As we mercifully roll into the last year of the Obama Administration, we can expect a slew of articles telling us how great a President he’s been. ThinkRegress takes an interesting first approach, which I would describe as “it hasn’t been as bad as some of the more hysterical critics said!”
Specifically, they focus on:
- Mike Lee said gas would be $6 a gallon. It’s $2.
- Mitt Romney said unemployment would remain high. It’s 5%.
- Donald Trump said stock markets would crash. The Dow is at 17,0000.
- Rush Limbaugh said the entire economy would crash. We’re still having growth.
I’m … unimpressed. It looks to me like ThinkRegress basically trolled a few months of commentary to find the most inaccurate predictions they could. But hysterical inaccurate predictions are basically the language of politics. One of my earliest political memories is of liberals saying Ronald Reagan would get us into a nuclear war. So pulling out four of the worst quotes is a silly exercise.
(I’m also not clear why the stock market surging is seen by liberals as a good thing. Surely that just increases wealth inequality? I’m also dubious that the economy is in as great shape as ThinkRegress claims but I’ll accept the official numbers are decent.)
And you want to talk about inaccurate predictions? Let’s talk about Obama predicting in 2008 he would cut the deficit in half. Or let’s talk about the stimulus that would cap unemployment at 8% and bring it down to 5% by 2012. Or the prediction that his very presence would make us popular in the world again and bring about an era of international cooperation.
Here’s another exercise: let’s look at what did happen since Election 2012.
- Obamacare has started to fall apart. Premiums have soared. Deductibles have soared. Networks have contracted. Some companies are even leaving the system. Obama’s claim that “if you like your healthcare, you can keep it” turned out to be so wrong, Politifact labelled it as a Lie of the Year.
- Iraq, Libya and Syria have descended into chaos.
- Russia has emerged as a major geopolitical foe. The Left wing mocked Romney when he predicted this in 2012, with Obama saying, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
- Student debt has continued to swell.
- The global economy is still in rough shape, with Europe and China now stumbling.
- Terrorism has gotten worse, with the number of attacks increasing. ISIS is now losing military, but they have expanded their terror network and may continue to act on that front even if they cease to exist as a pretend nation.
- The debt has continued to grow. To the extend that the deficit has fallen, it is because of evil Republican budget restraint. That restraint, incidentally, was supposed to plunge us back into recession.
I would like to focus on that last point in particular, because this is something I emphasized in my commentary on the 2012 election. Such success as Obama has had has come largely because of a Republican Congress. It has often come because of things he and his party vehemently opposed, such as budget cuts, extended tax cuts and increased oil production. Part of the job of the President is to stand around and claim credit for anything that good that happens. But it’s hard to make that claim while at the same time, whining that the evil GOP has blocked every single part of your agenda. Every stimulus bill, every new spending initiative, every tax hike has found itself DOA. And yet … we’re somehow supposed to credit all this to Obama?
Well, whatever it takes to convince yourself that he’s been a great President, I guess.