Monday, May 02, 2011

The politics of Osama's death

I'm not a fan of the conservative magazine The National Review, but Andrew McCarthy (not the actor) makes an excellent historical analogy at their website The Corner (

In terms of a presidential election cycle, bin Laden has been killed at a time roughly similar to the point in the ’92 cycle when President George H.W. Bush won the Gulf War. (I realize there are a couple of months’ difference, but that’s immaterial.) The victory gave Bush approval ratings that brushed 90 percent — i.e., significantly higher than President Obama’s are today. Just as now, it was unclear which member of the opposition party would run against Bush (unlike the case with Obama, Bush’s sky-rocketing polls actually convinced big-name Dems not to make the race). Bush seemed like a shoo-in — which Obama does not. But the election turned out to be about the economy . . . which was a dream economy compared to the one we’re in.

Biased as he may be, McCarthy is right. If the economy doesn't rebound by Nov.2012, this day will be mostly forgotten. This may be unfair, as this was a great victory for America, but the economy trumps everything else in politics. Every day Americans see the unemployment rates and high gas prices. Al-Qaeda simply isn't considered at the same level of importance to most of us. So, no, the Republicans don't need to give up and wait for 2016.

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