Post-election Advice for POTUS

by Clifford D. May

Call me crazy but I like it when left-of-center editorialists agree with me.

On NRO last week, I arguee that, post-election, President Obama’s best chance to assemble a bipartisan majority, achieve important victories, and strengthen his hand for the 2012 presidential election will be to focus on national security, in particular taking steps to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In his Washington Post column yesterday, David Broder makes the same point:

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in this young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.

And Fred Hiatt writes that Obama’s most likely route to success is presidential leadership. Not vilification of his enemies, and not triangulation on little, poll-tested issues such as school uniforms, but true leadership on the giant challenges facing the nation.

The country is, first and foremost, fighting a war, though you’d hardly know it from the campaigning this fall. Defeating America’s enemies will require long-term, difficult engagement in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, lengthy engagements for which Obama has inadequately prepared Americans.

So will Obama take this advice we hand him like a brother? I’m not betting my money on that horse.

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