Tina Dupuy has an excellent article entitled “The Enthusiasm Gap or He’s Just a President” that speaks to one of my pet peeves. It is bad enough that the right-wing is (semi-successfully) painting Obama as a socialist, fascist, foreign-born, Muslim sleeper agent. But it doesn’t help that the left-wing is depressed and disillusioned. So disillusioned that they will probably stay home this November rather than vote, even if that means that rabid tea party candidates take over Congress. It is ironic that the right wants the left to be disillusioned, since it seems to be their only chance to take back Congress. That’s why they keep tossing out crazy attacks against Obama, even if the accusations don’t have any basis in truth.
Dupuy points out that in order to be disillusioned, at some point you had to be illusioned — you had to believe in an illusion, a falsehood. Maybe you believed that Obama was a radical progressive liberal who was going to fix everything immediately, instead of the moderate centrist he always said he was. Maybe you are blaming the slow pace of change inherent to our form of government on him. After eight long years of Bush, people were hungry for someone who could change everything in his first few weeks in office, as if by magic.
PolitiFact is keeping track of Obama’s campaign promises, and by their reckoning Obama is doing pretty good. He has already kept 121 of his campaign promises, compromised on 39, and broken 22 of them. There is still time to do even better, as 240 promises are “In the Works”, although there are an additional 81 that are stalled.
Some of the promises broken are not a big surprise, like his inability to introduce comprehensive immigration reform into Congress in his first year of office. But he did remove all combat brigades from Iraq, established a credit card bill of rights, reformed the financial sector, closed the “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug plan and required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, fully funded the Veterans Administration, made US aid to Pakistan conditional on anti-terror efforts there, changed Homeland security funding from a pork-laden boondoggle to being based on risk, reduced nuclear weapons, promoted democracy in Cuba, made presidential records more accessible, reformed student loans and expanded Pell grants, increased funding for national parks and forests, promoted arts education in schools and increased funding for the NEA, expanded AmeriCorps, reduced pay discrimination, banned gifts from lobbyists to executive employees, raised fuel economy standards, invested in alternative energy, and invested in public transportation, increased funding for the EPA, and reversed restrictions on stem cell research. Not shabby at all!
But somehow, people are too busy screaming about some inconsequential mosque at ground zero to hear about that important stuff.
UPDATE: Obama just appointed Elizabeth Warren to start the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is excellent news, and should make the left very happy. It has already pissed off at least one Republican Senator.