so what has president obama done for you lately?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 7 min­utes.

I JOINED A CONVERSATION on fellow record col­lector, Beach Boys fan, and oth­er­wise like-minded (“do not dumb here”) racon­teur Rob Norberg’s Face­book page. The thread con­cerned the on­going “de­bate” about the President’s sup­pos­edly ex­cess number of va­ca­tion days—yet an­other non-issue issue from the rightwing media and pun­ditry that so easily cap­tures the at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­dered imag­i­na­tion (sic) of Re­pub­lican voters. Which led to the ob­vious ques­tion, “What has Pres­i­dent Obama done for you lately?

At­ten­tion Deficit Hy­per­ac­tivity Dis­order (ADHD), for­merly At­ten­tion Deficit Dis­order (ADD), is “a psy­chi­atric dis­order in which there are sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems of at­ten­tion, hy­per­ac­tivity, or acting im­pul­sively that are not ap­pro­priate for a per­son’s age.” Sound fa­miliar politically?

Back to Rob’s Face­book thread: one anti-Obama reader kept throwing out the usual Limbaughed/Foxist/Breitbartian non-sense as facts. He posted a link to the ab­surd and dis­cred­ited BS about Obama having spent over a bil­lion dol­lars on travel in one year. (A run­ning joke during the first season of the tele­vi­sion show The News­room.)

So I ri­posted with a list of the pos­i­tive achieve­ments of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion that we simply never hear about be­cause of the left­winged (pro­nounced ‘wing-GED,’ like you’re a New Yorker or some­thing) bias of the DLM (Damn Lib­eral Media). I had only re­cently found the list on a blog called Please Cut The Crap (“the PCTC blog”), the work of Milt Shook.

Like so many pro­gres­sives (see his Pro­gres­sive Man­i­festo), he is of an ac­quis­i­tive, skep­tical, fact-trumps-ideology nature.

Done for you lately: Photo of Jeff Daniels in the television series THE NEWSROOM.

Imagine what Obama could have done with a Democratic majority his last few years.

What has Obama one for you lately?

Like so many pro­gres­sives who voted for Obama, I get caught up in all the mi­nuses of the past six years (mostly this administration’s con­tin­u­ance of many of the most de­testable poli­cies and pro­grams of the pre­vious administration).

And I tend to over­look or forget the plusses. Mr. Shook took the time to list 253 ac­com­plish­ments, no­tating each with a link to an­other, re­li­able In­ternet source (for those of us who do re­search be­fore be­lieving something/anything).

The ar­ticle is ti­tled “What Has Pres­i­dent Obama Done?” and I am posting below the first twelve on his list (sans the ref­er­ence links). I think that just seeing a dozen of them will make many readers take pause and con­sider that Obama has done good. I have taken my usual ed­i­to­rial lib­er­ties with Milt’s in­tro­duc­tory text (abridging, adding em­phasis, stylism, etc.) . . .

“There are a lot of very loud pro­gres­sives who have done nothing but com­plain since Pres­i­dent Obama was in­au­gu­rated five and a half years ago. When they claim that he’s no pro­gres­sive, well, that’s just an out­right lie. What do these folks think pro­gres­sive means? The root word is progress, and there has been a lot of progress since Jan­uary 20, 2009.

Four years later, we pro­gres­sives have a chance to re­verse our in­cred­ible screw-up, and still; many pro­gres­sives prefer to com­plain about the im­per­fec­tion of De­moc­rats than to work to get rid of the rightwing GOP.

Here is a list of many of Pres­i­dent Obama’s ac­com­plish­ments as Pres­i­dent. Every one of them has a ci­ta­tion, so no one can dis­miss these as lies. Imagine what he could have done had we no taken away his De­mo­c­ratic ma­jority after 2010.

Given the ob­sta­cles, this Pres­i­dent will leave a legacy. If we want to win elec­tions – and in a democ­racy, that has to be our main goal – we have to make people want to vote for us. That means ac­cen­tu­ating the pos­i­tive, and talking about how great we are, es­pe­cially com­pared to the alternative.

Pass this list around to everyone you know, es­pe­cially those who whine that Obama has done nothing. Then keep being pos­i­tive, and en­cour­aging people to vote.

1. He signed an Ex­ec­u­tive Order or­dering an audit of gov­ern­ment con­tracts, com­bating waste and abuse.

2. He cre­ated the post of Chief Per­for­mance Of­ficer, whose job it is to make op­er­a­tions more ef­fi­cient to save the fed­eral gov­ern­ment money.

3. He froze White House salaries.

4. He ap­pointed the first Fed­eral Chief In­for­ma­tion Of­ficer to oversee fed­eral IT spending.

5. He com­mitted to phasing out un­nec­es­sary and out­dated weapons sys­tems. To that end, he also signed the Democratic-sponsored Weapons Sys­tems Ac­qui­si­tion Re­form Act, which at­tempted to put a stop to waste, fraud and abuse in the de­fense pro­cure­ment and con­tracting system.

6. He cre­ated the Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Fiscal Re­spon­si­bility and Reform.

7. He pushed through and signed the Democratic-sponsored Amer­ican Re­covery and Rein­vest­ment Act, oth­er­wise known as ‘the stim­ulus package.’ The bill passed, even though only three Re­pub­li­cans voted for it. In a major de­par­ture from the pre­vious ad­min­is­tra­tion, he launched, a web­site that al­lows tax­payers to track spending from the Act.

8. The Bush-led Great Re­ces­sion was costing the economy nearly 800,000 jobs per month by the time Pres­i­dent Obama took of­fice. But by the end of his first year, the Amer­ican Re­covery and Rein­vest­ment Act cre­ated and sus­tained 2,100,000 jobs and stim­u­lated the economy by 3.5%.

