The Next Term of the Obama Presidency Will Be Great — Obama’s Critics (Left and Right) Were Wrong

Given my Religious Right background I’m one of the President’s most unlikely fans. Maybe that’s because I know the alternative– from the inside. I fear the alternative to the President — Far Right loons of the Tea Party/evangelical religious right ilk — and have never felt I had the luxury of being an armchair lefty critic demoralizing Obama’s supporters because he’s the only person who stands between the village idiots and us.

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted Left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled Right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight, 60-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of Francis Schaeffer a famous evangelical leader described in my book Crazy For God) this most unlikely Obama supporter — stuck with our President.

Why?– because he is succeeding against the tallest odds ever maliciously and stupidly stuck in the way of any American president by the most vicious and unpatriotic crew of malcontents, racists, snobs and fools to ever try and take a president down.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. His second term will be glorious. Then Obama’s critics on the Left and Right will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged fools at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant  opposition – from both the Right and Left.

As Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker:

“Obama didn’t remake Washington. But his first two years stand as one of the most successful legislative periods in modern history. Among other achievements, he has saved the economy from depression, passed universal health care, and reformed Wall Street.”

Here is what President Obama faced when he took office:

  • An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries
  • Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral
  • The worst economic crisis since the Depression
  • America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history
  • A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war
  • A health care system in free fall
  • An educational system in free fall
  • A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing) and that today’s Republicans have lied about as they serve their oil/coal company masters
  • An impasse between culture warriors from the Right and Left
  • A Republican Party bet on obstructing him even when it cost the country
  • A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration…
  • And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the Religious Right, libertarians and half-baked Tea Party racist conspiracy theorists — that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time President Obama took office — do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (no kidding!)  and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly.

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh and billionaire agitators like the Koch brothers who literally tried to buy the government.

As the LA Times noted:

“If Obama wins reelection, one would assume that, after he leaves office in January 2017 and the United States is still a free society with a capitalist economy, the conspiracy theorists will finally admit they were wrong — but I would not count on it. Conservative Christian groups that, four years ago, predicted Obama would have revealed himself as some version of the Antichrist by now have simply adjusted their schedule for the looming victory of Satan. In the same way, the paranoid imagineers of the right will come up with some creative explanation for why Obama, having achieved the nefarious goal for which he was secretly trained, ended up governing only slightly to the left of Bob Dole.”

The list of nutty fabrications about Obama, his administration and Democrats is long. Here’s a small sample from FactCheck.org:

• Obama intends to force a complete ban on all weapons for U.S. citizens through a United Nationstreaty. Total paranoid fantasy — Obama has actually broadened the number of places where citizens can carry guns.

• Barack and Michelle Obama surrendered their law licenses to avoid ethics charges. Another big lie.

• This dictatorial president has issued 900 executive orders, some creating martial law. Wrong — he’s signed 139 executive orders, none establishing extraordinary powers.

• The government bought 79% of the vehicles sold by General Motors in June. Nope, completely false.

• The Democratic National Convention hosted a Muslim prayer service while rejecting prayers from a Catholic cardinal. Another falsehood — the Muslim service took place in a park and the cardinal gave the convention’s final prayer.

• Obama plans to deny emergency brain surgery to patients over 70, do away with the National Day of Prayer and get rid of the White House Christmas tree. Once again, lie, lie, lie.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick. And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

“Help” from the Left?

The Left’s lack of faith became a self-fulfilling “prophecy” in lost voter enthusiasm — snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it.

What did the Left do to help our newly elected president? Within weeks some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history. They pissed and moaned on MSNBC, Alternet, Huffington Post et al because the President didn’t do everything he wanted to do soon enough. People like Paul Krugman second guessed everything President Oabama did, until — belatedly — a few folks like Krugman backtracked after President Obama’s list of huge accomplishments became hard to argue with.

Others on the cranky Left (like Bob Woodward who said President Obama was “Arrogant, aloof, and unprepared” in his book The Price of Politics) stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them. Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minuets of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”!

