Bin Laden's Death Signals End of the “Silly Season”


The death of Osama bin Laden has pundits already speculating about the potential outcomes for the 2012 election. And while few suggest that it will result in a slam dunk of another four years for Obama, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Republicans are taking the terrorist’s death as an opportunity to bring an end to the “silly season” of political pageantry we’ve had to live with the past few months.

The Politico this morning reports that Republicans are hoping “that party activists will sober up and end their flirtation with the fringe.” Trump’s birth(er) certificate quest — and the subsequent credit he took for its release — already got a solid spanking from both Seth Meyers and Obama himself at the White House Correspondent’s dinner on Saturday night. But the fact that NBC cut from its airing of “The Celebrity Apprentice” to the live feed of the President’s speech on Sunday night made it all the more apparent that the notion of The Donald as a serious candidate was perhaps a joke at best.

Elsewhere on the web, Howard Kurtz at Newsweek is reporting that public interest in Sarah Palin may have (finally) peaked. Despite a $3 million dollar contract from Fox News, the cable channel is apparently upset with her lackluster ratings and her co-hosts have been frustrated with her unwillingness to really engage on policy issues. What’s more, her poll numbers are down, and her social media mentions have dropped 32 percent in the last month.

And finally, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman got a rather harsh profile in The Washington Post on Sunday — which noted that despite her role as the Tea Party Queen in Congress, she’s failed to deliver on many — if any — promises to her district. (Bills she has introduced include the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would stop the Obama administration’s efforts to administer the phase-out of low-efficiency lightbulbs; it failed.) She, like Palin, is said to put the bulk of her focus not on legislating but instead on building her brand, and is portrayed dashing out of Congressional meeting to make phone interviews with right-wing radio hosts.

In the meantime, GOP candidates Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Mitch Daniels are all biding their time, having released well-crafted statements yesterday praising the efforts of the military, the intelligence community, and on Gingrich’s part, the work of George W. Bush in bin Laden’s takedown. It remains to be seen how exactly bin Laden’s death will be used as a tool in the upcoming elections, but at least it was a somber reminder of how serious politics — and politicians — can be.

Photo: The Official White House Photo by Pete Souza