No, Barack Obama hasn’t done every single thing right as president. That Walter Russell Mead critique is substantively true. But that said, you can’t say he hasn’t accomplished anything significant, especially after Sunday: Andrew Sullivan on Obama and Osama:
Obama avoided a plunge into the second Great Depression. He saved the auto industry. His bank bailout may make a profit. He has withdrawn most troops from Iraq. He has ended the ban on openly gay servicemembers. He has appointed two women to the Supreme Court. He muscled universal healthcare through the Congress into law. He ended torture as the law of the land.
Abroad, since his Cairo speech, democratic revolution after revolution has occurred. From Tehran to Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen, the march of freedom George W Bush imagined has actually swept the region under his successor. Where Obama has failed – Israel/Palestine – he may still prevail.
But the capture and killing of bin Laden eclipses these. It does two things instantly: it tells us that an American named Barack Hussein Obama ordered the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. A man who symbolizes an integrative, tolerant, multicultural future defeated the symbol of a twisted, dark, fundamentalist past. A man who represents the human continuum of the developing and developed worlds defeated a man who seeks only one world and Shariah rule over all of it. And it also tells those who have been bombarded with lies and rumors and disgusting smears that this president, whatever they have been told, is no weakling, no terror-lover, no alien. He is as American as every new passport holder and every ancient Southern or Yankee family.
He found and killed the man Red and Blue America equally wanted found and captured or killed. And in that specific fact, a certain narrative – the narrative the degenerate right has been trying to fix to him for years – must now die. And it must die in the heart of the red states as well as in the mind of the blue ones.
We’re way too quick to give the president complete credit or complete blame for absolutely everything that happens. Obviously the biggest heroes in this are the special forces who carried out the raid themselves. But Obama appears to have made the exact right decision every step of the way, and the process completely disproving several of the key anti-Obama talking points, from “indecisive” to “soft on terrorism” to “secretly working with our enemies.”
That said- if your reaction to the news was to give full credit to Bush and none to Obama, then you’re a hyperpartisan cretin.
And besides- if the failure of the rescue mission in Iran in 1979 was proof of Carter’s ineptitude, why isn’t the successful operation to kill Bin Laden the opposite for Obama?