Friday, December 30

Dem-controlled state house legalizes teenage prostitution. Seriously!

California's Democrat-controlled legislature keeps getting crazier:  They've just passed a bill legalizing prostitution by kids under 18.  (SB1322)

Yes, you read that right.  As of Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California.

The rationale is that decriminalizing underage prostitution will somehow help victims of sex trafficking.  No one has explained exactly how that's supposed to help, but the Dem super-majority doesn't much care.

Pimping and pandering will still be illegal, regardless of age.  But legalizing child prostitution will simply increase the incentives for pimps to exploit teen girls, because legalizing child prostitution translates into more cash for the pimp.

Ending arrest of the girl means more time on the street, so more money for pimps.  And more victims for them to exploit.

One prosecutor notd that if pimps could write a law to protect themselves, it would read like SB 1322.

Thursday, December 29

Chicago schools show how spending way more than you have is normal for Dem-controlled cities

Politicians of all stripes are fond of spending money they don't have, and Democrats are normally even worse than the almost-as-awful Republicans.

This tendency is obvious not just at the federal level but also in Dem-controlled cities and states--like California and Chicago.

As someone who's fluent with numbers and trends it's amusing to see signs of utter mismanagement that should be obvious to everyone--but that are totally ignored.  Which leads tap-dancing by the pols who presided over the resulting disaster.

Except the Lying Media in Dem states and cities never hold Dem pols responsible--for anything.  They keep quiet to avoid damaging their team.  And of course low-information voters in Dem strongholds don't have enough savvy to figure it out for themselves.  (In fairness, few people have the time or resources to do that.)

With that said:  Chicago's public schools have been running a deficit for decades.  In most places this would lead to some efforts at corrective actions, like reducing costs.  But of course Democrat pols, like mayor Rahm Emmanuel, never try to buck their favorite constituency (the teachers' union), so corrective actions are never taken.

So now Chicago schools are in a cash crunch:  They have a $400-million debt service payment due in January, and a $700-million pension contribution due in June.  Their cash reserves are $83 million.  So they're trying to sell more bonds--which have junk-level ratings.
Amazingly, in the last 4 months JPMorgan Chase has purchased almost $1 billion of short-term notes from the junk-rated system.  A month ago Chase offered some of this paper for sale.

Nobody bit.

On Nov. 22, Chase offered $50 million to $100 million of the notes maturing Dec. 2017.  The notes had a rating only a few notches above debt that’s already in default.

The lack of buyers in the Chase offer suggest the school system may have to offer very high interest rates if it goes through with a planned $600 million note sale in January, a month before it must deposit more than $400 million for debt service.

As one analyst amusingly put it, if the school system can’t issue the debt, it faces some difficult decisions.

Expenses at the third-largest U.S. school system consistently exceed tax revenue, and the district is counting on more than $200 million in state aid to cover a $720 million retirement-fund payment due in June.

JPMorgan has been the biggest lender to the school system, loaning $500 million to Chicago’s schools in 2015.  The company is also the third-largest private sector employer in Chicago.  William Daley, son and brother of Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley, was vice chairman at JPMorgan.

The school system's reliance on short-term borrowing has grown by $850 million in two years. Illinois governor Bruce Rauner has said bankruptcy for the school system might be the best option, though the Democrat-controlled legislature has bucked his suggestion that state law be changed to allow it.

Of course one hopes that Dems and so-called "progressives" will come to their senses, recognize the approaching abyss and take effective action.  That will not happen.  They are totally, irrevocably committed to their folly, and no amount of disastrous results will get them to change.  Rather, disaster will merely guarantee greater lunacies, more money taken from taxpayers across the nation to support fatal (but politically attractive) Dem policies.

When the guy at the top won't enforce laws, what do you think happens?

When the top of an organization has signaled that it won't prosecute employees for breaking the law, what do you think results?

