As a result of the successful raid into the Osama Bin Laden compound in Pakistan, the first thought would be that it gives President Obama a tremendous edge in the contest for re-election as President in 2012.
But before we conclude that, we need to look at history, whether military success insures a political victory.
In at least three cases, two American and one British, exactly the opposite occurred.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was the great hero of World War II and the struggle against Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. And yet, when the British people voted months after the end of the European war, they chose to vote out the Conservative Party of Churchill and put in as Prime Minister the Labour Party leader, Clement Attlee, who served from 1945-1951.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford mounted a successful rescue mission of 39 US Navy personnel from the ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the radical Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia. While 41 military personnel died in the successful rescue mission, two more than the number saved, it was still seen as a victory to be able to release the hostages unharmed. But in 1976, President Ford lost to Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia for a full term in the White House!
And in 1991, President George H W Bush was able to mount a UN offensive which defeated Saddam Hussein in six weeks, the very brief Gulf War! Bush’s ratings hit an all time high for any President, 91 percent, but a year and a half later, only 37 percent voted for Bush against Bill Clinton, the second worst defeated President in American history, despite the great and quick victory over Iraq!
So while it would seem likely that Obama gains a great edge for next year’s election by the death of Osama Bin Laden, there is no certainty in any sense of what the future holds!