war on terrorism

Jon Stewart on Osama bin Laden

Like most talk show hosts, Jon Stewart used Monday to express pleasure over the death of Osama bin Laden. He started his show discussing it, making his usual cracks, but he got serious. While admiting he couldn’t be rational about bin Laden’s death, he made some very good points about what it all means:

[Sunday] night was a good night; for me, and not just for New York or DC or America, but for human people. The face of the Arab world in America’s eyes for too long has been bin Laden; and now it is not. Now the face is only the young people in Egypt and Tunisia and all the Middle Eastern countries were freedom rises up. Al-Qaeda’s opportunity is gone.

Well said.

Here is video of the segment.

Polls don’t show a big bump for Obama

It was commonly accepted in the aftermath of Sunday’s news about Osama bin Laden that President Barack Obama would receive a bump in the polls. As you may remember, George W. Bush’s approval ratings jumped significantly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. And while Obama is seeing improved numbers since the announcement of bin Laden’s death, the bump is relatively small:

In the immediate aftermath of the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s approval rating has jumped higher, with big increases in the number of Americans giving him high marks on dealing with terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan.

But the new poll, conducted Monday evening by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center, also finds virtually no movement in Obama’s numbers when it comes to handling the economy. That suggests that success on one front — even one as important as the death of the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — might not translate easily to other areas.

Political aftermath

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.

Cato Institute: After bin Laden

The folks at the Cato Institute have put together a good video with featuring some of their scholars - Jim Harper, Malou Innocent, Christopher Preble and David Rittgers - discussing what the death of Osama bin Laden means to the United States from a foreign policy and civil liberties perspective:

Belated thoughts on Osama bin Laden’s demise

A friend sent me a text message yesterday asking what my opinion was of this; meaning the death of Osama bin Laden. Believe it or not, it’s not something I really went into to deep thought about. Everything happened so late on Sunday night and it seemed so unreal.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, trying to process the events of the last day, my opinion is like that of nearly all Americans…I’m glad Osama bin Laden is dead. I’m not the type of person that goes out into the streets and expresses this satisfaction, unlikely many from my generation. But this man was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people and he represented pure evil. He deserved to die.

The SEALs that entered into the compound in Abbottabad are heroes. President Barack Obama deserves credit and the approval ratings bounce to come.

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