In this case, corrupt employees of the emperor's "Immigration and Customs Enforcement" have been taking tens of millions of dollars of bribes to help cartels import drugs, or avoid checkpoints, or get green cards into the hands of bad guys.

"Wait, how does he know this?  This is tinfoil-hat wacko conspiracy stuff!  What a nutter!"

Okay, you got me:  This report is indeed from a totally unreliable source--one that routinely invents fake news to manipulate public opinion.  It's the New York Times.

Enjoy reading about what Obama's corruption has wrought.  If you have kids who have been hooked on drugs, think about it.

Sunday, December 25

Here's another wrong that can be righted by "Reparations"--and should be!

The Council on Necessity for Reparations met last week and has issued its report--one which we have eagerly awaited for a year now.

For the past decade or so the U.S. Left has strongly supported the idea of government (taxpayer-funded) payments to blacks as "reparations" for the mistreatment of their ancestors.  The Council agrees with that, but believes that an equal wrong should be "repaired" first.

This is the huge eevil in which Dutch "settlers"--there's the first problem right there--bought Manhattan Island from the Canarsee tribe for iron kettles, axes, knives and cloth.  The claimed value of the goods provided seems to have been around $24 or so.

The disparity in the value of the consideration in this transaction is prima facie evidence of fraud.
As such, it represents a great wrong done to an innocent party by eevil Europeans, one which needs to be set right before addressing the much later wrong done to ancestors of current African-Americans.

So...New Yorkers who support the laudable idea of reparations to blacks: since the Left is all about being consistent in their application of principles, we have no doubt you want to be consistent.  Accordingly, the Council has concluded that you can do this by deeding the entire island--with improvements--back to Native Americans.  Of course since the latter also want to be fair, you can continue to live in your current residence for many years to come.  The rent may be doubled, and taxes will definitely be doubled, but that won't be a problem because you're all filthy-rich.

So let us hear from you.  If you support the idea of reparations this should be a no-brainer.  Act fast, because the first 150 residents to sign on will have their rents frozen at current levels until 2020.

Celebrities who support this policy:  Alec Baldwin, Miley Cyrus, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, Barack H. Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Huma Abedin, Lady Gaga, thousands of others.  Oh wait...

Saturday, December 24

Lying Media: "Trump starts new nuclear arms race, emperiling world!" Oh wait...

The Lying Media are at it again.

This time they're portraying Trump as starting a new nuclear arms race.  Here's a typical article:
Donald Trump escalated his remarks about the U.S. nuclear arsenal on Friday, telling a television host off-air that he isn’t concerned about triggering an arms race with Russia or other adversaries, a day after a tweet that appeared to reset the nation’s posture on atomic weapons.

The president-elect told his 17.8 million Twitter followers on Thursday that the U.S. must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability,” drawing rebuttals from Moscow and Beijing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Friday that he would respond to a fresh U.S. nuclear weapons build-up, and a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry said that the U.S. and Russia, which hold the world’s largest arsenals, bear responsibility for leading the world toward denuclearization.
Didja catch all the scary buzz-words?  Trump "escalated his remarks" about the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  Isn't concerned about "triggering an arms race."  His remarks triggered "rebuttals" from Moscow--implying Trump fired the first round.  And the article says Putin vowed he would "respond" (again, implying Trump fired first) to a "fresh U.S. nuclear weapons build-up.

See, citizen?  We told you he was crazy, and here we see the proof!  You should never elect anyone we don't support!

Then way, waaaay down in the article the truth is reluctantly disclosed:
Trump’s tweet was apparently provoked by a Putin speech on Thursday in which he said the Russian nuclear arsenal should be improved in order to defeat anti-missile defenses.
Wait...what?  Y'say Putin gave a speech *first*, saying Russia's nukes should be improved to defeat anti-missile defenses?

Whoa.  If you'd led with that, it puts the entire thing in a different light, eh?  In fact it undercuts the entire premise of your propaganda piece.

Which is why you wrote it that way, eh comrade?  Good job, tovarish.

