© BloombergBarack Obama in the Situation Room on Sunday
We got him! From the White House Situation Room to the storm-struck towns of northern Alabama, the triumphant cry went up on Sunday night: America had found its number one enemy. And Barack Obama had fulfilled a promise.

Before Osama bin Laden was killed, the president's critics liked to portray Obama as a wimp. From radio shock jocks to Fox news, they branded him a bookish academic who hid behind his desk. He was comfortable on a university campus, or working as a "community organiser" - but not when dealing with folks in Baghdad, Kabul, or Islamabad. Obama preferred thoughtful seminars to action, ran the myth, and he would never make Americans proud.

How they must be eating their words now. As of last Sunday, the world knows that this man can kick ass when he wants to. A political Clark Kent, Barack Obama has emerged from the commando raid in Pakistan looking like an action hero. There are hints of ruthless cold-bloodedness in those White House photos. The raid played out like a cowboy film starring John Wayne, where the hero is a man of few words but deadly action.

Obama's new tough-guy image has led to a surge in his popularity. Now that he's shown his people what he's capable of, his rivals - as Mike Allen notes today - will find it hard to make a competence case against him during the 2012 presidential race.

In the future, no matter how much his critics mock "the professor", Americans know that their president got rid of Osama bin Laden. He's no retiring academic, but a man of action. Hail to the Commander-in-Chief.