Matt Towery
I'm a nonpartisan pollster, but I'm also a columnist with a strong Republican background. So let me be clear right from the start: I believe President Barack Obama and his national security team performed admirably in the near-flawless effort to capture and kill Osama bin Laden.

It's disingenuous and just plain silly for anyone to say otherwise just because the president is a Democrat or because they disagree with his other policies. The snuffing out of the world's top terrorist demonstrated the power and determination of America and its leaders.

A poll we conducted just after the announcement of bin Laden's demise showed a modest upward bump in approval ratings for the president. I expect these numbers to keep inching up over the coming weeks.

But another name has been connected with the Navy SEALs raid in Pakistan, if perhaps in the background -- George W. Bush. He left office with not the best of popularity ratings. But according to the poll just mentioned, Bush, too, is greatly appreciated by the American people for the policies he put in place that led to bin Laden's abrupt end.

In our nationwide survey of 1,735 registered voters, 65 percent of Americans said that Bush's policies contributed to bin Laden's capture. Amazingly, 48 percent of Democrats felt the same. And among all age groups, a majority gave the ex-president his due for the manhunt that ended so successfully last weekend.

To me, it's both interesting and praiseworthy that Obama referenced George Bush in his national address after the killing of bin Laden. The president was also gracious enough to invite Bush to a celebration at Ground Zero. (Bush politely declined.)

The fact is that when momentous events happen, the old cliche about all of us first being Americans becomes true. For once, our partisan views take a back seat.

That doesn't mean Obama hasn't made huge mistakes -- including, in my mind, a stimulus package that only stimulated the nation's debt and the creation of reams more of bureaucratic red tape that have had the net effect of making life more difficult for most of us.

That aside, we now may well be witnessing the maturation of a president. Looking at the photographs in the situation room, as the president and his advisors watched the bin Laden mission in real time on video, one can't help but notice the similarities to John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here was a president -- maligned by many -- making historic, and historically good, snap decisions.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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