Let me just say this right now: Obama has been kicking some serious ass, and I love him for it. There are people on the right and left who have expressed disappointment with him (nevermind the Glenn Beck honkeytonks and uber-liberal fantasy-landers), but frankly he has walked a high-wire act so challenging and so perilous that if he weren’t the man I had hoped we elected he’d have stumbled all over himself many times over.
In just a single year in office, he’s reformed healthcare, overhauled student lending (makes me wish I’d been born 10 years earlier), the stimulus bill (do you really remember how pessimistic EVERYONE was during that time?), initiated serious financial reform, established the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights, forced emissions standards increases, ended of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, guided GM & Chrysler through bankruptcy…
He’s also done the best with Afghanistan and Iraq that you could hope for if you agree that America chose to give itself responsibility for transitioning those countries to a democracy. Not to mention a first step in nuclear arms reductions through a treaty with Russia, doing what can be done to hold Israel and Palestine to their commitments, and standing up to China. Those are just the major accomplishments. Don’t forget the minor ones (check here and here for starters).
There have been some controversies, but in my opinion few of them were avoidable. American public opinion is schizophrenic and it is literally impossible to please everyone all the time. The Economist recently did a poll, and they asked people which budgets should be cut to reduce the deficit. 71% of Americans said foreign aid should be cut, but of 17 other categories, no more than 27% of respondents said that any other particular category should receive less funding. Read that last sentence again.
In the same poll, only 5% said that the government should raise taxes.
Everyone wants the deficit reduced, but 95% of people don’t want to raise taxes. That leaves cutting budgets. But for nearly every single budget, less than 27% of people want to cut that particular budget.
This is just one example of the schizophrenia of American politics. You absolutely can’t please everyone even most of the time, but Obama hasn’t let that fact stall him into inaction. That’s called being a leader. The best part is, he has been extraordinarily pragmatic, open, and well-intentioned with everything. And politically smart and effective.
What’s frustrating is to witness the media coverage of most of this. It seems as if some members of the media are literally rooting against America. Really, they’re rooting against Obama, dismissing him out-of-hand on every single issue. See John Stewart’s piece on Reagan and nuclear arms:
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The real issue here is that so many non-political things have become political. Why is an increase in Pell Grants and a reorganization of student loans that helps everyone except big banks something that Democrats AND Republicans can’t get around? After over a year of debate, can not one single Republican vote for a bill that will help insure over 30 million Americans? Do 31 Senators really think that Sonya Sotomayer is not fit to be a Supreme Court Justice? Really? Is there a good reason why the average delay for confirmation of an Obama nominee is 214 days? At what point is this no longer surprising?
Remember the stimulus package? Remember how dire the forecasts were? Not a single Republican house member and ONLY 3 Senate Republicans voted for the bill. And yet here we are, our economy intact and even growing. Let me guess: that was somehow despite Obama’s intervention. Right.
Frankly, much of the media has not been cooperative. Matt Drudge is perhaps the single most influential person in media, and its a shame he’s such a self-serving whore. I don’t know what he gets his high from, but it definitely has nothing to do with reporting legitimate news. That’s a shame too, because there are points you can look back at where he wasn’t such a profiteering bitch. I’ll save a full Drudge slam-down for another time, but check HuffingtonPost.com for every time you check DrudgeReport.com and you’ll survive.
I did want to leave you with this screenshot I took of the DrudgeReport a few days ago. It was so sickeningly hilarious that I had to get a picture of it. Apparently, Drudge gets his news from Newt Gingrich (ha!), Sean Hannity (haha!), Rush Limbaugh (hahaha!), Liz Cheney (hahahaha!), Michael Savage (hahahahaha!), and Sarah Palin (HAHAHAHAHAHA!). And some dude named Mark Levin that I don’t know.
If all I read was Drudge, I’d swear the sky was falling:
How can you meet in the middle with that filth? That’s not news, and its charitable to stop at calling it “sensationalist”.
The joke’s on us. The poisonous political atmosphere is divisive, unproductive, and silly. “Shameful” comes to mind also. With such serious issues facing the U.S. (deficit, two ongoing wars, startling decrease in competitiveness, economic crisis, blah blah blah), I’m stunned by how partisan politics is.
At least it can’t get any worse. Can it?