Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Americans love winners, and if President Obama scores more victories like the ones he has enjoyed over the last two months, he will easily win re-election.
For the first two years of his term, Obama, to the chagrin of his supporters, mostly remained silent while his opponents maliciously maligned him.
They said he was a Muslim. They said he wasn’t born in the United States. They said he didn’t write his own books. They said he was a socialist. They said he hated white people.
Obama’s nonchalant attitude in the face of these attacks flabbergasted and frustrated his supporters, who wanted him to defend his character and stand up for the progressive policies of the New Deal and the Great Society — policies that his opponents were targeting.
Well, Obama finally did stand up and showed himself to be a tough and decisive leader.
He started to turn things around in his budget speech on April 13, when he beautifully explained the noble purpose behind our social welfare programs.
“We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us,” he said. “So we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further — we would not be a great country without those commitments.”
And he laid down the gauntlet against Republicans who want to slash Medicare and Medicaid.
“I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs,” he said. “I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves.”
Then on May 1, during the Washington Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama delivered a knockout blow to Donald Trump, who had been slandering him for weeks. Obama reduced Trump to a punch line on late-night comedy shows.
One day later, Obama, taking a great political risk, successfully sent a team of Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden.
These actions have sent Obama’s approval rating up to a comfortable 54 percent in the latest CNN poll.
His popularity helps explain why one prospective Republican presidential candidate after another has been dropping out. Obama looks like a champ.
To be a real champ, Obama now needs to end the tax cuts for the rich, withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and get the DREAM Act passed.
Alvaro Huerta is a doctoral candidate in the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning and a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center.
Republished with permission from The Progressive.