They call it the Second-Term Shuffle, and it usually goes something like this: Talk about the great things you’ve done, carefully avoid mentioning your original (broken) campaign promises, blame Congress when they do come up, and try to convince the public that they should vote your vice president, or someone else from your party, into office. Which almost never happens, since public sentiment would up swinging the other way after you broke your original campaign promises. For nigh on 200 years, the Second-Term Shuffle has run with about the same consistency as the Biker Shuffle at any given club on any given Friday night.
For the first time in history — yes, all of history — an American president has accomplished nearly 100 percent of his domestic agenda. And, as we here well know, he’s done it in spite of being saddled with the single worst, most obstructionist, most hateful, most Hell-bent-deranged body of legislators in history. Which we say speaks pretty well of Kenyan Muslim socialists everywhere.
The Right has done everything they can to cast Obama as, if not a hopelessly mediocre do-nothing whose appeal rests solely on his race, then at least an utter failure and the living embodiment of evil. They ask if it’s “too late” for him to “rescue his presidency.”
Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine reports:
On January 20, 2009, when Obama delivered his inaugural address as president, he outlined his coming domestic agenda in two sentences summarizing the challenges he identified: “Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.”
Those were the four major areas of domestic reform: economic recovery measures, health-care reform, a response to climate change, and education reform. (To the justifiable dismay of immigration advocates, Obama did not call for immigration reform at the time, and immigration reform is now the only possible remaining area for significant domestic reform.)
With the announcement of the largest piece of his environmental program last Monday, Obama has now accomplished major policy responses on all these things. There is enormous room left to debate whether Obama’s agenda in all these areas qualifies as good or bad, but “ineffectual” seems as though it should be ruled out at this point.
Charles Krauthammer called the address, below, “the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president.”
Nobody will dispute that fulfilling those promises didn’t require a fair bit — or, more honestly, and uncomfortable lot — of compromise. That was inevitable, especially given the stunningly obstructionist Tea Party congress he got saddled with. Remember, this is the same group that swore to make Obama a “one-term president,” and to “stop him at every turn.”
So, standard procedure for conservatives everywhere: The thing they said they were for literally could not be further from what they actually did.
But, Obama still has plenty of critics, even among his supporters. When he made those promises, most of us were hoping for something more along the lines of full social healthcare, 1990s-level wealth in the 1950s-level middle-class, zero unemployment, the best educational system in the world, the complete abandonment of fossil fuels, powerplants that ran on rainbows, and polar icecaps thicker than Mitt Romney’s $400 haircut.
Obama accomplishes nearly 100 percent of his 2009 domestic agenda.
We may have to wait till 2016, maybe 2018, for all that. But, in the meantime, let’s take a moment to bask in the glowing, impotent rage of Rush Coulter and Karl Hannity-Jones, and review the ways in which our Kenyan Muslim president has accomplished his mission — with two years to spare for gun grabbin’ and setting up FEMA camps.
Economic Recovery: By the time Obama entered office, the Bush Recession had already crushed our — and most of the world’s — economy by sheer force of greed. Obama’s first actions kept the Great Recession from turning into a full-blown Great Depression. An $800 billion stimulus, the Frank-Dodd financial regulations, bank reorganization and the auto bailout were controversial moves, but they gave America’s sinking ship the vital moments it needed to level out. Since then, we’ve been steadily bailing water and pumping ballast from the bilge. Unemployment is down to at least mid-2008 levels, as is deficit spending, with both dropping steadily. Wall Street closed at an all-time high not long ago, and Gross Domestic Product is growing at about the same rate it was in 2007. We’ve got a ways to go yet, but the way things are going, we very likely will see a full recovery to a Pre-Bush-Recession economy by the time Hillary gets elected.
Health Care Reform: Obamacare. Despite the fact that almost nobody likes it (us because blood-sucking insurance companies are still involved, them because Obama’s involved), the Affordable Care Act has already hit its target number for paying enrollees. Uninsured rates are dropping precipitously, and the exponential rise in the cost of medical care has at least begun to level off. Which, in itself is impressive, considering that Koch-owned conservatives were (again) predicting exactly the opposite. More impressively still, this is in spite of the fact that almost half the states in the country don’t even allow their citizens access to expanded Medicaid. Because, Tea Party. Once those states’ constituencies start firing the people who are killing them…well, we’ll see what the figures look like then.
Education Reform: Obama’s education reforms haven’t been mind-blowing, but some progress is better than the regress we were facing under Republican authority. As of now, it’s estimated that about 22 million students are currently benefitting from Obama’s educational reforms, which included doubling funding for Pell grants, offering “Race to the Top” grants for schools that improved standards and education, and most recently, stopped student loans from more than doubling for 7 million college students, and capped federal student loan rates at 10 percent of income. Which is, you know…better. At least, it’s better than just sending all the white kids to private schools to receive a proper, Christian education before the strongest get shipped off to Koch U to get an indoctrination they’ll never finish paying for.
A Response to Climate Change: In 2009, Obama promised to “double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in three years.” Challenge accepted, and met: Solar energy supplies have tripled, and wind energy has increased by a whopping 16-to-1. But that was a somewhat intangible thing for most. Obama’s latest bit of legislature has been called a “war on coal” by people who sell coal. The rest of us just call it “a market-based cap on carbon emissions via EPA regulations passed more than 20 years ago.” It might not be the most drastic step imaginable, but nobody can argue that it’s not a serious response to climate change. You know it’s serious, because the Koch Brothers hate it.
And, there it is.
Rage and fume, Tea Party.
We shall, for just this moment, bask in the seething hatred of your impotence. Spew hate and crack thunder, blame each other, blame God, when you couldn’t even prove effective at making someone else ineffective — even as you outnumbered him 100 million to one. Stop progress? HA! You’ve failed in everything you’ve done. You couldn’t keep our president from fulfilling his promises. You couldn’t kick him out or lynch him on the White House lawn — you couldn’t even keep a South Korean rapper off that lawn long enough to do it. Jesus Christ…you “patriots,” you scooter-riding “revolutionaries,” you bigoted, ignorant sacks of anachronistic greed — you couldn’t even stop a barbecue.
What, exactly, makes you think you can stop the future?
Dance to that tune, B****ES.
H/T: Politics USA