The elimination of Osama bin Laden is without doubt a great political achievement for President Barack Obama. The death of the world's mostwanted terrorist greatly improve Obama's chances of reelection, too.
"We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al-Qaida's terror, justice has been done," Obama said yesterday.
The open wound of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 makes bin Laden's death a political and electoral victory. Online betting sites saw an immediate jump to a 70% possibility of his reelection after Obama's announcement of the killing, from only 60% just before the news was announced. After a few hours the numbers settled at 64% for a second term.
But as opposed to during his lifetime, in his death bin Laden has no real economic impact - not on the U.S. and not on the rest of the world. That is why Obama will need more than a dead terrorist, as wanted as he may have been, to improve his public image.
The U.S. is mired in almost 9% unemployment, an extremely high level in historic terms for a nation that prides itself in its enterprise and industry, whose work ethic is in its blood.
Incumbent presidents in hard times must find enormous strength to overcome economic figures such as high and chronic unemployment. So Obama will need many more weapons in his fight for reelection in 2012.
For now, Obama's best hand - except for bin Laden's death certificate - is a lack of suitable opponents in the race. Republican candidate Sarah Palin is a media clown and has disappeared from the stage. It is not clear whether she ever had serious intentions to run for the presidency. Donald Trump is no less an embarrassing clown and has no real motive to run for president, except his ego, which is the size of New Jersey.
If the Republicans could put up a serious candidate - more serious than Mitt Romney, for example - then Obama would be remembered by the merit's of Bill Clinton's famous statement: "It's the economy, stupid," which quite often determines who wins the election.
In any case, by killing bin Laden, the Americans can also be comforted by the revenge for so many of their citizens who were killled by the terrorist, and for the not insignificant damage to their economy over the past decade.