President Obama is having a very good week. He actually got Donald Trump to zip his trap and go away. The killing of the world's worst terrorist and one of the most hated men in history went off without a hitch. If Republicans aren't enthusiastically praising him, they are at least having the good sense to keep their mouths shut.*
Obama has got himself some real power, some political capital he has not possessed since his inauguration. The question is, what will he do with it?
Will he strong-arm his opponents and push through legislation that's been stagnating in the doldrums? If he were to march to Capitol Hill and demand passage of the DREAM Act, for example, can you imagine sourpuss Mitch McConnell responding that his main goal is not to give the president a second term? Now is the time for Obama to come out swinging for Elizabeth Warren as permanent head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and show he will stand up for the middle class.
He must capitalize on this National Assassination Celebration. Political good moods are temporary things. George Bush the Elder had 90 percent approval ratings after the routing of Iraq from Kuwait and not long after was soundly defeated by Bill Clinton. It was the economy, stupid -- remember?
Now is also the time to declare Mission Accomplished in Afghanistan and start bringing the troops home, ahead of the tenuous July drawdown schedule. Otherwise, the excuses for staying will start multiplying like rabbits. Clean breaks are better than compound fractures. Let the President point to the reduction in the defense budget as a reason to start investing in jobs and infrastructure here at home.
The next few weeks will be crucial. Progressives will be putting Obama to the test. If he continues to intone the Bipartisan Mantra and stall on important legislation and invite the same old compromise, I will throw up my hands in despair. He has proven he is no Jimmy Carter, so he shouldn't feel he has to be Jimmy Carter.
And if he continues to talk about civility being an end in itself, we should simply point out this incontrovertible fact. Mr. President -- you just ordered an assassination. So how about kicking a little Republican ass for a change? Prove once and for all you are not one of them. Either seize the day or watch your newfound support crumble as fast as it was resurrected.
* Update 5/9 - Wow, was that wishful thinking or what? What a difference a week and 2500 cable news shows make. Cheney, Cheney, Condi, Rummy, Fredo, Mukasey... all the ghouls have arisen from the grave.