Home National Politics President Obama’s Outstanding First 1.5 Years

President Obama’s Outstanding First 1.5 Years


This is a must-see video.  If you are a progressive and you did not see this last night (and who but news geeks like me are watching Maddow on Friday night), watching it can transform your Saturday morning. Really.  Note that Rachel does this listing of accomplishments by way of a brief introductory retrospective about Ronald Reagan.  So the first list you hear belongs to the (Nineteen) Eighties, and is worth reflecting upon in light of more recent revisionism on Reagan’s conservatism.  For all the terrible economic policies of Ronald Reagan,  his selling weapons to Iran, and his illegal war against the Contras, he almost looks reasonable given the extremism of the George W. Bush administration. So, go ahead, please watch. And then consider this:

It is easy for we armchair/keyboard critics to find fault.  And on cue we do so often.  Sure, there are potent issues we hold dear and, sure, we have our reasons on occasion.  We rightly persuade ourselves that this or that bill could and should be better.  But we should take heart.  In our consternation, particularly about the costly and dangerous protraction that is Afghanistan, for example, we may not be seeing what else constructive Obama has brought this country in a very short time.  We may be losing the forest for the trees.

None of this suggests we should not persist airing our voices on various issues when we believe it important.  Yet, it seems appropriate to pause and note Rachel Maddow’s enumeration last night of President Obama’s incredibly accomplished first 1.5 years of his presidency.  My husband, who has been pretty discouraged politically (and not sure why I persist at all) watched the show last night and said, “Wow, he really has accomplished a lot.”  So, if you haven’t watched it yet, please do.

  • jsrutstein

    I can’t help sensing a chill amidst the cheer.  To acknowledge Obama’s accomplishments as many and major, especially in such a short period, and more especially and repeatedly as the most since FDR and The Great Depression, forces me to realize that our times are almost as precarious as the early ’30s.  Conversely, dragging Reagan off the Republicans’ pedestal still allows them to crow [rooster?] about Morning in America.

    This is no time to chest thump or even smile much.  The task is to keep addressing both the problems we know we have and preparing for the ones that might come.  Obama may have the chance again to be the more hopeful nominee in 2012, but he ought to govern with determination and with as much grimness as is called for.

    Republicans still long for the next Reagan as stupidly as the Dems tried to resurrect JFK with Clinton [arguably successfully] and Edwards [inarguably laughable].  The very premise of Obama’s presidency is unprecedented change.  If we can’t make the case for a hopeful future, at least we can level with each other.

    The Republican base is trying to corner the market on our “glorious” past.   Older voters know better.  Younger voters won’t necessarily believe them, especially as the Republican base continues to lie about our past, and we call them on it.

    So, it is important, as Rachel Maddow did, to set the record straight, not only about the distant past, but also about what just happened.  Still, I think our emphasis should be on the future.

    Obama’s victory in 2008 only seemed decisive compared to the last two Presidential elections.  Turnout is key, and convincing voters they should feel satisfied about what was accomplished only serves to give them an excuse for being lazy and letting the other guy do the “hard work” of going to the polls.

    I’m quite sure there will be plenty of reasons to be hungry for more come November 2012, and Obama and the Dems need to act as if that will be the case.  If I’m wrong, and the wars are over, the economy is recovered, the oil is cleaned up, and the globe stops warming, the Republicans might nominate Obama themselves.


    problem I have with Obama is he wants to fix all this stuff-healthcare eonomy, wars etc but when it comes down to a fight and whipping votes, he caves in and compromises and STILL gets no votes from the rethugs. And he keeps doing this bipartisan schick over and over. When things get too tough, like closing Gitmo or extending unemployment benefits for the most needy, he’s nowhere to be found. Irritates the hell out of me.

    I think he’s a good man but he’s in the DC bubble. And he definately needs some new advisors.

    But yeh, he’s better than McCain.

  • jfontaine

    The Republican counter attack is pressing hard.  We need Virginia to stand like old Stonewall Jackson against the forces of hate and intolerance.  Our state has sense what the resumption of republican rule looks Ike and we need to tell a story that it is an awful mess.  We should also be organizing a money bomb for Rick Waugh to help him debate Eric Cantor the heart of the republican machine in Virginia.  I propose that we organize a Stonewall money bomb day on July 21.  This was the date of Jacksons famous stand for Virginia.  Someone want to make a logo?  

  • leedynamo

    I have some friendly criticism.  My support for President Obama should not come into question.

    Despite the clip here, I think it is fair to point out that Rachel Maddow has mixed feelings about President Obama, perhaps more than I do.  I think the President has let his desire for bipartisanship get in the way of passing stronger, better legislation than what is on his clearly admirable accomplishment list.

    President Obama has not taken enough reins from the Congress.  His conciliate legislative strategy has left US, the people who count, somewhat out in the cold. The Lobbyists have been at the table while we are not.  WALL STREET has breathed a sigh of relief over the Financial Reform bill.

    His poll numbers are not down because he is seen as some sort of leftist.  His poll numbers are down because he is seen as indecisive, as another politician cutting deals in Washington.  I want to emphasize that I am talking about PERCEPTION.  I do agree with some of the criticism, but mostly I have been very reluctant to voice my criticism.

    What I see, however, is that Plouffe & Company are not listening to us.

    He promised us change we can believe in.  He has to stop cutting so many deals and get on our side.  The reality is he needs to take on some battles.  Supporting a grassroots response to the Supreme Court decision in  Citizens United might be a possibility.  But, quite naturally, his political efforts need to be focused on the November elections.

    I think he should explain to the public the urgent need for meaningful energy/climate legislation.  I think he should campaign for the Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Act.  http://cantwell.senate.gov/iss…   The environmental community supports this legislation.  They have mastered the science.  I think they have a pretty good idea what we need to do.

    The politicians, some of the best we have (Markey, Waxman, etc), negotiated a lousy Cap & Trade bill.  They cut deals with Coal Country.  WE NEED TO BRING GREEN JOBS TO COAL COUNTRY while we shut down the coal industry ASAP.  The coal industry threatens life as we know it.

    President Obama should remain true to himself.  I think he has been a pretty good President.  I must say, however, that he has not excelled as a political leader in the way he communicates with the public and in the way he gets what he wants (ON OUR BEHALF) from the WASHINGTON SYSTEM.  Stand with us Mr. President.  Fight for us.  Fight for the CLEAR Act.

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      I do not think the emptiness of the GOP’s pretense at bipartisanship has deluded the admin.  Just recently, even centrist Rahm Emanuel suggested the (bipartisan) nice-guy gloves will have to come off because of the blatant obstructionism.

      Note that when Dems are in the majority, as they were in the waning days of Bush, they tried to find ways to cooperate with a president from the other side.  Time and again, we lamented that they gave him much of what he wanted.  Progressives ALWAYS have to compromise.  Our reps will rarely concede that sometimes (often) we are right and the wrong-wing needs to be denied.  And yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, Repubs give their fringe one extremist concession after another.  Heck, they Republican congressional stalwarts even begin talking like the Bachmann extreme fringe.