“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.


31 thoughts on ““Half Full” Glass of Accomplishments!

  1. You hit that one just right. I read that article on C&L and was really suprised it was published. The main stream media just can’t and won’t let the people know just how much has been accoomplished and Obama isn’t GW who tooted his own horn all the time. I feel he is doing what he promised to do.

  2. Terrible blog. As someone said in a different blog recently, you must realize we are not on the same team. I could care less whether it was a democrat, a socialist, a green, a social democratic, or what have you. I want people in power who are not corrupt, who support my views, and who will actually make the case for my views.

    This two party plurality voting system is garbage. It has made sure that we only have two parties, greatly limiting the discourse into a narrow spectrum. I am not represented in this system. My views as fairly on pair with parties all across the world, yet in America I am mostly shut up.

    Why are we forced to play defense? Why must progressives vote for the Blanche Lincolns of the world to keep the republicans out? The fact is the political system is broken, and we need mixed member proportional representation and instant runoff voting to ever have a chance of properly representing America.

  3. I’m simply amazed any time I read something that says Obama’s policies are in any way progressive. Other than on the issue of abortion, everything that Obama has done is nothing more than an extension of Ronald Reagan’s policies. I know that people who don’t read history will deny it, but Obama’s praise of Reagan during the campaign was genuine. Obama agrees with Reagan’s policies of strengthening the rich at the expense of the poor and middle classes.

  4. Obama promised genuine health care finance reform. Instead, we got a system that leaves the insurance companies in almost complete control of our health care system.

    Obama promised to reinstate the rule of law. Instead, he continues the Bush policies of extraordinary rendition leading to torture, holding people incommunicado, indefinitely, and without charge or trial. What’s more, people who are guilty of torturing others, even to the point of killing them, remain free and unmolested.

    Obama also promised to reform our banking and finance system. But no one outside of the bought-and-paid-for politicians in Washington is saying that the “most significant finance reform bill” since Roosevelt is nearly enough, or is more than papering over allowing the banks to continue their policies.

    Obama has continued the trickle-down economic policies of the past. He keeps us bogged down in an unwinnable and expensive war. He does everything but follow the Roosevelt policies of the early thirties which were so successful at bringing jobs to the people and restoring our economy. Instead, he wants to make the same mistake that Roosevelt did in 1937 of trying to reduce the deficit during a time of high unemployment and slow growth. That led — as it always will — to the recession of 1938.

    Obama has no reason to “toot his own horn”. He is not an agent of change. He is merely maintaining the status quo, which is exactly what our country does not need.

  5. I am reading Jonathan Alter’s “The Promised”. According to him, Obama has either fulfilled or made progress on over 75% of the approximately 400 campaign promises that he made. Now, to me that seems to be an extreme number, but I wasn’t counting. I really like what they have done on education, too. I wasn’t too impressed with Arne Duncan here in Chicago, but with a little juice behind him, he’s doing some great things for public education.

  6. Your naivete is quite astounding, but not uncommon. You speak as though the president has the power to just make it so. Are you aware that the congress passes the laws? Are you aware that the Senate has been hijacked by the Republicans by abusing the filibuster rule? Are you living in reality or just a fantasy land where the president is all powerful and acts like a dictator. Maybe you should watch C-SPAN for a week or so in order to understand how our government functions.

    On health care reform, see the above paragraph. The congress writes the laws and the GOP are a bunch of assholes…and I would include Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln and Bart Stupak as assholes too.

    I noticed you use the word “promise” a lot, I challenge you to find a quote from President Obama where he “promised” any of the things you say. Let me clue you into how politics works, since you are quite naive about the whole process or just so biased by your hatred….when a politician runs for an office, they make statements about what they plan to do. They usually qualify their statements with words like “I will work with congress to….(fill in the blank)” or “I will pressure the congress to pass….(fill in the blank again). You see, the congress writes the laws and in case you didn’t know it, they are elected by the people of their districts to represent them. We have 3 co-equal branches of government, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial…..sound familiar at all to you?

    Unless you really want the president to be all powerful and just enact shit on us, shut the hell up with your “promise” bullshit, because Obama didn’t “promise” any of the bullshit you put in your comment. It is pretty sneaky for Republicans to block everything he attempts to do and then accuse him of not keeping his promises, pretty slick little dirty trick.

    Financial Reform….see first paragraph for your civics lesson.

    On the wars he was handed when he took office, he’s getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, not quick enough, but he’s doing it. I suppose you would have had him pack up and leave on January 21, 2009, eh?

    On the status quo bullshit, ask all those kids who now have health insurance if they are suffering from “status quo” or…..well, go back up the page and read the bullet points. Status quo…..is reality just a concept for you?

  7. Thanks, I must be doing something right. I have a question for you, if this blog is so terrible, why are you reading it? Please, move on if you don’t like it. Start your own blog.

