Extreme Liberal's Blog

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Obama’s First Year, A Reality Check!

For anyone who has read my blog, they know that I support President Obama as much as anyone does. Some on the left have abandoned the ship, I question whether they really were ever on the ship to begin with. I attribute much of this to ignorance. Ignorance about what he actually ran on during the election, ignorance about the state of politics in Washington and ignorance about where the majority of the American people stand on issues. This ignorance grew out of lack of attention to what candidate Obama actually said and proposed during the campaign.

I had several friends who were staunch Hillary Clinton supporters and whenever I talked to them during the campaign, all I heard was “style” and “process” comments, berating his slick speaking ability, his lack of experience, the 3 am phone calls, bitter comments….you know, all the crap the media kept trotting out that had nothing to do with policy or visions for what he wanted to accomplish. People hear what they want to hear when they are adamantly supporting one candidate over another. I’m sure I did the same to Hillary, dodging gunfire in Bosnia etc.

So now that we are back to reality and out of campaign mode, many who didn’t pay attention to those pesky details are upset that he’s not delivering what they had fantasized were his positions. The biggest example of this is Afghanistan. Candidate Obama made it very clear that he was going to increase troops in Afghanistan and phase us out of Iraq. I heard him when he talked about it, did the Jane Hamshers and Arianna Huffingtons even listen to what he had to say? Selective amnesia anyone? So when he followed through on his promise, why would these progressives act like he went back on some imaginary promise? He did exactly what he said he would do.

I’m not a big fan of war and violence in any form, I’m definitely a dove in the hawk/dove analogy. But considering the can of worms that Bush/Cheney opened up and then left for this president, I’d say he’s handling it about as good as you could. The one thing that makes me believe that we have a job to do in Afghanistan is the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons and of course the two countries are very much connected by the Taliban and other extreme groups that are straddling the borders between these countries. Abandoning the area, like many on the left want, would be a major disaster for the world, not just the region. It appears that the Obama administration is taking things seriously with the capture of the Taliban’s top commander recently and the operations they’ve been doing in Pakistan to minimize their power.

Andrew Sullivan (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) had a very good post about Obama’s first year, you can find the whole thing here. I highly recommend reading the whole thing. One of my favorite parts of the post is…

His inheritance is one even Republicans concede was the worst since Reagan’s: a global economy spiraling into a possible Second Great Depression; a deficit exploding just as long-term debt was poised to enter the red zone; failing banks; an imploding car industry; two flailing wars; a deeply polarized country; a mortgage crisis; a collapse in America’s moral standing after the Cheney torture regime; 30 million Americans with no health insurance; crumbling domestic infrastructure; and eight wasted years in the fight to mitigate climate change.

So where did he go wrong? Was the stimulus too big or too small? In retrospect, it looks like a pretty good balance in putting a bottom under the economy without adding too much debt. Was the bank rescue insufficient, as many liberals at the time argued? Nope. If you judge by results, Obama got it right: no nationalization and targeted bailout money led to a stunning turn-around in which many of the major recipients of aid were able to pay it back within a year. Last week, Obama announced a big new tax on the banks to get back the rest and is preparing a major new bill for financial re-regulation. In other words, he didn’t succumb to leftist populism or right-wing ideology. He neither attacked the banks nor let them off the hook. And it worked. The global economy has since stabilized – something that was by no means inevitable.

On the foreign policy front, the president has done incredible work at restoring America’s image around the world. We ARE more safe now than we’ve been since 9/11, there is no question in my mind about that. Here is Andrew Sullivan’s take on that…

More broadly, his quiet demotion of inflammatory rhetoric in the war on Jihadist terrorism in favor of talking softly and taking one Qaeda leader out at a time strikes me as a shrewder way to win this war than Bush’s grandstanding. On Iran, he helped the Green Movement immensely by removing the “Great Satan” card from the Khamenei junta’s weakening hand. If he can target sanctions precisely at the Revolutionary Guard, he could help some more. But his breakthrough was in understanding – as any conservative should – that this is the Iranians’ revolution, not America’s. And the job of the West is to get out of the way.

Finally, Andrew writes about his prospects going forward and the state of Republican politics.

