President Obama Listened to a Heckler With Humility His Critics Are (Ususally) Wrong


The president I know and love stood listening with respect to a heckler when he spoke today about closing Guantanamo prison. He is a big man in every sense of the word with a big heart. The “IRS scandal” and the “Benghazi scandal” are just more bash Obama “stories” that aren’t about what they purport to be about. Liberals and far right conservatives have joined forces in writing off the Obama presidency so many times I’ve lost count. They did so from day one. Liberals did it by offering condescending “advice.” Conservatives did it by starting the Tea Party and by careening from one fact-free hysteria fit to another.

The economy is rebounding. The stock market is skyrocketing. We’re out of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan is winding down. Immigration reform is on the way. Gay rights and women’s rights have been advanced as never before. The health care system is slowly being reformed and millions of previously uninsured Americans have been or are about to be covered.

Our first African-American president has battled the most virulently obstructionist congress ever in modern times. Liberal and conservative Americans who predicted doom, again and again, from early in the Obama presidency to the present have been proved wrong– again and again.

Yes, the Obama presidency could have been better— if that is, President Obama hadn’t faced the bitter attacks from southern white males in congress and their corporate masters egged on by a shrill 24/7 far right media. He also could have done more if liberals had had his back from the start, instead of sniping at the President from the sidelines as they – like the right wing operatives — also did from day one.

The fact is this president has been an overwhelming success. Given what he faced: a country on the verge of economic depression mired in two stupid wars he has been more than successful. President Obama has been masterful. And he’s turned this country around after one of the worst periods in our history.

Liberals have been fickle and conservatives downright vile. Our gracious, persistent and patient president has not stooped to their level. He has not lashed out.

Now that we’re heading for an economic boom and our troops are headed home all of a sudden a minor and stupid story about underpaid and overworked IRS petty functionaries in Cincinnati has been latched onto by pundits on the right and left as yet more “proof” of President Obama’s “failure” or worse. And a terrorist incident in Benghazi offers the far right critics of the President a last chance to try and slow the march of history that will judge our president as a monumental success.

These are bullshit “news” stories being pushed by people – left and right – with motives that have nothing to do with the stories themselves. Smarmy white liberal commentators – selling advertising on their blogs and TV news channels by hyping hype – hold forth on how they could have done it better. The usual cast of conservatives and their fact free followers sharpen their knives—yet again.

They are all wrong.

The reason the IRS was trying to figure out what to do with the deluge of special interest lobbyists plunging into election year politics as “not-for-profit” groups was that the Supreme Court sold its soul to folks like the Koch brothers who wanted to buy the election. The blurring of the line on 501-c-3 and c-4 organizations is just another symptom of money overtaking our democracy with the blessing of the Court.

As for Benghazi it’s another sad story about the fact that once in a while the enemies of the US will succeed in killing some of us—no matter who is president. When over 3000 Americans were killed on President Bush’s watch on 9/11 liberals didn’t blame him, though he had actual warnings he ignored. Then again W wasn’t black.

Yes, it’s all about race. It must be because the actual evidence of our economy and our standing in the world — not to mention the President’s record on protecting us — points to Obama’s success.

Liberal whites want to elect blacks but I think some of them assume that the lucky few blacks they help are undeserving affirmative action-type hires and that of course the liberal whites who condescended to elect them are smarter than they are.

So the liberals demand that they be listened to by the blacks they were so nice to in a way that they never seem to demand of white leaders. How else to explain all the carping that President Obama is “too distant” and “cut off” when he’s been nothing of the sort?

The right wing of course have been rooting for President Obama’s failure because they feel that God put whites in charge of the world and that having a black in the White House is somehow unnatural.

I’ll predict that after the right wing loons squeeze every last lie and innuendo out of the IRS “scandal” they can suck from it that this will change nothing as far as the verdict of history on President Obama.

I predict that when the last “lefty” white commentator has wrung the last drop of sanctimonious drivel out of the “failures” of this presidency that the actual facts – a rebounding economy, wars ended, human rights for women and the gay community advanced, healthcare reform begun – will stand for all time.

