We should be willing to give President Obama his just share of the credit for the demise of Osama bin Laden. Of course, Obama’s refusal, once in power, to follow lefty nostrums on national security made this tremendously welcome news possible.
The obvious question arises: how will this play politically? Will Obama emerge with burnished leadership credentials and recover his flagging support among voters, especially those independents so crucial to his 2008 victory?
Here the president would be wise to ignore the contradictory triumphalism of his supporters, who are cheering him on for employing exactly those tactics they deplored when practiced by George W Bush. Indeed, Obama might pause to regret his infamous decision to return the bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain. The bust could serve as a healthy reminder of the fickleness of fate, and especially of voters, because Winston Churchill was center stage for one of history’s great electoral busts. Churchill fought a general election in 1945 fresh from the triumph of the victory over Hitler, where all parties acclaimed him for his wartime leadership. But war is war, and peace is peace. Churchill’s Tories suffered a landmark drubbing, one of the worst ever suffered by an incumbent prime minister, in an environment where economic issues were paramount.
Now if we approach November 2012 with a reviving economy, declining food and energy prices, a recovery in home values and plausible success in reducing the deficit, Obama’s supporters will have good reason to be optimistic. And if we do not, well, the prudent among them will have lined up a good moving company that knows how to pack in a hurry.