” [You] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality….That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Eight years ago, that unnamed Bush administration aide – reputed to be Karl Rove himself in some circles – essentially laid out the entire template for what it means to be a Republican in the Year Of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve. Being Republican now means you create your own reality. That’s how it’s possible for a majority of the GOP in the South to believe that Barack Obama was born somewhere outside the United States and is actually a Muslim. That’s how it’s possible for Paul Ryan to accuse the President of slashing a huge amount from Medicare when those cuts appear in his own budget. That’s how it’s possible to say that the Obama administration has raised taxes and expanded the government to unprecedented levels, when in fact taxes have gone down every year and the level of government employment has been reduced so far it has a material impact on those pesky unemployment figures. That’s how it’s possible to sweep eight years of Bush mismanagement under the rug, provide nothing but scorched-earth obstruction for four years, and then claim that Barack Obama is on the verge of destroying America.
Look, there’s plenty to criticize with this President. Did he bring about the progressive liberal New Jerusalem? Not remotely. Are there serious concerns about the long-term prospects for civil liberties in a world of unregulated drone warfare? Naturally. Should he have done things differently that first year? Almost certainly. And yet, in a world where grandstanding conservative Democrats had to have their feathers preened (looking at you, Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu), where moderate Republicans sloughed off their own recorded preferences and fell into lockstep with their party (looking at you, Maine women), where the GOP opened 2009 stating that their highest hope was for the President to fail (that’s you, Rush) and their foremost goal was to make Obama a one-term President (that’s you, McConnell, and fuck the Wildcats while I’m at it) – in short, in a world where everybody dug in their heels and said “Not it,” Barack Obama accomplished at least as much as could be reasonably expected of a President.
Was the stimulus large enough? No, because it was arbitrarily reduced by Senate Democrats. Did Gitmo close? No, because GOP Congressmen pissed themselves at the thought of evil magic terrorists crossing the border. Did the United States lose its AAA credit rating? Yes, because the Republican party decided to play chicken with a credit limit that few of them credibly understood. Did we get a public option for health insurance for all? No, because Ted Kennedy died and the Wise Old Men of Washington decided that a routine sixty-vote threshold for all Senate votes was right and proper and normal and not at all an unprecedented feat of delay and obstruction.
It’s the age old story, sad but true: the first black guy had to be twice as good to get half as far.
I’m not going to reward obstruction. I’m not going to reward bullying. I’m not going to reward rampant douchbaggery. I’m not going to hand the reins over to the people who drove the car off the cliff and then spent four years slashing the tires on the tow truck before blaming the tow-truck driver for the wreck.
I live in the real world. And in the real world, the guy who’s done his best under preposterous circumstances shouldn’t be punished for it…especially when he’s delivered results. For this reason, yes, I endorse Barack Hussein Obama for re-election as the 44th President of the United States.