As soon as news broke about the death of Osama bin Laden, there was a flurry of updates on Facebook about President Barack Obama's big "win." One of my friends even labeled these posts as "attempts to leverage this for political points." But the truth is that whether or not Obama's supporters are leveraging, the killing of bin Laden will likely lead to a bump in President Obama's approval rating.
If history is any indication of what we might see happen with the President's thumbs-up from the American public, consider this: In August 2001, W.'s job performance approval rating was 50 percent; in the first week of October 2001, just weeks after 9/11, it surged to 90 percent! Hey, sure, I would take it if bin Laden's death has a similar effect on Obama's rating. But at the same time, seeing this incident have such a HUGE effect would be annoying as hell ...
Osama bin Laden's killing should not be seen as President Obama's chief accomplishment during the time he has been in office. As far as I'm concerned, it is FAR from it. It's not like in one fell swoop, this death ends the War on Terrorism. In fact, we'll probably have to worry about it a little bit more at least in the short-term, because surely we pissed bin Laden's followers off. And it doesn't means that our two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over.
Yes, it's great that we "got" the World's Most Wanted Man and the figurehead behind the 9/11 attacks. But in short, Osama's death doesn't directly help the American people at all. What's more, Obama deserves the bump for domestic achievements he's already accomplished and others he should still have at the top of his to-do list.
For instance, Obama has tackled and deserves "retroactive credit," you could call it, for health care reform, repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, enacting the largest reform of student aid in 40 years, etc. Achievements made for the American people -- which will move us forward into the 21st century. And there are other productive aims he will hopefully at least begin to tackle before Election Day 2012, like investing in clean energy and bolstering the education system. It would also be nice to see him truly end these never-ending, waste of time, waste of money wars once and for all and bring our troops home!
These are the better reasons his approval rating should surge. What he has done and continues to do to move us forward instead of scoring retribution for the past should be what truly builds the case for his re-election.
Do you think Osama bin Laden's death should factor so heavily into President Obama's approval rating? Or are other accomplishments/goals more important?
Image via Whitehouse.gov