With Osama Bin Laden finally found and killed, President Obama may enjoy a spike in popularity. But will it last long enough for victory in the 2012 election?
Opinions that Obama is a weak president may change, although temporarily, with the bold military action taken to kill Bin Laden.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, Obama’s approval rating is currently 46% and bound to rally higher. An example of a significant rally in popularity came about after the capture of Saddam Hussein. Before Saddam’s capture, President George Bush’s approval rating was 56%. With the announcement of Saddam’s capture, Bush’s approval rating shot up to 63%.
Obama bashers such as Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney and John Boehner all offered public statements of congratulations to Obama. Although Boehner, surrounded by fellow Republican leaders, showed little sincerity as he read his written statement.
Obama has helped his image by looking more presidential as a strong Commander in Chief who is willing to make tough decisions. Faced with the choice of bombing Bin Laden’s compound, or sending in a special ops mission that could kill Bin Laden and get proof of his death that the world would demand—Obama opted for the more risky special op route.
Consider the 2008 elections when Obama said, “And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." - Barack Obama (2008 debate) While other presidential hopefuls like Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator John McCain and his side- kick Sarah Palin scoffed at Obama’s idea of sending a secret special ops mission into a “sovereign nation.”
But killing Bin Laden won’t help the economy or lower the price of gas. The election is eighteen months away. If the economy gets worse, or even stays the same, voters may not remember the Bin Laden incident as vividly. Winston Churchill, after leading England into victory in 1945 against Nazi Germany lost re-election due to a bad economy.
With the birther issue behind him, and Bin Laden found and killed, it seems that President Obama may be untouchable for the short-term.