All things considered, Barack Obama is one of the Best Presidents we have had…
Mother Jones has printed an intro to an upcoming Washington Monthly commentary by Paul Glastris concerning the evaluation of Barack Obama’s first term. The cover story is called “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” a headline almost guaranteed to set your teeth on edge.
The main text of the Glastris article refers to what Obama has accomplished as opposed to the criticism of what he hasn’t.
It turns out that damn few Presidents have accomplished as much in under four years.
Obama deserves to be judged by ordinary human standards, not by standards of perfection. A sidebar to Glastris’ piece lists Obama’s top 50 accomplishments, and I think it was a mistake to create a list so long. It ends up looking like the usual boring laundry list that any president can trumpet. Better to pare it down to 10 really top achievements in order to highlight how many truly major accomplishments Obama has been responsible for. So I did. Except I couldn’t get there. I cut it down to 13 and got stuck. Here they are, in the same order as the original Washington Monthly list:
1. Passed Health Care Reform
2. Passed the Stimulus
3. Passed Wall Street Reform
4. Ended the War in Iraq
6. Eliminated Osama bin Laden
7. Turned Around US Auto Industry
9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies
14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program
16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards
18. Passed Mini Stimuli (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011)
22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants
27. Achieved New START Treaty
These are all big deals. Big fucking deals, to quote our vice president. Unless you’re just bound and determined to sulk in your tent while insisting that health care was a sellout and the stimulus was too small and Dodd-Frank was feeble and the mini stimuli were more like micro stimuli, there’s just no way around the fact that this is a historically colossal set of progressive accomplishments, especially in the face of a historically hostile political environment.
Remember, this was all during a term when Mitch McConnell went public saying he would make sure none of Obama’s desired legislation would get passed; when tea party members elected to the Congress spent more time criticizing the POTUS than promoting the better lives of the people.
Obama hasn’t done everything I wanted, either. I wish we were out of Afghanistan by now, and I wish we had single-payer health. Maybe someday these will happen. I do believe that no one is perfect… but some people currently in the presidential office are more perfect than others.
Posted on March 13, 2012, in Announcement, campaign, Congress, Corporations, Economics, Education, election, Finance, government, Health Care, history, Job Seeking, Labor, Legal, News, Opinion, Politics, Polls, President Obama, primaries, quote, Taxes, vote, Word from Bill and tagged BarackObama, Mitch McConnell, New START, Obama, Paul Glastris, President of the United States, United States, Washington Monthly. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.