President Obama has had an eventful year in terms of national security with the deaths of Osama bin Laden, al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and now Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
With Gaddafi’s death confirmed by the Libyan government, some political commentators are suggesting that the current U.S. president may likely reap the benefits of the death of the 69-year-old leader that “ruled with an iron fist.”
One political commentator, Anna Fifield said, “The demise of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, will bolster Barack Obama’s reputation as a strong commander-in-chief, credentials that will make it difficult for Republican rivals to attack his national security credentials as the 2012 election campaign begins.”
Wayne White, a former Middle East intelligence specialist at the state department told The Financial Times, “This is a big plus for Obama.”
White added, “He was criticized heavily and repeatedly by his opponents for doing this (mission in Libya) but now it looks like a very cheap victory.”
According to a Pew Research Center poll, following the death of Osama bin Laden last April, Obama’s approval rating shot up nine points from the month before, suggesting that perhaps President Obama may gain more approval from the American populace with the death of Gaddafi.
Nevertheless, not everyone is convinced that Gaddafi’s death will produce positive results for Obama, especially in elections that will be held in over a year.
Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster told the Washington Post, “If Obama only got a brief, small bump from bin Laden’s death, Gaddafi’s death isn’t going to matter at all by the time we hand out candy this October, much less next October.”
Bolger added, “This election is much more about Americans losing their jobs than about Gaddafi losing his head.”
Furthermore, some Republicans such as Sen. John McCain and Sen. Marco Rubio are criticizing the administration for not immediately getting involved in the Libya conflict in the first place.
Rubio told CNN that what we have seen occur in Libya over the last few months “wouldn’t have been this chaotic” had the Obama administration got involved and fought to end the Gaddafi regime early on.
Rubio added that the lack of early action on behalf of the United Sates would have a “lasting effect” on Libya and the development of the country.
Whether Gaddafi’s death will have an impact on Obama’s approval rating and will bolster his chances to remain in the Oval Office for another term remains to be seen. However, many believe that with the deaths of Gaddafi, bin Laden, and Awlaki, Obama's foreign policy record will be a strong point for the leader in 2012.