands national security and foreign affairs. Bush’s national security team was a disgrace on 9-11 and went downhill with letting Bin Laden slip away and then appeared as clowns to the world with the Iraq wmd fiasco.
I have no confidence that McCain could have assembled such a team after he picked Palin.. The rest all appear novices or bozos with no ability to assemble a team of experts who are able to protect our security without playing politics or appearing totally inept.Yeah Trump would sit in a corner as an equal participant whiile the national security experts do their thing like we see in the picture from Sunday. Trump would want to make all the decisions with no knowledge from others.
Sorry but Obama made some tough decision but got it right because of his excellent team.

Needles

May 3rd, 2011
12:08 pm

According to the Drudge Report, the bullet that killed Bin Laden blew his skull to pieces.

THAT

IS

SO

A W E S O M E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jefferson

May 3rd, 2011
12:21 pm

I bet you hate wishing for $5 dollar gas and then have to actually pay for it…you should hope and pray for good things for our country and president instead of being a petty republican without a real clue about life.

Aquagirl

May 3rd, 2011
12:29 pm

“Overseeing the completion of the 13-year manhunt for bin Laden, and doing so by acting with a decisiveness that many commentators on the right said Obama couldn’t muster, burnishes Obama’s antiterror credentials and will raise his stature in a lot of people’s eyes.”

I wish that was true, Kyle, but the tribalism of current-day politics breeds fossilized thinking.You can hear the constant blahblahblah of people trying to minimize Obama’s accomplishment. They’re retro-fitting the world to adjust to their reality. Obama’s stock will go up among people who already like him, but it isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. It’s too much of a threat to their personal identity.

Unlike you, many conservatives (and liberals) are unable to accept any good in someone deemed the opposition. This is why they’ll never change their minds, and why our country can’t get a friggin’ thing done.

Johnny Isakson is already flapping his partisan pie-hole, claiming Pakistan knew about the raid. Yeah, whatever Johnny. Shuddup and sit down, those people have nukes. Rush Limbaugh’s little sarcastic fit yesterday was disgusting, and look at Republican “leaders” who failed to mention Obama in their attaboys. They’re bitter, nasty, jerks who can’t stop and be AMERICANS for one second.

@ needles, I would have preferred a gutshot myself. But maybe they had to shoot over his women-shield’s head.

Metro Coach

May 3rd, 2011
12:30 pm

Independent Thinker- Thanks to WikiLeaks we know that Iraq did have WMDs.

arnold

May 3rd, 2011
12:43 pm

If Obama had wanted to take out OBL for political purposes, he would have waited until closer to the election. He had the brass ones to do what needed doing when it was needed.

Ivan

May 3rd, 2011
12:44 pm

“..and look at Republican “leaders” who failed to mention Obama in their attaboys.”

Every Republican I’ve read about and seen has commended Obama on a job well done. The Rodney Dangerfield syndrome from the frantic left is amusing.

It’s like they’re admitting this is the only good thing Obama has done since elected, and by golly, they want their respect!

Kyle Wingfield

May 3rd, 2011
12:46 pm

Aquagirl: You’re probably right about a lot of people, but I mostly had in mind self-identified independents who would at least contemplate voting for Obama in 2012. They are, after all, the ones who will ultimately decide the election.

jconservative

May 3rd, 2011
12:48 pm

Ask George H W Bush about re-election following a resounding military victory.

“It’s the economy stupid!”

The 2012 election will be an up/down vote on President Obama.

If! If. If, the Republicans run a candidate that is not perceived as a clown. Romney is perceived as a serious candidate but wears the albatross of “Massachusetts Obamacare”. If he can be talked into running, Governor Christie is the man. But his smart move is to wait for 2016 or 2020.

Trump? Laughing stock of the country today. His “I am responsible for the birth certificate” is on par with Al Gore’s “I invented the Internet”.

For us lovers of politics 2012 will be a wonderful election. Just as 2008 was.

Jefferson

May 3rd, 2011
12:50 pm

Those GOP candidate are squares.

GeeMac

May 3rd, 2011
12:52 pm

“Unlike you, many conservatives (and liberals) are unable to accept any good in someone deemed the opposition. This is why they’ll never change their minds, and why our country can’t get a friggin’ thing done.”

Amen, Aquagirl! When each side refuses to make even the smallest concession to the other, everyone loses. I have had better luck getting two year olds to share a toy!

jt

May 3rd, 2011
12:53 pm

” For the first time in years, the Democratic nominee may have the upper hand over the Republican on defense and national security.”

You have got to be kidding.

Only metro-sexuals,federo-sexuals,girly-men, and idiots look to Washington for “security”.
The youth of today realize that Washington doesn’t “protect” their security, it “threatens” it.

Although there is still many propaganda tricks that the Washington gang of 520 hasn’t tried in order to prove their relevance and existence………….the smarter of our population isn’t buying it.

Good and decent Americans grow weary of bloodshed, corruption, and war….no matter how many pressitutes and propaganda.

Choose liberty.
Choose freedom.
Choose decency.

Ron Paul 2012.

Larry Major

May 3rd, 2011
12:59 pm

@jconservative is right about President Bush. 18 months is about 12 months longer than the public’s memory.

Independent Thinker

May 3rd, 2011
1:06 pm

jconservative conveniently forgets HW Bush was voted out partly because he left Sadaam in power after coming to a screeching halt at the border of Iraq creating a quagmire and ttroops stuck in Saudi Arabia indefinitely.. Same as his son did at Tora Bora. Obama did not give a crap about Pakistani sovereignty and world opinion in authorizing the mission . He learned from the Israelis.

ignored questions

May 3rd, 2011
1:12 pm

Will Kyle retract his earlier statement claiming that OBL hid behind women?

Or will we all just chalk that up to youthful nationalistic wild-eyed enthusiasm.?

After all……….it is for the collective good…Unity and all.

Aquagirl

May 3rd, 2011
1:14 pm

Ivan, maybe you missed out on Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss (until prompted) Phil Gingrey (maybe doesn’t count due to clinical insanity) Tom Price, and Mike Huckabee.

Yes, I think sticking your neck out by ordering a military operation without informing the “friendly” nation deserves some respect. That takes huevos. If Bin Laden hadn’t been there, I’m sure those guys (and you) would be screaming to impeach Obama.

@ Kyle, I guess we’ll see…..

DannyX

May 3rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Anymore predictions Kyle?

GM stock is back up.
Obama now looks good for re-election.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
1:28 pm

Here is a picture from 2/24/10 of Gen. Petraeus shaking hands with officer training instructors at the military academy in Pakistan, 100 yds. from Osama’’s compound.

http://www.centcom.mil/news/petraeus-visits-pakistan

carlosgvv

May 3rd, 2011
1:40 pm

Republicans are doing and will continue to do everything they can think of to minimize Obama’s role in the death of Bin Ladin. They will praise our military but will say little or nothing about our Commander-In-Chief, strictly for political reasons. The uncomfortable truth is that the last thing they wanted was Bin Ladin to be killed while Obama was President. With them, public safety and patriotism mean nothing when compared to political gain.

John

May 3rd, 2011
1:46 pm

“Every Republican I’ve read about and seen has commended Obama on a job well done. ”

Evidently, you haven’t been reading or seeing much. Several Republicans commended the intelligence community and the military without mentioning Obama. Several said President without mentioning his name. Those that referenced Obama by name or president, made sure they included praise to Bush. Look at Fox News website now, same as yesterday…big picture of Bush and larger font links to articles on Bush…no picture of Obama with smaller font links to any type of article mentioning Obama.

What Goes Around Comes Around

May 3rd, 2011
1:49 pm

President Obama is making his HATERS his MOTIVATORS. He will be re-elected.

WE WILL MAKE SURE OF THAT!!!

Ernesto

May 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Obama has a great opportunity to turn things around. If he is willing to compromise and be more conservative on spending and if the economy keeps slightly and constantly improving from now to the elections, then he’s got his re-election secured.

For every Obama hater, this happening under his administration gives him some credit. He has done something that former President Bush and his republican administration wasn’t able to do; capture OBL dead or alive. This is one promise kept by President Obama and no one can take that away.

Very important to mention that nothing could be accomplish without the brave men and women serving and protecting this country. Also, former President Bush was man enough to congratulate everyone, including Obama. For his work fighting terror and his willing to give credit to everyone involved, he get’s my respect.

jconservative

May 3rd, 2011
1:58 pm

“jconservative conveniently forgets HW Bush was voted out partly because he left Sadaam in power after coming to a screeching halt at the border of Iraq…”

Actually the exit polling points to the economy being the critical issue with Iraq way down the list of issues.

ByteMe

May 3rd, 2011
2:30 pm

Unemployment, gas prices and other inflation, the debt and deficit — these things will still matter greatly in 2012.

Foreign policy wins are nice, but anyone can act and sound tough on the campaign trail and people will buy it as long as they don’t look like a waffle. First poll out has Obama up 9 points in it. It was a fantastic week for the President, but the poll number will fade long before we get into election season.

