Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, November 17, 2018

Only a Democrat could prevent a Depression, end a war, capture and kill Osama bin Laden, double the Dow — and then hear constantly that he can’t run on his record.

If President John McCain were seeking a second term with these undeniable accomplishments, the GOP would skip the campaign and spend the money on carving his grimace into Mt. Rushmore and onto the dime, while renaming every federal everything in America after the man.

In 2004, after George W. blew the surplus, didn’t prevent 9/11, let bin Laden get away at Tora Bora, and invaded the wrong country, Republicans still proudly ran on that record. Of course, that was before Bush tried to privatize Social Security, gave up on his Orwellian terror alerts, and let New Orleans drown, driving his approval rating down to Nixon-during-Watergate-era levels. Since Herbert Hoover, has any president had a worse tenure? But who said, “George W. Bush can’t run on his record!”

A lot of people did, certainly—just as millions took to the streets to protest the Iraq war. But there wasn’t a liberal machinery to repeat the rallying cry. So Republicans re-elected George W. Bush—barely—claiming: “He kept us safe.”

Can President Obama run on his record?

It’s a question so ridiculous that even asking it shows how the conservative media and their coordinated talking points pollute perceptions.

President Obama’s success began before he was even elected president.

In 2008, Bush adopted his timeline for withdrawal from Iraq. During the financial crisis, his support made the government’s efforts to put a backstop on the crisis possible. As he came into office, he laid out the framework for an unprecedented economic stimulus and managed to get the two Republican votes he needed within weeks—despite an agreement by the GOP to do everything they could to oppose his progress. Even before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went into effect, the GOP learned to call it a failure and repeated that ad nauseum.

You know that during his first two years, the president had a majority in the House that included dozens of “Blue Dog” Democrats who were basically moderate Republicans.

Anyone who says that President Obama ever had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate doesn’t know what a Joe Lieberman is. For a few brief weeks, 60 Senators did caucus as Democrats, but that number included Lieberman, along with Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mary Landrieu (D-AR), conservative Democrats who often voted like Republicans.

Despite those obstacles, President Obama’s legislative wins in that one period can only be compared with the first full term of Lyndon B. Johnson or Franklin D. Roosevelt’s three terms of pure progress for the middle class and working families.

In addition to the stimulus program — which made a massive investment in green energy that thrust us forward by decades — he signed the Lilly Ledbetter act for equal pay, credit card reform, Wall Street reform that created Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student loan reform that cut profiteering banks out of the process and made sure loan repayments were more affordable, and the mother of all progressive accomplishments — the Affordable Care Act.