Robert J. Elisberg

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Robert J. Elisberg

Robert J. Elisberg
Los Angeles, California,
December 31
Robert J. Elisberg has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post since 2006. His writing has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and Los Angeles Magazine, and served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America. He has contributed political writing to the anthology, "Clued in on Politics," 3rd edition (CQ Press). Born in Chicago, he attended Northwestern University and received his MFA from UCLA, where he was twice awarded the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. Most recently, he wrote the comedy-adventure screenplay, “The Wild Roses,” for Callahan Filmworks, and had published his comic novella, "A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge."


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Editor’s Pick
MAY 3, 2011 9:29AM

Republicans Discover That Life Sucks

Rate: 10 Flag

That sucking sound you've been hearing is Republican presidential hopefuls going down the drain.  Professional strength Liquid Plumber couldn't help now.

Forget October, we just had the May Surprise.  And what a surprise, a full 20 months before the 2012 election.  No cynical, political manipulation needed, raising terror levels to scare Americans.  Only a slow, methodical, effective military operation.  To cheer them.

Killing Osama bin Laden.  Talk about a real Mission Accomplished.

The happiest politician in America right now is Mike Huckabee.  "Thank God I've been waffling," he's thinking, "and not announced yet I was running."

Mitt Romney has been reduced now to a liberal healthcare plan he keeps backing away from.

Sarah Palin wasn't likely going to announce, but that uncertainty which fueled curiosity in her has suddenly evaporated.  After all, resigning as Alaska governor halfway through her first term seems all the more small, empty and pathetic now.

Tim Pawlenty is still around, but if people had a hard time spotting him before, imagine how hidden his gravitas seems at this point.

Michele Bachmann's non-existent chances had already become radioactive the day Barack Obama released his birth certificate.  Now, she's a Black Hole, threatening to implode the Republican Party if any part of it touches her.

Ron Paul may run, but…well, that's like saying Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader may run.

There are other potential Republican candidates, of course, but the smart and capable ones didn't become smart and capable by jumping off precipices without a parachute.   So, that leaves the not smart and incapable ones.

Do Republicans have issues to run on?  Republicans had issues before this and were well-behind in all the polls.

The thing is, while most people think the GOP was dealt a crushing blow with the Obama leadership tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden, the problem for Republican presidential hopes is worse than that.  

You see, this wasn't just a May Surprise.  This was like Muhammad Ali's "Rope-a-Dope" against George Foreman.  Lulling a powerful opponent into a false sense of superiority by letting them pound, pound, pound you, all the while knowing that they were exhausting themselves - and then your unleashing a flurry of blows against a now-defenseless adversary who crumbles to the canvas.


For 2-1/2 years, the lunatic "Birther Movement" was the remaining gasp of the Republican base to confuse the confuseable.  There was no birth certificate, so maybe he was a Muslim Kenyan, after all.  Yes, it made Birthers and their political leaders look nuts, but as the old Hollywood cliché went, "Y'know, it's crazy…but it just-might-work!"
And then, last Wednesday, President Barack Obama had the State of Hawaii release his birth certificate.  Ending the issue in one, swift, devastating blow.  Over.  Done.  Goodbye.  Worse, it  tarnished the Birther leaders themselves.

Then, just two days later, on Friday, the president compassionately toured storm-devastated Alabama, promising quick federal help.  Showing how critical federal assistance actually is for providing help to Americans in medical and social need.

The very next day, Saturday, there was more.  President Obama again, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, presenting jokes at his own expense, while listening with a warm smile to jokes delivered at him.  Letting Americans see what an ingratiating, self-effacing person he is.  Getting Americans to laugh with him, even in difficult times, when people need to laugh most.

And then, of course, came Sunday, when President Barack Obama announced to the world that the #1 terrorist, Osama bin Laden, had been tracked down and killed.  And all America rejoiced.  Except maybe Rush Limbaugh who was still hoping for the Obama Administration to fail.

