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Thu Mar 8, 2012, 11:51 AM

The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama

The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama
He’s gotten more done in three years than any president in decades. Too bad the American public still thinks he hasn’t accomplished anything.

By Paul Glastris
The Washington Monthly

In mid-January, pollsters for the Washington Post and ABC News asked a representative sampling of Americans the following question: “Obama has been president for about three years. Would you say he has accomplished a great deal during that time, a good amount, not very much, or little or nothing?”

When the poll’s results were released on January 18, even the most seasoned White House staffers, who know the president faces a tough battle for reelection, must have spit up their coffee: more than half the respondents—52 percent—said the president has accomplished “not very much” or “little or nothing.”

It is often said that there are no right or wrong answers in opinion polling, but in this case, there is an empirically right answer—one chosen by only 12 percent of the poll’s respondents. The answer is that Obama has accomplished “a great deal.”

Measured in sheer legislative tonnage, what Obama got done in his first two years is stunning. Health care reform. The takeover and turnaround of the auto industry. The biggest economic stimulus in history. Sweeping new regulations of Wall Street. A tough new set of consumer protections on the credit card industry. A vast expansion of national service. Net neutrality. The greatest increase in wilderness protection in fifteen years. A revolutionary reform to student aid. Signing the New START treaty with Russia. The ending of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The rest: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_2012/features/the_incomplete_greatness_of_ba035754.php

Read the whole thing. The first four paragraphs do not do it full justice at all.

43 replies, 5991 views

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama (Original post)
WilliamPitt Mar 2012 OP
SidDithers Mar 2012 #1
patricia92243 Mar 2012 #2
emulatorloo Mar 2012 #20
xtraxritical Mar 2012 #39
nvme Mar 2012 #41
Skidmore Mar 2012 #3
Frustratedlady Mar 2012 #8
TheKentuckian Mar 2012 #42
Kolesar Mar 2012 #4
Pirate Smile Mar 2012 #27
Frustratedlady Mar 2012 #32
Ninga Mar 2012 #5
Vincardog Mar 2012 #6
Old and In the Way Mar 2012 #7
ProSense Mar 2012 #9
Proud Liberal Dem Mar 2012 #10
kurtzapril4 Mar 2012 #40
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #11
WilliamPitt Mar 2012 #13
ProSense Mar 2012 #14
Better Believe It Mar 2012 #16
emulatorloo Mar 2012 #21
snooper2 Mar 2012 #25
dmosh42 Mar 2012 #12
Bladian Mar 2012 #17
emulatorloo Mar 2012 #22
just1voice Mar 2012 #15
uponit7771 Mar 2012 #18
NRaleighLiberal Mar 2012 #19
JDPriestly Mar 2012 #23
ZM90 Mar 2012 #24
DallasNE Mar 2012 #26
Leopolds Ghost Mar 2012 #28
Son of Gob Mar 2012 #29
Liberal_Stalwart71 Mar 2012 #30
Whisp Mar 2012 #31
WilliamPitt Mar 2012 #38
progress2k12nbynd Mar 2012 #33
underpants Mar 2012 #34
obxhead Mar 2012 #35
Major Hogwash Mar 2012 #36
Tennessee Gal Mar 2012 #37
unkachuck Mar 2012 #43

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 11:53 AM

1. DU rec...nt

Sid

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 11:55 AM

2. It seems Repubs have always been able to get their message out, but we Democrats have trouble

with the same thing. Don't know the answer

When on when are we going to spelling check???

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Response to patricia92243 (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:11 PM

20. Because it is easier to put out sound-byte sized lies.

Which the media laps up and promotes.

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Response to patricia92243 (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 12:22 PM

39. Spelling check is only half the problem.

 

It is annoying and frustrating that when a comment is made the comment "parks" itself at the top of the page thereby inhibiting further scrolling down the page. To get back to page scrolling one must exit the post and reenter. I wish DU would fix this annoying problem. Also, spell check seems to be working fine. If I misspell a word it is immediately underlined in red. If I right click that word a list of possible corrections is given and I just pick the correct one. Maybe you're using and older version of DU? vote a STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC BALLOT be happy

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Response to patricia92243 (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 07:29 PM

41. perception is reality.

our message of his accomplishements must be succinctly loud and clear

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:01 PM

3. Yes, indeed.

Now if we can just get some of the naysayers on the left to understand that, while it is desirable to get 100% of the change you want to see, some times it is not possible given the dynamics of the system and the public. I think the man has done a great job and that he is not responsible for all the ills in the nation or the world.

