NPR logo Libyan Rebels' Advance Into Tripoli Gives Obama Some Good News

Libyan Rebels' Advance Into Tripoli Gives Obama Some Good News

After months of inconclusive fighting between government forces and rebels, news over the weekend that fighters opposed to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were in control of many parts of Tripoli provided some good news for President Obama in a summer short of such.

While Gadhafi's fate was still unknown at the time of this writing, it certainly appeared that his 42-year old rule was close to an end.

Obama issued a statement Sunday evening from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard. An excerpt:

"Tonight, the momentum against the Gadhafi regime has reached a tipping point. Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Gadhafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.

If this is indeed the end of the Gadhafi regime, then it would represent something of a vindication for Obama's policy towards Libya.

The president was criticized by Republicans and some Democrats for ordering the U.S. military to support NATO in providing air support to the rebel effort.

Critics accused the president of failing to get congressional approval beforehand. They also questioned the president involving the U.S. in a military conflict in which, they said, vital national interests weren't involved.

Some of the criticism has come from Republican presidential candidates. And those criticisms grew as the Libyan rebels' efforts appeared to bog down.

But if the days of the unpredictable Gadhafi are truly and finally numbered, those criticisms would have less force. Obama would even be able to claim a foreign policy victory at a time when the president can use some successes.

While that certainly would be something Obama could add to his list of achievements, its benefits are likely to be limited.

There's some thinking that oil prices could decline if the rebels' Transitional National Council does take control of the country. If that results in noticeable changes at U.S. gas pump, that certainly would help.

But as things stand now, the future of Obama's presidency will be decided not on foreign but domestic policy, specifically the U.S. economy and jobs.