General elections are all about the economy. If people think it’s getting better, then the incument wins; if they don’t, the incumbent has a good chance of losing. Not saying that the voters’ assessment is right or wrong, just that that’s what they do. Right now, it’s looking good with profits up and companies hiring (provided you have a degree) and Republicans shooting themselves in the foot by trying to kill Medicare for future generations. But 18 months is an eternity in terms of public discourse.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
2:59 pm

My son could have found Osama. Years ago, when he would not remove the clutter under his bed, I took away his game box & placed it with the mess. He looked all over the house in all my stash areas for his box, finally gave up & submitted to my request.
He learned to listen to his mother & to always begin searches by looking under one’s nose.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
3:23 pm

Southerns are now scared of the sound of freight trains. Dictators are now scared of the sound of helicopters. I heard that they aren’t even wearing their pajamas to bed anymore. No one wants to be shot & taken off in his pajamas.

Tundra Dude

May 3rd, 2011
4:47 pm

Linda@1:28 wrote:

Here is a picture from 2/24/10 of Gen. Petraeus shaking hands with officer training instructors at the military academy in Pakistan, 100 yds. from Osama’’s compound.

Very sad situation. A former Nat Security dude said this whole area is equivalent to Langley, Va., Intel- military, retired spooks. I guess OBL was in ISI’s “perpetrator protection” program. He was safe there for 5-6 years.

@@

May 3rd, 2011
5:26 pm

Americans have short attention spans, Kyle and most aren’t even focused on global affairs.

The economy, unemployment and our deficit will be the deciding factor in 2012. All three have the greatest impact on the homefront.

@@

May 3rd, 2011
5:33 pm

Not that Obama should have or would have passed up the opportunity to take Bin Laden down, but the timing coincides with the Taliban’s spring offensive. My fear is the number of U.S. casualties will escalate. Unfortunately, our relationship with Pakistan will be critical to that endeavor.

I’ve long said that Obama’s good war would be the wrong war to take on.

gm

May 3rd, 2011
5:35 pm

The bigots of Hannity, Sara, Rush, will start up soon, this is just like 911, it lasted about 1 mo and Americans was back to hating Americans again.
Just last week the bigots, birthers was saying the President of the United States was not born here and you had the idiots of Rush, Hannnity, Sara who have brain washed a small scale of white middle class and poor whites to make people believe the President is not one of them.
Obama is the real American and those conservatives bigots like Rush and Sara are truly destroying America.

Michael H. Smith

May 3rd, 2011
5:49 pm

@@ 5:26 pm – You nailed it.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
5:59 pm

gm@5:35, Nasty mouth liberals love to bash conservatives & actually believe that your kind can intimidate us. What you don’t understand is that liberals embolden conservatives. I for one don’t care if the president is half black, half white, all black, all white or any other color, except green. I disagree with him because he has all green policies that cost green money. I prefer red, white & blue jobs right here in the US.
BTW, Hillary Clinton was the first birther &, had there been anything to the rumor that her campaign started, she & Bill would have gotten to the bottom of it in 2008 OR we could have ended up with Biden & he would have traded in all the Air Force Ones for 5000 trains @ $2T a pop.

electrician

May 3rd, 2011
6:02 pm

@@..most arent focused on global affairs nor do they have any interest in the history of global conflict,a dangerous combination when it comes to understanding why things happen.also, this conservative stands four square with the President on his decision to pull the trigger on Bin Laden…lets just all be happy together for a while.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 3rd, 2011
6:09 pm

After hearing all the liberal babble over the years about torture, assassinations and their hatred of the CIA and then watching them thump their scrawny chests today, one must wonder if these people are either mindless or toady little sycophants.

Or both.

obozo hasn’t lost the vote of these lackeys.

Ivan

May 3rd, 2011
6:10 pm

Redneck

May 3rd, 2011
6:18 pm

I seriously doubt there was an order to take Bin Laden alive. I just hope the guy pulling the trigger said praise Jesus before he pulled the trigger. I would give anything to hear the last words out of the POS mouth. Stuffing a few pork rinds in the body would have been very approriate.

[...] Visit link: Bin Laden: And now for the politics of it all – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

M

May 3rd, 2011
7:18 pm

Yes, Redneck, because Jesus would’ve wanted him dead.

Mama Says

May 3rd, 2011
7:28 pm

Hey can any of you libs explain one thing to me please—and I am serious.

How can Bush be a war criminal because he

invaded a country needlessly

tortured

wire taps

black sites

rendition

2 wars

while Obama is hailed for ;

4 wars

wire tapping

rendition

black sites

and (in place of torture)—the killing of a man without a trial, who was unarmed in a bedroom guarded by his unarmed wife ?