    Your comment is a perfect example of the “put your head in the sand” mentality. Yes, the two party system sucks. Even people within that system know it, but is the solution to stand on the sidelines and throw grenades at both parties or is it to try to change it. What is your strategy for reforming our political system, whine and cry…..woe is me, I’m a victim, I’m not represented, whaaaaaa, whaaaaaaa.

    I’ve been a democrat since I was old enough to know the difference between the two parties. I’ve never had unrealistic expectations that every democratic candidate would always agree with me on everything. I’ve been pissed off at a lot of democrats over the years, I think we’ve chosen some pretty crappy presidential candidates over the years too….but the Democratic party still represents my views way more than the idiot Republicans, Greens, Tea Party…whatever. So rather than whine and cry on the sidelines, I try to influence my party from the inside. I send letters to my representatives, I express my opinions and try to help steer my party to the left, I donate to candidates that most represent me.

  8. What a bunch of horseshit. What planet are you living on, anyway?

    Let me repost some facts for you.

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

    Facts trump your opinion. You just continue lying and misrepresenting reality if it works for you. I wish you the best in your little world.

    The whole Reagan crap is just too stupid to even respond to. Sorry, I have better things to do with me time.

  9. Is “The Promise” a good read, Staci? I’ve seen Jonathon on a bunch of shows promoting it and I wish I had time to read it. Maybe I’ll get a vacation some time this summer and catch up on some reading. I just bought Bob Cesca’s book “One Nation Under Fear” that I want to read too.

  10. Let me clear up some of your mistakes:

    * Offshore tax haven closures are a mere drop in the bucket. Besides, they are not being enforced uniformly. If they were, then about four hundred multi-billionaires would be in prison right now.

    * Reformed credit laws? Puleeze. When usury is a crime again, then I’ll think something significant has been done.

    * Doubling federal funding on clean fuel research that includes “clean” coal (there is no such thing) is meaningless. Besides, doubling an insignificant amount is not much to brag about.

    * Expanded Pell grants. I’ll admit that they almost got that right. In fact, even the watered down legislation that they got is a lot better.

    * There will be no significant legislation regarding climate change. If and the “benchemark” for an efficient energy standard is the weak CAFE increase we hope to achieve /five years from now/ then I’m far from impressed. The northern polar ice cap is still going to melt in thirty years.

    Besides, nothing that you have cited is anything more than window dressing when compared with the kind of reform that we need. Pull your head out of your ass. Obama hasn’t done nearly enough to fix what ails us.

  11. It depends on how you measure “progress”. As Sen. Feingold said, if the finance and banking reform legislation isn’t enough to prevent the next crash, then whatever progress it represents isn’t very meaningful. It’s like the health care finance “reform” legislation that we got. It nibbled at the edges a little bit, but a lot of people are still going to die because they don’t have enough money, and our costs are going to continue to outrun those in the rest of the world.

  12. Do you really think your first sentence is witty or something? While we shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t like to be challenged, you shouldn’t make your fear of being challenged so obvious.

  13. great post extremeliberal! I’ve gone on the young turks many of times and have found myself trying to pull my hair out in explaining that Obama’s done far more than Cenk has been saying. I’m so tired of progressive think tanks that I’ve given them a rest. I don’t listen to the young turks much anymore because it seems to me is that their is only complaints and no real solutions on Cenk’s end and for that reason I stopped listening to Cenk for some time.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Cenk has no clue on how politics works. His idealism is just as blinding as that of the extreme right. The way Cenk wants to go on about being a moderate middle of the road kinda guy is a weakness. He couldn’t be more wrong.

    Some of their followers are so stupid that they think Obama’s like Reagan, they must have never studied a history book to know that Obama and Reagan are almost polar opposites.

  14. So true, Jeff. Candidate Obama made one reference to Ronald Reagan and how he was a change candidate and all the rabid haters latched onto it with their pea sized brains, a lot of Hillary supporters and others. They have now tried to be clever by trying to paint Obama as Reagan which like you said they are almost polar opposites.

    I’ve only watched the young turks a few times…when I was looking for a certain clip and he was the only one who had posted it. I personally stopped reading many of the blogs that seem to have some notion that the president is all powerful and can just force congress to do his bidding. They are so naive, it really makes me question their intelligence and then question why the hell I’m even reading what they have to say. Thanks for the comment.

  15. You sure do have that hyperbole thing down, don’t you. So you really want to pass a law and lock up 400 multi-billionaires for what they’ve done in the past. Really?

