In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, public support for George W. Bush shot up to historically high levels, indicating that Americans did not blame Bush for failing to prevent these attacks. One might wonder how much the timing of the attacks played into this; in other words, had Bush been president for three years instead of less than one, would there have been more fingers pointing at the Oval Office?
I bring this up because of a story in today's Washington Post about a report warning of possible nuclear or biological attacks -- of course, reports such as this are issued all the time, so there's no reason to believe that anything is imminent or anything like that. Rather, it got me thinking, well, if there is an attack, what does that do to an Obama presidency? And does when such an attack occur play a role?
My hunch is that the grace period for Obama is a lot shorter than it was for Bush. Regardless of what the intelligence community was warning Bush about in August (only to be ignored), the American people were legitimately surprised by the attacks and thus gave Bush a free pass. But if America were attacked again, this would no longer be a surprise and I think fewer people would give the benefit of the doubt to Obama. Sure, Obama would (rightly so) point out that, hey, if Bush hadn't screwed things up so bad we probably wouldn't have been attacked, but that argument won't work on everyone -- anyone inclined to doubt Obama will now have their reason.
Anyway, I'd love to get the opinions of Hannity, Limbaugh, etc. on this before the Obama presidency starts, you know, just in case...