Former Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) reminds me of a prediction he made at a 2009 CPAC panel discussion on what a conservative foreign policy should be. From his remarks two years ago:
At some time in the next four years an event will likely take place that most Americans have hoped for since September 11, 2001. A press conference will be called by the commander in chief of the military forces of the United States of America. At that press conference he will announce either the capture or confirmed demise of Osama bin Laden. All America will rejoice at the knowledge that the one person most responsible for the murder of thousands on American soil will be on his way to receiving justice, in this world or beyond. Commander in Chief Obama will have done that which Commander in Chief Bush was unable to do or, better said, was distracted from doing.
While Hostettler thought getting bin Laden’s head would be welcome news under any political circumstances, he said there was a risk it would cost the Republican Party its post-Reagan edge on foreign policy if delivered by a Democrat without any baggage from initiating the Iraq war. Hostettler, who was a member of the House Armed Services Committee, was one of just seven Republicans in Congress to vote against the war. He said at the time that he didn’t find the WMD intelligence persuasive.
Obama is about as far from the 2012 presidential election as George Bush was from the 1992 election when he enjoyed 90 percent approval ratings in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War victory. There is plenty of time for the economy to do unto Obama as it did unto Bush Senior. But all other things being equal, a Democratic president getting bin Laden while a Republican president failed to find WMD does not cut in the GOP’s favor.
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