Democrats and liberals pushing to abolish the electoral college system--without amending Constitution

A hallmark of great generals (and good executives) is the ability to anticipate challenges before they arrive, and to have a response already shaped (though not necessarily in final form).

Accordingly, conservatives should know that the Left is getting ready to spring another surprise on the nation:  "National Popular Vote."  As the name implies, it's their plan to change our system so the president is determined by the winner of the national popular vote rather than by the Constitutionally-prescribed electoral college system.

Moreover, their plan proposes doing this without amending the Constitution.

Of course you're thinking "That's ridiculous:  The Constitution specifies in great detail how the president is to be chosen by the electoral college system.  How could the Democrats eliminate that without a Constitutional amendment?"

That's logical, but you need to understand that the Left doesn't see the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.  Democrats and liberals regard the Constitution as flexible, malleable.  Many liberal judges and law professors have described it as a "living document," which sounds like a compliment until you realize that what they really mean is that it doesn't mean what it clearly says, but needs to be re-interpreted to mean whatever they can get a judge to say it means.

As should be obvious, Dems and liberals want the presidency decided by the winner of the national popular vote because that would ensure they'd win far more often.  (Indeed, based on current trends, Democrats are likely to win the future national total vote almost every time.) 

The Dem plan for getting this result without having to amend the Constitution is quite clever:  Because the smaller of the original 13 states understandably feared that the high-population states would quickly dominate the proposed federal government, one of the many compromises made by the Founders to get the small states to ratify the Constitution was the electoral-college system.  To further assuage the concerns of the small states, the founders added a provision that states could instruct their electors to vote in any manner each state believed reasonable.

The authors of the NPV movement have used this last provision to urge states to pass a state law that would order their electors to vote for the candidate who wins the national vote.

The creators of this scheme claim that even though the Constitution explicitly established the electoral-college system in great detail, the inclusion of the provision allowing states to instruct their electors any way they wish means their popular-vote scheme is constitutional--despite negating hundreds of words of Article 2. 

This is how they plan to kill the electoral-college system wihout amending the Constitution.

This scheme been underway--quietly--for several years now.  And while you might think it wouldn't pass in conservative states, last February Arizona's legislature passed the bill in that state, joining Oklahoma and the nominally Republican state senate of New York.

While I'm totally skeptical of statements by liberals and communists, the NPV website features a letter alleged to be from former House speaker Newt Gingrich supporting the idea.

Now we need to walk through a few legal principles to understand how horribly this type of reasoning damages the law: 

There is a principle in law that holds that clear, explicit provisions of laws or contracts mean what they say.  There's another that holds that when a law or contract goes to great lengths to prohibit someone from doing X, one can't legally get around that prohibition by interpreting other language in the same law or contract as allowing you to do what the clear, explicit language prohibited.

The reason is obvious:  Why would any legislature or party to a contract go to the trouble of saying "You can't do X" if they really intended that a clever attorney could claim that some other, minor provision changed the entire meaning of the law or contract?

If the courts allowed that sort of "reasoning," many laws would be rendered meaningless.

Yet that's exactly what the proponents of NPV are pushing.  When a conservative legal scholar described this as "an end-run around the Constitution"--which is clearly true--a proponent of the scheme (former law professor Jamie Raskin of Maryland) responded:
The term 'end run' has no known constitutional or legal meaning.  [Ignoring the ordinary meaning.]  More to the point, to the extent that we follow its meaning in real usage, the 'end run' is a perfectly lawful play."  The adoption of the term "end run" by the compact's opponents is a tacit acknowledgment of the plan's legality.
It's no such thing, of course.  Raskin's clever phrase is a standard debating tactic.

According to Wiki (I know), states controlling 165 electoral votes have already passed an NPV law.  In states with another 49 votes Wiki shows the law as "pending in the current legislative session."  With polls showing over half of respondents favoring election by the winner of the national popular vote it seems likely that the scheme will reach the 270 figure within the next four years.

