Osama bin Laden is dead

My quick take is that that Obama will be re-elected (getting Osama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind, attacks on American soil, etc.), at this point the Republicans won’t try to beat him from the center and will thus nominate a more extreme candidate and lose badly, and the most important effects will be on Pakistan, not this country.

What do you think?

p.s. Check out this photo.


*getting Osama, you mean...

Mixed up Obama and Osama by accident, or did you?

People thought George Bush the first was unbeatable after the first Iraq war. If the economy keeps tanking, this won't matter.

He was unbeatable. Until the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party attacked him for trying to reduce the deficit and they voted for Ross Perot.

Bill Clinton, responding to the Tea Party mood, promised not to hike taxes before being elected. Then quickly announced that the budget deficit was too high to avoid tax hikes, getting that issue out of the way quickly. Still, the Tea Party struct back, and Clinton spent seven years fighting the deficit hiking Republicans, forcing them to cut military spending just to get small tax cuts. While Clinton was able to address some health care cost problems and expand coverage, he wasn't able to address the long term costs.

Once Clinton left office, taxes were cut, spending increased, and health care costs exploded. (Clinton cut a deal on Medicare to control cost but he was forced into shifting coverage to private insurers, and the cost controls ended up being negated by the doc fixes.)

Obama hasn't made the mistakes of HW Bush and Clinton in reducing the deficit.

After all, reducing the deficit like HW did turned victory into defeat.

Great--a response that gets politics, political science, policy and history wrong.

Well, you knew that as soon as you saw who wrote the comment.

President gets a short-term poll boost, the Republicans will run Romney, Obama gets re-elected. Not too different from yesterday's forecast.


If gas prices and grocery prices continue to shoot skyward and the economy continues along in a moribund state, I'm not sure how effective saying, "But I got Osama!" will be. But alas, I am no prognosticator.

I think the ubiquitousness of getting Obama mixed up with Osama (see above) might temper his political success just yet!

I know its late, but that's a pretty significant typo...

"(getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind)"
Heck of a slip there, Cowen.

I think you're right, but made a rather egregious typo...

Never underestimate the ability of the American people to forget a military victory. (I'm thinking of George H.W. Bush.) If gas prices are $4/gallon next year, Obama still loses.

What I think is that you meant to write "getting Osama" not "getting Obama."

Typo corrected!

No typo intended.

You betcha

"President gets a short-term poll boost, the Republicans will run Romney, Obama gets re-elected. Not too different from yesterday’s forecast."

My prediction exactly. I think he will (damned well better IMO) get a solid boost in the polls, then those will fade.

A famous political economist once said,

A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose your job, and a recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job.

Obama will still lose the Presidency. Probably to Romney but maybe to Daniels if we're lucky.

Freudian slip? Maybe Obama isn't such a shoe-in after all!

Correct the typo, its a big one, Osama not Obama

"Getting Osama is way more important" - I think that's what you meant to say.

1. You probably want to double-check your spelling/names.

2. I don't think there was any way the US public was going to make the first black president a one-termer.

your RSS feed reads: "getting Obama is way more important..."

If Obama has the good sense to use this (getting Osama) as a way to declare victory in Afghanistan and get our troops out, then yes, he can ride this to a second term (unless the economy really tanks). When (not if) Karzai fails and the Taliban comes back, we can still say we got our man.

Killing bin Laden in Pakistan is likely to cause additional unrest, in Pakistan in particular but elsewhere as well. The story for 40-50 year old Americans is over; the story for everyone else is not.

1st) I think you mean "(getting Osama is way more important...)"
2nd) Initially I would agree, but realizing that American memory is very short as far as politics is concerned this will give him clout for a while, but not long enough to get him through the election.

I hope.

I don't think this will sway anyone in any direction. Those that hate Obama will never give him credit for "getting" Osama. Those who favor Obama will keep on. Those on the fence will more likely be swayed by wherever the economy ends up by summer '12. That seems like it will be the deciding factor. Osama bin Laden is a nickel spent long ago.

Also, I think that the right likes having someone to hate in the White House. They get far more nervous and divided when one of their own is in office.

Getting, ummm... Osama, I assume you mean. Unless that's some (in particularly bad taste) mind teaser.

"It's the economy stupid."

Watch your 'b's and 's's very carefully in this post, Tyler. I think you mean "Osama" instead of the second "Obama.'

Gotta be careful with switching "s" with "b" tonight, Tyler. Just looking out for you. :)

um, getting *obama*? Com'on.

I think you just made one of the 4000 Freudian slips we're going to hear on cable TV this week: "(getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind)"
Shouldn't that be "getting OSAMA"?

"getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind"

Oh, we'll get him, alright. :D

Your first line has two 'Obama's' when the second should be an 'Osama'. In context, this matters!

I think this is a story that will go away after a few weeks and will not matter. My reaction was a tired "finally", like a TV show that has run too long. A lasting impact it will not have, and operationally, it will have been a non event as the organization has long carried on without Osama guiding it, him being mostly a figurehead for the last decade since his money ran out.

As for the republican nomination process, that one remains a wild card, but a lot of more extreme candidates were voted into the house last time around, and the message that the US is going to be broke soon is pretty well established. Reagan was considered extreme, too.


You wrote Obama instead of Osama.

This doesn't change anything; he was the favorite before this and he still is.

Wow, the speed of the web. There were no comments when I started typing!

Me, too, and I only wrote one sentence.

Obama will get a temporary bump in the polls but this won't impact the election, which is 18 long months from now. Most people realize that this the result of intelligence work rather than anything Obama has done; he gets no more credit for this than Bush does for failure to get him (after all, it was Bush who said we'd get him "dead or alive," to the discomfort of Obama's base). His reelection hinges on the economy. Conservatives will stand in line to vote against him, he won't be able to count on independents who now realize that he is farther to left than most Americans and certainly more than any president.

OBAMA will (hopefully) get re-elected. OSAMA is important in the American mind (maybe, still).

I think this makes it difficult for the Republicans to fight Obama on National Security issues. This takes away one of the stronger issues that the public trusts Republicans on.

My take is that Presidential elections are largly one or lost due to economic issues. If the economy does not take a turn for the worse Obama will be just fine and will win reelection regardless of this news.

I think you mean "getting Osama", not "getting Obama".

fix the typo quick! you put "getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam". You mean get Osama.

The economy is too poor and Obama's approval trends are too low. As long as the Republicans nominate someone not utterly unelectable, the Republican [fill in blank] has to be favoured unless there is a major pick up in the economy.

Remember what happened to Bush Snr.

(I laughed when I read Gov. Perry's comment that "if Jeb Bush's name was Jeb Smith, he would be the next President'.)

"getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind"


David Pinto is right. The average joe isn't quite as dumb and emotional about this as you'd reckon. The election is gonna swing on the economy, not an Arab pelt.

Now let's see if al Quida is anything more than a bogeyman and if anything blows up this week.

A Freudian slip? The second Obama should presumably be Osama.

Your Freudian slip is preserved on your blog's RSS feed:

"My quick take is that that Obama will be re-elected (getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind), at this point the Republicans won’t try to beat him from the center and will thus nominate a more extreme candidate and lose badly, and the most important effects will be on Pakistan, not this country."

Bush got a noticeably 5 point bump when they found Saddam, but it obviously never arrested the downward trend over the next 5 years. But I do agree Osama is a much bigger fish and a much bigger deal considering that Bush failed for 7 years to get it done...

Geez it's a one-letter typo. Put down the pitchforks.

My reaction was exactly the same as Tyler's (though less nuanced). The 2012 election is in the bag barring some egregious embarrassment in Libya or tragic incident of retaliation at home.

I think that you need to revisit that parenthetical, but yes.

Obama will be re-elected (getting *Obama* is way more important than Iraq or Saddam...)

You might want to change that.

Did you mean "getting Osama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind"? What a good time to make the news public!

Yes, I think the more significant effects will be on our relationship with Pakistan. And it will depend on how they play their part in the operation.

Of course, the government is different than the people. So that will be interesting to see as well.

Getting Osama may be more important than getting Saddam, but it will only give President Obama cover for a month or two. President Obama's foreign policy failings vastly outweigh getting Osama bin Laden.

Next year, bin Laden will not be an issue. Jobs and debt will dominate the debate. Jobs are much more of a visible problem. Getting Osama is a diffuse benefit, especially after ten years of looking.

Check your parenthetical for a classic typo.

The only more extreme candidates would be Ron Paul and Gary Johnson....

Good luck Pakistan and Afghanistan, we are so out of there.

You mean getting osama( not obama)?

I think that's a Freudian slip.

I think the Obama/Osama typos will decrease substantially.

Don't you mean "getting Osama"?


Unrelated: I do not think this means an automatic win for President Obama. The economy still looms large. If employment fails to pick-up, he could still be in for a tough fight against a moderate candidate.

Obama will have trouble milking this tastefully, and his Achilles heel is that he seems to refuse to play the games of Rove and the like, so by the election it probably won't be on anyone's mind anymore. It will keep the Democrats from getting nailed on foreign policy, and the election will boil down to whether or not Obama can effectively pin the lack of further government action to help the economy on the Republicans in Congress. A government shut down coupled with this I'd have believed would sew up the election.

