Expanding on Mistermix’s post below, Kevin Drum writes an article entitled “Barack Obama’s Had a Pretty Damn Good Presidency” and then proceeds to trash him for about 75% of the article, without a trace of irony.
As long as we’re piling on, I’d add a few other items to that list. First,Obama seems to despise the progressive base. He and his associates have made that clear over and over again.Second, he allowed Congress to take the lead on most of his domestic agenda. Whether this was smart or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it makes him seem almost like an observer of events over the past three years, not a commander-in-chief. Third, from a progressive point of view, his record on national security is pretty bad. No, we’re not torturing prisoners anymore, but the NSA surveillance program is still in place, American citizens are being targeted for assassination, the Afghanistan war has been escalated, drone attacks have skyrocketed, the state secrets privilege is still being used with abandon, Guantánamo is still open, and Patriot Act abuse seems to be as robust as ever.
He then lists things the President has actually accomplished…despite being arrogant and subservient at the same time while remaining worse than Bush. Then he goes back to trashing him and concludes he took the best road available of a number of bad choices.
Now, it’s true that any serious accounting also has to include Obama’s domestic failures—most notably his feckless housing policy and his inability to pass cap-and-trade—but both of those were very heavy political lifts. (On cap-and-trade in particular, I think in retrospect that it was just flatly never going to happen no matter what Obama did.) There’s also his weak record on judicial appointments. So could Obama have done better? Was there a more effective way to deal with an unprecedentedly obstructive Republican Party? On reflection, I doubt it. During Obama’s first two years, Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate for only 14 weeks. This means that Obama needed two or three Republican votes for every bill, and if he had taken the blustering, partisan attitude that a lot of liberals wanted, he never would had gotten them. Republican obstructionism would have been even more hardened than it was with his more conciliatory attitude. So as annoying as Obama’s “most reasonable man in the room” act was to the progressive base, it was probably his best strategy.
Such praise worthy of the ancient deities of yore, a mighty and resounding “meh” echoes through the halls of history. And Kevin here actually wonders why the President has such a hard time getting across his accomplishments to the American people.
I can’t possibly wonder why that would be the case, nor who could possibly be responsible for such a state of affairs. Sully was right when he said if a Republican POTUS had accomplished what President Obama had done, we’d be carving his likeness into Mount Rushmore. And yet, we’re doing everything we can to hand the country back over to the Banana Splits.
People keep tripping over themselves to come up with explanations as why to President’s Obama’s most famous first has nothing to do with any of this, of course. Those excuses, and the constant dogpiling on the President, are both wearing very thin, and we’re starting to run out of plausible explanations as to why the liberal media is so invested in the “Is this milk spoiled? Taste this for me!” theory of the President’s accomplishments.