If NPV succeeds in getting states with 270 electoral votes to pass laws signing on to their scheme, as a matter of law the courts should easily reject the scheme as a violation of the clear, explicit provisions of the Constitution, as noted above.  But tragically, a majority of the members of the supreme court often rule for the liberal position regardless of the principles of law.

Friday, December 23

Watching how the Left spun the story about Ivanka and the guy thrown off the flight--classic fake news

A seemingly-insignificant thing happened a couple of days ago:  A male college professor saw Donald Trump's daughter and her family on a commercial jet--one he was scheduled to fly on--and was outraged!  He later claimed on Twitter that "she should fly private"--presumably demanding that she not fly on commercial airlines.

The professor's intent was to get in their face, cause a scene, ream them out.

" can you possibly know what his intent was?"

Well, here's what the man's "husband" (yes) posted on twitter:
"Ivanka and Jared at JFK flying commercial.  My husband chasing them down to harrass them."     --Matthew Lasner (@mattlasner)

And he did--and the Jet Blue crew had security haul his nasty liberal ass off the plane.

Oooooh, poor Snowflake!  Did that hurt your widdle feeeewings?

Now let's see how every flaming liberal asshole spun the event.  Here's how the flaming assholes at Yahoo lied about it:
"Man kicked off flight for questioning why Ivanka Trump was on it."
See, comrades?  Trump hasn't even been sworn in yet and already the guy has issued secret orders to the airlines so that a poor citizen who dared to gently, respectfully question why his daughter's family has the gall to fly commercial gets thrown off the plane!  Not only that, but the poor victim was GAY!  So it's just as we good, honest reporters at Yahoo have been warning you all along:  Trump hates gays!  You can bet that if the questioner had been a member of the NRA or an executive with Exxon no one would have reacted!

And for good measure, Yahoo's charming crew of lying liberal assholes included a tweet from the gentle, respectful questioner's husband (yeah, they're both guys), 'proving' that the couple was kicked off the plane merely because "a flight attendant overheard my husband expressing his displeasure about flying w/ Trumps."
See, comrades?  This poor gay man merely "expressed his displeasure about flying w/ Trumps"--barely a whisper!--and an eavesdropping flight attendant (part of Trump's secret-police, obviously) had him thrown off the plane!  It's like we've been saying all along:  Trump hates gays!  And minorities!  And you need to fight all of his eeeevil plans!

And check out the total unawareness--tone-deafness--of the guy's tweet: He sees nothing the least bit goofy about his "husband" "expressing displeasure about flying with Trumps."  To get an idea of how tone-deaf this is, turn the situation around:  What would this guy's reaction be if a passenger expressed "displeasure" at flying next to a couple of gay guys?  He'd go ballistic.  But he sees nothing at all wrong with "expressing displeasure about flying with Trumps."  It's just awful that anyone would expect one to "fly with Trumps"!

And just in case you didn't click on Yahoo, the clever propagandists tweeted this summary:
Man kicked off JetBlue flight for questioning why Ivanka Trump was on it

The way this story was "reported" is classic "fake news."  According to other passengers the guy got in her face and screamed "Your father is ruining our country!"

I can confidently predict that you'll see this sort of thing repeated endlessly by your lying "news sources."  They are so white-hot angry, so determined to take back the presidency by any means, that they'll lie like rugs to stir up a revolt.

Thursday, December 22

Fake news? Awful! Scandalous! Wait, you meant Jon Stewart? Loved that show!

All the left's charges about so-called "fake news" are designed to do one thing:  Prevent bloggers from posting anything remotely concerning government or politics, thus leaving the field totally to those charming assholes from the NYTimes, WaPo and the alphabet networks.

And it's working:  Google and Fakebook have said they'll hire groups they claim are objective to hunt down and delete any fake news that anyone posts on any of their sites.  Cool!  Not.

Hat tip Moonbattery.