I suspect the Republican proposal to gut Medicare could matter far more. A good spin of the Ryan budget should bring solid constituencies to Obama's camp.

I agree and it makes me sad. All of the facts wiped away by and action started by the previous president, opposed by the current president and it will end in re-election for a moron.

(getting Obama is way more important than Iraq or Saddam in the American mind)

That is quite the Freudian slip. :)

That was an interesting slip of the tongue (or keyboard?).

I think you mean "getting Osama"

Politically, it's too early - it will cause a jump, but if O doesn't get gas prices and unemployment down, it'll be like the jump Bush One got after Gulf War I, which was gone within a year.

I'm glad that he's dead. I hate how nobody seems to have anything more interesting to talk about than how it will affect the election. That's partisan football of the most tiresome sort.

Are these the fastest 70 comments MR ever had?

1. I agree with your assessment of the election, provided the U.S. economy does not dramatically decline.

2. I do not agree with the assessment of the photograph. If you pause after nearly every other joke (e.g., see the Huffington Post joke at 10:25pm), President Obama makes about the same "this is funny" face for things that are really funny, and a slight nod and a smile for everything else. But perhaps I am missing the subtleties of face reading here.

Intraders certainly agree.

For at least one night I can go to sleep with the following though.

America, Fuck Yeah!

At CNN, Wolf Blitzer says "Who had ever thought that Osama was hiding in a palatial mansion in the Pakistani capital" ...... Answer :- 1.3 billion Indians + CIA, pentagon and the white house ;)

I have to agree with the more cynical comments about this. My first reaction to the news was on the lines of "what? I thought he was dead already!"

Its simply too late. The message is that if you organize a terrorist attack that kills almost three thousand Americans, the US will track you down and kill you ten years later. That's better than letting him die of natural causes twelve to fifteen years later, but my second reaction is that it would have been better at this point to put Osama on trial.

This would have been a big deal if GW Bush had focused on Afghanistan and intel instead of Iraq, and gotten Osama killed in 2004. And it still would have been a big deal if Kerry had gotten elected in 2004, put more resources into Afghanistan, and then gotten this result in 2007. Alot of the Obama presidency is doing things that would have looked good in a post 2005 Kerry first term. He got elected in a sort of delayed reaction to Iraq and Afghanistan but it turned out the most important problem of his administration was the 2007-8 economic meltdown.

I had thought it was the economy stupid until Bush was re-elected. The economy is important but not as important as comfort with the leader. The Republicans were going extreme no matter what, that is all they have. Trump if he wants it, but I doubt he does, he just knows well enough not to pass up a marketing opportunity. Romney has the M problem so I would guess Huckabee. It would be extraordinary for Obama to lose. It is less where the economy is than where it is headed so barring the apocolypse he will probably be re-elected. In the end it comes down to the choice of two. It would take someone extraordinary to do so. Trump perhaps, but probably no one else.

Markets in everything...

Some people in the Osama Bin Laden prediction markets just made a pretty penny.


Tonight spells the end of the teabaggers.... a well-earned end.

I think you missed an "i" between your "p" and "g".

Nope. The Tea Party is not about this.

This is worrying. Even Osama Bin Laden is not safe in Pakistan. lol

This is worrying. Even Osama Bin Laden is not safe in Pakistan. :)

Hearing about Osama's unification with his creator was like getting my sinuses cleared, but I doubt if it will have significant impact on elections. In spite of RomneyCare, we'll probably see a Romney-Bachmann ticket.

I have to second all the comments on the parallel to the first Iraq war and George H.W. Bush. Obama will win only if unemployment plunges.

I have serious doubts about this announcement. There has been substantial evidence that Osama has been dead for several years now.


I have an idea for an extreme candidate.

But SHOULD Osama be so important i our minds? I don't really need prognostications about voters minds any more than I need stock touts.

Maybe all you spelling analists need to blame Osama and Obama's mamas.

Someone's gotta link it:


Obama is at 64 on intrade now.

The economy sucks, but I'm shocked it isn't 80 regardless of finding Bin Laden.

Intrade isn't as precise as an electron microscope.

While there might be some attempt by the Obama campaign to use this event to reach some voters I don't think it will be a determining factor. This was more a military and intelligence than a presidential victory.

Unless he can a) enjoy a much lower unemployment rate and b) do something meaningful about public financing (cost of government programs, debt, deficit) to show he can bring some "new era" government then he's a one term president.

I would like to know who organized those "spontaneous" rallies. College students with American flags on poles and matching hats chanting 'four more years'? It would be a real shame if organizing for America had some kind of 'plan R' in their back pocket for the occasion, but it would hardly be surprising.

>What do you think?

I think, who gives a flying fuck about the 2012 election right now?

