Another day passes, and another spin of the 24-hour news cycle with it, but still much of the UK press, when considering the death of Osama bin Laden, does not get it. This event has been primarily for domestic consumption, and is about the future first and foremost of one man, and one alone: Barack Obama.
It was already inconceivable that Obama would face a challenge for the Democratic nomination, and therefore a certainty that he would be that party’s candidate for the Presidency in 2012. With the killing of bin Laden, he has also effectively seen off most of the Republican challengers, credible or otherwise.
Anyone doubting this need look no further than the deeply unpleasant Rush Limbaugh, usually an arch-critic of The Prez. When Rushie tells his audience “thank God for President Obama”, anyone chasing the GOP nomination knows that the task of beating Obama just got a whole lot harder.
Hacks across the spectrum in the UK do not seem to have grasped this. The Daily Mail has wheeled out Max “Hitler” Hastings, self-proclaimed liberator of Port Stanley, who waffles interminably and fails to even approach the point. The Mail also brings the views of righteous windbag Richard Littlejohn, who also misses the point, instead asserting that al-Qaeda chiefs sent their children to “Swiss finishing schools”. What a Dick, as those Stateside might say.
At least Toby Harnden at the Maily Telegraph gets close: “How much will Barack Obama milk this?” he asks. The answer, Tobe, is that he doesn’t need to. He just has to look presidential: the action against bin Laden’s compound did all the talking that was necessary. Harnden at least concedes that “the GOP is in a bit of a spot on this one”.Even at the Guardian, Simon Jenkins follows “Hitler” Hastings and rabbits at length about the West’s failure to deal with bin Laden years earlier – as if anyone at the White House has a Tardis handy – although he at least has woken up to the inadvisability of the Afghan adventure, which is getting the UK and the USA precisely nowhere.