Eugene Robinson, analyst for MSNBC and long time columnist for the Washington Post appeared as the latest in the Distinguished Lecturer Series sponsored by Lamar State College-Orange. Robinson appeared on the stage at the Lutcher Theater and opened his lecture with some pointed comments about the ongoing presidential campaign.

His opening comments were about President Barack Obama’s inheritance of “the mess.”

“Some of the financial mess he inherited and some he brought on himself. The bailout of the banks and the stimulus package were unpopular and cost him some political support,” Robinson said.” He pursued health care reform, which I thought was the right thing to do at the time. I believe that he did what he had to do at the time, but they were extremely unpopular. Beyond what you may believe, the Republican strategy of just saying ‘no’ has worked. It is not pretty, but it has worked.

“President Obama is in deep political trouble, no doubt, but I have to tell you that if I had to put $5 down tonight on who would win next November, I’d have to put those $5 on the President. Why would that be, given his approval ratings, and given the fact that so many people are so unhappy about the condition of the country? First while it is true that people have little faith in President Obama and the Democrats in their ability to run the financial affairs of the country, in the Republican Party they have no faith that there is any one there to do any better.”

Robinson’s bottom line is that the majority of Americans think that the GOP would do worse than the Democrats in running the country and trying to straighten out them financial mess.
According to Robinson the White House fears Mitt Romney, but the Republican rank and file does not appear to like him. “At best Romney would only draw about 25 percent of the GOP votes,” said Robinson.

“Rick Perry looked good when he entered the race,” Robinson said. “He became the front runner, until he entered the first debate. He fell fast and far. At best Perry is in third place. As of now the Republican race is a mess and it looks like it will stay that way into next year. Perry and Romney have the most money and can stay around a long, long time. Romney will be the toughest opponent for Obama. In the end they will have to nominate Romney. In fact the last few months the White House has been running against Mitt Romney. That tells me that they think Romney will be the hardest to run against. In the end the GOP goes with the establishment and in this case the establishment is Romney.”

Robinson’s view on Obama is that Obama brought out first time voters, but will have a tough time getting those voters to turn out again. He has been taking campaign trips that are not campaign trips to try to shore up his support. Robinson believes that Obama will win, but that it will be a tough fight.

“These Occupy Wall Street Protesters are having an effect on things; the small protests have had an impact. This is a whole new element,” he said. “They are not without media sense. They are protesting the fact, among other things, that homeowners who got into financial trouble got foreclosed. Bankers who talked homeowners who only wanted to borrow $50,000 into borrowing $200,000 and lost money on the foreclosing got bailed out. These protesters are effective and the candidate that connects with them will do well.”

Robinson believes that people are looking for economic justice and that they believe the system is rigged against them; that things are in favor of the banks and those who have power and influence. Through a sort of an alliance between Wall Street and the White House the protesters believe that there is no economic/financial justice for the average American.

“You have already seen President Obama use the phrase ‘economic justice’ in talking with the Wall Street Protesters and almost identify himself with them,” he said. “After their first protest, Mitt Romney was aghast about this sort of criticism against Wall Street. I think this is becoming a very effective protest that is going to have an impact on this presidential election.”

In addition to being an astute commentator and reporter, Robinson is an accomplished author of three books. In his latest book, published in 2010 “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America” Robinson discusses the disintegration of the black community into four distinct sectors.

He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife Avis and their two sons.