This rabid conservatism – one that seeks more tax cuts as debt spirals, that thinks Gitmo is an asset in the war on terror, that wants no extension of health insurance, no bailouts, no stimulus – may well ride some populist anger to short term success at the ballot box (watch Massachusetts’ by-election next Tuesday). But under Obama, the Republicans have become whiter, more extreme, more religious, and synonymous in the public mind with polarizing figures like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn beck. This may be a good ratings strategy for a cable¬† network like Fox News, but it’s a highly risky one for a party attempting to win back the center.

Change has never been easy for people to take and it opens you up to all sorts of carping from all directions. Some don’t want the change, others want different change (even if you never promised them their fantasy change), others want their change faster or different and much of the carping and hatred is rooted in racism, plain and simple. They may not always say it outwardly, but it’s not hard to figure out when you scratch just below the surface.

His critics would have you believe that his first year was a disaster, to them I say “wake up, take a drink of reality.” In just one year, President Obama has made major gains at putting America back on track as a compassionate, efficient, people-centered country where decisions are based on how they will impact people, not corporations like Haliburton, Blackwater, Bechtel, Exxon…..and the list goes on. Sure, he isn’t the left president I would have in my fantasy land, but I don’t live in that fantasy land, I live in a country that elected George W. Bush TWICE! President Obama is helping to steer the ship back on course and the only way to change the American people’s mindset is through persuasion and giving them concrete reasons why it is in their best interest to also care about people.

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February 16, 2010 - Posted by | Democratic Party, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, President Barack Obama, Republican Party

16 Comments »

  1. Very good post Jim. I don’t agree with your view but I did enjoy reading the post.

    Comment by Chicken Hammer | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks Chicken Hammer.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. Reading this post I have not found one positive move this administration has made to help the country.

    He is surrounded by political corrupt handlers, has yet to follow through on his promises, 95% of the people will get a tax cut, transparent government, no lobbyists influence.

    It is unfortunate the American Taxpayer is the one who has to pay for our political corrupt system including G Bush who was a disaster.

    I will never see the liberal side because I believe in personal choice not government control. It is too bad both sides can’t work together for the good of all and not just to get reelected and make their party look good.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  4. Ralph, I can’t believe you actually would type “Reading this post I have not found one positive move this administration has made to help the country.”
    How about the part where he prevented the second great depression? Were you in the country about a year and some months ago when the entire housing market and financial system was about to collapse? Pensions gone, life savings gone, people jumping out of buildings….complete mayhem?(from Ghostbusters) You can nonchalantly say “I have not found one positive move…”, give me a break. You are being intellectually dishonest with yourself if you can’t give any credit to Obama.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 18, 2010 | Reply

  5. He prevented the second great depression. Nice talking points put out by the administration with no proof. After a trillion dollars, unemployment is up, there is no sign of recovery, banks are still being closed and executives are getting undeserved bonus. Just like FDR ended the great depression when his actions lengthened the depression.

    The housing market collapsed because the banks were forced to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them in the a hose for everyone program.

    Instead of working on the economy, the administration is spending their time on taking over corporations, socializing medicine and creating a non sustainable debt.

    I don’t believe in government control of my life and Obama does. Easy to blame Bush, the rich, the evil corporations. The answer is personal responsibility and we have little of that in this country.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  6. Ronald Reagan’s unemployment rate was over 10%. Were at 9% now. Where’s your apology to President Obama, Ralphie?

    All of our current economic problems started under and were created under George Wingnut Bush, so where’s your apology to President Obama for blaming him for the pendulum swing?

    George Wingnut Bush is to blame for his 8 years. The End.

    Comment by KayInMaine | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  7. Well, Ralphie, it isn’t just the White House who is saying we prevented the second great depression, it’s every single economist in the country, almost to a person. Now, I know it’s fashionable for republicans to just deny reality, lie, distort, make shit up……but there is still a reality that exists and I prefer to live in it.

    “The banks were forced to make loans”….by who? That’s complete horseshit, Bush stopped enforcing regulations and along with some shit Clinton did, it made it profitable for them to loan even when the loans were risky, they could just sell them to someone else. It used to be that banks only loaned money to those who could afford to pay it back, they had internal controls and standards.

    “Instead of working on the economy..” more horseshit, what exactly do you think the stimulus was, you can’t have it both ways, accuse him of spending a trillion dollars and then say he didn’t do anything for the economy. Once again, every single economist said we needed to stimulate the economy, the quickest way to do that is government spending, deal with it.

