Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rachel Maddow dispels the myth of Obama’s inaction

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Of all the criticisms and attacks aimed at President Obama, both fair and unfounded, the idea that he’s just sitting around getting nothing done is downright false (not that such a fact would stop the GOP and Faux News from spreading such myths, of course). Rachel Maddow takes on the myth of Obama’s inactivity in office and lays out his current heaving record of accomplishments. In the end, whether you agree with him or not, you just can’t deny that he’s been busier in office than any previous president in a very long time.

The closing lines (my transcript):

In each of these achievements and in the list of things he has yet to do – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, closing Guantanamo – in each of these things, there is room for liberal disappointment. I sing a bittersweet lullaby to the lost public option when I go to sleep at night. But presidential legacies are complex. Not even the Reagan administration’s legacy is pure as the conservative-driven snow. But Taegan Goddard at CQ Politics was right today about nothing this big happening since FDR. The list of legislative accomplishments of this president in half a term, even before energy reform, which he’s probably going to get to, is, to quote the vice president, “a big freaking deal”. Love this administration or hate it, this president is getting a lot done. The last time any president did this much in office, booze was illegal. If you believe in policy, if you believe in government that addresses problems, cheers to that.

Of course, the point that Obama is getting plenty done in office is one that no-one can reasonably deny unless they’re either out of touch or have an agenda to peddle. The problem isn’t that Obama isn’t doing enough; it’s all the things he should have done, and perhaps more importantly, the things he most definitely should not have done – his continuation of the Bush administration’s raping of the Constitution by upholding the suspension of habeas corpus, furthering the PATRIOT Act and its warrantless wiretaps, engaging in indefinite detentions without charges of suspected enemy combatants, and more recently, his brutal crackdown on whistleblowers, whom he’d previously sworn to protect. These are the faults with Obama and his legislative record thus far. Even mess-ups like his failure to close down Gitmo once and for all and his lagging in repealing DADT can be overlooked (though they are certainly sore points); if only he hadn’t expressly broken any number of his past promises in doing the exact opposite of what he swore to do.

As I say: I do support Obama, mostly in the sense of being relieved (if in a somewhat bittersweet manner) that he got in over his rivals (*shudder*). But however good he’s doing, he could stand to do a lot better – starting by not betraying his own professed principles and ideals.

(via @todayspolitics)