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Friday, December 24, 2010

"Others Dream. Obama Does."

President Obama is a realist who gets things done: he makes his case, counts votes, makes his best deal and the country moves forward. That’s progress.http://progress.barackobama.com/?source=FBS  He doesn’t gloat or count enemies but moves to the next task.  In contrast, others hold to principle and accomplish nothing. Purists for health care reform, for example, insisted on the best solution in 1993 and came away with nothing. Mr. Obama took the best he could get and came away with sweeping improvements to the health care system.  Ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” major financial industry reform and a critical nuclear arms treaty are just a few more examples of the accomplishments as a result of his modus operandi.

The American political landscape is littered with lost causes in which noble stalwarts led a righteous army into the realm of folk song glory and nothing much else.  Mr. Obama promised change we can believe in, the politics of the real — not the remotely possible, or the “should have been.” He has delivered on his promise. In these difficult, complex times, we are fortunate to have Mr. Obama in the White House. by Ed Morales

The frustration that we’ve seen from the likes of John McCain, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (not to mention, outrageous outbursts such as Joe Wilson’s “You lie!”), have bordered on obscene temper-tantrums. All of which make the contrast between themselves and this affable president all the more striking. His Zen-like focus on the issues before him, and away from the caterwauling of the peanut gallery has already driven the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs to the brink of insanity, and now it appears, the Caporegimes of the GOP are following suit. The cooler he is, the hotter they become.

During events attended by leadership of both parties, he gazes over at the gallery of red-faced buffoons on the Republican side; seething with hatred... and he flashes that winning smile. Because while they’ve been playing checkers, he’s been playing chess. Not without a few take-back moves, but for the most part, passing the legislation that the American people sent him there to do, while the likes of John Kyl, Mike Pence and John Cornyn grumble their dissatisfaction to anybody who will listen over at Fox News.  The point being, is that president Obama’s magic bullet is one that none of his adversaries possess - an almost uncanny ability to avoid becoming rattled by anything. And thus far, that gift has served him well.

Always taking the high ground has not only allowed him to ignore the taunts that are intended to distract him from his agenda, but it also spotlights who they are... an angry mob of dysfunctional, purely-partisan, mostly old, white, southern sycophants, whose only goal is the destruction of one man, and that man’s increasingly successful presidency. And the higher the ground he takes, the lower, it by default, puts them.  And throughout it all; after being called a liar, a socialist, a Marxist, a secret Muslim, an illegal Kenyan plant, all the racial innuendo, even attacking his wife -- he just keeps smiling! Because he knows that the cooler he stays, the angrier it makes them. And the angrier they are, the more it exposes their agenda of hate. 

Stay cool Mr. President, stay cool. Your character may yet be their downfall.  by Bruce Linder  
“If you would have told policy people and political scientists two years ago that halfway through his term in office, Barack Obama will have accomplished 85% of his agenda, they would have laughed at you and told you how impossible that would be given the amount of polarization in our legislative process. If you would go on to tell them that after one year Obama would lose his 60 vote majority in the Senate, and would still pass major legislation the experts would have told you to seek mental help, but this is exactly what President Obama has accomplished.” ~ Rachel Maddow, December 22, 2010What has Obama done so far?

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Rachel Maddow - 06-25-10

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President.  Why?– because he is succeeding.  

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the right and left.  Here is what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his fault:

An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries

Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral

The worst economic crisis since the depression

America ‘s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war

A health care system in free fall

An educational system in free fall

A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)

An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?
What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly! They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.  The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!  Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never mind that he signed a new hate crimes law!).  Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!  And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond. “Governing”?! What the hell does that word, uh, like mean?” The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure.

Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong! The Obama critics’ ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas-say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office twice!  Meanwhile back in the reality-based community – in just 12 short months –President Obama:
Continued to draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Restored America ‘s image around the globe (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Banned torture of American prisoners (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stopped the free fall of the American economy (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stood up for educational reform (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Won a Nobel peace prize (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Stopped the free fall of job losses (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty”. (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly (But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!  Who actually has failed……are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.  Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors! by By Frank Schaeffer

Before President Obama took office - January 2009:  We have learned that the $700 billion Wall Street bailout signed into law under George W. Bush turned out to be pocket change compared to the trillions and trillions of dollars in near zero interest loans and other financial arrangements the Federal Reserve doled out.

2008 DNC National Convention:


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