Just got off of an engaging conversation with Life Full Circle Radio host Miguel Lloyd about President Barack Obama’s speech before the National Defense University where the President laid out his vision and strategies for addressing the use of drones, detention of suspected terrorists, and moving away from the “perpetual war” footing the country is on. The crux of our conversation was on the legacy that Mr. Obama is creating as he winds down our involvement in Afghanistan and addresses his critics over the loss of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Republicans have been near relentless in determining what went wrong with the handling of security at the diplomatic facilities where four Americans were killed during two terrorist attacks with approximately thirty people surviving. But as we move further away from the event, can we say Americans are primarily concerned with Benghazi? Probably not.
According to a recent Rasmussen poll, Benghazi does not even rank in the top 15 issues Americans are concerned about, issues that may have an impact on the 2014 mid-term elections. Although national security concerns are considered very important by the 44% of Americans polled, this concern does not come statistically close to concerns on the economy, health care, or job creation, concerns that a Republican-controlled House does not appear to be overly concerned about.
I have to wonder if this lack of priority by the GOP helps with Mr. Obama’s legacy. I believe the irony here is that while Wall Street reform and health care dominated Mr. Obama’s first term, his ultimate legacy may be how he created a framework through which future presidents could analyze terrorists’ threats and determine the appropriate surgical solution, one that minimizes the human and financial capital needed to actualize the solution.
Mr. Obama does not have a lot of time left. His lame duck status will begin next year as troops leave Afghanistan, Congress prepares for mid-term elections, and presidential hopefuls start on the exploratory committee and fund raising circuit. If Mr. Obama can successfully follow through on his new defense and Middle East/Central Asia agenda, he may end up justifying that Nobel peace prize he won near the end of his first year.