9. Not only did he com­plete the mas­sive TARP fi­nan­cial and banking rescue plan, he also leaned on the banks and others and re­cov­ered vir­tu­ally all of the bail-out money.

10. He cre­ated the Making Home Af­ford­able home re­fi­nancing plan.

11. He oversaw the cre­ation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years.

12. Along with De­moc­rats, and al­most no Re­pub­li­cans, he im­ple­mented an auto in­dustry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1,000,000 jobs. Many are of the opinion that he saved the en­tire auto in­dustry, and even the economy of the en­tire Mid­west. This re­sulted in GM re­turning to its place as the top car com­pany in the world.”

Got that? How many of those twelve are a reg­ular part of the li­brull me­dia’s overview or sum­ma­tion of this pres­i­dent? And PCTC lists 241 more! Go read them all. NOW!

Unicorn hoodie 800

Il­lus­tra­tion by Je­remy Enecio for For­tune’s ar­ticle “The Age of Uni­corns.”

How progressives can rule politics

Milt Shook’s at­ti­tude seems summed up in the in­tro­duc­tion to a sales offer for a book that he has written and pub­lished, But I Wanted A Uni­corn. As it sounds so much like my own at­ti­tude, I am reprinting most of it here . . .

“We pro­gres­sives used to dom­i­nate US pol­i­tics. Think about it; when we were in charge and we worked with the De­mo­c­ratic Party, from 1933 until 1973, we passed the New Deal, So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, and we ap­pointed Supreme Courts that up­held and ex­panded civil liberties.

We passed hun­dreds of labor laws that most people take for granted these days, in­cluding laws re­garding over­time pay and min­imum wages. We cre­ated OSHA and the Na­tional Labor Re­la­tions Board, as well as the EPA, NOAA, FDA, FTC, CPSC and many other agen­cies that have saved count­less lives, and cleaned up our air and water.

Our pop­u­lace be­came more ed­u­cated and our economy boomed like no other economy be­fore it. When pro­gres­sives ruled, we be­came the most pow­erful na­tion on the planet. We were a can-do nation.

Pro­gres­sives started to fail po­lit­i­cally with the end of US in­volve­ment in the Vietnam War. It was as if we gave up. By 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the pres­i­dency, and the GOP won the Senate for the first time since the 1950s, Re­pub­li­cans have been able to roll the country back sig­nif­i­cantly. We have to get our mojo back, be­gin­ning NOW!”

So there, a plug for Milt Shook’s eBook But I Wanted A Uni­corn, an easy pur­chase for a mere $4.99. Go buy one. NOW!

Fi­nally, this is the second of two es­says re­garding the thread, the dis­cus­sion, and an­other person’s blog and book. The first part is “skep­ti­cism vs. pro­pa­gan­dism and oba­ma’s golf habit” and pre­cedes this post.

And the ques­tion re­mains: “What has Pres­i­dent Obama done for you lately?” And forget the golf and but NOT the whistle-blowers!

Ehrhart cartoon 2

FEATURED IMAGE: The car­toon at the top of this page is from the 19th cen­tury by an artist  Samuel Ehrhart. The cap­tion reads, “His­tory re­peats itself—the robber barons of the Middle Ages, and the robber barons of to-day.” It has nothing re­ally to do with this ar­ticle ex­cept that:

1) I like the car­toon, and
2) I found it on a rightwing website.

Usu­ally the righties ap­plaud the every whim of to­days’ robber barons, so I didn’t get the reason for the ed­itor to use this anti-Big Busi­ness, anti-corporation editorial.

The site went on to state that Obama “is in­creas­ingly struck with an in­tense longing to be a differently-abled person of color with gender is­sues. It seems that this poorest-ever ex­cuse for an Amer­ican chief ex­ec­u­tive is hell-bent on ex­panded op­por­tu­ni­ties in a country that may cease to exist in our lifetimes.”


It also crit­i­cizes the Pres­i­dent for this state­ment: “Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights and workers’ rights and civil rights and voting rights and gay rights and im­mi­gra­tion rights.”

Oh well and oh hum.

As usual, all the fact are half-assed or back­wards and the writer is con­de­scending and snarky. So I just lifted the image and moved on . . .


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All the “ac­com­plish­ments” listed above are like taking out the trash and sweeping the hearth. You’d ex­pect that, and you don’t give folks bonuses for those things. Who of us voted for Obama be­cause he promised to ap­point an IT Czar for the gov’t? Right.

But we did vote to stop the war on Islam, to curb Is­rael’s atroc­i­ties, to close the Guan­tanamo Bay stalag (or is it a gulag?), to stop ren­di­tioning, to slow the on­ward march of the po­lice state, to re­bal­ance the economy be­tween rich and poor, to im­prove ed­u­ca­tion, to stop the rape of the land, to restart mean­ingful Amer­ican in­dustry (other than cars, which are showy but not every­thing -- what about the other 99% that we now buy from China?) ... and how much of THAT happened?

The stan­dard pat­tern in Amer­ican pres­i­den­tial pol­i­tics is utter dis­il­lu­sion­ment among the issue voters by the end of two terms of of­fice. So they swing to the op­po­site party, and the promise-trust-betrayal-disappointment cycle is en­acted again. We who have seen a few such are not sur­prised. For us, the dis­ap­point­ment be­gins when we re­alize that, once more, the elec­torate is about to trust an­other empty suit speaking words that were written for him to frame poli­cies de­vel­oped for him from survey ques­tions of what the people want to hear. Be­cause we know it just ain’t gonna happen among the same two in­ces­tuous po­lit­ical parties.

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