No one said it was going to be easy. After eight years of George W. Bush, they just thought it would be.
I can’t for the life of me see how the Democrats retain the House under these economic conditions, but that cannot and does not mean that what Obama has done in his first year and a half is a failure. On the contrary. On almost all the substantive stuff, he has in my view done the right and responsible and sane thing within the almost impossible constraints he was presented with. And given the legacy he inherited, what he has done is simply not enough to perform an economic or political or cultural miracle. That’s the brutal truth and we have to face it. And if Americans thought they were voting for a savior, rather than a pragmatic president, they were deluding themselves.
In the end, these difficult practical decisions will count because they have to count. And Obama’s persistent refusal to take the red-blue bait still pushed by Fox News like a cheap bump of ideological meth is to his credit. It is emphatically not about his failure to “take them on”. He is taking them on – but on his terms, not theirs’.
In all this, the president deserves constructive criticism, but also moral and political support in engaging actual problems with actual solutions. Those on the left and in the middle who once saw his potential have no reason to abandon him now. If you were one of them, he needs you and this country needs you now more than ever before.
Liberals should take comfort in those words and if they don’t, they’re just not getting what this President is all about. When Barack Obama wins his second term, many progressives who were overly critical of the way in which this President handled himself in these first two difficult years will owe him an apology.
As for the GOP and the next two years, I like what Steven Benen had to say.
Republicans have already backed themselves into a corner — they’ve made the president out to be the devil; they’ve all but ruled compromising; and they’ve committed to a path that almost certainly ends in a government shutdown. GOP leaders may have even deluded themselves into thinking that they’re more popular than Obama (they’re not), and that if a shutdown hurts the economy, they’ll avoid blame (they won’t).
There has to be a price to pay for putting party before country, if not in 2010 then surely in 2012.
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