Previous crises have presented unrivaled opportunities for US Presidents
Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Barack Obama made headlines yesterday when he spoke about his fear of a “lone wolf attack” in America carried out by an individual with a “hateful ideology”. But far from striking a blow against his administration, such an attack would galvanize Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, as many political strategists have pointed out.
“The most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well coordinated terrorist attack,” Obama told CNN during a campaign stop in Iowa.
“The risk that we’re especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacres of the sort we saw in Norway recently,” said Obama.
Perversely, should the United States suffer a similar tragedy to Anders Breivik’s rampage in Norway, Obama’s hopes of securing a second term in the White House will receive a huge boost. Following the Oslo bombing and the Utoya island massacre, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s popularity has soared – in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy his approval rating leapt to 94 per cent.
History shows us that terror attacks present unrivaled opportunities for US Presidents to recapture popular support and rally the country around a strong leader.
In the aftermath of 9/11, President Bush’s approval ratings shot up from around the 50 per cent level to the 90 per cent mark, allowing him to pursue his geopolitical agenda in the middle east with a free hand.
Similarly, Bill Clinton was able to extinguish an anti-incumbent rebellion which was brewing in the mid 1990′s by exploiting the OKC bombing to demonize his political enemies as right-wing extremists. As Jack Cashill points out, Clinton “descended on Oklahoma City with an approval rating in the low 40s and left town with a rating well above 50 and the Republican revolution buried in the rubble.”
Absent a major crisis between now and November next year that Obama can exploit in order to rack up political points, his presidency is a dead duck. Obama’s approval ratings are in free fall, sinking to a new record low of 39 per cent in recent days. Every indication shows that Obama is on his way to a landslide defeat in 2012.
That’s why top political strategists are honest in their assessment that only a catalyzing crisis can turn around Obama’s political destiny.
Appearing on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC Hardball show last year, former Clintonite and Democrat operative Mark Penn said Obama needed an OKC bombing-style event to regain his popularity.
“Remember, President Clinton reconnected through Oklahoma, right?” said Penn. “And the president right now seems removed. It wasn’t until that speech [after the bombing] that [Clinton] really clicked with the American public. Obama needs a similar defining moment.”
Former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton Robert Shapiro echoed similar rhetoric when he wrote in the Financial Times that only an OKC bombing or 9/11 style event could provide Obama with the opportunity to demonstrate that he is a strong leader.
“The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” said Shapiro, adding, “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”
With a mere 17 per cent of Americans believing that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed, a shocking collapse in confidence that has left Americans “pre-revolutionary,” only a significant outside threat can now re-unite the country behind Obama and leave him any chance of defeating the Republican candidate in next year’s presidential run off.
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