Did President Obama Get Re-Elected Last Weekend?

Yes, it’s early. Yes, the 2012 election is still a long ways from now. But we’re a political blog, and we’ve got to ask the obvious question: Does killing Osama bin Laden all but guarantee that President Obama will be re-elected in 2012? This paragraph alone, from Obama’s speech to the nation last night, is incredibly powerful:

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

It is our view that it was always going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to defeat Obama in 2012. For one thing, the Republican field is less than awe-inspiring; when Donald Trump — who nobody thinks will actually run — is getting the majority of the media attention, your field of candidates is in trouble.

And while polling has been up and down on Obama’s approval ratings, polls have also consistently shown that the public “likes” Obama (approval ratings and, for lack of a better term, “personal feelings” are not always the same thing). People may not like Obama’s policies, but for whatever reason they seem to like Barack and Michelle Obama. All those voters need is one good reason to give Obama a second term, and killing Osama bin Laden is definitely a good reason.  

A lot of things can change between now and November 2012, but Obama now has one very important “Trump card” (pun intended). No matter what the eventual Republican nominee says about President Obama, he’ll always be “the man who killed Osama bin Laden.” It almost takes the national security/military issue off the table for Republicans as a potential line of attack.  

But what say you, Polsters? Vote below and chime in.


Does Osama bin Laden's Death Mean Re-Election for Obama?

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73 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    The American electorate is notoriously fickle.  Still, a major victory for the US and the CoC.  

  2. Ah Choo says:

    President Obama will have made the Republicans’ knee jerk warlordism rhetoric sound much tinnier.

    However, remember that George H.W. Bush had 90% approval ratings after immediately after the Persian Gulf War–and he went on to lose to a philandering draft-dodger named Bill Clinton.

    2012 will ultimately be about the economic security individuals are feeling in their own lives.

    Obama now has an opportunity and a lot more political capital to drive the economic agenda of the nation’s government. But he has to seize that opportunity and “win the future” (whatever the hell that means) for that to happen. Whether he will or won’t remains to be seen.

    • sxp151 says:

      when this question came up.

      Aside from that, the public only really rallies around the President during a significant wartime event when it’s a Republican. I doubt Obama gets a ratings bump to much more than 60% from this, if at all. Nothing will make the average conservative hate him less, and reaction from right-wing blogs is that this makes Obama EVEN WORSE because he apparently claimed to have something to do with it.

      • redstateblues says:

        Redstate last night was hilarious.

      • Aristotle says:

        One, George H. W. Bush alienated a lot of his base when he went back on his promise not to raise taxes. Two, the center-right vote was split between Bush and Ross Perot. Three, the economy was in a downturn in 1992. And four, Bush simply wasn’t charismatic like Bill Clinton.

        None of this adds up to a second term for Barack Obama, and the economy is the biggie here, but there aren’t a whole lot of parallels I can see between 1992 and how the 2012 election is currently shaping up.

        • reubenesp says:

          For jobs, the economy and energy policy I give Obama a “D-“, incompetent but not quite a failure.  FDR at least provided jobs, as did even Richard Nixon via CETA.

          On war, he gets a “B” for getting Bin Laden and for limiting the US role in Libya; but on prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he gets a “D,” for not getting out.

          Obama is not a decisive man.  He waffles, sucks up to the enemy and judges himself on how much he’s able to compromise.  He voices noble principles but sometimes sells out his supporters.

          But his viability is dependent on Indies, as Dems have nowhere else to go.  Can a Trump Bump among Indies threaten a second term for the President?

  3. Littletonian says:

    Until jobs come back, Obama’s got a fight ahead of him.

  4. Craig says:

    Obama orders the strike on Friday morning.  On Saturday night he goes to the White House Correspondents Dinner and rips the Donald a new one, practically saying he’s a boob and doing everything he could to make the Donald look like the assinine idiot that he is.  Then Sunday, with the most dramatic announcement in a very long time, he cuts into the Donald’s TV show and takes it off the air.  I am LMAO this morning.  The Donald met his match, he is a fool.  He won’t run now.  It would be too embarassing for him.  Nice work Obama team.  Get rid of America’s most hated enemy and The Donald all in one weekend.

