“Half Full” Glass of Accomplishments!

karoli over at Crooks and Liars had a post yesterday that talked about the many accomplishments that the Obama administration has achieved in it’s first 18 months. With all the doom and gloom in the news with the oil gushing and the economy looking like it is slowing down, which I think is just a blip that will work itself out, it’s difficult for people to reflect on all the good that has happened since President Obama took office. Progressive policies work and will continue to work. No amount of negative spin by the Repubs and the media can really stop it. They can certainly try though and of course influence public perception…so they can take a poll and tell us how the American people “feel” at any given moment. Which in my opinion is a waste of time and money. Now to karoli’s excellent post…

I am by nature an optimist. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the snark and snipe games as much as the next guy, but my natural inclination is to see the good rather than the bad. Despite popular themes, far more good has come out of the past 18 months of the Obama administration than bad. And that good is only now beginning to hatch. Is it as good as it gets? No. Can it be better? Sure, just ask any of the folks who lost their unemployment benefits (thanks to Republicans) or have exhausted them. Even so, what I see is a half-full glass that needs to be filled more, but still offers a refreshing break.

How many of you can count the number of accomplishments this administration has actually delivered over the past 18 months? Some friends of mine are working on a detailed list now, and the number of substantial, documented, quantifiable accomplishments of this President is well over 300. So far…

Here are a few easily-forgotten examples.

  • Offshore tax haven closure, which benefited rich investors, outsourcers and corporate tax dodgers. [Reference]
  • Reformed Credit Card laws, adding consumer protections against predatory credit card lenders [Reference]
  • Doubled federal funding for clean fuel research [Reference]
  • Expanded Pell grants, enabling more low-income students to go to college. [Reference]
  • Established climate change as a policy priority and set benchmarks for efficient energy standards. [Reference]

These accomplishments stand next to the ones most obvious: Turning the economy around, restoring our international standing, initiating a call for an end to nuclear proliferation worldwide, and getting universal health care passed, to name a few.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has noticed that a lot of good stuff has happened in the last 18 months. If you have been listening to the special interest groups who are focused only on their own pet projects, it would be easy to think that nothing has happened. For 8 years these progressive special interest groups have had their issues gutted by the ruthless, careless, heartless Bush Republican Party and every one of them wants President Obama to take on their issue first. Well considering the separation of powers within our government and the fact that Congress actually passes the laws, we should be damn glad we that we got anything accomplished in the last 18 months. karoli’s take on it…

For those of you who are already sputtering “but, but, but….” and pointing out how each of the initiatives I listed or mentioned are impure, or somehow flawed from the original vision, I offer this: Legislation is an act of Congress. The health care bill, for example, teetered on the very, very edge of what was legislatively possible given the players in the House and in the Senate. One look at the vote counts should be all it takes to understand what that means. Changing one small provision could have killed the entire effort. Instead, we have a future which includes coverage for all, and subsidized coverage for those who cannot afford any health care, covered or otherwise.

If you were to listen to some on the left, you would think that passing health care made things worse for people. They are so blinded by their own selfish interests that they can actually poo poo the fact that people with pre-existing conditions (including children) will benefit.

I have a theory that some of these people, like Jane Hamsher and Cenk Uygur actually became masochists in the 8 years of Bush. They started to like the punishment and really, started businesses from their misery. They tapped into the anger and frustration of progressives and independents, started raising money from them, started picking and choosing candidates to support or defeat….even if those they were trying to defeat were actually Democrats. And then when a Democrat actually got elected(President Obama), they had to manufacture some anger so that the money keeps flowing into their newly formed business ventures. A perfect example of their idiocy was wasting a shitload of progressive money trying to defeat Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, one of the most conservative states in the union. WTF were they thinking? I can see taking on Lieberman, he isn’t and never was a Democrat…I could smell the stench from him when he first came on the national scene, thanks a lot Al Gore. But spending valuable money on taking down a fellow democrat, no matter how moderate they are in a conservative state, is just plain fucking stupid. Even though I am an extreme liberal, I am realistic in knowing that in the southern states in particular, we Democrats aren’t going to get a Russ Feingold elected….no way no how!

I’m looking forward to the next 30 months of the Obama presidency, he is determined to get some shit done and so far is doing a great job at ignoring the narrow special interests and opportunists like Hamsher and Uygur. Keep going Barack, you’re kicking some ass.