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night in 2008 turned into an angry “disappointed” mob Leftist saying how discouraged they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House. Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

“Governing”?! What the hell does that word, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics Left and Right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community as listed by the Daily Kos President Obama had:

Improved the Economy and Reduced the Debt

1.    3,680,000 private sector jobs created since the end of the Bush Great Recession ref ref
2.    Expanded government’s fight against fraud in Financial ref, Federal Contractor ref  and Health Care areas ref
3.    $2,000,000,000,000 in deficit reduction ref
4.    He saved the economy from ruin (until the Tea Party took over Congress) with a stimulus that was as large as possible given the political realities ref
5.    Saved the US Auto Industry  refref
6.    Health Care Reform ref
7.    Reduced military spending by $500,000,000,000 ref

Reigned in Wall Street Excesses

8.    Wall Street Reform ref ref ref
9.    Leaned on the banks to recover almost all “bailout money” with interest ref ref
10.    Saved the world from global financial collapse ref ref
11.    Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. ref

Made America Safer

12.    Killed Osama Bin Laden ref
13.    Killed a whole generation of al Qaeda leaders ref
14.    Stopped numerous terrorist attacks in this country ref   ref  
15.    Authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. ref
16.    Unified the world against Iran and brought unprecedented united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential ref
17.    More deportations per year than Bush ref
18.    Hired more border patrol agents than Bush ref

Reduced Taxes

19.    Tax rates for average working families are the lowest since 1950. ref
20.    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families. ref
21.    Reduced Social Security Taxes for 2011 and 2012 ref

Brought More Efficiency to the Federal Government

22.    Smaller Government ref   ref
23.    Fewer regulations than Bush  ref

Strengthened Personal Liberties

24.    Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women. refrefref
25.    Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. ref  
26.    Support’s states’ right on medical marijuana ref
27.    Repealed “Don’t ask don’t tell” refref
28.    Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. ref
29.    Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.  ref
30.    Changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing ref
31.    Publicly expressed support for the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. ref
32.    Implemented much of Dream Act via Executive Order ref
33.    Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court ref

Helped Make the World a Safer, More Democratic, and More American Friendly Place

34.    Ended the war in Iraq ref
35.    Established a date for transferring Afghanistan fighting to Afghanis. ref
36.    Toppled Gadhafi without an American casualty  ref
37.    Fired the first salvo of the Arab Spring with his address in Cairo no less ref
38.    Has the Arab League watching Syria ref
39.    Presided over democratic revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain
40.    Helped to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world.  ref   ref
41.    On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all  Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.  ref  ref
42.    Three new trade agreements ref

Increased Respect and Public Support for American Soldiers

43.    Increased veterans/benefits every year  ref  ref
44.    Along with Congressional Democrats, not only reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB, but also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.  ref ref
45.    Signed the Democratic-sponsored Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0  ref

Invested in Education

46.    Invested in college students: 1) by repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. ref ref ref 2) by reforming student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. ref  and 3) by overseeing an expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low income students to go to college. ref
47.    Invested in primary education:  Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. ref
48.    Oversaw major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide ref
49.    Oversaw major expansion in school construction. ref
50.    Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. ref

Protected What We Eat, Drink and Breathe.

51.    Strengthened environmental protection via new laws and policies. ref ref ref ref refref ref.
52.    Fast-tracked regulations to dramatically increase fuel efficiency standards ref ref
53.    Strengthened the bond between clean energy and commerce by overseeing establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. ref  Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. ref
54.    Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars.  ref
55.    Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.  ref
56.    Turned America toward native sources of renewal energy Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. ref (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
57.    Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.  ref
58.    Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. ref
59.    Oversaw doubling federal spending on clean energy research. ref
60.    Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.” ref ref ref

Who actually has failed?

The Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth are the failures. It’s right under our jaded noses!

Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the Left and Right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved correct in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

The future looks good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

So when are President Obama’s critics, people like Paul Krugman (from the Left) and Mitt Romney (from the Right), going to offer President Obama an apology?

Both have often loudly predicted that he made the economy “worse” and was putting America on the wrong economic path. Both are being proved wrong by the economic comeback we are in. I mention them not to pick on Krugman, who I respect, or even on Romney (who I regard as vapid and bought and paid for by corporate interests) but to make a point: President Obama is going to have the last laugh on his critics, no matter what ideological spectrum they hail from.

President Obama is succeeding in spite of the fact that he’s been up against a Republican Party willing to destroy the economy in order to destroy him.

As the New Yorker notes:

“Two well-known Washington political analysts, Thomas Mann, of the bipartisan Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, agree. In a forthcoming book about Washington dysfunction, ‘It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,’ they write, ‘One of our two major parties, the Republicans, has become an insurgent outlier–ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.’”

The President keeps proving himself smarter than his detractors

President Obama will win a second term 2012. And 4 years later all that will be remembered about his critics is that they were impatient, deluded and wrong.

Given what was on his plate when he took office and the fact that we’re successfully struggling out of both recession and the aftermath of 2 wars — and succeeding — President Obama is one of the best of the American presidents already. His second term will consolidate that verdict and bodes true greatness and national recovery as his legacy.

To book Frank to speak at your college, church or group please contact Frank HERE 

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back.

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • Jeff

    Well done Frank. This will help encourage me today at work when my friends on the right snarl and contort at the possibility of four more years with our president. GOBAMA

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Jeff, thanks! I just got back from voting. Let’s hope the day goes well for our poresident! Best, Frank

  • Crystal Siegel

    Wow!

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Crystal, thanks and please pass this on. Best, Frank

  • http://nwrickert.wordpress.com/ Neil Rickert

    Thanks for an excellent summary of Obama’s achievements. I, too, look forward to his second term.

    In the 2008 race, I saw Obama as a pragmatist intent on doing the best for his country. And that, he has done.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Neil, well put: “Obama [is] a pragmatist intent on doing the best for his country…” Just so. Best, F

  • Mike

    I hope you’re right and us leftists are wrong.

    There is still no public option for health care and their won’t be unless he forces it on the repubs. Nothing in this health care bill will lead to a public option. I know a manager at a small retail business who is really worried about being able to provide health insurance. He would provide it free if he had the money but it’s a retail business not a bank or engineering firm so they don’t have the kind of money that other similarly sized businesses have.

    War criminals bush and cheney are free when they should be imprisoned and waterboarded hourly. The coverup of 9/11 goes on when the evidence points to false flag operation. It might be political suicide for obama to address these things but if he can send soldiers overseas to lose everything for vain causes then he can risk his own life or political career to do the right thing.

    I have to ask myself, “What is more likely? Is obama playing chess while the GOP is playing checkers or have we been fooled again? I think the latter is more likely.

    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Mike, thanks for the notes, all good. I’d just say that if President Obama can get 20 percent of what should be done in the next term it will be a huge step in the right direction. and i think he will. I think chess is the answer.

  • Theresa Mason

    Thanks! I needed that!

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Thanks for reading Theresa! Best, F

  • Douglas Speicher

    Frank….the only thing I might add is the consistency of level headedness he has demonstrated in overcoming incredible odds. Your writing is always a delight to read and the perspective is personal for me. If evangelicals could focus on deeds rather than misdeeds. I will never forget our converstion in ´82 with Billy Idhe and Steve Neptune. I knew back then our “mission” was doomed to fail, if only because our brains were being deprived the oxygen of considering the consequences of our all too free “speech.” The judgementalism and religiousity in which I lived was palpable and pathetic….you sure were “on fire” back then. I am so grateful the fire burns differently these days. Balance is beautiful and so are you Frank. I am posting your posts with the intent of triggering the use of fallowing gray matter in the minds of the faithful. Oy vey we´ve come a long way from carrying poster boards with unborn fetuses wherever we went and condemning those who ventured therein. Man if I could take about a hundred conversations back and a hundred episodes of gross confrontation and venemous declarations of sin. Turns out the sinner was me. I live in Sweden but voted Ohio absentee for the greatest President in my life. Take care of your health Frank. Douglas Speicher Lund Sweden

  • Anthony Doheny

    Articulated beautifully! As a result of this blog alone I am following Frank on Twitter!

  • Anne

    Thank you Frank. I especially appreciate your assessment of my “fellow lefties.” We do such a fine job of slaying our own, with our litmus tests to see who is “more Leftist than thou.” I appreciate your honesty, clarity, crankiness and courage.

  • James Johnson

    I came across your blog during a search to expand my own thoughts in the wake of a disappointing election for me. I enjoyed the enthusiasm and pride you showed for your president, but by the end I felt branded as a fool, a failure, racist and divisive because I hold a different world view than you. I see others congratulating you for courage. I would caution you as a fellow human being as you seem to want to quite easily brand and cut away those who are not like you. I will look elsewhere for the inclusion I seek.