I just had a lengthy exchange with another FB gaming buddy who was whining about the evils of "Obamacare" while bemoaning the fact that he did not have insurance when he was shot in 1992 but managed to survive without it. I pointed out that if he had access a more comprehensive and fair system, it would be beneficial to him and all others. Why shouldn't people view the AFA as the groundwork for further and more comprehensive changes in health care affordability and the gradual phasing out of the for profit industry that has bilked people for years. Why not move it out of the purview of the employer? If people refuse to see the possibilities and will only pick up bricks to throw rather than build, then we will continue to crumble as a society.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:44 PM

8. Well said.

It appears to me that Obama doesn't want to "brag" about his accomplishments...that they got a lot done behind the scenes without raising flags for the Repugs.

Now, when they come out with long lists of accomplishments, it's too overwhelming and the RW pooh-poohs it. They need to be spoon-fed information in bits and bites, as they can't absorb too much information at one time.

If we can give him a House and Senate he can work with, he will end up one of the greatest presidents in our lifetime.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 08:26 PM

42. I don't think it can be "built on", it was designed to prop up and enrich the insurance cartel

from the roots up and isn't even substantively market based reform but rather a scheme to perpetuate our "uniquely American" clusterfuck and to keep existing profit centers rolling and to prevent any actual reform.

The Wealthcare and Profit Protection can't be seen as the groundwork you outline because it is by fundemental design the exact opposite.
This isn't a new idea, it is a generation plus old crappy one.

Our only hope is employers drop motherfuckers like hot as the sun potatoes but employers seemingly don't want out or we wouldn't be stuck with the dimwitted "employer based" system.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:05 PM

4. A succinct account of how his team handled the meltdown of the financial sector

Instead, Timothy Geithner’s Treasury Department crafted a much more targeted intervention, aimed at stabilizing the financial markets and getting the economy back on track at the lowest possible cost to government. Rather than have the taxpayers assume the risky and expensive burden of taking over the banks—an expense that Congress, having already approved TARP and the stimulus, was in no mood to authorize—Geithner’s plan was to convince investors to come in and recapitalize them. His plan had three main parts. First, the Treasury, working with the Fed and other agencies, ran “stress tests” of the banks to determine the fragility of their books and how much more capital they’d need to be able to survive and lend in an even more dire economic scenario than was expected at the time. Second, it gave banks six months to raise that amount of capital from private investors, and said that, if they failed, Treasury would use taxpayer dollars to buy ownership shares of the banks at a preset price, effectively establishing a floor for private investors. Third, it created a fund, with both public and private dollars, to buy the toxic assets on the banks’ books, thereby giving some assurance that there would be a market for those assets.

The politics of the plan were dreadful. It looked like more mollycoddling of Wall Street. But, as Joshua Green noted in the Atlantic, it had the desired effect. Private money, $140 billion of it, flooded into the nineteen biggest banks; the lending markets unfroze; and, with the help of low interest rates from the Fed, the banks paid back the TARP funds, with interest. In 2008, the International Monetary Fund studied past financial crises in forty-two countries and found that their governments spent, on average, 13.3 percent of GDP to resolve them. By that measure, it would have cost the U.S. government $1.9 trillion. The Obama plan got the banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government, and in historically near-record time. Let that sink in.
...
I am amazed that we did not have another depression and "bank holidays", where we could not access our money.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:22 PM

27. This will be studied in the future as a massive success.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 06:19 PM

32. Thank you for that explanation.

Even I could understand it. Thanks.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:09 PM

5. Dear Peeps.....Evangalize and forward to your address book!!

Stunning, well worth the time to read the ENTIRE piece. Thanks Will.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:32 PM

6. I love the way he "ended the war in Iraq" on bush the lesser's timetable because the Iraq

government refused to extend immunity to our troops.
His great health INSURANCE plan was the GOP's response to Hillary CARE.

The great advances made here have been Republican proposals BO has managed to "compromise" his way to.

To the people who think it is just messaging, they are correct. Dim Son had a press conference taking credit for ending the Iraq
misadventure (that he lied us in to). BO was forced to leave because the pentagon did not want the liability.