This is great, great day for America and for everyone on Earth who would prefer not see their children slaughtered by an exploding jihadist.

Celebrate it, and try to put off the cheerleading for your favorite candidate for a few days.

Well said Jim. Couldn't Tyler have waited five minutes after the announcement to bring partisan politics into this? This should be a time for celebration and reflection for all Americans.

Tyler, you seriously need to get out of that insular academic bubble you are in.

I realize the certain elements of the tenured class (even at GMU) might have thought Obama was to be the wise and benevolent professor-king, but its increasingly obvious that he is a harcore, narcissitic ideologue with a god complex.

Getting bin-Laden was a transient military victory, not a permanent political one. The more he tries to take credit, the more petty and grasping he will look. The far left won't even be happy about this.

Obama will again capture the parasitic vote (welfare recipients, colleges, windmill makers, GE and GS et al) that rely on government largesse to live of the backs of the productive classes, but if you got off campus once and a while and pumped some gas, you'd see seething rage.

I can see the ads now. The watermarked images of the price of gas rising, with that famous Obama saying quote about prefering a gradual rise in prices. Or his quip to the Brazilians....

Pretty soon, the price might actually become significant to the the upper-decile earners in the professoriate.

@Anotherphil, Whom you want to substitute Obama with ? Sarah Palin or Donald Trump ...

Dude, The ideal and the practical do not always coincide. You behave as the armchair theorist who refuse to face reality- the need to take sides in an imperfect world. Obama is not perfect leader but he is the best available candidate of Presidency America got today.

If you start at the top of these comments and read them all the way down it is hilarious.

Sorry folks, but as much as I hate to say it Tyler is right folks. Not that I hate him being right, but what it entails. Sure, the economy may matter more, but Democrats will get more of a pass in the way The Fed gets credit because "sure it's bad, but that's only because it could have been so much worse." People will give Democrats the benefit of the doubt. And when you move on to National Security, there will be no Republican with anything like "Osama killed on my watch" on their resume.

So, nominate Ron Paul. He will comport himself well and will not be a liability to the cause. He will shine in any debates and make them substantive. But even his national security critique will be hamstrung. The only thing that could have saved Republicans would have been another near miss on Osama. What noone will remember is Obama getting distracted with Libya.

Hmm, the New York Times is reporting that we wouldn't have captured him without leads from interrogations of "detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay."

I'll go with "incentives matter" on this one. Killing Osama is big, but I'm not sure it's as big as paying $4 - $5/gal for gas. But, props to Obama for doing his job.

And the props to the Navy Seals for doing theirs' well. I certainly wouldn't want to mess with two dozen of those guys.

Sorry, but no matter who the opponent, in 2012 the extreme candidate will be the incumbent.

Credit to the US military? Sure. Credit to Bush? Well, he set the policy, so yeah, possibly. Credit to Obama? Not so much.

We all have a tendency to over-emphasize events that happen today. The election is a long way away, and will turn on whatever issues are important at that time. This will be of some benefit to Obama because it will take away the Republican's ability to paint him as weak on the war on terror, but that may not even be a significant issue in the next election.

For comparison, at about this time in his first term George HW Bush had just presided over a brilliant operation in Iraq (Desert Storm), and was riding at historically high 90+ percent approval ratings. Comedians on Saturday Night Live were writing skits about popular Democrats hiding so they wouldn't have to run against him. The field was so thin because Bush was 'unbeatable' that an obscure Governor from Arkansas became the nominee...

If I were one of those "Republican strategists" - the economy might be somewhat improved by election time so don't count on it as the determining factor. The Republicans need to nominate someone with international political/military cred or Obama will will be able to claim that he was the man who shot Liberty Valence...

"won’t try to beat him from the center and will thus nominate a more extreme candidate"

OK, what does the "center" mean in this context? That the Republicans should split the difference between the status quo and Obama's leftist base? That's the center? Moving the country leftwards at a slightly slower rate than Obama would prefer? And if they don't agree then their candidate is by definition an "extremist"?

Like other posters have suggested, Obama's reelection fate rests on the state of the economy come November 2012. Bin Laden's death should boost Obama for three months or so.

I'll quote James Carville..."It's the economy stupid".

I can't believe I had to write that on an economic blog. Please don't make me do that again.

I'm sure that 18 months later when election time come around, people won't really care about Osama. It was a great "American victory", but usually daily life and things seen regularly will overtake that. People's wills and emotions sway easily with their own situations. For example, if gas prices, something of high demand, continues to increase and the economy doesn't improve by next year, people won't flock to vote for Obama.

Blacks seem really ecstatic over this killing of OBL. I don't think they would be so happy or care that much if it had happened while Bush was president.

Comments for this post are closed