Thursday, November 5, 2009

For those of you who think Obama hasn’t done anything...

You’re wrong.

As John H. Richardson points out in a post for Esquire, Obama has actually accomplished quite a few things. (No, he hasn’t accomplished everything he said he would. But just because you may not like all the choices he’s made, it doesn’t mean he hasn’t actually done anything.)

If you're still not sold you can read Richardson's list of Obama's accomplishments here, but I thought the ending of his post was the most poignant:
Liberals are upset because Obama didn't shut down Guantánamo or stop the wiretapping program or end all wars or support gay marriage and kill Don't Ask Don't Tell. Conservatives are pissed off because they hate health-care reform, family planning, ending any war at all, organic gardening at the White House, and government in general.

What's worse, both sides are so angry and righteous that they can't even begin to give credit where it is due. When was the last time you heard a conservative cheer about that $288 billion tax cut? Or credit Obama for the centrism it took to appoint McChrystal, Panetta, and Gates? And how many liberals choose to be understanding about the practical difficulties of shutting down Guantánamo, achieving equal rights for gays, or tapping Al Qaeda's phones?

And where, on either side, can you find a scrap of humility about the staggeringly complex challenge of Afghanistan and Pakistan? Or a scrap of gratitude at having escaped global financial doom?

So the question, a year since we elected him, isn't how much Obama has accomplished. The question is why we've turned so small and mean that we only see half of it — the half we happen to agree with.

Why indeed.

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