Afganistan should have been over as soon as OBL was taken out. That was the ostentatious reason for that "conflict" wasn't it?
But we are still there.

The great victory of cutting the payroll tax and replacing it with general revenue TAKES AWAY our best argument that
SOCIAL SECURITY HAS NEVER ADDED A CENT TO THE DEBT. How exactly is that an example of three dimensional chess?

I believe that the administrations's actions (prosecuting MM, prosecuting whistle blowers, enacting policies to protect the .01%)
as well as their lack of actions (prosecuting war criminals, allowing the drum beat for war with Iran, not taking firm action to end the orgy of financial fraud and market manipulation)
are the real reasons for the perception of "inactivity".


Maybe I just have not appreciated the great advances made to date. I am sure some of the benefits will come in the future.

In my opinion the primary reason for any misconception about the President's accomplishments is due to his inability to Clearly and unequivocally take a stand and say "HERE IS THE LINE, THIS FAR AND NO FURTHER".

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:43 PM

7. All done, in spite of the most monolythic voting of an opposition Party against anything

and everything proposed by this administration.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:46 PM

9. Excellent article, and

the format helps to illustrate the points.

Most informative, it assesses President Obama's record in relation to the current political realities and compares his accomplishments to other Presidents, not people who stand on the sidelines and simply offer up opinion without context, especially related to the untangling of decades of unfair policies and the aftermath of the Bush years.

The piece also shows the transformative nature of many of the President's accomplishments, but points out the obstacles ahead that could determine the net effects.

I hope it's widely read. There aren't enough commentaries like this, and it's likely the reason most Americans don't know that much has been accomplished.



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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:48 PM

10. Somebody needs to break out

THE LIST to the American public IMHO!

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #10)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 06:22 PM

40. ROFL! n/t

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 12:50 PM

11. Where's the list William? Post the list!

 


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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:51 PM

13. I had it here somewhere.

Ask ProSense.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:56 PM

14. "Ask ProSense" It's

linked to in the seventh paragraph of the OP article.

That Obama has done all this while also steering the country out of what might have been a second Great Depression would seem to have made him already, just three years into his first term, a serious candidate for greatness. (See Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments.)


Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_2012/features/obamas_top_50_accomplishments035755.php




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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 02:13 PM

16. I'll look around and see if I can find it. I was thinking of making it into a wall poster.

 


with the caption: "His Greatness".

Now I wonder if some uncritical admirers of President Obama might find that offensive or do they have a sense of humor?

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #16)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:12 PM

21. I have a wonderful sense of humor. But that sounds a lot ilke the "Messiah" talking point

p.s. There are only a handful of "uncritical admirers" here. About the same number of "uncritical detractors." It is just the uncritical detractors are louder.

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Response to Better Believe It (Reply #16)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:33 PM

25. I'll frame it for you if you put that damn record out for us!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 01:02 PM

12. I give him an A+ for the auto bailout, and getting Bin Laden, but the rest....

I think may or may not get accomplished in his next term. His first term was about getting re-elected. So much compromising and not much convictions. Besides his great collapse on health care insurance, His complete lack of JUSTICE for the 99% has been the worst notable thing in my book. Lucky for him that the Repukes have their head up their asses, and will nominate some nutjob asskisser!

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Response to dmosh42 (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 02:13 PM

17. That's what I've been saying for the last year and a half.

I think he's been concerned with his re-election, and come November we're gonna see him really break out the big guns and take it to the Republicans.

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Response to dmosh42 (Reply #12)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:20 PM

22. Republicans have massively abused cloture since he was elected

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 02:11 PM

15. The U.S. auto industry is greatly improved

 

but sadly, everything else in the article is lost in the paradigm of left vs. right rather than actual accomplishments.

Criminal banks still rule the U.S., just look at gas prices and it's obvious. 85% of college grads move back to their parent's houses so the student loan programs are only producing unemployed debtors. Dodd/Frank is a horrible Act, written for big banks, not to regulate them. For-profit health care is a disgrace to the U.S. and that isn't anywhere near changing. Torturers, WMD conspirators and felonious wire-tapping Bush admin criminals still walk free as "Homeland" security gets bigger, drone killings increase and laws are passed that allow the murder of Americans if OK'd by the POTUS.

