Did Barack Obama Promise A New Kind Of Politics, But Played The Same Old Game? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/02/barack-obama-politics_n_1847947.html?ref=topbar
One of the storylines that seems to be gaining traction in the media, post Republican Convention, is the shaping of the narrative about Obama’s first term as president. This version says the action hasn’t been exciting enough, the plot has been too predictable and the lead character never seems to reach his full potential. The sub plots—Obama Care, Afghanistan, reigning in corporations, and crippling un-employment–leave even the Obama faithful frustrated and disappointed. According to this narrative all the Liberals grit their teeth, exhale sharply and admit privately that at his best Obama was ineffectual and at his worst he sold out. And then Steve Earle came to my mind.
…the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin’ anyone could do or say.
And I almost listened to him Yeah, I almost lost my mind (Steve Earle)
If the last four years had really been that bad; If this exciting young president who I had supported both emotionally and financially had me fooled; If America had not moved in positive directions over the past four years; If all those things were to be believed, I would probably quit hanging on and go ahead and lose my mind. Call the guys with the white coats and get me a padded room. Feed me, roll me over a few times a day, wheel me outside to sit by a tree on warm afternoons. But I just kept saying to myself that Obama cannot be that bad. He can’t be. He’d better not be, because a Romney presidency is unthinkable. Unthinkable!
I agree, this administration did not accomplish everything Obama said he wanted to accomplish. But I also know that campaign hope and rhetoric are not promises. (I’m assuming anyone reading this doesn’t need an explanation, but if you want to discuss that we can.) Furthermore, pedestals are dangerous places to perch. They seem to be even more dangerous when others put you there. Obama is a man. By all accounts a smart man, a family man, a really good man, a man with a vision for the future of America. But he isn’t deity. He isn’t superhuman. He can’t make hateful people be less hateful. Others in history have tried that, too, but people get pretty upset when you challenge their hatreds. And in the midst of this thought another musician came to mind.
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look? (Bob Marley)
I personally, cannot be satisfied to just “stand aside and look”. Repubs and even Dems are, admittedly with very different motivations, buying into this falsehood–that the Obama Presidency has not lived up to its promise. But that narrative is not true. (Well he did fall short if you thought he was Jesus and could literally perform miracles.) Are there truths in it? Yes. But is the overall portrayal of an ineffectual, sell-out-of-a-president true? Absolutely not! So let me paint a bit of a different picture, drawing liberally from all the other posters, bloggers, patriots and Americans who would remind the rest of us of what has been accomplished in the last four years:
- Obama has overhauled the food safety system
- Advanced women’s rights in the work place
- Ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) in our military
- Stopped defending DOMA in court.
- Passed the Hate Crimes bill.
- Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court.
- Expanded access to medical care and provided subsidies for people who can’t afford it.
- Expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Fixed the preexisting conditions travesty [and rescissions] in health insurance.
- Invested in clean energy.
- Overhauled the credit card industry, making it much more consumer-friendly.
- While Dodd-Frank bill was weak in many respects, it was still an extremely worthwhile start at re-regulating the financial sector.
- He created Elizabeth Warren’s dream agency: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- He got help for people whose health was injured during the clean-up after the 9/11 attacks.
This is the story the Republicans would love Democrat and Independent voters to buy into (and repeat): Barack Obama has not done enough. And if he hasn’t done enough don’t give him any more years to figure it out. And some Democrats are buying into it. Some Democrat journalists are even selling it. But again, it simply isn’t true. I know it is difficult for Americans to be constantly diligent about the truth in the face of massive ad buys designed to confuse. But sometimes it really isn’t that difficult–When the weather man tells you it’s raining and you look outside and see sunshine, who are you going to believe? He may be The Weatherman but what does he know?
More on setting the story straight from one of my favorite sites–Please Cut The Crap:
“What makes the “disappointment” argument even more irritating is that it’s simply not true. He’s done nearly everything we elect a president to do, and he did it all with little support from the left, and massive obstruction from the right.
Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? Of course, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that this president has compiled a STELLAR record given the circumstances under which he took office. If you can look at this list of the president’s accomplishments and not be excited, you have a serious problem with perspective.”
- Within his first week, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse. http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5
- Oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY
- Along with Democrats, and almost no Republicans, implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. http://bit.ly/ibhpxr Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5 This resulted in GM returning to its place as the top car company in the world. http://lat.ms/zIJuQx
- Initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.
- Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost. http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc
- Along with Congressional Democrats, provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession. http://bit.ly/g0IKWR
- Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. http://huff.to/eAi9Qq
- Go to Please Cut the Crap (PTTC) for a comprehensive list of Obama accomplishments you probably never heard about.
So, consider all the things Obama has accomplished in the face of the most obstructionist congress and opposition party in history and give him a little credit. As far as I know he can’t walk on water, but he is an effective president when judged as a human. Obama/Biden 2012