Monday, May 02, 2011

The Bin Laden Boost

Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly offers a brief analysis today of how the news, announced last night, that much-hunted Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was “killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan” might help President Obama’s re-election opportunities next year. Sagely, I think, Benen anticipates only a short-term poll bounce for the president from all of this, but notes that the Bin Laden elimination does add another impressive credit to Obama’s record in the White House:
The common comparison today is to George H.W. Bush riding high in 1991 after the first Gulf War, only to see his fortunes falter badly a year later. I’m not sure I buy the comparison--Obama’s a better candidate than Bush, and if there’s a Bill Clinton in the GOP field, he or she is hiding well--but the point about unpredictable reversals is worth remembering.

But if we’re laying odds on the president’s re-election, the bin Laden news, I’d argue, bumps the likelihood up, at least a little. What I’m imagining is Obama and his supporters offering voters a list of accomplishments from his first term, and it’s going to be a doozy: ended the Great Recession, health care reform, Wall Street reform student loan reform, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, New START, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the biggest overhaul of our food-safety laws in 70 years, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, net neutrality, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, health care for 9/11 rescue workers, and the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices.

Oh, and he killed Osama bin Laden.

Is that a winning message? I’ve heard worse.
Benen’s full piece is here.

READ MORE:The Killing of Bin Laden” (Think Progress); “If Cantor Really Wants to Go There ...,” by Steve Benen (The Washington Monthly); “Relentless,” by Paul Berman (The New Republic); “Second Thoughts About Obama and Bin Laden: It’s Not Just the Economy, Stupid,” by Nate Silver (The New York Times).

No comments: