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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why Obama doesn't get respect 

Booman has an excellent post listing Obama's many accomplishments and asking why he isn't getting the credit he deserves.
Two reasons, I think:
One is Obama's own fault. The White House has not developed a simple narrative line that frames and reinforces the overall direction they are taking and the philosophy of what they have accomplished -- for example 'we're improving the lives of American people' or 'we deliver the results people need' or 'Every day we work on making America a better place to live' or some such phrase. They don't seem to realize that nobody really understood the details of 'Morning in America' or the 'Contract with America' either but they wanted an elevator speech.
The other problem is not Obama's fault. Racism is still a powerful force in American society.
In the overblown criticism dished out daily at Obama, sometimes in the posts and often in the comment sections on some progressive blogs, I detect a racist undercurrent which dismisses or minimizes his achievements, nitpicks his behaviour and mannerisms, and inflates every fault into a hanging offense -- basically, blaming Obama himself for what I think is the blogger's own visceral discomfort with the leadership of an African American man. It's like they're saying "I may have cheered him just like I cheered Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods but now day-to-day I find I just can't bring myself to respect him and of course it can't be because he's black, oh no I'm not a racist, so my lack of respect must be his own fault, not mine."
Here is Booman's list of Obama's accomplishments:
Legislative bills in 2009
January 29: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
February 4: Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act
February 11: DTV Delay Act
February 17: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
March 30: Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009
April 21: Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
May 20: Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
May 20: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009
May 22: Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009
June 22: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
August 6: Cash For Clunkers Extension Act
October 22: Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act
October 28: Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
October 30: Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
November 6: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009
2010
March 4: Travel Promotion Act
March 18: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act)
March 23: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
March 30: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
May 5: Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010
Booman continues
...his appointments, presidential directives, foreign policy achievements, and even some important symbolic acts.
You might not be too impressed that Obama is the first president to have a Seder in the White House or care that bodies can now be filmed as they arrive home at Dover AFB in Delaware. But you should be impressed that he expanded Pell Grants, strengthened the Freedom of Information Act, cut funding for missile defense, expanded the SCHIP program, improved our vaccination programs, provided funding for stem-cell research, won a credit card bill of rights, filled the Medicare Part D donut hole, improved pay, benefits, and health services for service members and veterans, expanded AmeriCorp, got the FDA to regulate tobacco, and limited the salaries of White House staff.
All of this seems to go unmentioned and unappreciated in most of the liberal blogosphere. And that's the small stuff. Obama has passed the biggest health care bill since 1965, rescued the auto industry, got almost all TARP money paid back, and is on the verge of passing the strongest financial regulations since the 1930's.
He's also reinvigorated the anti-proliferation and nuclear disarmament efforts by working successfully with Russia and China.
In a year and a half, he's already done more than Clinton and Carter combined did in twelve years . . .
Anyone who cannot appreciate what Obama has accomplished, and who continues to obsess about what he hasn't done yet -- immigration reform, or closing Guantanamo, for example -- needs to look very seriously at their own motivation.

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