    On Credit Reform, here are the key provisions that you used the word “Puleeze” for.
    The Act’s key consumer protections are:

    * Credit card companies will be drastically limited in their abilities to change rates, a dramatic shift from the present where issuers can raise rates “at any time, for any reason.”
    * Credit card companies cannot increase a card holder’s interest rate during an account’s first year. Following the first year, a credit card issuer can increase the interest rate if the holder is 60 days late in making a payment.
    * If there is a rate increase, the new legislation requires an account review every six months and mandates a lower rate if recent payment history is timely. The older, lower interest rate will be reinstated if bills are paid on time.
    * When there are balances with different interest rates on the same card payments must be applied to the balance with the highest rate first. Currently, credit card companies generally apply the payment to the balance with the lowest interest rate.
    * Double-cycle billing is prohibited.
    * Credit card companies must disclose how the total interest to be paid and how long it will take to pay off the balance if only the minimum monthly payment is made.
    * Over-the-limit fees cannot be charged unless a cardholder agrees to allow issuers to complete transactions that breach the credit limit.
    * Fees for paying bills online or by phone are banned.
    * Credit card marketing to those under 21 will become more difficult. Anyone under 21-years old, must have a parent or guardian co-sign unless the consumer can provide proof of the ability to repay the credit card loan.
    * Statements must be mailed at least 21 days before the balance is due.
    * There must be 45 days notice (rather than 15 days) before a card’s interest rate can be increased.

    So really “Puleeze bite me on that one”

    On doubling funding for clean fuel research, I’m sorry to throw facts in the middle of your bullshit, but here is more info for you…from Politifact.

    “Obama promised to double funding for the efforts, which means we should have seen at least $6 billion dedicated to clean energy research this year.

    We started by poking around in the stimulus bill. According to the Department of Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy got about $2.5 billion for applied research, development and production of geothermal energy, solar energy and wind energy among other renewable fuels. The same office got an additional $2.2 billion through in the latest round of the appropriations process.

    So far, that brings us to $4.7 billion.

    The stimulus bill also included $1.2 billion to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to support major construction, laboratory infrastructure and research efforts. Among other renewable energy research facilities, the money so far has been given to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, both hot spots of advanced energy research. The Office of Science got an additional $4.9 billion in its latest appropriations bill.

    All told, that brings us to $10.8 billion, far more than the $6 billion Obama needed to meet his goal. Since Obama has met and exceeded his goal, we’ll give him a Promise Kept on this pledge.”

    So really, dude, if you want to live in denial you just go right ahead, change is happening around you even if you refuse to believe it.

  16. My first sentence was very serious, if you don’t like what I type, move along. No one is forcing you to read my rantings. I started a blog so I could say whatever the hell I want, if you have something important to say, start your own blog. I get challenged all the time and love debating with people, but really why would you waste your time reading a “Terrible blog” if it is so terrible, seems like a waste of your time to me. I personally don’t read blogs that I think are terrible, but that’s me.

  17. If you wrote that sentence in all seriousness, then you have proven that you can safely be ignored.

    Thanks for the information. Adios!

  18. A lot of these people like evenstar are big Cenk fans and worship everything on the young turks. Most are also pretty ignorant to think that change is supposed to happen over night. Man I have to say I’ve been amazed that Obama’s been doing the stuff that he set out to do and have noticed that the media has been highly negative towards Obama.

    It’s hardly surprising that Cenk who always claimed to be staunchly against the media and goes and makes this bullshit claim that the media has been too quick to praise Obama. Doubtlessly he lied about this to make it sound like he was still some rebel against the media when in reality its exactly the opposite.

  19. To put things in perspective, it’s going to cost $2.5 billion to build a new bridge between Canada and the U.S. in Michigan. This so-called “investment” in clean energy production is insignificant. You’re satisfied with crumbs when we need actual change. Obama promised us change but has failed to deliver it, and your low expectations are letting him get away with continuing Reagan’s trickle-down economic policies. But that just goes to show that real problem isn’t Obama.

    It’s sycophants like you who are the problem.

  20. I have to believe that so much of their hatred towards Obama is because Hillary didn’t win the nomination. Why else would they simply deny so much that he has accomplished. They are blinded by something and I think it is much like a jilted lover or something. Seeing what they want to see, lying at will if it suits their argument, stretching, exaggerating and conveniently leaving things out. Sounds a lot like a Republican to me. I have certainly learned a lot since Obama became president. The main thing is that there are a lot of assholes who call themselves progressives or liberals. And there are a lot of them out to make a quick buck off people’s manufactured anger, and I”m pointing at Hamsher and Uygur and Aravosis. I’m glad that they are becoming marginalized within the party, they really should start their own Tea Party style party, they seem to be about as bright as the teabaggers.

  21. This blog sure has proven one thing to me. I figured that Rahm Emanuel style democratic’s were something you would only find in washington. The sort of people who get mad at people on the left not supporting the democratic party when they don’t agree with the policies they are pursuing. That accept the slowest trickle of change in the right direction as acceptable. Is Obama better than a republican? Yes, he is better than a modern day republican for sure. But that does not mean he is good enough. As another poster said, whether Obama’s policies mov us in the right direction isn’t the issue, it is whether they go far enough in the right direction to solve issues which have serious time constraints, and over all, his do not. And in some cases, they go in the opposite direction.

