It may not fit the current political and media narrative, in which the goofier you are the more attention you get, but as an amateur historian I am struck by the record of accomplishment that the Democrats in Congress and President Obama are building. With the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, and the expected passage of a jobs bill, they are even passing that most elusive of election-year milestones: a good August.
The two big question marks out there are Afghanistan and long-term debt. And the European fiscal crisis certainly showed us that we are not out of the weeds of the big recession yet. But in less than two years the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill (which contained many of the party’s domestic priorities on energy, education, and transportation), healthcare and education reforms, measures to bail out and reform our financial system and the automobile industry, and approved two Supreme Court justices.
Add to that the nuclear arms treaty with Russia, the steady management of our relationship with China, and the continuing drawdown in Iraq and you have quite an impressive start for the young and inexperienced president. His record may be bolstered even more if, by the end of the year, the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy expire, Al Simpson comes to the rescue, and we do something to address the deficits. And even the troubled Afghan surge has no doubt played the role that the Iraq war did--reduced Islamic terrorists to dodging fire and fighting our soldiers, over there, rather than killing our civilians, over here.
Sky-high liberal expectations, our fractured and poisonous media climate, and relentless conservative resistance have all combined to muddy the picture, but it seems to me that the Democratic failures are more in telling their story, than in having a story to tell.
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