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Right Turn
Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 05/09/2011

Friday question answered

On Friday I asked whether the killing of Osama bin Laden had altered the political landscape. Larry 3435 argued, with much vigor, that nothing has really changed:

Nothing will change because this, like everything Obama does, is a random lurch in a random direction. There will be no follow-through; no bold new direction. Why? Simply put, because Obama is a Chicago alderman who stumbled into the Oval Office. It is not a case of the emperor having no clothes, because everyone knew that the emperor had no clothes except the emperor himself. Chauncey Gardiner is a much better metaphor, but even that is not perfect because Chauncey Gardiner did not believe, or even understand, his own hype. At the end of the day, I think Obama is a Jackson Pollock painting — random ribbons of paint thrown at a canvas and widely acclaimed as great art. Obama has neither the exceptional intellect of Clinton or Nixon, nor the principled vision of Reagan or G.W. Bush. In fact, he does not even have the technocratic skills of Johnson or G.H.W. Bush. He is a lightweight who is out of his depth, and there will be no game changers in the Obama presidency because he has no game.

Other readers thought a foreign policy shift could be in the offing. Rotomontade writes:

President Obama undoubtedly improved his electoral prospects with bin Laden’s killing. It improves his position with those who have been concerned with his defense policies and instincts. This triumph, while real, will not be large or decisive in the 2012 election and will, to some degree, be contingent on the handling of the wars and any other foreign policy issues that arise between now and the election.

On this I am with readers such as DonMega who argue that bin Laden’s death doesn’t represent a tetonic shift:

From a political perspective, there has been one notable change. The president and his party now have something positive to talk about. Unfortunately for the president and his party, however, the power of the bin Laden story is ephemeral. Bin Laden’s death does not impact our high unemployment numbers or our low economic growth rates. Bin Laden’s death does not inform who has the better approach to addressing our fiscal crisis. Bin Laden’s death does not establish a proactive geopolitical strategy in place of the reactive tactical approach the president has employed. These are the issues the 2012 election will turn on. As we move further into the election season, the impact of bin Laden’s death will correspondingly diminish.

It does, however, behoove Republicans to make the arguments on both foreign and domestic policy that Obama’s record as a whole doesn’t warrant his reelection.

By  |  08:30 AM ET, 05/09/2011

Categories:  Friday question

 
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