Eugene Robinson: With the nation transfixed by the daring raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the first GOP presidential debate transpired last week with relatively little notice. For Republicans, that’s the good news.
The bad news is that for those who did pay attention, the debate brought to mind – and I’m just trying to be honest here, folks – the famous bar scene from “Star Wars.” At times the dialogue sounded like a faltering attempt at interplanetary communication….
Back on Earth, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the elimination of bin Laden was good not only for national security, the interest of justice and the public mood but for President Obama’s political prospects as well. He’s not unbeatable in 2012, but at the moment you’ve got to like his chances.
Indeed, the bounce in Obama’s poll numbers was immediate – and, for potential opponents, daunting …. (but) Despite the news that nearly 270,000 new private-sector jobs were added in April – the best monthly number in five years – the unemployment rate is an unacceptable 9 percent. For the president, this is an obvious vulnerability.
Rather, it should be a vulnerability. Exploiting it would require a capable, electable candidate. If such a Republican exists, he or she apparently didn’t make it to Greenville in time for Thursday’s debate.
…Besides Romney, others who skipped the debate included Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman and Mitch Daniels. That’s a relief, because if they had all showed up, debate organizers would have had to put them on risers. Opening and closing statements would take so long, there wouldn’t be time for any questions.
….Obama, practically overnight, has dispelled the fog of ambiguity with which his opponents have tried to cloak him – the vague suspicion that there was something effete, passive, not quite fully American about him.
On “60 Minutes” Sunday, Obama’s usual caution with words seemed like disciplined reserve. His broad smile seemed fortified with steel. We like a bit of Clint Eastwood in our presidents. Come on, Republicans, make Obama’s day.
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