Jewish World Review May 6, 2011 / 2 Iyar, 5771
Even With Bin Laden Bounce, Some Lessons From '92 Still Apply
By Jonah Goldberg
Now, bin Laden wasn't taken out for partisan political reasons. Nor was his death ultimately a partisan policy. With only the most cartoonish exceptions imaginable (a President Kucinich, perhaps), it's inconceivable that any Republican or Democratic president would have passed up the opportunity to kill the world's most wanted man. Killing murderers like bin Laden is simply what U.S. presidents do.
Hence, in a single week, the president put to rest two famous conspiracy theories. The release of his birth certificate delivered a fatal blow to birtherism, figuratively speaking. Meanwhile, the fatal blow delivered to bin Laden, literally speaking, laid to rest the far more insidious idea that the U.S. government was "in on" 9/11. (Though I have no doubt there are those who believe
But Obama also put to rest other fanciful notions about the president's motives. The man who allegedly inherited his father's "anti-colonial" passions ordered the killing of the foremost anti-colonial terrorist in the word. And -- however ineptly -- Obama orchestrated a
These and similar actions effectively exonerate him from a host of irrelevant and unhealthy charges. But they do nothing to acquit him from the relevant ones: that he is a too liberal American-born president who has failed to make good on myriad promises or to be a capable steward of the economy. Nor has he, potential bin Laden "bounces" notwithstanding, succeeded at putting America on what the pollsters glibly call "the right track."
It's no surprise that news of bin Ladin's tardy departure for hotter climes has sparked an enormous riot of punditry about whether the president will be able to ride the news to re-election in 2012. Legendary political analyst
And I agree with her. I, too, would hate for
The analogy can be -- and is already -- overdone. We are technically in a recovery, albeit a tepid one. Obama has the media in his corner and no
The 1992 analogy falls apart in other ways as well. Bush was challenged in the primaries. To date, Obama's party may not be as enthusiastic as the
But there are ways in which 1992 is instructive. First, the challenger won by "focusing like a laser" on the economy. (Remember "it's the economy, stupid"?) It is already looking next to impossible for the
More important, 1992 demonstrated the folly of complacency. The first
Getting rid of bin Laden is a good start. But there's an irony here. Obama has treated foreign policy (at least until his Libyan adventure) as something to keep on the back burner so he could concentrate on domestic politics. By killing
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