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Sorry about the birth certificate, I’ve been hunting bin Laden

  • Written by Jason Johnson
President Barack Obama has one amazing and incredibly infuriating trait for every political analyst following him and every one who ever voted for him and everyone who’s ever worked against him. Incredible timing.
 Dr. Jason Johnson

President Barack Obama has one amazing and incredibly infuriating trait for every political analyst following him and every one who ever voted for him and everyone who’s ever worked against him. Incredible timing.

The President gets beat up over and over again in the press, from Republicans and their minions in the public and somehow some way just when it looks like he’s never going to recover he gives a speech, makes a deal or pulls off a stunt that puts everyone back on heels collectively asking, “How long has he been planning that?”

With his announcement last Sunday that U.S. special operations forces had hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden, President Obama proved once again that he is the master of the last minute political save.

Heading into last week, President Obama’s political fortunes seemed at their usual tenuous level. The Democrats had survived the budget battles with Republicans without totally capitulating everything they claimed they stood for, but at the same time bigger problems were just over the horizon. In late April, gas prices started surging unexpectedly, slowing our sluggish economic outlook. Even worse, race-baiting reality T.V. toupee salesman Donald Trump was gobbling up all available airtime dredging up the boogeyman that Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

What’s a president to do?

President Obama broke out with the triple political karate chop laying waste to his political foes and they still don’t know how he did it. He started last Thursday by releasing his “Long Form” birth certificate, which effectively made “Birthers” look even more ridiculous. It’s one thing to claim this is a movement of junior genaeologists who figured out where Obama was born when no one else had, but now in the face of even more evidence they have to become part time forgery analysts as well. No one is going to believe that one.

Then the President went to the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and laid so much wood to Donald Trump in his comedic speech that “The Donald” will be pulling splinters out of his face for months. Which will give him just enough time to find an excuse to drop out of the race.

Finally on Sunday night, President Obama releases the final salvo of his “Take em to the Bridge” political tour and takes credit for killing Osama bin Laden. The facts are clear: Obama managed to do in two years what Bush couldn’t figure out in eight.

Now this would not be America if we didn’t have a healthy number of skeptics about the death of bin Laden, but what political end could that skepticism serve? Did President Obama order Osama bin Laden killed to advance his career? Of course he did, but it’s also his job to kill the most wanted man in American history next to John Wilkes Booth.

Is bin Laden really dead? Or is this whole event a sham?

Realistically speaking, who knows when Osama bin Laden died or how? If you must question the official story, then what difference would it make if he was still alive? Military intelligence had long assessed that he was more of an ideological leader than a field general and mastermind. So even if he is still alive, as some believe, he’s no more dangerous now than he was for the last five years. No matter how you spin it, no matter what realistic or conspiratorial perspective one has on the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, it ultimately will not affect the fact that we won’t see him in the public eye again.

So the real question now is what happens next?

With President Obama having taking out Osama bin Laden, it radically improves his already formidable chances of being re-elected next year, so that’s off the table. However, what we can hope for is that perhaps this surgical military strike against America’s most wanted will give us time to consider the relative merits of the two wars and millions of lives we’ve cost America and the world in pursuit of this man and his supporters.

Over 40 thousand men and women have died in Afghanistan or Iraq on our side and another half million in the home country. With the death of bin Laden, wouldn’t it be a good time for the nation to settle down and re-evaluate our Middle East policy? Perhaps trim some military fat.

In the end the President has been busy fixing the economy passing healthcare reform and fending off oil spills. I think I can wait a while for him to make his next move, they’re usually pretty good.

(Dr. Jason Johnson is an associate professor of political science and communications at Hiram College in Ohio, where he teaches courses in campaigns and elections, pop culture, and the politics of sports. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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