President Obama is a great president, a gracious and good man and smarter than all his critics combined.

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.

  • evelyn ellis

    Thank you for saying this. In the case of President Obama, all your predictions have proved to be true. I think you recognize the innate goodness in the man; you respect his talents, and you, like I and many others, see in him, his actions, and his presidency a stellar example of one who believes in doing what is right and tries his best to do it.

    I so appreciate you for putting into words, time and time again, what so many of us feel but cannot say.

    • frankschaeffer

      Evelyn, thanks so much for reading my post, please pass it on… Best, Frank

  • Neil Rickert

    Thanks for that post.

    While I have not agreed with everything Obama has done, overall he has turned to be just the kind of pragmatist that I thought I was voting for. Thanks for listing his many successes.

    Yes, it’s all about race.

    You are correct.

  • Mark Edward Hessinger

    Frank, I know I shouldn’t be here, especially after I left you for good a few weeks ago . . . again . . . but I just wanted to tell you that I hope to hell that you are right. However, I can’t shake the feeling that there must’ve been some acid in your kool-aid! Nonetheless, I’m “share”-ing this column of yours on our Facebook so that our conservative friends can all get a laugh, and our liberal friends can feel all warm and fuzzy inside before they go to bed. Didn’t I predict that you’d be back all full of piss and vinegar? Thanks. Love you, Man! -Mark

  • ArrogantDemon

    Thank you for this article, and its those same smarmy white liberal commentators who are seeing their ratings suffer, trying to appeal to niche audiences, ignoring the rest of us. I hate when we got these commentators who think they’re smarter than us, but dont know a lick about how government works that a simple class on Civics would easily solve.

    Again, thanks for this article, it’s a shame its not the consensus instead of just a few of the sane commentaries out there

    • pamelabrown53

      I think this is a fantastic essay, Frank. Besides his historical accomplishments, he is easily the most centered and magnanimous politician in my lifetime. (I’m 60 and white). He models decency, integrity and grace. It delights me that you recognize this.

  • Mat Wilson

    Poor guy is surrounded by ignorant people

  • tnwoman1948

    Thank you, Mr. Schaeffer, for a wonderful article. He is far from perfect because he is HUMAN, but President Obama is indeed a humble and gracious man with a “big heart”. Kudos!

    BTW, I also thank you for the remarks concerning “white liberals” and their condescending attitudes toward black Americans. We black people have always known that we can deal with the obvious racist, conservative whites because at least we know how they feel about us, but our “liberal friends” are a different breed. They smile in our faces, and then insult us behind our backs. To paraphrase that famous “humanitarian” (much sarcasm), former SOS Henry Kissinger: ” We have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent INTERESTS”, is how black Americans have survived in a civilization in which we are not suppose to SURVIVE let alone prosper AND prosper we have!

    God bless you, and I will be a regular visitor to your blog.

  • tanyam

    Ugh. So if we on the left are not true believers, we must be motivated by race or sanctimony.
    I’ve operated as if Roosevelt was correct — if he wanted to do the right thing, we needed to make him do the right thing. We need to keep the pressure on.
    One of my big disappointments has to do with the environment, which I think will be the biggest factor in the suffering of billions in the decades to come. If people around the world can’t feed themselves, and can’t find clean water, there will be poverty and war. So much for an “improving economy” and the ending of wars. This president’s record on the environment — Keystone Pipeline, anyone? is what we’ll be discussing in the future.
    True believers are never helpful. Not in fundamentalist religion, not in politics.

  • tedseeber

    Rah, rah, rah, St. Obama.

    I don’t see anybody as being inately good. Not me, not you, nobody. But this St. Obama worship is as bad as the St. Reagan worship on the other side.

    Every single president in my lifetime has been measurably worse than the one before. I’d rather have the comedy team of Nixon, Ford, and Carter back than any of these yahoos.

  • Mary Jo Liesch

    I totally agree.