This is a rant about the rants.
Today, Frank Rich lets loose another tirade against President Obama. Among the commentariat of the Left, penning an anti-Obama tirade is all the rage — Paul Krugman, Arianna Huffington, and others have all become expert practitioners at this craft.
I don’t get it. Even if you assume their attacks have merit (and I don’t think that they have any) I don’t see what good they do. It’s bogus, and stupid.
Given everything Obama has had to face — foremost among the many pressing crises, a devastating economic collapse — he’s done a damned good job. He got Congress to pass the biggest fiscal stimulus since the 1930s. His Treasury Department undertook sensible, prudent efforts to manage the banking meltdown (and showed guts not to listen to the hand-wringers calling for nationalization like Paul Krugman). History will show both of those moves plus action by the Fed probably staved off a Great Depression II.
He’s unleashed a slate of smaller bore efforts — projects on green technology in the Energy Department, and the “Race to the Top” initiative from the Education Department — that are both real, substantive, truly progressive and full of positive longer-term impact.
Through persistence and patience, he got the Senate and the House to pass — for the first time, ever, in our country’s history — comprehensive health care reform legislation. That obviously isn’t done yet, new hurdles have been put in the way — but really, what President has done more to get this passed since FDR?
And, not all all unimportantly, he’s completely changed our military and foreign policy. His decision on Afghanistan may obscure this for some, but the place and role of America in the world is completely different than it was 13 months ago.
The most common complaint I hear about Obama from friends (who support him) is “He hasn’t done enough.” Or “He can’t get stuff done.” Despite the list above, which is hardly comprehensive. I think what’s happening in part is that everyone assumed the election would be the hard part, that the rest would be a cakewalk. That with 59 or 60 Senators and a strong majority in the House that Obama could just proclaim change and that it would happen. And that the country would feel blessed.
People who are adults, with any sense of history or perspective, know this just isn’t the way the world or our country works. The fight continues, always. You pick a team, stay loyal to it, and work through your personal disappointments if you want to try to accomplish something.
Republicans are real good at this. Sadly, too many Democrats and their supporters like Frank Rich suck at it. And that’s what will bring down President Obama — not some conspiracy from the Right. Too bad, you have only yourselves to blame.
UPDATE: Two things I should have added to the list — the auto company bailout last year (an incredible success given the daunting challenges) and the new bank regulations proposed by Obama this past week. Good coverage on the latter here from Daniel Gross on Slate.