Guess What? 'Leading From Behind' Worked!

Obama's gambit pays off in Libya, Steve Kornacki observes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2011 1:57 PM CDT
Guess What? 'Leading From Behind' Worked!
Local resident greet advancing rebel fighters on outskirts of Tripoli, LIbya, Monday, Aug. 22, 2011.   (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

(Newser) – It looks like Moammar Gadhafi’s regime could be as good as gone, and that victory ought to put to bed “a particularly obnoxious anti-Obama talking point from hawks on the right—the idea that he’s excessively deferential, naïve, and just plain weak on the world stage,” writes Steve Kornacki of Salon. There’s still plenty you could complain about in terms of the president and Libya—like Obama’s failure to get congressional approval—and much could still go wrong, but this suggests “that, just maybe, there was actually some wisdom to ‘leading from behind.’”

“Leading from behind” was the phrase an Obama adviser used to describe the administration’s sensible, low-risk strategy in Libya. It’s been endlessly mocked by hawks and 2012 presidential candidates, but now it appears to have delivered the outcome they’ve always said they wanted. This isn’t the first time this has happened, either: “Remember when our ‘weak’ and ‘naïve’ president announced that Osama bin Laden—the man who had eluded George W. Bush for nearly eight years—had been killed?” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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