Obama will win reelection and we can all only hope that it will lead to an actual change in our corrupt system.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 02:28 PM

18. Naw, naw...Obama aint done shit the [issue MOST important to me] isn't done or hasn't been done the

...way I wanted it.

On top of that Obama hasn't been 100% perfect so ...fuck em...he aint done shit

/sarcasm

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:02 PM

19. Kicked, Reccd...and the link tweeted to my followers.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:24 PM

23. Face it, Obama fans. Obama is the best (the only) choice we've got.

He has done a lot, but he hasn't done what Americans really wanted him to do. Maybe nobody could, but he hasn't gotten that message out because he HAS BEEN TOO RELUCTANT TO PUT THE REPUBLICANS IN THEIR PLACE.

Obama has been too nice to big business, too nice to Wall Street, too nice to right-wing Democrats, too nice to Republicans.

The result is that the rich have gotten richer and richer during the few years of his presidency, and working people have lost out.

Democrats want to see their Democratic president show some oomph and fight and solidarity for struggling little people.

Obama is elegant, beautiful, charming, intelligent and kind, but he has not done things that show that he is on the side of working people. He thinks he has, but he hasn't.

From his policies on education to his policies on bail-outs, to his tax cuts that will inevitably weaken Social Security, Obama has failed to put up his fists and fight for working people. His speeches to American workers are energyless. They often sound more like apologies than pep talks.

Obama has a lot of work to do during this campaign -- and a lot of explaining for some of his policies.

And I will vote for him. In fact, I like him as a person and his challengers are worse than he is, but let's face it, this poll is quite accurate.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 03:29 PM

24. While I am dissapointed in his civil liberties record (ACTA, NDDA, and TPP) I do acknowledge he has

done some great things such as getting us out of Iraq, taking a step forward in healthcare, implementing Elizabeth Warren's CFPB, ending DADT.

I do however wish he would stand up to his hollywood buddies and for the free and open internet instead of making/continuing treaties behind the backs of the American people to take away our freedom online.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:20 PM

26. Obama's Very First Bill Signed Into Law

Was the Lilly Ledbetter law on equal pay so how can they leave that out?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009

He killed bin Laden. He ended combat operation in Iraq and is currently winding them down in Afghanistan. And these are just off of the top of my head.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:26 PM

28. Except that some of these policies were not progressive achievements, yet are touted by our leaders

Health Care Reform in particular being a codification of Republican doctrine on health care as originally articulated by Gingrich and Romney in the late 90s (the obligation of the individual to purchase private insurance for the financial good of the already-insured) -- a repulsive doctrine.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 04:37 PM

29. K&R

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 05:04 PM

30. K&R!! And Bookmarked!!!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 06:02 PM

31. interesting

 

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Response to Whisp (Reply #31)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 10:35 AM

38. It's always a contest with you, isn't it.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 07:31 PM

33. Everything makes sense except the student aid part...

 

New students are still paying out the nose and student dent is still destroying lives on a daily basis. Did I and every other student and graduate miss the 'revolution' this editorial mentions or was that just hyperbole for the purpose of supporting the general intent of the piece?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 07:42 PM

34. The author misses the element of Fox News

at least in page 1

I am posting so I can read the entire article later.

The only real oppossition to Obama is Fox News. Their viewers, believers, soak in everything the spit out as actual fact. THAT is the key element in the national discourse. The rest of the media follows them because they make the most money.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Thu Mar 8, 2012, 08:33 PM

35. He got a ton done.

The problem was it was for a very narrow (1%) that he got it done for.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 01:51 AM

36. Great article.

I'm going to vote for President Obama this fall to re-elect the first Black President of the United States.
Then President Obama will be the first Black President of the United States to be re-elected to serve a 2nd term as the President of the United States.

Man, that's how history is made!

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 02:12 AM

37. Good informational article. Thanks.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Fri Mar 9, 2012, 09:38 PM

43. "He failed miserably at his grandiose promise to change the culture of Washington..."

 

....too big to fail institutions are even bigger....the 1% and corporations control all of our politics....crony-capitalism is still heavily entrenched and more corrupt than even....where's the needed systemic change?

....I'm waiting for a dialog from both parties as to how the American people can regain control of their democracy and future....instead, all we hear is contraceptives and rosy-scenarios....

....you celebrate, I'm bracing for the new melt-down and limiting my systemic exposure....

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