  5. I think this success shuts down or at least reduces to a trickle a certain line of attack against the President – that he’s weak on terrorism.  There are some Republicans out there today trying to minimize the achievement, but it’s hard to refute the simple fact that Obama has succeeded where two previous Presidents have not.

    However, if the election in 2012 still revolves around jobs and the economy, Obama’s foreign policy credentials aren’t going to mean much, and the battle will revolve around casting one side or the other as obstructionist and/or bankrupt of useful ideas to solve the country’s economic problems.  

  6. BlueCat says:

    It does take away from the ability of the GOP to say things like “I take him at his word” to pander to the wackos now that he has produced the birth certificate and killed Bin Laden. Respectable R pols who need anything beyond core  votes to win will no longer be able to not so subtly imply there is a “there” there on questions of Obama’s legitimacy or alleged sympathy for Muslim extremist terrorists.

    Economy still vitally important but so is this latest knocking off the fence of a considerable demo in the middle to the side that will no longer react positively to the whole Obama is a scary un-American terrorist sympathizer thing.

    Incidentally, stocks etc. reacting positively to Bin Laden demise. How temporary that is remains to be seen.

    Definite source of political capital and that’s a net positive in absence of squandering.

  7. redstateblues says:

    George Herbert Walker Bush. If a 3rd party candidate eats enough discouraged Obama votes, it won’t matter if he goes back in time and captures Hitler.

  8. thiokuutoo says:

    The action definitely highlighted the stupid such as Trump, Palin and Bachmann.

    Just like so many others I wondered why Obama would do the birth certificate dump when he did. It diverted literally all the media to the mediocre level of reporting it has fallen to. The “buy a journalist a dinner” helped keep that going, providing a lot of cover for any action going on any where.  I tend to think the birth certificate release was planned for this very event.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      has appreciated substantially.

      (But, despite SXP’s previous help, I’m still stuck trying to figure out why I can’t win a single game of the two-dimensional variety.)

  9. caroman says:

    President Obama last night:

    “And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda…”

    Unlike Bush, President Obama made killing Bin Laden a top priority.  That is why he will justly be rewarded in the next election for this success.  

    Oh, and he averted a Depression.  That’s important, too.

    • BlueCat says:

      Rush claims Obama inherited Bush policy that led to the killing of Bin Laden (can’t go wrong with surname) and that if Obama were a shoe in Bin Laden would still be alive.


      Of course we know that Bush policy was that going after Bin Laden was not an important part of our counter terrorism efforts from Bush’s own words on the subject:

      bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.

      I truly am not that concerned about him


      …not a top priority use of American resources.



      And, of course, no surprised that the Big fat Idiot is making The Donald look classy. Trump offered congrats and a call for everyone to be non-partisan for a few days. I know, but it’s still classier than Rush, no matter the motive.  

      • Aristotle says:

        Dan Savage had a good post this morning, which I’ll quote:

        Just like every recession during a Republican administration is blamed on the most-recent Democrat president (all recessions are inherited!), and every economic boom during a Democratic administration is credited to the most-recent Republican president (all booms are bequeathed!), GOP commentators and think tanks are no doubt busily drafting op-eds and policy papers crediting Osama Bin Laden’s death to George W. Bush’s administration. Obama was just following through on war-on-terror policies put into place by Bush, if Bush hadn’t have chased him out of Afghanistan, Bush said we wanted Osama “dead or alive” and-hey!-now he’s dead, blah blah fuckin’ blah.

  10. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Interesting. Mitt and Donald offer congrats to Obama; so does Pawlenty but his first kudos go to GWB. Palin and Huckabee ignore Obama’s role.  

    • BlueCat says:

      Bachmann also studiusly avoids the President’s name.  It’s as if they think that if they just praise the military  nobody will notice the role of the military’s Commander in Chief.  As for GW, it’s ridiculously easy to find quotes and links to his bin-Laden-not-a-priority attitude. This belongs to Obama.

      • Ralphie says:

        Mesa County’s own Janet Rowland is having a rally today–to “honor the military.”


      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        But yes, Obama deserves credit for making this the top priority. About time. Hopefully we can now have some closure–and hopefully some of the “security reforms” blamed on OBL can now be dialed back, like body scanning and aggressive patdowns at airports. (Wishful thinking–barn door after the horse is gone and all.)

