Though Obama "may lose control of Congress," says columnist David Broder, he "can still storm back to win a second term in 2012."
How does Broder suggest Obama go about it?
"Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II."
Conceding the prospect of a new war is "frightening," Broder goes on to list the rich rewards of Obama's emulating FDR.
"With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, (Obama) can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve...
"(T)he nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history."
Cynicism aside, what is wrong with Broder's analysis?
First, how exactly are "preparations for war" on Iran going to improve our economy when two actual wars costing $1 trillion have left us in the deepest recession since the 1930s?
Were those wars just not big enough?
If war is good for the economy, why is this nation, at war for a decade, growing at 2 percent, while China, which invests in rogue regimes rather than bomb them, is booming?
Moreover, any attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would be carried out by air and missile strikes from ships and planes already in the U.S. arsenal. We would not need the tens of thousands of ships, tanks, guns, and planes we needed in WWII, or the 12 million men under arms.
The first result of a U.S. strike would be to pull Iran's oil off the world market. If Iran responded by mining the Gulf or sinking a tanker, oil would go to $300 a barrel and gasoline to $10 a gallon. Does Broder think that would give a nice boost to the U.S. and world economy?
Japan's attack at Pearl Harbor united us in rage and resolve. Should we attack Iran's nuclear facilities, when its nuclear program is supported by both sides of that divided country, we would likely unite Iranians in patriotic anger and convince any doubters that Teheran must acquire nuclear weapons to deter us.
We would then have to invade Iran to win the war, as that would be the only sure way to remove a regime that would be hell-bent on revenge through terror and every other means.
Memo to Broder: We don't have the troops to invade Iran, which is three times as large as Iraq.
And as Obama's "preparations for war" are under way, how does Broder propose we defend our diplomats and civilians in Lebanon, who are a cab ride from Hezbollah in south Beirut?
Broder says, "Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century."
But a threat to whom?
Iran's next-door neighbor Turkey does not see Iran as a threat. Indeed, Turkey's prime minister got Teheran to agree to trade half its low-enriched uranium to the West for fuel rods for a reactor that makes medical isotopes. It was America that slapped away the offer.
Iraq's leaders make regular treks to Teheran for advice in forming a new government. Our man in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, admits to getting "bags of cash" from Iran. Syria has excellent relations with Teheran. Lebanon just hosted President Ahmadinejad.
If the neighbors can live with Iran, why are we, with 5,000 nuclear weapons, 6,000 miles away, so fearful?
Israel calls Iran "an existential threat."
But Israel has 200 nukes and the planes, subs and missiles to deliver them, while U.N. inspectors claim Iran has not diverted any of its low-enriched uranium for conversion to weapons grade.
Should it do so, say U.S. officials, we would have a year's notice before Iran could even test a device, let alone build a bomb.
We are told Ahmadinejad is a madman, a religious fanatic, a Hitler who would die happy, even if Iran were incinerated, if only he could explode a nuclear bomb on Israel or the United States.
But when Israel attacked Iran's ally Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in 2008, Ahmadinejad did nothing. Does that sound like Hitler?
When was the last time Iran started a war with anyone?
America has deterred Stalin, Mao and Kim Jong-Il, all men with nuclear arsenals and far more frightening than Ahmadinejad, who is well into his second term, unpopular, with an economy in shambles. Moreover, Ahmadinejad does not make the war-or-peace decision for Iran.
If Obama prepares for war and Iran refuses to back down, how many U.S. dead and wounded would Broder consider a fair price to pay for a second term for his "enduringly superior" leader?