Ever since the failure of John F. Kennedy to overthrow Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April, 1961, Democratic Presidents have had to carry the burden of being perceived as weak and ineffective in foreign policy.
Of course, this is not totally the truth as John F. Kennedy negotiated very skillfully through the Cuban Missile Crisis a year after the Bay of Pigs, but the concept stuck to the party image.
In so many cases, it proved to be true in many people’s minds.
Lyndon Johnson escalated our involvement in Vietnam, and could not resolve the conflict in a satisfactory manner, and was forced out of the race for the Presidency in 1968 as a result.
Jimmy Carter was unable to accomplish the goal of rescuing the 52 hostages being held in Iran after the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. and the humiliation of those hostages being held for 444 days still rankles many Americans.
Carter’s inability to stop Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, and the problems involved in the Cuban wave of immigrants to Florida, known as the Mariel Boat Lift, also doomed his image.
Bill Clinton’s constant threats to intervene in Bosnia with air power, a total of eleven threats, before actual intervention in a successful way, also doomed him as being perceived as weak and ineffective.
The fact that JFK not only handled the Cuban Missile Crisis expertly, but also brought about the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, is forgotten.
The fact that Carter brought about the Panama Canal Treaty and the Egyptian Israeli Camp David Accords is forgotten.
The fact that Bill Clinton brought about the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the fighting in Bosnia; the successful intervention in Kosovo by NATO; and the peace arrangement in Northern Ireland is also forgotten.
And, of course, the fact that Barack Obama overcame the Somali Pirates seizure of a merchant ship in 2009 is also forgotten, conveniently.
But now, with the death of Osama Bin Laden, and the gathering of much evidence that should help the apprehending of more Al Qaeda terrorist operatives, suddenly the reputation of Democratic Presidents may be undergoing a renaissance!
It will be very difficult for the Republican Party to sully the reputation of Barack Obama, as they have been doing for the past two plus years, as a result of this gutsy, courageous, daring decision by Obama to take a chance, realizing it could have been total failure, but demonstrating resolve and commitment to the principle of fighting terrorism wherever it is!
So from April 17, 1961 to the first day of May 2011, exactly fifty years and two weeks apart, the image of the Democrats has now been transformed for the good of the future of the “party of the people”!