But it's more than just this.  Because Republicans still try to paint Mr. Obama as inexperienced,  and passively reacting to events - yet it turns out that killing bin Laden was an eight-month operation of meticulous planning.  Showing that slow, patient, thoughtful actions are often the best, smartest way to do things, rather than swaggering on top of cars with a bullhorn or a flight deck papered with banners.

And it's more than even that, too.  Because comparison can't be avoided.  Under George W. Bush, America allowed the worst attack on its soil ever, beyond even Pearl Harbor, and for seven years these self-professed "defense experts" couldn't find its mastermind.   And yet after only 2-1/2 years, Barack Obama - a man actually tough on terrorism and national security - had the leadership to find, plan and kill that very man, Osama bin Laden.

That's quite a streak of days.  Yet none were the worst, all mere prelude to the most devastating blow Republicans faced in this Obama Flurry the very next day:  

Because following all that, on Monday, Barack Obama appeared with his wife Michelle, on Oprah.

After releasing his birth certificate, after demonstrating the blessing of federal assistance, after warming the nation with his humor, after announcing the end of Osama bin Laden, the President and First Lady topped off this remarkable six days by showing the personal grace of a man, a husband, a father and a leader, anointed by the Queen of America.

You almost wonder why he took Thursday off.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still trying to figure out who wants to run.   This week, that question became "in which direction?".

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I certainly hope you are has been a good week.
"Ron Paul may run, but…well, that's like saying Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader may run."

I find that statement depressing. Guys who actually stand for something may run, but we all know THEY have no chance.
Robert, I enjoyed the commentary!
You are so full of BS.

First there are only a few nutjob birthers who don't believe he was not born in HI. The rest just want to see what the big deal is. What's he hiding.

As for Obama, I'm sure it will be pointed out, if you try to make a big deal of when dirty bag number 1 was killed, that the info that got him tracked down came from rendition started by President Clinton and from "harsh" interrogation started by Bush and the boots on the ground also started by Bush and from info from Gitmo, not closed by Obama.

The other big fact is nobody is going to care about this if unemployment is still sky high and people feel the government is trying to run their lives when election day comes.

So while I give the President props for pulling the trigger on the operation, I wouldn't put all my eggs in this basket. Besides, President Bush stated that when they find Bin Laden, who ever is president is not going to have a lot of choices.

Besides, the president made it sound like he is the only one who has tried to find this guy. I think he is just the one who finally got good info, from other peoples policies he was going to, but didn't, end.
Good job, Robert. This is a point well made, right down to the final punctuation.
The Republicans "got nothing" and ARE nothing.
Catnlion, it's a lot more than just a few nutjob birthers. A recent poll shows 45% of Republicans think Obama was born outside US borders and 22% don't even know, while only 33% believe he's a bona fide citizen of this country.

Regarding Obama just being lucky by getting good info on Bin Laden from other peoples' policies, that is nonsense. The Bush administration could easily have caught Osama at Tora Bora by inserting a couple battalions of Rangers to block off the escape routes into Pakistan, but due to incompetence and the fact they were already focused on invading Iraq they didn't bother doing so and OBL got away. In fact, our intelligence and military resources were so heavily committed to Bush's idiotic Iraq caper from 2003 through 2008 that at no time was our mission in Central Asia, including the hunt for Bin Laden, adequately resourced. If that's what you mean by good policies I suggest that you may need some classes in Strategy 101.
Beware of premature celebration. In the fall of 1991, Bush the Elder was the triumphant victor of the Gulf War. A year later, he was a one-term president. Keep your guard up.
I am heartened by this piece, but think that Americans who are sane and have a conscience still need to bust their butts to keep the neo-fascist teaparty movement from gaining traction. As for Obama, my support for him has not changed one iota--I trust the man.
Yeah, but then there are all those liberal-progressive-anti-deathers who simply won't be able to bring themselves to vote for a man who ordered the termination with prejudice of another human being. Maybe Dennis Kucinich has a chance after all, to at least win nomination with support from the liberal-progressive-anti-death wing. Then even Bob Dole might contend again, if he's still alive.

