Sunday, August 07, 2011

The other side of the Obama coin

Tonight Andrew Sullivan offers up a blog item he wrote Friday on "Who is Washington's Most Effective Politician?" as a counter to Drew Westen's big NY Times op-ed today that is getting mucho attention.
I think Obama is easily the winner and currently stupidly under-rated - and drowned out by all the noise in the conservative-media-industrial-complex.

Here are the political accomplishments: defeating the most heavily favored party machine in decades (the Clintons) while actually bringing his biggest rival into his cabinet, where she has performed extraordinarily well; helping to cement the GOP's broad identity as extremists opposed to compromise; entrenching black and Hispanic loyalty to his party; retaining solid favorables and not-too-shabby approval ratings during the worst recession since the 1930s. 44 percent of the country still (rightly) blame Bush for this mess, only 15 percent blame Obama.

On policy: ending the US torture regime; prevention of a second Great Depression; enacting universal healthcare; taking the first serious steps toward reining in healthcare costs; two new female Supreme Court Justices; ending the gay ban in the military; ending the Iraq war; justifying his Afghan Surge by killing bin Laden and now disentangling with face saved; firming up alliances with India, Indonesia and Japan as counter-weights to China; bailing out the banks and auto companies without massive losses (and surging GM profits); advancing (slowly) balanced debt reduction without drastic cuts during the recession; and financial re-regulation.

Yes, there have been failures. The election of Scott Brown; the 2010 mid-terms; the surrender to Netanyahu and AIPAC; the botched and ill-conceived war in Libya; the failure to embrace Bowles Simpson up-front; the collapse of cap and trade (maybe not such a bad thing anyway). But notice what hasn't happened. Where are all the scandals promised by Michelle Malkin? Where are his Katrinas and Monicas?

When I read commentaries expounding on the notion that this man is competely out of his depth, I just have to scratch my head. Given his inheritance, this has been the most substantive first term since Ronald Reagan's. And given Obama's long-game mentality, that is setting us up for a hell of a second one.
Now if only the guy can convince his nation that he is a winner...