    • Jim Bentz

      James, refute points he makes! He’s human and fallible. If you look closely he’s criticizing both sides. Maybe there is something you can teach us. My father is an Obama hater and I love and respect my father a great deal. I certainly don’t think he is a fool, a failure, racist and divisive! I think the folks who concocted the lies, a small sampling of these lies are referenced above, and spread hatred and falsehood. My father affiliates with a party that has had great years. I did for most of my life as well. Frank (I think) did too! I might be wrong, but maybe Frank is pointing to the people who were spinning the messaging at certain media outlets? Loyalty and sticking with your party is a good thing. I think this round, the GOP took a big risk in deciding to unseat a guy within 2 months of a presidential term. Ike, William F Buckley Jr., Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, et al would not be happy about what this party has become! It would be great to gather presidential historians/biographers of these presidents + the recognized founder of modern conservative thought (WFB) and get their opinions on this. I agree, though. Frank comes off as abrasive. I can forgive him because I heard his father speak in a series of chapel services at the college I attended. He seemed like a grouch to me much of the time. I think the father and son come off like this because they are deeply passionate about their work.

  • Jim Bentz

    Thanks for compiling all of this information.

  • Sarah

    When I fed the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why are the poor hungry, they called me a communist.

    Dom Helder Camera

    I was reminded of this quote as I read your article.

  • Ed

    Thanks for this. I first read it on election night and needed to see the other side if this. I’m sure others will say your take is all spin and that’s deeply frustrating. Ironically, during the Clinton era I heard virtually all the same conspiracy theories…you could almost simply change the names and they would be identical. I’m still waiting to be carted off to some underground concentration camp that Clinton apparently built in Indiana somewhere:). My wife and I are happy that Obama has another term. Thanks, Frank!

  • Alex

    I think there was a lot more that should have been accomplished in 2009-10, but the lost opportunities of the 111th Congress were not Obama’s fault. To the extent that the Democratic administration and congressional majorities failed in 2009-2010, the fault lay with Harry Reid, who should have exercised the “nuclear option” and abolished the filibuster from the Senate rules on January 3, 2009. Had he done so, the Affordable Care Act would have passed with a public option in lieu of the mandate; the stimulus bill would have been much closer in scale and structure to what reality-based (a.k.a. Keynesian) economists like Krugman predicted it would take to not only stop the freefall but restore robust economic growth; the Bush tax cuts for the highest income brackets would have been allowed to expire in 2010; and the American Clean Energy and Security Act, DREAM Act, Employee Free Choice Act, and Employment Non-Discrimination Act would all have passed into law.

  • j bohn

    Frank, I gotta say that although I agree with your unfavorable view of Evangelicals (another article) I think your facts here are laughable. There are so many that are just partly true, that I believe you just believe carte blanche anything that supports your opinion, whether or not it’s actually true or not. I think my biggest beef with you is your contempt for patriots and tea party people, who, if I were to believe your description of them are half wit racists who who just spout off conspiricacy theories. I am not a tea party guy, but as a “real” liberal, can identify with a lot of their ideals. Yes you heard that right! REAL liberals started this country, broke away from the tyranny of a heartless and soul-less oppressor government. They belived in free speech, freedom of religion, free trade, you know, all that stuff you obviously don’t believe in. You seem to have a real bent towards discrediting any opinion but your own. The fact that you are such a poster child for the Obama presidency is the most laughable thing ever, I mean, seriously? You really believe all that tripe? I think being a child of a wealthy family has tweaked your bearings, sure you write, your’re a paid speaker, but you didn’t build that, you’re Dad did, and you capitalized on it, Ironically one of those free american principles you hate so bad.

  • Veritas

    Wow one looks at the list of accomplishments and asks why can’t he match the greatness and grandeur of Garfield?What is about Obama that makes one long for the honesty of Nixon, the cool competence of Carter, the hippness of Wilson, or the speaking ability of Truman?

    This is a man who will show the world how to become one of the world’s ten greatest countires (too bad it was the world’s strongest country); a man who makes Caligula look sane; a man who boasts membership at Chicago’s elite Man’s World; a man of such breath taking merit and talent that just as Hitler said that let him have fifteen years in Germany and no one would believe what he would do-I can hardly wait to see the future that he leaves to our progressives.

    I have little doubt what history will say of him or his sheeples. And to think I always used to wonder how Hitler could be elected. Now I know.


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