I mean isn’t that against the “American way”

I support Obama’s approach in this matter but I am a conservative who can be expected to, how does a liberal, who demads rights for everyone–even terrorist, support Obama’s appraoch ?

Isn’t killing someone who has had no trial worse than torture ?

Michael H. Smith

May 3rd, 2011
7:36 pm

Mama Says

May 3rd, 2011
7:28 pm

Calk it up to their guy, their side.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
7:40 pm

Mama@7:28, The rules are quite simple. If Bush did it, blame Bush. If Obama does it, blame Bush. Got it?

Will

May 3rd, 2011
7:45 pm

I am not makng this up – During that republican radio entertainer’s radio show this morning (the obese guy who is a self admitted recoverying drug addict), a caller said he was worried that the President’s decisive action that resulted in the killing of Bin Laden has probably ensured his re-election.

Here is the part I am getting to – this radio guy responded by saying that the caller should not get down in the dumps over this that there was a lot of time between now and next November and a lot of things could happen. One of the “things” this radio guy listed as something that could reverse th President’s good fortune is that America could be attacked again!

I am not making this up!!! This guy was basically saying, cheer up, this weekend’s “bad news” for republicans could be reversed with good news for republicans if only someone would attack America again!!!

Michael H. Smith

May 3rd, 2011
7:55 pm

Here’s a small footnote to leave behind. The night it was announced that Osama had been killed I stayed up purposely to watch how the left would treat this event, particularly I was waiting for some political spin gainsay to be made. Of course, I was not disappointed as two lefties on two liberal cable news outlets almost reading from the same script, commented that this cements obumer’s re-election.

Immediately after a chuckle or two over “The Cementing” spin was uttered, the words began coming to my mind: Yeah, just like George H.W. Bush winning of the Gulf War I “CEMENTED” his election, RIGHT!?

It was “The Economy Stupid” that did the cementing not a military victory and Bush lost.

@@

May 3rd, 2011
8:51 pm

electrician:

this conservative stands four square with the President on his decision to pull the trigger on Bin Laden

As do I.

Only thing suppressing my enthusiasm is a bad case of trigger envy.

@@

May 3rd, 2011
9:00 pm

Michael:

Of course, I was not disappointed as two lefties on two liberal cable news outlets almost reading from the same script, commented that this cements obumer’s re-election.

That and the conflicting statements coming out of the WH can’t elevate his chances. The left-wing media, as always, offers up bad taste in reporting. The WH’s rush to report “facts” leaves them looking inept.

How would I have addressed the nation? “It may be weeks before we have all the facts. When we do, you, the American people, will be the first to know.”

There were moments during Obama’s address that he stumbled as though he wasn’t sure he was saying the right thing. That doesn’t instill confidence. Too many “I” references–a long and persistent character flaw.

Linda

May 3rd, 2011
9:26 pm

We masses will never know all the details. My questions include these:
Were all those children home schooled, or did they tell their teachers they lived with terrorists?
Are we to believe that OBL didn’t leave that compound for 5-6 yrs. & that his doctors made house calls with dialysis machines in tow? How were his teeth?
Was OBL’s upteenth wife so stupid that she didn’t know that you DO NOT lunge at a US Navy Seal?
Did the US govt. remember to include a piece of the steel from the World Trade Center to weigh down OBL’s body?
Should the US govt. have held a trial of OBL after 9/11 to find him guilty?
Would Bush have duplicated Obama’s actions? If so, would have Bush been condemned or honored?
Is the US foreign aid policy buying us corruption or incompetence? How to we distinguish our friends from our enemies?

luangtom

May 3rd, 2011
11:12 pm

It has to be repeated…it is the economy…To say that this move by Obama will cement his re-election is a bit overboard by anyone that says it. It is a plus for his bid, but it does not cement his re-election. The example of Bush 41 is correct. His Gulf War actions did not make him a shoe-in for re-election. It was not the deciding-factor. Economy, economy, economy……if the country does not do an about-face
economically, re-election will not be seen by Obama. If Obama were to divert funding for “Allies” like Pakistan, where Bin Laden sequestered himself, and apply those funds to domestic programs, Obama would garner far more votes than eliminating Bin Laden and ignoring the economy.

UNO

May 3rd, 2011
11:18 pm

Kyle, “many commentators on the right said Obama couldn’t muster,” Seriously, when have the many commentators on the right actually been “right” about anything? Are they the same commentators who said Trump is a viable candidate for POTUS and that illegal torture is Constitutionally acceptable? Who are these pundits that we should place any stock in what they have to say?

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