To listen to Barack Obama’s critics, you would think the guy has been asleep at the wheel for the last year and purposely doing nothing to make this country more secure and a better place to live. The huge unemployment rate, the failure to get health care reform passed, and the housing and bankruptcy crises are often cited as proof that the President has been one big failure.
Well, let’s all take a deep breath,come to our senses and let thoughtful and fair-minded moderation take over this debate about how Number 44 has been doing. Certainly a clear case can be made that the President spent way too much time and political capital on health care reform. Obama like Clinton just didn’t understand that in our broken and contentious governmental system “comprehensive” or “universal” do not compute.
If Obama had just carved together a series of bills or agreed to move forward with those where there was agreement, a sense of momentum would have been achieved, which over time just might have had the desired result of achieving “comprehensive” or “universal” health care reform. But make no mistake, Americans do want health care reform; what they don’t want are backroom deals. The c0nservatives worst nightmare is that Obamacare will become popular and accepted, like Social Security and Medicare, and they will look like petty and selfish obstructionists.
So with that strategic criticism out of the way, let’s talk about some real accomplishments. First, a solid case can be made that the President saved this country from a complete and total economic meltdown. His decisive action early on, his use of bank bailouts, rescue techniques for the auto industry and stimulus money brought stability to the financial and economic systems and stopped what would have been the second Great Depression. Today the economy is moving out of recession, the stock market is moving upward, 401Ks are on the plus side and sustained economic growth is no longer a pipe dream.
Then there is the war on terrorism. Yes, the intelligence community got it wrong on Christmas Day, but Obama is no fainting violent when it comes to anti-terrorism. More drone attacks, more special forces on the ground in Yemen, no closing yet of Guantanamo, new troop levels in Afghanistan and a smart departure from Iraq are examples that this is a war on terrorism president, no matter what the conservatives say.
And to all those right-wingers out there, how about this – no gun confiscation, no new taxes, no illegal immigration reform, no major expansion of gay rights. Obama has been moderate, cautious, and non-threatening, and he has tried to be bipartisan. Everyone would like to have lost jobs back, everyone would like to have some kind of health care reform, and everyone would like to have the go-go economy of the 80s and 90s. But what we have with Obama is a record of putting this country on the right path toward real change. I’d give him a B.