I have a conservative friend named Milo who posted a list of reasons that he doesn’t like Obama on Facebook, and because I hate my brain, I decided to respond here. It’s a fairly long post and I wish I could link to it, but he wrote it on Facebook, so unless you are friends with him, you wouldn’t be able to see it. I’ll ask him to throw it up on a site that can be linked.
Anyway, some of the points are fairly common conservative nonsense, like complaining about the amount of “czars” that Obama has “appointed.” Conservatives who complain about Obama’s czars never seem to bring up the number of czars under Reagan or either Bush, or indeed, where the term originated in American politics. But the bigger problem with the czar nonsense is that many of the so-called czars that conservatives list in their Obama-is-bad compilations are actually leadership posts that have existed for years and are confirmed by the Senate, which sort of negates the argument that they are extra-constitutional appointees with dictatorial powers. But I digress.
I’m not going to engage in a point-by-point rebuttal, because it would be a very long post and not very interesting, but I did want to respond to the the first grievance that Milo lists:
He refuses to take responsibility for the abysmal economy, preferring instead to blame his predecessor even now, toward the end of his first presidential term.
This is a very common complaint from conservatives about President Obama and there’s a good reason for it. They really really don’t want anyone to remember anything that happened while “his predecessor” was in office. In fact, they avoid saying the name of “his predecessor” because the immediate response of most Americans now when hearing the name of “his predecessor” is not conducive to Republican prospects in November.
Let’s just take a look at this graph one more time, shall we?
I know that conservatives want everyone to forget about who was president in 2008, but the depth of the crisis is absolutely relevant to any evaluation of President Obama’s record. Do you see the brown line in that graph above? That’s the line that measures the (first) employment downturn during “his predecessor’s” presidency. You can see how it took a long time to recover, almost 4 years. That downturn began in 2001 and didn’t fully recover until 2005, briefly, before starting to fall again in 2007 and then off the cliff in 2008.
If President Obama’s “predecessor” couldn’t solve a relatively shallow jobs downturn in less than 4 years, why should Obama be held solely responsible for the largest downturn since 1932, and which also started during the presidency of “his predecessor?”
This is one of those stubbornly stupid facts that I listed on Monday that conservatives refuse to acknowledge when making the case for Mitt Romney over President Obama. In Mitt Romney’s victory speech on Tuesday night, he perpetuated this idea that the President is wholly responsible for the current economic conditions, as if the economy was doing just great when he took over.
Those were the days of lofty promises made by a hopeful candidate. Today, we are faced with the disappointing record of a failed president. The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven’t offered much hope.
The middle class has been crushed. Nearly 24 million of our fellow Americans are still out of work, struggling to find work, or have just stopped looking. The median income has dropped 10 percent in four years. Soldiers returning from the front lines are waiting in unemployment lines. Our debt is too high and our opportunities too few.
And of course the other fact that conservatives don’t like to acknowledge is that Mitt Romney’s plan for fixing the economy is to just repeat the same policies as President Obama’s “predecessor.”
When I hear conservatives like Milo complain that the president “refuses to take responsibility” for the economy, I am reminded of an interview that Joss Whedon gave. Whedon is the creator of such nerd favorites as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse, as well as the director of the upcoming Avengers movie. Whedon was asked about one of things he is most known for:
Reporter: Why do you always write strong female characters?
Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.
When I see Mitt Romney try to place all the responsibility for the current economic situation on President Obama, and when I see conservatives like Milo ask why the president feels it is necessary to remind people of the historic depth of the crisis when he took office from “his predecessor,” I think of that quote from Whedon.
If conservatives would like to stop being reminded of these stubborn, stupid facts, they should stop forgetting them.