Let's take a moment out of the 24-hour news cycle to appreciate President Obama: for announcing that the United States finally tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden on the anniversary of President Bush's ridiculously premature "Mission Accomplished" declaration; for choosing not to bomb the compound where bin Laden was hiding, avoiding the civilian casualties that would cause, and instead pursuing the much riskier strategy of hand-to-hand combat; for having the sensitivity and smarts to follow Muslim protocol, treat bin Laden's body with respect, and bury it at sea; for showing the kind of leadership that was sorely lacking when the United States began this era of the perpetual War on Terror a decade ago.
Will bin Laden's assassination fundamentally change terrorism threat levels or the national security state we've grown accustomed to? Probably not.
There is a very good argument to be made, however, now that bin Laden was found and killed inside the boundaries of Pakistan (our ally), that it is high time for the United States to get out of Afghanistan. Furthermore, as Joshua Holland argues in his piece on Alternet, "Bin Laden's Killing Show the Utter Folly of the 'War on Terror,'" police work, not bombing raids or full-scale war, is the only effective way to combat terrorism.
Assassination, even of a murderous fanatic, is a poor occasion for giddy celebration. The jubilation is a little creepy -- especially given our country's history of conducting foreign policy by assassination and other nefarious extra-legal means around the globe.
Jeremy Scahill writes of the Joint Special Operations Command, the Navy SEALS unit that killed bin Laden: "The primacy of JSOC within the Obama administration's foreign policy -- from Yemen and Somalia to Afghanistan and Pakistan -- indicates that he has doubled down on the Bush-era policy of targeted assassination as a staple of US foreign policy."
Nevertheless, before the next round of terror alerts and the return to the discussion of our tanking economy, unemployment, bank bailouts, gas prices, and unsustainable wars, let's appreciate this moment in the strange political theater that comprises the politics of our country.
What a weekend for President Obama -- the closest thing to a progressive symbol to occupy the White House in recent history.
Even as he was directing the final stages of the hunt for bin Laden, he was preparing his best Daily Show take-down of his most visible political opponent, reality TV show host, real estate magnate, and conspiracy monger Donald Trump, at the White House correspondents' dinner.
Watch the video here.
Obama's timing was perfect. Now we know that he had a plan for just how it would all unfold. First, he dispatched the rightwing obsession about whether he is a real American, releasing his long-form birth certificate. Then he showed up the bellicose blowhards of the Republican Party who, for all their fulminating, never managed to get bin Laden.
No one outside the Administration knew what was happening in Pakistan when Obama was sending up the Donald, who, he said, was prouder than anyone that the President's birth certificate came out because now he could get back to "the issues that really matter, like: Did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? and, Where are Biggie and Tupac?"
But his best lines got even better a couple of days later:
"We all know about your credentials and breadth of experience," Obama told Trump to laughter from the White House correspondents.
"No, seriously. Just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steak house, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. So, ultimately, you didn't blame Little John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night."
That it's part of the job of the President of the United States to attack a reality TV show host at the same time he's secretly supervising the assassination of bin Laden is surreal.
But both the late-night comedy routine and dispatching bin Laden were symbolic victories for Obama and a blow to the rightwing nuts who want to destroy him.
Taking out Osama bin Laden and Donald Trump in one weekend was quite a feat. It might not mean that much for the future of our world. But in the world of electoral politics, it was a masterpiece.
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Listening to Paul Ryan."
Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter.