Economy still key concern for 2012
Likely to flatten bin Laden ‘bump’
By Ralph Z. Hallow
The Washington Times
7:44 p.m., Monday, May 2, 2011
A job-approval boost for President Obama is almost inevitable following the dramatic Sunday-night announcement that U.S. military forces had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
But the federal debt, the prospect of the U.S. dollar being replaced as the world’s reserve currency, jobs, gasoline prices and other economic considerations are almost sure to trump whatever political benefit Democrats get as a result of bin Laden’s capture and death coming on Mr. Obama’s watch.
“Obama’s boost in popularity will last until your gas tank is empty and you need to refill - or you need to buy food or find a job,” Republican campaign strategist John McLaughlin said.
However, former acting U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who has been a harsh critic of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy, said successes such as the bin Laden killing always benefit an incumbent president, regardless of the merits.
“It takes nothing away from Obama’s decision to say that any president would have seized this opportunity to eliminate bin Laden,” added Mr. Bolton, a Republican who served in the George W. Bush administration.
While military successes historically produce a rise in the chief executive’s public-approval number, that does not necessarily result in electoral success.
The job-approval rating of President George H.W. Bush soared into the low 90s in some polls after the success of his Desert Storm military operation to oust Iraqi military forces from Kuwait in 1991. But by November 1992, the slumping economy had trumped every other issue, Mr. Bush’s approval had plummeted from its heights, and Democrat Bill Clinton denied Mr. Bush a second term in the White House.