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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    11-Point Bump

    By kyle | May 4, 2011

    For Obama. Surprisingly small. Then again, I think Bush only got a seven-point bump out of Saddam’s capture. People vote their pocketbooks anyway. I don’t think anyone thinks the election is going to be about anything but the economy. It’s odd how excited liberals were (judging from Twitter…Andy Borowitz imagined the approval rating would hit 100%) about the president’s re-election chances. I venture to say that they were more excited about the political bump than about the bumping off.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Bin Laden dead | 13 Comments »

    13 Responses to “11-Point Bump”

    1. Christian Toto Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 9:06 am

      Other polls were far less ‘bump’ worthy. Doesn’t matter. News will spread that Obama stood against the policies that made the capture possible, and the real issues people care about – gas prices, the economy, etc. – aren’t going away.

    2. yankeefan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Christian: Why so grudging? Can’t you give the Commander in Chief his due? Maybe just this once? Without any hint of churlishness?

      Of course, this doesn’t settle the 2012 election, and to suggest otherwise is silliness. But it would be equally silly to suggest that the fact that Barack Obama got Osama Bin Laden (say it with me, people) — the biggest public enemy to the USA in memory — will not hugely benefit his re-election chances. It pretty much renders foolish and irrelevant the charges that he is weak, indecisive, and lacks courage, and neutralizes a line of attack from the GOP.

      The bump is indeed small by historic standards. But I’d venture to say there will be more staying power to Osama’s death than there was with Saddam’s capture for the simple reason that antipathy toward Osama was deeply, deeply personal for Americans: He attacked us on our soil, and savagely. That puts him in a whole other category from Saddam and some others. Personally, when I learned of his death, I felt a deeper sense of catharsis and justice than I have ever felt before about such things —- and would have felt the exact same way had Bush gotten him.

      After this brief partisan interlude, I am going to resume celebrating his demise, not as a Democrat, but as an American. Perhaps you patriots will join me.

    3. Kyle Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 11:14 am

      It will not “hugely benefit his re-election chances.” The GOP wasn’t particularly interested in attacking his foreign policy in the first place. They were hardly going to make “But he didn’t find Bin Laden” a campaign slogan. If Obama wants to hugely benefit his re-election chances, he needs to find a few million jobs. (I suspect he will do so, by the way, and win.)

    4. yankeefan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 11:51 am

      OK, not hugely. But “I got Bin Laden” will help.

      >>>>”the GOP wasn’t particularly interested in attacking his foreign policy in the first place”

      Huh? The GOP has regularly attacked him, not for “not catching Bin Laden,” but for being weak, indecisive, and lacking courage in foreign affairs. This has been a constant refrain, and would’ve continued to be. We’ve heard it since before his election.

      Killing Bin Laden, and the nature of the operation —- which really was ballsy, and could easily have turned into Carter Rescue, Part Deux — takes that line of attack off the table. But it’s been there and would’ve been there.

      Yes, the election will be decided by more day-to-day issues such as gas prices and whether unemployment is moving up or down. Let’s hope for the sake of the country you’re right, and we find a few million jobs.

      Obama’s biggest blessing of all may be a weak GOP field.

    5. Sean Brennan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Obama does deserve credit for authorizing the operation to take out Bin Laden on the ground as opposed to in the air. It does not change the fact that his foreign policy as a whole has been a mess, with this dithering war in Libya and Egypt about to fall to the Muslim Brotherhood.

      And I doubt the economy is going to rebound in the manner Kyle expects, and that will be Obama’s undoing, of course, as long as Trump or some other nut is not the GOP candidate.

      Besides, fan of the most evil team in baseball, liberals never gave Bush credit for anything, not for 8 years, so do not expect us to start worshipping at the altar of your god Obama because it is the “right thing to do”

    6. Kyle Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      @Yankeefan, GOP criticism on foreign policy is all over the place so it doesn’t have one resounding theme like “he’s weak.” Some are more hawkish on Afghanistan than the president, some think it’s a writeoff. Some think he should be doing a lot more intervening in the Arab Spring, some think it isn’t worth it. It winds up all cancelling itself out.
      It’s the economy, stupid.

