Republicans got upset after Obama won
Bin Laden's death gives Obama a boost in popularity
In a New York Times / CBS poll, 57 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Obama's administration. That is eleven percentage points more than last month. For the supporters of the president in particular, the death of Osama bin Laden not only ended an important chapter in the history of their country. A new one could open. That bears the title: Second term of office.
The polls for Barack Obama have risen
42-year-old Chris smiles as she walks out of a coffee shop in the capital, Washington, D.C., and says excitedly, "I'm thrilled that you caught Osama bin Laden. That increases the chances of President Obama being re-elected." 30-year-old Tyler is also satisfied that the long hunt for the top terrorist has been successfully ended: "I'm glad that we have a president who pulled it off. This is what a competent government looks like!" Former President George Bush, on the other hand, allowed himself to be distracted by the Iraq war and did not focus on bin Laden.
Richard Haass, head of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, believes the action has boosted Obama's confidence and that he can capitalize on it domestically. Haass said in a conference call with journalists: "The most important political consequence could be that the president enters the two-month negotiations on a compromise to increase the national debt strengthened." However, this will not change the opposing views of the two political parties in financial and tax policy.
Republican opposition remains
Obama's re-election is not a done deal, says political scientist Thomas Mann
Political scientist Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, a think tank that deals with US politics, also sees Obama strengthened. But he warns against too much euphoria. "It's not going to weaken Republican resistance." Republicans still hold views that President Obama cannot accept.
The chances of a compromise being reached in the negotiations on the budget deficit and national debt have not increased as a result of the successful blow against bin Laden. The Americans' assessment of Obama's domestic political competence has not changed either. Here the approval values have remained the same. The voters know very well how to differentiate between domestic, foreign and economic policy competence of politicians.
There are still a year and a half before the presidential election. Until then, a lot can happen. And the economic situation will play a major role, says Thomas Mann. If the economic situation is good for a presidential election, the chances of the incumbent increase; if it is bad, they decrease. "But if the situation is mixed," said the domestic policy expert, "then the reputation that Obama has gained through the action against bin Laden and the leadership he has shown will be to his advantage."
Increased stature in terms of security policy
Ex-President Bush could not always benefit
Because President Obama has also shown intelligence and perseverance, said Mann. Therefore one thing is clear: "It will certainly reduce the chances of the Republican presidential candidates to score points against Obama in the area of security policy, provided that nothing else happens before the election."
But re-election itself is anything but a done deal. History teaches that foreign policy success does not last forever. President George Bush Sr. was celebrated when he successfully ended the first Iraq war, but then lost the election to Bill Clinton. And George W. Bush, the son, had a brief high mood after the capture of Saddam Hussein - which disappeared only a few months later. However, he did manage to be elected for a second term. The successful operation against Osama bin Laden gives the US president a positive boost. He also uses it when he visits Ground Zero in New York on Thursday (May 5th, 2011). Where on September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists steered two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the US president wants to meet with relatives of the victims and lay a wreath. Osama bin Laden is said to have been the main mastermind behind the attacks.
Will this and similar actions be enough? The decisive factor for the "second term" project will be what Barack Obama makes with the positive boost.
Author: Christina Bergmann, Washington
Editor: Rob Mudge
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