    As for the response to me, how can you on one hand say I have “put my head in the sand mentality” while complaining that I am reading blogs of people I do not agree with? Seems pretty backwards. As for throwing grenades, how is attacking both parties as wrong a bad thing? I do not support either party, and I want people to know that they are flawed. Telling people the flaws IS an attempt to fix the system. Sending letters to your congressman isn’t enough. You are playing in a broken system. To get real change you need to find a way outside the system. You will never significantly effect things with letters and voting in this system. I hate the 2 party system because it doesn’t work, it will never represent people properly, so I refuse to simple work from the inside out and hope for the best.

  22. Hillary isn’t much better. Why do you not get this, we are not on the same team. You’re team democrat, great, you deserve to have your own team. I am not. I know the sort of changes I want. hell, I know the sort of party I support. I really like social democratic parties, Green parties, and democratic socialist parties, and a few others. I support single payer as the only effective healthcare system. I support strong regulations on industry. I support cutting the military budget by 50% and getting away from the wars. I support mixed member proportional representation and instant runoff votingand campaign finance reform, and the list goes on.

    You talk as if Obama has done all this progressive change that I should love. And sure, he has changed stuff, but change doesn’t mean “change I can believe in.” My position of healthcare is single payer, Obama didn’t even try to get the compromise from my positon, a public option. Even the COMPROMISE wasn’t enough. Sure I got some good stuff that only a fool would vote against, but the core of what i wanted wasn’t even passed in watered down form. The wars have continued to grow, and the military budget has continued to grow, where as my position is the budget should be cut in half. Not only did I not get anything I want in this area, I’m getting the opposite.

    Things like mixed member proportional representation and instant runoff voting are not even talked about in either party. Campaign finance reform is one of the most critical things to get passed, and the leadership couldn’t care less about it. The entire political system continues like this. My own views unrepresented, and often the opposite of what I support becoming law. When I complain about this stuff, you rahm emanuel democrats just tell us to vote defensively, vote for the democrat so a republican can’t be elected. Any chance someday we can get a party in government we actually support? To much to ask?

  23. As for one of your posts above to EveningStarNM, surely you realize we are not just beating down the president, but rather the whole system. I do not want to put words in his mouth so I will stick to my opinion. The entire system is garbage. Obama has power, and was elected because people thought he was going to be a progressive, and are pissed that he is not, but that doesn’t mean he takes all the blame. I would like to see nearly every congressman lose his job. The problem isn’t Obama or anyone else, it is that our politics are controlled by corporate money. Corporations are considered persons, allowing them to effect the system. Our election system makes it so to campaign and be elected you need corrupt money. As well as many other holes for them to fill.

    Government is the shadow, not the substance. Corporate power is the enemy I am fighting, and it just so happens that corporate power has a firm hold on the political process. This has corrupted our government officials, and made sure they are not working for us properly. Single payer and the public option for many years now have had huge support with the American people, yet is dead on arrival in congress. This is the problem that faces us.

    Also, a lot of the criticism of Obama is his weak approach to governing. To truely get bipartisan support on something actually good, you have to be aggressive. Remove committee seats. Threaten hard challenges in peoples districts. Refuse them money. Tell them you’re going to kick their ass if they don’t vote the way you want. It is also good practice to start off with a really strong bill. Far stronger than you expect to get, and then when the whole process goes through the watered down version is closer to what you wanted. Obama does none of these sorts of things. He starts with compromised bills, preempting the request for compromise, throwing away his hand. To get real reform done you can’t be nice, you got to kick some ass.

  24. your beating down the whole system? To what end? What would this accomplish? Its better to write, call your legislator vote for the person who best suites what you want done. You don’t have to agree with them on everything. Hell their are things that I wish Obama would do more of but its useless you yell and scream at the system. This isn’t how you make change happen.

    Fact is that single payer just wasn’t an option. The presidents job is to try and work with congress. Clinton had to which was why he had to do the don’t ask don’t tell policy. It sucked but he had to work with a republican lead congress.

  25. Your comments are so laughable eveningstar, are you old enough to know anything about Reagan? I’m sure Reagan would have passed health care reform if only he had a chance, huh? LOL! Thanks for the laughs, really. See my most recent post, if you think it is Reagan like trickle down, you have some serious issues, dude.

  26. Do you actually care about policy or are you just on Team Democrat no matter if what they’re doing is in many ways alike what Bush was doing?

  27. If you are addressing me in your comment, yes, I am a very loyal democrat. Proud to be one. Especially considering the other options I have or rather, don’t have. We aren’t perfect and I don’t always agree with all people who call themselves Democrats, but who does?

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