Osama bin Laden is dead, and there’s bound to be some political aftermath from killing the most wanted man in American history. This was something that President Bush tried for two terms to do, so what happens next? Politicians often get blamed for things beyond their control. They also get credit for things beyond their control. So what’s the deal here?
First, President Obama is going to get a significant bump in the polls from this. Make no mistake here. I wouldn’t be surprised at a 20-30 point bump and would only be mildly surprised if it’s higher than that. As President, he gave the order to kill the most evil man most Americans can even think of. This will resonate with most Americans for a little while.
The trick will be sustaining that bump, which will be virtually impossible. Americans are loving President Obama right now, just like they loved President Bush right after 9/11. It isn’t the fickle nature of the American people, but the fact that something significant happened and they naturally look toward the man selected to lead them.
Yesterday, a friend of mine asserted that Obama will be unbeatable next November after this. Of course, this friend usually believes that Obama will be unbeatable. It’s his pessimistic nature. However, I reminded him of President George H.W. Bush, or George the First as I call him. He had a sky high approval rating midway through his term following the successful conclusion of the Gulf War. Yet, come the next election, he found himself packing to make room for a governor from Arkansas.
The truth is that Obama will benefit from this, at least in the short term. However, unless the economy shows more signs of improving and gas prices drop, next November will still be a tough battle.
Americans can be fickle, but only to a point. They tend to want something more lasting. However, this will get him out of the funk his Administration has been in for the past little while. This will give them a enough of a boost to build a foundation they can build off of if they’re smart.
Come campaign time though, it’ll be tough for Republicans to label them soft on terrorism or claim that he can’t execute the war on terror. After all, it was under his watched that the mastermind of so many terrorist attacks was brought down.