Osama’s Death and Obama’s 2012 Chances

By YeOldeScribe ~ May 3rd, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

For those of you turned off by yesterday’s post, we promise that today’s won’t be as controversial (we think). But once again, we’re going to go against the grain of public opinion. As soon as the word got out that Osama bin Laden (OBL) was killed on Obama’s watch, the only thing we were seeing on Facebook and Twitter were comments like “Way to win it in 2012, Barack!” and “I think someone just sealed the election already…”

Some people have called us Obama junkies in the past, and we’ll concede that Political Progressives has been very supportive of the President, and we do tend to agree on a lot of issues. But we’ve called him out in the past as well, and this time, we’ll rightfully call out his supporters for jumping the gun here. We feel that they might be declaring “Mission Accomplished” a little too soon (and we all know how well that works out).

Declaring victory for an election 18 months away is beyond preposterous. JoAnne Kloppenburg at least waited until after the election was over to declare victory, and even then it turned out to be too soon. Who’s to say that in 18 months something more important than killing OBL doesn’t happen? If the Republicans and the Democrats can’t find a way to agree on raising our debt ceiling, that just might happen (defaulting on loans is bad, people – especially trillions of dollars in loans).

Even if that doesn’t happen, we find it hard to believe that killing OBL will even be on people’s minds in 18 months, and we know Obama won’t campaign solely on that issue. It will be referenced as part of the President’s overall defense and foreign affairs strengths, but we can almost guarantee that this won’t be the trump card everyone thinks it will be. It’s not like if he gets asked a question he doesn’t want to answer he can just say “Yeah, but remember when I killed OBL?” This isn’t some sort of Presidential “Get Out of Jail Free” card Obama drew. It’s an example of his counterterrorism success, and it’s him delivering on a campaign promise.

Also, in case you’ve forgotten (although with gas over $4 in WI, we don’t know how you could have missed it), the economy still isn’t in great shape, and its future is far from certain. Between the two parties in DC acting like spoiled brats fighting over a lollipop and the country demanding something be done, Obama isn’t going to have an easy time fixing this mess, either – especially if he’s supposed to make attempts to reduce the deficit in the not so distant future. And the economy is what people will vote on in 2012 – or at least people (especially independents) are more likely to vote on the economy and jobs than they are OBL’s death.

In fact, we’ll argue that this might not even help Obama at all. Are people happy that OBL is dead. Indeed they are – overly so, in our opinion. But will OBL’s death convince anyone to change their vote for Obama? We really don’t think so. Most liberals were already going to vote for Obama, and him ordering the death of a man (however evil) probably isn’t that endearing to them. To put it another way, we don’t know of any liberals who weren’t going to vote for Obama but now are planning to. (Of course, our writer also resides in Northeast Wisconsin, so he doesn’t know many liberals to begin with.) Independents aren’t going to suddenly flock to Obama over this, either. They’ll be much more concerned about the economy than the death of a terrorist. And as for Republicans? One good deed does not a good man make – at least in their eyes. Were a Republican President the one to end OBL’s life, he could use it to rally his base and get more votes – especially if the election was close at hand. But it’s not and Obama’s in the wrong party for this to help him in any meaningful way.

Finally, as much as Democrats would love to gloat and boast over the weekend’s achievement, LZ Granderson correctly points out that they “need to move on and get back to work because their opposition already has.” Republicans are already downplaying the achievement – and in a familiar political move for them, they’re demanding to see proof of death before they’ll believe. (Note: We know Lieberman is independent leaning liberal – we’re referring to Sen. Collins.) We love Granderson’s quote about this – “I swear if Obama turned water into wine his critics would accuse him of being an alcoholic.” But beyond that, Granderson also points out how Republicans are stacking the ballots in 2012 with Republican-leaning initiatives like gay marriage bans in the hope of getting their base out to the polls to topple Obama.

Now, if you’ll remember, we picked Obama to win it all in 2012, and we stand by that pick today. But Obama won’t keep the White House because of what happened this weekend, and recent events don’t hurt him either. While they won’t put a dent in his strategy, they won’t be the boon that everyone else thinks they will be. Obama will win because of his record and his campaign machine – and even if killing OBL is a part of his record, it won’t be a big issue in 2012, and as we already pointed out, we don’t think it will win him many votes on its own – and it certainly won’t give him an election day victory 18 months in advance.

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