Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Getting Harder and Harder not to Admit that Obama's a Success

Elena Kagan. Sonia Sotomayor. Health-care reform. Financial industry regulatory reform. A recovering economy.

One can only listen to the steady drumbeat of the anti-Obama forces for so long before reality slips in despite their best efforts. Barack Obama came into office facing unprecedented challenges – challenges is a nice word; disasters is more accurate. The economy was practically in free-fall. The government's regulatory capabilities had been utterly gutted by the Bush administration and a quarter-century of Reaganism. America was distrusted and in many places loathed around the world. Domestic politics were artificially rigged into an angry culture war that served no good purpose but to deliver votes to the GOP. The U.S. Supreme Court was controlled by the far-Right. Even the president's (and my) baseball team, the White Sox, were suffering ignominy.

Today, many on the Right, and even many in the middle – who like to think of themselves as independent but in this case at least are just parroting what they're told by shallow newsreaders – write off President Obama as a failure. Disingenuously, they point to much of the astroturf noise that they themselves have created as evidence of Obama's unpopularity and his uselessness in the White House.

There have certainly been times when I've wished Obama would move faster or would take down the do-nothing GOP in Congress. But then there are these moments, like today, when I realize something. He's already an historic success.

He's put two respected – albeit not uncontroversial, but who cares? – women on the U.S. Supreme Court. He's had historic legislative wins (with no small help from my own U.S. Representative, a certain Nancy Pelosi) in health care and financial reform. He's had a lot of smaller but still important legislative wins (student loans, for example). He might not be a radical (thank goodness). But he is shaping up to be a successful liberal president.

The Right can hope for a turnaround in this November's elections. I'm sure they'll get significant gains; but if they do it on the campaigns they've been running so far, then those are ill-gotten gains, because they're based on lies. And Obama will still be in the White House. They might be thinking that a strengthened GOP will be something Obama will have to deal with, and won't that be something? But in reality, the GOP will have to deal with President Barack Obama.

And they might as well prepare themselves for the next wave of Obama's agenda: Immigration reform. Don't ask, don't tell. Withdrawal from Iraq. The White Sox in the World Series.

Get used to losing, GOP.

Oh, and his middle name is Hussein.

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