Ask the Professional Left, and they’ll tell you President Obama’s in bed with big business, sold out the 99%, broke his promises about closing Gitmo, isn’t ending the wars in a speedy enough fashion, and hasn’t done enough for the gays.
Ask Republicans, and they’ll say he’s a socialist who wants to turn the country into one big money melting pot and distribute it evenly among the masses, that he pals around with terrorists and, though just a child at the time, was undoubtedly the mastermind behind Bill Ayers’ and the Weather Underground‘s domestic terrorism.
Ask the teabaggers, and they’ll tell you that he’s damn near a communist, the stimulus was a complete and total failure, healthcare reform is going to be the death of society as we know it, and the unemployment rate would have come down anyway. And he’s not a Christian. And he hails from Kenya.
Here’s the thing: Many in this country, when we elected President Obama, thought we were electing a flaming liberal – and it’s my belief that his ideology is left-leaning. But there’s no trial ground for the presidency; there’s no try-out period; there’s no 90-day training program; there’s no gauging what will crop up today, tomorrow, or next year that may change the game.
President Obama, in his three years as President, has seen it all. He’s been maligned as a non-christian; he’s reached out to the Muslim community and been branded a terrorist-lover for his efforts; he’s tried to do what he can for struggling Americans, has had to make some unpopular concessions to the teabagging opposition, and has been accused of being in bed with big business; his stimulus, touted by the right as another liberal government give-away program, was branded a failure by conservatives, and at least a moderate success by economists; he didn’t let the auto industry fail, and therefore was accused of taking over American industry; he’s blamed for the failed TARP program even though he wasn’t even in office at the time it was passed; he captured and killed bin Laden and watched former President Bush get credit from the right; he attempted diplomacy far past the time that many on the left felt he should have.
Many on the left, however, couldn’t see the forest for the trees – and missed the strategy that was evolving over the past three years.
The man hasn’t caught a break – and yet, at the same time, he’s managed to walk between the raindrops. His approval rating is climbing; he’s more popular with Hispanics, by a 3-1 ratio, than Romney; Republicans for Obama (yes, there is such a website) strives to correct the right-wing record on the President’s policies; Rasmussen reports that he’d beat Newt Gingrich 47% to 37% in the 2012 election; in a May three’fer, he released his long form birth certificate, captured and killed Osama bin Laden, and roasted Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, all in the same week; in the recent standoff on the payroll tax holiday and extension of unemployment benefits, he blithely went about his business while the teabagging House Republicans stumbled, bumbled, blustered and finally caved; he’s turned the right-wing game on its head to the point where Americans believe that the staunchly anti-tax Tea Party Republicans are the ones who want to raise taxes; in the recent payroll tax holiday fiasco, he managed to showcase Republicans as the obstructionists, while simultaneously refusing, himself, to make a deal; in the debt ceiling debacle, President Obama maintained his loftier position as the adult in the room, and correctly portrayed the Republicans as dangerous and reckless children hell-bent on destruction; the economy is strengthening little by little, and President Obama is, as he should, finally getting the credit. Nothing the President has done during the past three years has been an accident; a strategy has been evolving, and we’re seeing it play out.
What the Professional Left views as weakness in the President, I view as his duty to make mandatory concessions; what the Republicans view as socialism, I view as compassion for Americans and a commitment to making our lives better; what libertarians view as the Obama Administration’s unbearable government interference in our lives, I view as President Obama aptly noting that Americans often need to be protected from themselves.
What teabaggers view as a President on a mission to tilt the world left, I view as the necessary work of a man who campaigned for change and is determined to see it through. What many people fail to see is that President Obama was elected to govern all in this country, not just a little sliver on the far left or a little sliver on the far right.
We thought we were electing a flaming lib, but what we got instead was a progressive President with a liberal agenda and a moderate, diplomatic negotiating stance. ”My way or my other way” hasn’t been in his lexicon – nor should it be. President Obama is none of the things he’s accused of being; instead, he’s a man who’s committed to Americans, and the quality of their lives, and if he has to make some concessions that his side doesn’t like, he’ll do it, take the hits, get knocked back but keep moving forward. Determination is his hallmark.
Watching him for over three years has shown me a man with a spine of steel, a skin as thick as elephant hide, a highly functioning ability for strategic thinking, an intractable stubborn quality, a mind that thinks long-range, and, when necessary, the willingness to engage in gamesmanship that’s as subtle as it is effective. What the left views as weakness and the right views as radicalism, I view as brilliance. Anyone who thinks he’s weak hasn’t been paying attention.
As noted by swampland.time.com, the next bill the President needs to sign, aimed at Congressional Republicans, is the Cut the Crap Act; Republicans won’t out-game this president, and he seems ready to let them know it.
Copyright 2011 LA Progressive