Will President Bush benefit politically from the demise of Zarqawi? Early returns are mixed. Investors Business Daily does find a sharp jump in the immediate aftermath of the Zarqawi news, to 44%. The Rasmussen poll, on the other hand, sees absolutely no impact.
Which is a little hard to believe. The real test will come, I suppose, when we see what impact the loss of Zarqawi and an unknown number of his lieutenants who have been, or are about to be, rounded up, has on the terrorists’ cause. The medium-term prognosis in Iraq is, I think, good; and if a number of Americans come to believe over the next six months that staying the course was the right policy, the President should see some elevation in his numbers.
That’s all at the margins, however. The Dems, awash in fantasy and fanaticism, aren’t going to change their minds about the President. And I think the Rasmussen survey’s inability to find even the hint of a bounce reflects the fact that immigration is by far the dominant issue at the moment. President Bush, with his usual penchant for doing what he thinks is right regardless of political considerations, has put himself on the wrong side of that issue, politically. It’s too bad, since the Democrats are actually to his left, occupying ground that is acceptable to only a tiny minority of Americans. But it’s President Bush who has visibility on the issue, and he’s the one who has taken the hit. It appears that even the biggest of successes in the war on terror can’t compensate.