If there’s one thing true about President Obama, no matter what one thinks of him, it’s that he elicits strong opinions from everyone. Whether they are rooted in love, hate, or even that murkier middle ground somewhere in between, folks seem pretty rooted to their beliefs about Obama as a President, an American, and as a man. Virtually any topic out there – abortion, gay rights, foreign policy, race relations, you name it – U.S. citizens have a strong stance on how Obama is handling himself on it, and in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman weighs in, as well, in a cover story titled “In Defense of Obama,” despite being a frequent critic of the president.
According to Slate on Obama:
President Obama’s approval rating is pretty low right now (44 percent per Gallup, down from the mid-50s since the start of his second term), and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site projects that Republicans have a 56 percent chance of winning the Senate.
Yet, Krugman argues in the Stone article that despite the president’s “surveillance-state policies” (and one might add police-state enabling throughout the country), Obama has done an amazing job considering the mess (to put it politely) he inherited from Fmr. President George W. Bush. In light of where he started, Krugman argues that Obama has been highly successful in at least pointing the country back into the right direction as we continue to dig ourselves out of the Great (Don’t-Call-It-A-Depression) Recession.
Krugman also goes on to talk about the Affordable Care Act, stating that it’s not perfect, exactly, but that it’s a start, a nice step forward, noting how much more it’s proven to be successful than anticipated already.
Touching on financial reform, Krugman was perhaps the most critical. After all, the President who ran on the “Change” ticket has now become known as just another Wall St. president; however, even there Krugman states that Obama’s “reform” has been more successful than it may initially appear. This could be due, perhaps, to the slow, uphill battle he faced when taking office, considering the actions and policies of the last administration. Still, Obama has not distanced himself enough from the Wall St. vultures to make a majority of Americans feel comfortable. Had he done so, perhaps the country would have fared better beneath the onslaught of Republican obstructive behavior throughout Obama’s presidency. Krugman points out, though, that America’s financial recovery, even in spite of Republicans, has moved forward at a better, faster rate than in many other “advanced” countries.
Oh! And Krugman also had the gall to say that Obama’s lasting “major legacy” may end up being his environmental policy.
Just pay no attention to that fracker behind the curtains!
Because President Obama does elicit such strong reactions from Americans, there is little doubt that Krugman’s praise of Obama, calling him “one of the most successful Presidents in American history,” will get people jumping into debate all over the place as to why they feel that is true or the biggest piece of horse-shite to grace the pages of Rolling Stone in decades, which according to recent Stone critics such as Jack White, would be a pretty tall order to fill.
One could go on and on about both Obama’s accomplishments and short-comings as a President, all over-shadowed by the former presidency and the fact that he is recognized as the “first black President” of the United States. Race issues have bored through the woodwork from the start, as well. And while one may have doubts as to the President’s sincerity and the job he is or isn’t doing in the White House, one thing folks can be sure of is that Krugman’s assessment of President Obama will get people talking.
(Photo of President Obama courtesy of WikiMedia)