How Big Will the Osama Halo Effect Be for Obama?
Think back to high school. The quarterback on the football team had a legendary game over the weekend, and made everyone associated with the school so proud they could split their pants. On Monday, he’s treated like a hero.
But, interestingly, people find themselves thinking better of him not only for his athletic exploits. Suddenly, everything about him seems a cut above.
His English teacher, who never saw the QB as being particularly bright, or interesting, wonders if maybe his paper on The Merchant of Venice was actually pretty insightful.
The devout non-jocks who feel alternately superior and intimidated by the QB reassess his past behavior and decide he’s not such a jerk after all.
The girl who brushed him off last month — he’s got a bit of acne, and he slouches sometimes, and he swears — finds herself strangely attracted to him.
The QB is the beneficiary of what’s known as the halo effect.
President Barack Obama has just notched what might arguably be seen as the biggest victory of his presidency: the killing of Osama bin Laden. I am curious as to what sort of halo effect this might generate. How will Obama’s positions and abilities be reassessed — whether on the budget or taxes or gas prices or health-care reform or one of 100 other topics — in light of a military/intelligence victory that took place on his watch?
The halo effect is often short-lived — but will it, in this case, live long enough to power Obama through an election cycle?
FWIW, if you’re looking for an interesting Twitter feed to follow about the bin Laden killing, you might want to check out Sohaib Athar, a self-described “IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops” who happened to live-blog the attack without knowing what was going on, and now finds himself besieged by media interest. His perspective is fascinating.