On “The View” on Monday, Barbara Walters said, “I would hate now to be a Republican candidate thinking of running,” and Joy Behar beamed, “Skip the next election.” The liberal media’s best hopes aside, taking down Osama bin Laden won’t guarantee Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.
President Obama may enjoy a momentary bump in public approval based on a wave of good feeling that recent history’s greatest criminal is dead - but reality will set back in hard, and soon. Mr. Obama’s crushing national debt hasn’t vanished; gasoline and food prices will continue to soar. All of the critical domestic political problems Mr. Obama faced before the Navy SEALs showed up in Abbottabad are still there. These are the pocketbook issues that determine how people vote.
Bin Laden’s death will put Mr. Obama in a national-security quandary because it will be harder to continue to make the case for “overseas contingency operations” now that the No. 1 contingency is gone. The “war of necessity” in Afghanistan will seem a lot less necessary. The struggle with terrorists will continue, as will TSA groping and other indignities Americans put up with in the post-Sept. 11 world. But with bin Laden dead, the White House will be put in a position of continually having to explain why the war - that they have refused to call a war until Sunday night - isn’t over.