    7. yankeefan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      @ Sean, a few things:

      What would be your preference in Libya? If it’s not to have gone in in the first place, then fine. But if it’s a more hawkish, unilateral approach, what is it that you have in mind? Another nation-building project? Besides, this will probably work out great: Col Q’s head on a platter with relatively minimal US commitment in blood and treasure. And let the UN clean up the mess after. More likely than not his approach in Libya, however reluctantly he embraced it, will be vindicated.

      What exactly would’ve been your preference in Egypt? Prop up Mubarak against the will of nearly the entire population?

      I agree that Kyle’s estimates of economic growth are optimistic, but I don’t see a viable GOP alternative at the moment.

      I can only speak for myself, but I was happy to give Bush credit when he did things well, among them: many of the ways he handled things just post 9/11 domestically and abroad, and pulling both parties together in Sept 2008 to avert an economic catastrophe. His African AIDS policy was superb, and his approach to immigration practical and enlightened. I even got behind him on Iraq, giving him every benefit of the doubt at the time.

      Obama is not my “god,” nor has he ever been. He’s my President, and yes, I was a big supporter in 08 and have zero reluctance about criticizing him.

      No need for churlishness.

    8. kishke Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      We should not be in Libya. Qadaffi has not been a threat for years. The people we are supporting are not our friends. The half-hearted effort we are making will not assure their victory in any case. Under Obama, we have been turned into the military arm of the Arab League.

    9. Jim Treacher Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      There’s probably a bigger hack out there than Andy Borowitz, but I don’t have time to read everything.

    10. KS Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Which economist is predicting a few million new jobs between now and November 2012?

    11. Sean Brennan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Barack Obama does not have supporters, he has worshippers. It as true know as it was then. It as close as we have ever had in this country to a full-fledged personality cult in this country. I hope we never see it again from a politician of either party.

      As for Libya, the proper time to intervene was about 2.5 weeks before Obama actually did it, and with congressional approval. Gadhafi’s regime was on the verge of collapse, a decisive intervention then with British and French support would have probably made the biggest question which country in Africa Gadhafi would have gone into exile in. Instead, as usual, Obama delayed and dithering for almost three weeks, and gave Gadhafi time to marshal his forces and hire particularly every mercenary in Africa to attack the rebels. Now, instead of fighting to win, which should be the end goal of all wars, we are persuing a half-hearted effort that will certainly leave Gadhafi in power.

      As for Egypt, I am under no illusions about the Mubarak regime. Yet it was manifestly clear, as Niall Ferguson and Walter Russell Mead, among others, have pointed out, that Obama’s administration had to idea what to do in the event of unrest in Egypt, and demonstrated it on a daily basis. Now, it looks as if in Egypt are seeing a repetition of Iran in 1979, a pro-US authoritarian leader is being replaced by Islamic theocrats.

      And if you need any more evidence that it is still amateur night in Washington DC, how can you explain the utter inability of the Obama administration to get its story straight reading the death of Osama bin Laden? He is taking a great foreign policy victory and dropping it!

    12. Sean Brennan Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Oops, should have been, “as true now as it was then”

    13. Patrick Wahl Says:
      May 4th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

      I’m surprised he got much more than a tiny bump up in the polls. If you didn’t like him before, why would this change things? US intelligence did the fieldwork, the military carried out the mission. He gets some credit for giving the go ahead, it was after all in a foreign country without their knowledge, it could have failed like that Iran thing did, so there was some political risk to Obama, but it doesn’t change my overall impression of the guy.

      Kyle is right – I don’t think this matters 18 months down the road in the 2012 election. Remember how popular GHW Bush was at one point, Clinton made the election about the economy and won, that’s probably going to be the prevailing issue in the next election too.