Ok It’s been a few days lets look at the political implications of the Bin Laden Raid in terms of 2012.
First of all let’s repeat what I’ve already said. Remember Bush 1991? Remember 89%? It’s a long way to November 2012 from here, just like the distance between Nov 2008 and Nov 2010 was considerable.
The MSM is going to try to push the Meme “the president unbeatable over this”. I like that because they are deluding themselves. Fans of the administration of course hope to capitalize on this and if they do so while under self-delusion make mistakes.
“In your day jobs, do not let Republicans turn this into continuing the Bush legacy. This has to be about Obama’s decisive leadership,” the guidance said. “He is the one who oversaw bringing bin Laden to justice, much like how Bush failed to do so at Tora Bora and then claimed Osama wasn’t a priority.”
For Democrats, the argument is critical because they don’t want to let credibility on national security issues slip back into their post-Vietnam home in the Republican Party. And they need to fight the insinuation, fed by recent NATO action in Libya that one official characterized as “leading from behind,” that Obama is a weak leader.
Yup a known attempt to spin this will play well and as we can see Lawrence O’Donnell got the memo.
The president certainly deserves primary credit, he was in charge and he acted contrary to his base to continue Bush policies so he also gets points for that. The handling of the post raid PR however has been at best disjointed and disorganized which suggests it wasn’t really thought through.
Now for my money I’d rather be talking about a perfectly executed raid and atrocious handing of the post raid PR vs a botched raid and striking exactly the right tone in defeat but this post is about the political aftermath. The ever-changing stories and the decision to withhold photos (by the same administration that lifted the ban on photos of GI coffins) is inept. It has the potential to squander what should be a legitimate bump for the administration. As Midnight Blue puts it:
Protect the privacy of a dead terrorist and expose our own military to public scrutiny. The duplicity of this administration is astounding.
I guess this means the public won’t be treated to 47 days of New York Times front page images of the compound attack and death of OBL?
Where is Philly Inquirer’s Dan Rubin? He should be screaming from the rooftops to release the photos. Oh wait…it seems he is against posting photos of a deceased terrorist when previously he was for posting photos of deceased American soldiers returning home via Dover Air Force Base. Faithful to the narrative this one is.
Although this was an unabashedly feel good moment (no matter what the European press has to say) with new unemployment claims unexpectedly up, gas at $4 a gallon in town and food inflation continuing.
People being people are not going to remain focused on a dead body, even Bin Laden body, if they still don’t have jobs and can’t afford to get to the ones they have.
In 1 year if Gas prices are still anywhere near where they are now it’s not going to matter if Al Qaeda gives a formal surrender on the deck of the Missouri, this president will lose re-election. Remember Churchill lost after winning World War 2. The president will get (and deserves) some good press from the Bin Laden raid for at least another week (unless he squanders it) but in the end 2012 is going to be a referendum on the economic policies of this administration and unless there is drastic change (or massive GOP stupidity which isn’t a tough bet) this administration will lose.
Closing thought, what are the chances of Hollywood rushing out a “Bin Laden Raid” movie to come out in Oct 2012? I think they’re pretty good once the White House finally settles on a script.