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?".
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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