        • Ralphie says:

          “Can we keep our shoes on in the airport now?”

          • redstateblues says:

            If anything, it will get worse.

            • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

              Seriously, HOW long has it been orange again? Even red would be a welcome change.

              “His goons about to wild out” was briefly a trending topic on Twitter last night — sounds like an accurate description of the excuse we’ll get for the continued national security state.

              • BlueCat says:

                but, no, we probably won’t benefit at the airport just yet. Do hope we’ll at least stop making more 6 year olds who have been drilled not to let strangers touch their  bodies in ways they don’t like cry.  

                • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                  “Don’t let strangers touch you except at the airport, sweetie.”

                  Hmm…. No bueno.

                  When I fly with Mini Cowgirl these days we try to avoid airports that have the body scanners/”enhanced” patdowns, but can’t really stay away from DIA, so I’m not sure what I’ll do if she ever gets selected. Of course, knowing her, I’ll be a wreck on her behalf and she’ll be smarting off to the TSA agent about how Bush was an idiot for putting the TSA in airports and they’re not making anyone safer, just scared-er. She’s no slouch, that one.

                  • BlueCat says:

                    way back in the early days made such a fuss when they tried to confiscate her eyelash curler that they finally agreed with her that the possibility of her pinching anyone to death with it was slim enough to allow it through.  She also was young and drop dead gorgeous. I would probably have been sent to the full cavity search room.  

                    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                      IMO anyway.

                      Lots of stories since the TSA changes about the visible agents saying things on their mics to the agents hiding in the screening rooms like “Got a hottie for you” as they select a young woman for body scanning. Most not that credible, but one such story IIRC was from a pilot regarding his teen daughter.

              • redstateblues says:

                Napalitano changed it:


                No more color codes. Still kinda stupid.

                • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                  Dunno how I missed that one, thanks! Hmm maybe the new system can be “Just let us know if there’s a major attack definitely imminent?”

                  …Nah, that makes too much sense.

                  • Middle of the Road says:

                    will do. Two levels: elevated and imminent.

                    Specific to locations, types of potential attacks and what authorities are specifically looking for such as type of attack or suspects.  

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Even though there is naturally an agreement that there may be risk of retaliation the new system doesn’t raise the level except in reponse to something specific. The Bush administration routinely used it whenever they felt that distracting people by scaring them was politically useful.  It kind of wore off by the end and the Obama administration has never used it that way.  

  11. abraham says:

    Has to help in the short term but it is a long, long time until November 2012.  If they had gotten him around the time of the Democratic National Convention in 2012, the bump would probably have had more staying power.

    Too many issues in the economy that could sink incumbents in both parties.

    And, if the bad guys turn bin Laden into a martyr, we might see some really ugly attacks on American civilians.

    • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Timing is pretty good really. Far enough out not to get accused of waiting til election season, but close enough that the anniversary will give a bump.

    • BlueCat says:

      we’d be subject to hours of coverage granting equal credibility to the opinion that it was all about winning the election. It would be the Bill Clinton wag the dog story all over again.  I’m really glad it’s so far in advance of even the primaries. Also glad it wasn’t Friday during the royal wedding or we’d have to listen to Gingrich and friends go on about how he did it to ruin the  day for the British royals he hates so much as a Kenyan anti-colonial Mau Mau guy and in retaliation for not being invited.  Incidentally,  the only non-royal heads of state invited were from common wealth countries.

  12. dwyer says:

    That is not fair to the President or the families of the fallen or the brave.  It is a victory for America and everyone from the 90s forward who worked to get this terrorist.

    However, that being said, let us GLOAT on how brilliantly Obama played Trump….I suspect that the plan was always to release the long form birth certificate when the attack on Bin Laden was imminent as a tactic to divert attention away from any plans…..Trump played right into that strategy…The video of Trump taking credit should be played over and over again….just about when the Woodard book comes out detailing all the planning…including the release of the birth certificate….

    Donald is dumb.  

    • Ralphie says:

      He went to Wharton, after all.

      He just has way too much hubris, which makes him easy to play.

        • cdsmith says:

          Trump was an insider in America’s corrupt economic elite class long before he was a political candidate.

          Key quote:

          Many of the contributions have been concentrated in New York, Florida and other states where Trump has substantial real estate and casino interests.

