Barack Obama's Quietly Transformative Presidency

by: Mets102

Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 15:05:18 PM EST



Does this line sound familiar?

widely panned by liberals as a watered-down sellout

Am I discussing any of the various pieces of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law President Obama?  Actually, I am not.  I am discussing a man considered a liberal hero and the president that many of President Obama's critics on the left wish he would emulate:  Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When FDR created Social Security in 1935, the program offered meager benefits that were delayed for years, excluded domestic workers and other heavily black professions (a necessary compromise to win southern votes), and was widely panned by liberals as a watered-down sellout. Only in subsequent decades, as benefits were raised and expanded, did Social Security become the country's most beloved government program.

Those words are written in "The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama," an article by Paul Glastris in the most recent edition of Washington Monthly.  The article is a long read, but is well worth it, detailing some of President Obama's most important actions and accomplishments, and their ability to transform our country in the long run.

Mets102 :: Barack Obama's Quietly Transformative Presidency
Glastris lays out in complete detail what many of us already know - President Obama's accomplishments are many and are lost to many people.  There are a panoply of reasons for this.  There is the economy, which is still struggling, particularly when it comes to employment.  There is the sheer volume.  There is the Republican noise machine dedicated to defeating President Obama at all costs, even if it involves destroying the country in the process.  There is the fact that many of these accomplishments have been done quietly because President Obama is more interested in governing than he is playing the game.

This paragraph sums up perfectly exactly what drives many criticisms of President Obama - both from the left and from the right - along with the significance of his achievements and that they are not just for the present day, but even more so for posterity:

In short, when judging Obama's record so far, conservatives measure him against their fears, liberals against their hopes, and the rest of us against our pocketbooks. But if you measure Obama against other presidents-arguably the more relevant yardstick-a couple of things come to light. Speaking again in terms of sheer tonnage, Obama has gotten more done than any president since LBJ. But the effects of some of those achievements have yet to be felt by most Americans, often by design. Here, too, Obama is in good historical company.

In three years, our president has gotten more done than every president in his lifetime, save one.  Like Lyndon Johnson and like Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt before him, some of President Obama's accomplishments will be felt while he is in office.  However, the true benefit of them will be felt many years down the road, and in perpetuity - should the Republicans be thwarted in their attempts to gut them.

Many speak of how we need a transformational president at this moment; one who will break with recent history and reverse the conservative tide that has dominated our government these past 30 years.  Many argue that Barack Obama has not been this president.  However, I would say that the evidence shows President Obama is exactly that type of president.  It is simply that he is quietly transforming this country, the transforming being lost in the background noise of hopes, fears and everyday worries.  When we have the benefit of history we will assuredly look back differently upon his record.

I close by referring to a site I have referred to here many times to highlight President Obama's many and varying accomplishments - What the fuck has Obama done so far? (PG version here) - and to Washington Monthly's list of "Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments."

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And posting this not too long before Shabbat... (2.00 / 9)
so, I'll only be around to comment for about 2 hours at most this afternoon.  Shabbat Shalom and good weekend to everyone.

I'm a Democrat.  Yellow.  New.  Progressive.  Blue.  Liberal.  Centrist.  We need them all in our big tent.

I cannot say it better: (2.00 / 8)
I would say that the evidence shows President Obama is exactly that type of president.  It is simply that he is quietly transforming this country, the transforming being lost in the background noise of hopes, fears and everyday worries.  When we have the benefit of history we will assuredly look back differently upon his record.

I have been and remain as pleased with President Obama as I had hoped to be. There has not been a better president by any measure in my lifetime.

It seems obvious that we will know these things later. I'm looking forward to reading the glowing reviews in my dotage.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
^^^this^^^ (2.00 / 8)
Being already partway into my dotage, I may not be around long enough to read the glowing reviews, but I have no doubt they'll be written, with a staggering wealth of evidence to back them.  I daresay there are things happening under this President we have no whiff of yet, that will make massive differences for the course of this country in the decades to come.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Mt Rushmore... (2.00 / 8)
And Twenty-second amendment appeal.  

[ Parent ]
Appeal? (2.00 / 7)
Or would repeal appeal more to ya?

