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Obama's First Years

Original post made by A Neighbor on Jan 21, 2012

In the face of stunning bad behavior, political name calling, posturing and pandering that we have all been subjected to in recent primary races, I ran across an article by Andrew Sullivan recently that caused me to reflect on the first Obama years a bit differently, and I wanted to share some of it here.

Politifact noted that of 508 specific promises Obama made while campaigning for the presidency, a third had been fulfilled and only two have not had some action taken on them. To have done that while simultaneously battling an economic hurricane, wars and a constipated congress is stunning.

In Sullivan's observations, what matters to Obama is what he can get done, not what he can immediately take credit for, unlike most politicians we're are exposed to. Obama was not elected, despite liberal fantasies, to be a left-wing crusader, but rather to be a pragmatic, unifying reformist who could be the adult in the room. I believe he has done that rather well.

Again according to Sullivan, when Obama took office, the United States was losing around 750,000 jobs a month. The last quarter of 2008 saw an annualized drop in growth approaching 9 percent. This was the most serious downturn since the 1930s, there was a real chance of a systemic collapse of the entire global financial system, and unemployment and debt were about to soar even further. No fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the next 12 months.

Obama started to rebuild the economy when he continued the bank bailout begun by George W. Bush, then he initiated a bailout of the auto industry, and he then worked to pass a huge stimulus package. The job collapse bottomed out at the beginning of 2010, as the stimulus took effect. Since then, the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs with 1.9 million private-sector jobs created in 2011, while a net 280,000 government jobs were lost. Overall government employment has declined 2.6 percent over the past 3 years, contrary to Republican rhetoric about Obama's big-government socialist ways.

Even healthcare reform is far more moderate than its critics have claimed. The Congressional Budget Office has projected it will reduce the deficit, not increase it, as Bush's unfunded Medicare Prescription Drug benefit did. Obama's healthcare reform sets standards, grants incentives, and then allows individual states to experiment. Making 44 million current free-riders (emergency room repeat users) pay into the system is not fiscally reckless; it is fiscally prudent.

Obama did not ignore Osama bin Laden, as Bush seemed to do. When the moment for critical decisions came, the president overruled both his secretary of state and vice president in ordering the riskiest and most ambitious option. As Sullivan points out, it was a triumph, not only in killing America's primary global enemy, but in getting a massive trove of intelligence to undermine al Qaeda even further.

So, on Obama's watch, a depression was averted, the bail-out of the auto industry was successful, the bank bailouts have been repaid to a great extent, the Iraq War has been ended on time, defense spending is being cut steadily, and gays now openly serve in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act is dying in the courts. All this, in the face of Republican intransigence, from the 2009 declaration by Rush Limbaugh that he wants Obama "to fail" to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's admission that his primary objective is denying Obama a second term.

I count these as successes by a man whom, I believe, history will recognize as one of our greatest presidents.

Comments (22)

Posted by Repentent Dem, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Jan 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Even if all you say is true, once a commie always a commie. Being born in Ghana doesn't change the facts. He's in over his head. Romney says so, and he never strays from facts or wavers in his opinions. Romney is a rock!


Posted by Indie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

He should not have bailed out auto companies and banks. Failed companies should leave room for new ideas and good new companies. I drove by solyndra office space today. I cannot believe our money was spent on beautiful office space rather than great new concepts. What a waste of space and tax dollars! I'm a firm believer in alternative energy but you don't need these trappings!


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:10 am

@A Neighbor

".....history will recognize as one of our greatest presidents."

Yep, he'll rank right up there with Jimmy Carter


Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

Those nasty republicans denying the messiah his place in history. I know the dems would have never done anything like that to Bush, right?
Also, you listed all of obamas 'accomplishmnets' like they were all positive. I will agree with one accomplishment that will have in unintended consequences for one voting bloc Obama is pandering to: with the reduction in military spending, less gays will be working with our remaining troops.


Posted by Repentent Republican, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Jan 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

Yeah, he helped bail out banks and auto companies, and they've paid us back. But what about the tax hikes on cigarettes and tanning salons? He is such a dictator. Don't read Neighbor's lies. Just listen to Arroyo and Steve.


Posted by resident, a resident of Amador Estates
on Jan 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

@ repentent dem

I think you'll find Obama was born in Hawaii....