          It wasn’t that they were Democrats.  It’s that they were going to win.  Since Florida is an even split politically, and New York trends Democratic, it’s hardly surprising that the majority of his donation money went to that party.

          What should get people’s attention about this is that between that and now suddenly coming out as a conservative to run for office, he’s made it clear that he has spent all this time buying influence, not supporting preferred candidates.

        • cdsmith says:

          Individual Republicans supported by Trump include former congressman Tom DeLay (Tex.), former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former senator George Allen (Va.).

          Wow… Tom Delay, and the hypocrite who led impeachment efforts against Clinton while having an affair, and Mr. Macaca, and that’s the top three names that come up when they look at his Republican support?

          He sure knows how to pick ’em.

      • sxp151 says:

        It certainly seemed to me like a place you could buy your way into.

      • Aristotle says:

        Just sayin’.

    • BlueCat says:

      Not your fault, though.  Pretending that there is no political aspect to this event and its ramifications is futile.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      He probably never has people tell him things he doesn’t want to hear. Now he’s suddenly being held up to ridicule constantly and that has to be a shock.

  13. AmyCO says:

    The election is too far off for this to have a measurable effect.  However, Republicans need to get their act together before Obama runs away with it.  If things keep going the way they are, he won’t need to spend a penny of the billion dollars he’s going to raise to campaign.  And, I wouldn’t rely too much on the anemic economy to help the ‘Pubs — they’re the ones that just put Medicare on the chopping block.  That piece of domestic policy isn’t winning them any friends.  As a moderate independent voter, I would like to see a viable Republican candidate.  As things stand, though, we’re going to see our governor’s race re-played on the national stage.  

    As for the timing of the operation and the announcement, I don’t think it had anything to do with the Donald.  He is not a credible threat to Obama and he is not a viable candidate.  He’s good for a few laughs, but that’s about it.  To me, bin Laden’s death allowed Obama to deflect the negative publicity of the NATO strike on Ghaddifi’s home.  Now that’s putting some good news to double duty.  

    • BlueCat says:

      He probably thinks it’s all about him.  I’m surprised he hasn’t held a press conference to proclaim how proud he is that fear of him finally pushed Obama into taking down bin Laden in a desperate bid to put a dent in the juggernaut that is the Donald’s drive to the presidency.  Maybe.  If the people don’t beg him to keep his TV show instead.

      He’s been claiming that Obama could make a call to lower oil prices if he’d just get off the basketball court long enough. No racial inference there of course because “the blacks” love him.  I mean  Come on.  Obama does play basketball. Meant nothing by it. Claims he’d get OPEC to back down by talking tough and tossing a few F bombs ,New Jersey style, not like that basketball playing weakling who just got into good schools because he’s black.  

      So what does Obama turn a round and do?  Makes a couple calls and gets the world’s number one arch enemy wacked without skipping a beat, breaking a sweat or disturbing the state of his impeccable attire while also tending to the people and governments of the tornado afflicted states and sparkling at the correspondents gala dinner, mostly at the Donald’s expense. So who looks like a man and who looks like a loud mouth playing one on TV now?

  14. dmindgo says:

    The problem with arguing that the economy, if it’s not firing on all cylinders, could outweigh something like this disposal of bin Laden is that the classic question doesn’t work.  The Repub nominee can’t get up and say “Are you better of now than you were four years ago?”  I think back to Nov 2008 and say I’m NOT better off than 4 years ago.  However, to me, it’s like asking someone 3 years into rehab from a big fall and saying “wouldn’t you prefer to be healthy like you were 4 years ago?”  Knowing that soon after that I would fall and sustain traumatic injuries?  No, I don’t want to go back.  (I hope that makes some sense.)

    • Ralphie says:

      You’d have to think back to Jan 20, 2009.  A lot of bad shit happened between November and January.

      • dmindgo says:

        Knowing I’m standing on the edge in Nov 2008, in hindsight, makes me shudder if someone thinks it’s a good question about being better off.  I don’t want to relive that November to January.  I think most people don’t want to relive that either.

        • Ralphie says:

          the average voter isn’t going to make that distinction.

          Therefore, it’s important to make the distinction every time it’s discussed.

          I’m not that smart, but I DO understand the value of repetition in getting across the truth.  Or lies.  Repetition helps with both.

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