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Yes... (2.00 / 6)
That.  What you said.

[ Parent ]
asdf (2.00 / 9)
Photobucket

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Lincoln would get a kick out of it. (2.00 / 8)
Can you imagine what he would say?

I can, and it would be an epic speech.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Yup. Me too. I'm already convinced that, barring anything (2.00 / 9)
awful happening, he's going to rank at least in the top ten presidents, if not the top five once he's done.

I recall Bill Clinton lamenting that he could never rank as a great president because he didn't have to confront any truly serious challenges.

Obama confronted both economic disaster and wars at the same time--even dear old FDR didn't have to do both at once--and all of it in the face of intransigent opposition and a stupid, debilitating press corps.

I'm simply enjoying finally having a president I can truly admire. I weep for the poor emoprogs who are missing this, and who would have done the same to FDR (and did, actually, as that excellent article states).

Every successful revolution puts on in time the robes of the tyrant it has deposed.--Barbara Tuchman  


[ Parent ]
I remember Nixon being re-elected, (2.00 / 7)
a smart but dark and bitter President.

Ford, nice guy but rather hapless as a President.

Carter, very nice guy, uber hapless.

Reagan put some confidence back in a country that desperately needed it, and a better politician than his opposition likely credits him, rebuilt the armed forces we have relied on since (pretty good record when you write it out, really). Still, even though I am saying this in this kind of forum, not the brilliant statesman, more of a great poker player.

Clinton presided over good times, and deserves some credit for that, but as you say there wasn't anything you could point to as a seminal accomplishment against all odds.

Bush Sr, bland and uninspiring despite himself.

Bush Jr, big heart, really small brain.

President Obama is as smart as Clinton (genius) or smarter. Self-aware and controlled like no President I know of - almost a throw-back to the behavior we would expect of a Gentleman Politician from the 1800s or 1700s. Seems to me - newbie moments notwithstanding - that he is more aware of the details of both his job and the mind-mapping of the world issues around him than not only any president in my life but probably any ever (go back much further than I remember and it wasn't possible for a US President to be fully informed).

Each of these listed could be criticized beyond my descriptions by there opponents, but that isn't the point I am making. It isn't about his policies - which I agree with more often than not - it is about his professionalism. This is the most sincere and studied student who has perhaps ever stepped up to the thankless task of running this country. Love him or hate him, in retrospect all of the punditocracy  are going to have to pay him considerable due respect.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
One Clinton accomplishment that NEVER gets enough mention (2.00 / 6)
is the Good Friday agreement.  

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/106...

People simply do not grasp how historic and important was his engagement in Ireland.  Sure, the involvement of his administration was more advisory and supportive than that of a broker.  But there is no way it happens without his attention and support, and the resources and personnel he dispatched.  We're talking centuries of bloodshed here.  And he shepherded them to a political closure.

I really don't understand it.  It's one of the greatest diplomatic achievements in history.  One with direct and fundamental benefit for a region.  Every time I hear that he failed to act in Rwanda (and he did) and that he failed to close the deal between Israel and Palestine at Camp David (for which I don't think he can reasonably be blamed) I immediately mention Ireland.  You should to.

Blessed be the peacemakers indeed!

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
did FAIL to act in Rwanda, I meant n/t (2.00 / 5)


The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
The violence in Ireland ending was amazing. (2.00 / 4)
Took away a little of my fun, though, in a trivial way. I still use the same sort of response to statements like this:

"There's nothing anyone can do, people Over There (iow: 'anyplace not Europe') have been fighting for thousands of years. They will never stop."

"Yeah I know, but there could be peace in Europe someday."


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
'nuff said (2.00 / 8)
Photobucket

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


You just rock, you know that? (2.00 / 7)
We abosolutely, positively have to get together this year. The wisteria bower will be be-leaved in a month or so, bonfires beckon, and/or I will find myself in that funny place they run this funny state from before the snow flies again.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Count me in! (2.00 / 6)


The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
mi casa es su casa (2.00 / 7)
and, that goes for all moose, all the time.  moosecon, '12.  let's do this thing.

Photobucket

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
When and where? (2.00 / 3)
...

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
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