Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Obama teh greatest?

Reading this article by Kevin Drum:
it rapidly becomes clear that the right don't have a monopoly on being

When looking at achievements, we do not have to compare Obama with
FDR. We can benchmark him against LBJ, another conservative Democrat
who made a huge foreign-policy misstep but did great things
domestically. Obama does not have a Vietnam but Afghanistan and his
other policies surrounding the "War on Terror" have been horrible.

Drum picks Obama's solid achievements:

1. Passed Health Care Reform

Passed a huge corporate giveaway that does very little to "reform"
health care. It has good parts but there's no public option and its
main feature is to drive custom to the insurance companies.

You don't get a gold star just for pissing off the Repugnitards. You
actually have to pass *good* reform. This isn't.

2. Passed the Stimulus

Passed a stimulus that was far too small. He should have asked for $3
trillion and let himself be "talked down" to $1.5 trillion, which
would have been close enough. The Obama team never let the needed
amount ($1.7 trillion) even reach the debate. Obama passed what he
knew was not enough and hoped that it would be just enough to get the
economy staggering to recovery. The cost to America of his failure to
pass big enough stimulus has been enormous in terms of jobs and lost

I know it's weird to agree with the Republicans for all the wrong
reasons but it's important to recognise that they are the wrong
reasons. If McCain had been president and had eschewed stimulus
altogether, the US would face Great Depression-level unemployment and
a protracted slump that it still would not be out of now.

3. Passed Wall Street Reform


Passed extremely weak, toothless reform. The Democrats now have a
track record of legislation with the name of what's needed but none of
the content.

4. Ended the War in Iraq

Not even the chickenhawks could see any real purpose to continuing the
fighting in Iraq, which remains a disaster. Not closing Gitmo is a
much bigger deal.

6. Eliminated Osama bin Laden

Murdered a man without a trial. This is an achievement? I suppose it
is, of sorts, but it's not something to be particularly proud of.
Capturing and trying bin Laden would have been epic. One doubts though
that Obama wanted that: who knows what bin Laden would have had to

7. Turned Around US Auto Industry

Kept it on life support. This is a genuine and real achievement, where
Obama was right and the Repugnitards very wrong, but the American car
industry is still doomed.

In some ways, Obama has the problem British leaders had with British
Leyland. It was an iconic industry that could not compete for one
reason or another (mostly because it made shit cars, actually). No one
wanted to kill it but we all knew it was dying. GM is probably not
quite the zombie BL was, but it's not in the best shape.

9. Repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


But passing an anti-DOMA would be the LBJ achievement here. Obama here
has ridden a wave that no amount of right-wing Canutes could do
anything about. DADT was a ridiculous policy, way out of step with
most of the rest of the West.

12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies

We'll wait to see whether he tortures any Iranians before deciding he
actually did this. Remember, he "closed" Gitmo too.

14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program

This is a minor good thing but it's not coupled with much that
actually makes education affordable.

16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards

Another good thing but there's no real American leadership on global
warming. No big investment in green power.

Some, me included, wanted Obama to take the opportunity with the
stimulus that was needed to build a massive green infrastructure. He

18. Passed Mini Stimuli (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011)

This is a generous description of what he has been doing.

22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants

I'm not sure what Drum is referring to here, but America needs a
paradigm shift and here we are saying he's a great president because
he's tinkering at the edges.

27. Achieved New START Treaty

Reduction in warheads: zero.


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