After criticizing President Obama throughout his second term, I’ve reversed course and decided that he’s a tremendous leader, one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history.
Perfection is too high of a bar to set for any man, or any president, but Obama has come close to clearing it. What stands between this president and Mount Rushmore?
Republicans — specifically, the stubborn extremists who control the House under the weak leadership of Speaker John Boehner. Gridlock, hyper-partisanship, and ineffective governance, those traits that make Washington so unpopular with voters, are singularly the fault of the GOP.
It is not Obama’s fault; none of it. The president alone struggled to reach across party lines — to build relationship with Republicans, to empathize and understand their points of view, to find common ground on vexing national issues.
“Leadership” is too weak of a word for what Obama has brought to Washington after winning the presidency on a simple promise to change the culture of Washington. “I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations,” he said during the 2008 campaign. “But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”
Fact is, he got it done — all of it. Not only did he pull troops out of Iraq and avert an economic depression, the president tamed joblessness, reversed climate change, improved the nation’s reputation abroad, turned a debt crisis into a budget surplus, and provided affordable health care to millions of Americans. Mission Accomplished.
Obama succeeded while fostering a bipartisan mood in Washington that began, actually, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he declared, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is a United States of America.”
Only a man of immense humility could achieve such greatness while constantly reminding the public of his own limitations. Obama’s modesty confounded political reporters and other “Green Lanternists” — those who believe that presidential powers, in the hands of the right leader, are immense. Obama needed only a magical pen and phone.
Leadership, it is he.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."