Posted by indie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

"Yeah, he helped bail out banks and auto companies, and they've paid us back."

It also taught them that unacceptable risk taking (banks) and uncompetitive business practicies (auto companies) is OK. It's not. That's why companies should be allowed to fail. It's a natural process that weeds out the weaker or too arrogant companies.

I wouldn't use the word dictator, but I would say that he's set in motion a lot of things that will have unintended consequences and that do not improve our country's competitiveness. He's making us dependent on the government as a nation - not a great character trait. I do think he's in over his head.


Posted by Repentent Dem, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Jan 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Yeah, when Bush started the bailouts (with no strings attached) he was doing it because Obama was behind the scenes, twisting his arm. It was therefore Obama who put bailouts into motion, just like indie says. He should have let the banks, and businesses and private persons who had money in them fail. That would have been good for everyone, except the banks and businesses and persons with money in the banks. Follow the logic of Indie and me, we're geniuses.


Posted by indie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I totally disagreed with Bush on almost every level. That's why I voted for Obama. Then he did the same thing, which is why I'm so disappointed. They're all funded by the same interests.


Posted by Repentent Dem, a resident of Deer Oaks/Twelve Oaks
on Jan 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I know, I know. Obama sucked us into Iraq just like Bush did. Obama steered through tax cuts for the rich just like Bush did. Indie the genius is sooooo right. They're both the same.


Posted by Different vision, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Neighbor, please don't get carried away and start believing your own rhetoric...but it is good campaign material, just not for the history books.


Posted by steve, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

The Republican debates/candidates have made this non-committed voter lean heavily toward re-electing this mostly unfulfilling President.


Posted by Jamie, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm

If anyone doubts that the Republican Party is the party of the very rich and the very dumb (by no means always mutually exclusive), take a gander at the prescient comments by steve, Repentent Dem, indie, and arroyo. See what I mean?


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2012 at 5:27 am

Jamie, I'm stunned at the personal attack.

I would like to share a phrase from my favorite philosopher, Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

(Hmmmmm, "prescient" --- pretty impressive!)


Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 23, 2012 at 8:27 am

Wow, Jamie, very compelling post. Makes me want to vote for your representative of the party of the poor and downtrodden, who is amaasing a re-election war chest of close to a billion dollars from his elitist supporters.
Good choice, jamie....get back to us when your 99 weeks of unemployment run out and let us know how you think things are going under this administration.


Posted by Jamie, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

Shoot an arrow of dumb into the air, and the shouts of arroyo and steve will let you know it's found its mark.


Posted by A Neighbor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Jamie, steve, Arroyo -- please refrain from future personal absurdities. Nothing was gained by your remarks here.

Care to try again, on the topic under discussion, in an adult voice this time?


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

I don't have time to write a novel rebutting all of the glowing praise you seem to feel that the current administration deserves. Instead, I shoot an "arrow of dumb" into the air just to get a reaction. And, it's rare that the "progressives" fail to disappoint, with their personal attacks and condescending diatribe.

For me, the analogy might be somewhat like fishing behind a hatchery truck. The fish are very predictable and always easy to hook.


Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on Jan 24, 2012 at 9:46 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Time to throw the small, bottom feeders back into the pond. You condescending self-proclaimed elitists are laughable in your defense of this failed adminstration and leftist policies in general. But, you keep right on defending obamas continued military actions, deportation policies, deficit spending and socialized medical care.

Once adults are voted in to replace this amateurish regime, the next few years will be spent repairing the damage done to this country and our allies. Time to step aside and continue your whining from the sidlelines with Harry Reid and Pelosi.

Bye, now...........


Posted by Jamie, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I'd take the time to rebut all the points raised in Neighbor's original post, but I'm not smart enough and people will see through my own stupidity. Hence, I'll instead resort name-calling and smear tactics. After all, what else does the right have?


Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Jamie you just keep on giving and giving -- too funny!



Posted by Jamie, a resident of Valley Trails
on Jan 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I don't have time to write a novel rebutting all of the glowing praise you seem to feel that the current administration deserves. For one thing, one doesn't rebut truth validity claims with novels; for another, I'm not smart enough as indicated by my above remarks.


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