Helluva note. What an election.
Ya gotta be kidding me?! Some of us are still awake and can't be programmed or duped by either party of the political elite. Nothing has changed in the "average" citizen's world. Osama must be a cat with 9 lives... the political elite, multi-national mega corporations and their mouthpiece the popular mass media bank on our gullibility and the way we line ourselves up behind a particular party puppet and divide ourselves in many petty political ways. They count on stirring our passions and suppress and render us helpless and dependent and we clamor for more of our favorite propaganda flavor. Most of us still alive have been propped in front of a screen from birth before we could even speak but for some of us, reality is still stark and we can not be diverted from record unemployment, sky-rocketing cost of living, continued home foreclosures, quagmire war in Afghanistan (we accomplished the mission, withdraw troops starting today) and more troops being deployed to Afghanistan. Involving ourselves in the Libyan war and considering Syria - and now, we are challenging Pakistan. Trillions of dollars in debt and owing our butts to China. The short attention span of the citizens that our programmers bank on is a double edged sword. When those sedated citizens are rudely awakened from the media hype that will get mileage for way too long, the citizens will have Osama dead hangovers and realize that their daily life is still a grueling struggle for many- yeah, take another Cymbalta and call your senator in the morning. You will get your very concerned form letter response in a month or so...
Oh, and I forgot the voters of "principle," who can't be programmed or duped by either party, who stand righteous in their condemnation of reality and either toss their vote fiercely away or refuse to vote at all, on "principle." Valuable members of the electorate, they.
yeah yeah, rah rah whatever dude. that seems a lot of purple coolaid dripping down your chin. 20 months is a *long* time, a lot can happen in that period. and I didnt hear you *once* say a single thing about the economy. killing a lone terrorist, who likely wasnt very active for years, maybe half a decade.... does that help anyone who's unemployed get a job and feed their family or themselves?
Oh, and I forgot the moron vote, too. There are probly a lot more of those than the elitists. But all this would come in the nomination process. If the moron vote is big enuf, that would rule out Kucinich, whose name is hard to spell and harder to remember. So who would the feeble minded support? Somebody with an easy name. Oh, I don't know. Could it be...anybody named Smith or Jones out there?
Nana, my friend, Bush didn't want OBL.

The Taliban offered him up on a platter - to be tried in a non-partisan country - in exchange for calling off US air strikes against Taliban October of 2001, according to Wikipedia.

Bush rejected the offer on the grounds that we didn't need to try OBL because we knew he was guilty, later saying that OBL was only one of the Taliban's leaders and was of no great importance.
Really good post, Robert, even if I think you're a little too optimistic.
I am disappointed in your post, I'm sorry to say. There is nothing enlightening or educational about it. You subscribe to the theory that anyone who consistently disagrees with you is either ignorant, stupid, or evil.

This is demonstrably untrue. And your perspective, while perfectly acceptable in modern society, is pointless and divisive.

Taking a popular stand is not nearly the same thing as being right. In my own work I would rather surround myself with people who disagree with me - because I can learn from them, and they can learn from me. The best idea will win out more often than not.

If we all took the position that the opposition is as weak, fickle, and malicious as you did, we would be poorer, indeed.

I hope you learn to open up your mind, and your heart, to consider a wide spectrum of opposing viewpoints in your lifetime. You are better than this. At least I would hope you have the capacity to be better than this.
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Nobdy gave a shit about Gulf War I.Saddam Hussein was a CIA asset that had gone rouge. Nothing he did affected any U.S. citizen or community.

Osama Bin Ladin, by contrast, staged the most spectacular attack on the United States in world history, killing thousands of people.

BIG difference. So enough with the pathetic "Jimmy Carter" memes.

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