There has been quite a bit of talk about whether the killing of Osama bin Laden will increase President Obama’s chances of winning the 2012 election. A New York Times/CBS News poll this week revealed that “57 percent said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46 percent last month.” However, The New York Times also rightfully noted, “It is common for presidents to see their poll numbers shoot up after major military or foreign policy successes. But they usually do not sustain the ratings . . . Mr. Bush’s bump [after the capture of Saddam Hussein] evaporated within a month.”
So, the short answer is no — the killing of bin Laden will not have a significant impact on the 2012 election outcome. But let’s take a look at a few things that will:
(1) According to the New York Times/CBS News poll cited above, “More than half said they disapproved of his [President Obama’s] handling of the economy, similar to the result last month.” When it comes to 2012, this is the figure that will undoubtedly hold the most weight.
(2) Reuters reported this week that “U.S. private employers added 179,000 jobs in April, coming in shy of economists’ expectations . . . Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP Employer Services report would show a gain of 198,000 jobs.” Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars this administration “invested” in so-called “stimulus,” many of us aren’t kicking up our heels in celebration.
(3) As reported by The Hill this week, “The high gas prices limited gross domestic product growth in the first quarter, and have taken a bite out of jobs . . . The biggest drag on the economy, Zandi [Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics] says, are gas prices, which have basically wiped out any benefit for middle-class families from the payroll tax cut included as part of December’s deal to extend the Bush tax rates.”
How will the Obama administration — which has repeatedly stood in the way of domestic drilling permits while financing oil exploration off Brazil, has sided with the EPA’s job-crippling over-regulation, and has refused to access our God-given resources in places like ANWR — fare with the voting public as gas prices continue to rise? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Also, recall that a March IBD/TIPP poll found that Americans support drilling in territorial waters by a 67%-29% margin and in ANWR by a 54%-40% margin.
(4) As reported by Reuters this week, “The number of Americans filing for jobless aid rose to an eight-month high last week and productivity growth slowed in the first quarter, clouding the outlook for an economy that is struggling to gain speed . . . New claims for state jobless benefits rose 43,000 to 474,000, the highest since mid-August.”
Is that the hope and change folks were excited about in 2008? Somehow, I don’t think so.
That’s just a taste. When it comes to the 2012 presidential election, the economy will be #1. Energy policy is, of course, inherently linked to both our economic and national security. Our president’s record is less than impressive on all counts. In fact, it’s destructive.
In addition to adding more to our national debt than Washington through Reagan combined, this president has been a detriment to job creation via his job-crippling health care law, restrictions on drilling that simultaneously jeopardize job growth and inhibit our ability to become energy independent, and his devotion to a class-warfare ideology that encompasses tax hikes on job creators during a time of economic distress.
Whether or not 2012 conservative contenders adeptly hold President Obama accountable for his disastrous policies remains to be seen. But if they do, he’s going to need a lot more than fancy campaign slogans this time around.
Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator, and author of the new book, Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit http://jedediahbila.com/. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.