    And he isn’t “socializing” medicine, far from it, I wish he was socializing medicine, I don’t think people’s health should be a commodity, a profitable venture….some die, some live, that’s the market, you know. You cold hearted bastards that don’t give a shit about your fellow man ought to go off to an island and fight each other to the death.

    He’s not taking over corporations, if you are talking about the auto industry, regardless of how much you republicans hate the unions, those are real, hard working Americans doing those jobs, paying their taxes, building American made cars that help employ millions of other folks who support the auto industry. He loaned them money, to help keep them afloat, to keep those Americans working, paying taxes.

    And don’t even fucking talk about “creating a non sustainable debt” after the Republicans history over the last 30 years, the numbers don’t lie. Republicans are big spenders, and I might add, stupid spenders. Giving a trillion dollars to Haliburton, Blackwater, Bechtel and the rest of the military industrial complex is nothing but a big fucking waste of money.

    And the personal responsiblity bullshit that republicans trot out, which is basically code for “I’ve got mine, you get yours”. Which isn’t what this country is about, greed. President Obama is bringing back the notion that we actually care about our fellow man and woman, selfishness only breeds selfishness.
    End of rant.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 22, 2010 | Reply

  8. Poor Ralphie. He still believes the banks were forced to make bad loans. Ummmm Ralphie, can you name the individual who held a gun to the heads of the bankers and told them that they had better give out loans or they’ll be dead?

    Comment by KayInMaine | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  9. Isn’t that screwed up that they want to blame people who took out loans that they were approved for, trying to own a home instead of pissing money down a rental hole. Let’s blame them for wanting to improve their lives. Bankers used to be more responsible in their lending, before they could just sell the risk off to someone else.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  10. Carter started it, clinton expanded it

    The stimulus has failed and that is the reason they, the lock step liberals, don’t mention stimulus any more. The money they spent did not go to supporting productive jobs, unless you believe a government is productive.

    You are a liberal and I realize you support the robin hood act and are always happy to give away what you don’t own.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  11. Denial isn’t just a river in Eqypt. The stimulus worked according to all economists, or nearly all. The only ones denying it are those out to paint the president as a failure. All those people working along the road I saw all summer, for private contractors, they had jobs. They had Christmas’, They paid there mortgage…..just saying it didn’t work, doesn’t make it so. State and local governments kept firefighters and police and others in local and state governments. You have something against firefighters? Are they not real jobs because they are employed by a government. Get over it, government exists, it serves a purpose and it keeps greedy fucks like you in check. Thank goodness.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  12. The question you didn’t answer is, did they have jobs before the taxpayers giveaways and would they have had jobs if we didn’t bankrupt America?

    Just because someone is building roads doesn’t mean it would not have happened with all the pork money. I am sure you remember back when the Emanuel puppet said without this money unemployment would raise above 8%. Guess what, it did even with all this taxpayer money.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  13. So Ralph, did you oppose the giveaway of your tax dollars to Haliburton, Blackwater and Bechtel for a war that wasn’t necessary, no WMD’s, no connection to 9/11? I’m sure you won’t answer that question. I know you conservatives are living in “denial land”, it’s almost futile trying to argue with you folks, lies, mischaracterizations, denial, black is white, white is black. Bizarro world.

    In response to your question. Does it matter if it saved their job or created it? Either way, they were working. And just because “Emanuel” wasn’t accurate with his prognostication, WTF does that have to do with anything. It’s a red herring. Economists say the unemployment rate would be much worse without the stimulus, are you denying that too? It must suck to live in denial land where all you have is your own manufactured reality. It makes me laugh when you all do it. Thanks for the laughs.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  14. Because state and local governments were getting ready to lay off workers, the stimulus money saved their jobs!

    Comment by KayInMaine | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  15. Jimmy I agree that unemployment would have been worse, just shorter lived. The illegal war issue has been overplayed just like Obama not being born in the US.

    Why is it that leftists can’t defend the Emanuel administration by pointing to things he has accomplished , hint he hasn’t accomplished anything.
    Remember that a majority of leftists voted to go into Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought it was not the thing to do but I support limited US involvement in and foreign country, something no administration adopts.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | February 24, 2010 | Reply

  16. Hey Ralph, I’ve done a few posts about the accomplishments of this administration, which are far greater than any recent presidents, but you would just deny that they actually happened.

    Comment by ExtremeLiberal | February 24, 2010 | Reply


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