EPA intentionally fails to archive 99.99 percent of agency texts; EPA I-G claims "all unintentional"

It's a fundamental principle of bureaucracies that they never meaningfully reform themselves.  This is proven again after congressman Lamar Smith, chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, learned that the thoroughly corrupt, incompetent EPA was failing to retain text messages, as required by federal law.

Smith had learned about this failure from whistleblowers, and two years ago asked the EPA's inspector-general to investigate and report to congress.   The report was released yesterday, TWO YEARS after the so-called investigation began.

The huge delay should be a clue.

Preliminary investigation showed that of about 3.1 Million text messages sent and received by that agencies 8 zillion employees, the EPA only found a few that they interpreted as "official business," thus by law requiring that they be "archived."

"Surely you meant 'a million or so' that had been saved, right?"

Uh, not quite.  Of 3.1 Million total texts, the number saved as "official business" was...wait for it...86.

Not 86-Thousand.  Eighty-six.  As in, less than a hundred.

For example, of the 5,000 texts sent or received by EPA head Gina "I used a fake email for years" McCarthy, that empress said a grand total of ONE was "official business."
And as you probably guessed, it gets worse:  The EPA "inspector-general" (or as the office is known around the agency, "Coverup Central") claimed the failure to archive all but 86 "official" texts was NOT intentional.  
You probably think this is bullshit, because no one could possibly claim that with a straight face.  Hahahahahahaha!  Click here to see the one-page IG "report" to congress.
Funny stuff, eh?  But why should ANY federal employee feel they need to comply with the law if Hilliary doesn't have to, and if the head of their agency leads by example?

Why, it's almost like we have two different sets of laws or something.

Just remember, citizen:  Your emperor claimed his was going to be the most transparent administration in history!  Of course the Mainstream Media constantly called him out on this whenever some agency--say, the State Department or something--started concealing tons of information that should have been in the public domain.

Oh wait, they didn't utter or print a single critical word.  Bloggers did, know, how can you believe something if it's not in the Times or the Post or from Brian Williams--"real" news sources?

Black church in Mississippi torched; arsonist sprays "Vote Trump" on wall; Hilliary and media *outraged*...until...

Photos of the burned church went viral.  The national Lying Media was OUTRAGED!  The WaPost used the headline "Black church torched in Mississippi, with 'Vote Trump' painted on wall."  The Post went right to the anti-Trump message.  Here's their lede:
As firefighters neared the historically black church Tuesday night in Greenville, Miss., they saw flames in the windows and smoke pouring from the roof.

When they got closer, they could see two words spray-painted on the side of the burning sanctuary: “Vote Trump.”

Investigators believe the blaze at 110-year-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church was set on purpose, Greenville Fire Chief Ruben Brown told The Washington Post. The suspected arson is being investigated as a hate crime by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Greenville's mayor called the fire a “hateful and cowardly act,” sparked by the incendiary rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. 
Note that the reason the Post claimed for someone burning the church--in red above--isn't a quote from the mayor but is the reporter's own speculation--which was obviously approved by the layers of editors the paper claims to have.  But the mayor had more to keep readers' anger pegged:
“We know what the black church means to the black community and the symbolism of the black church,” he told The Post. “This is the place [where] people freely assembled to pray and strategize on how to get civil liberties and rights that were denied to them.”
To further inflame passions the Post also ran a photo centered on the "vote Trump" message:

This is the exact pic the Post used--not cropped.  Very clear what their focus was.

The Post noted that a GoFundMe page had been set up.  In case a few readers still hadn't connected the arson to white racism (thus presumably to Trump supporters, since...well, you know) the Post made the explicit connection:
“The animus of this election cycle combined with the potent racial history of burning black churches as a political symbol makes this event something we must not ignore,” the GoFundMe page said. 
Got it:  Black church as symbol of civil rights.  Obviously burned by a Trump supporter who is the source of "the animus of this election cycle."  The incitement to hate Trump--and thus to vote for Hilliary--couldn't be any more obvious.  But the Post had add to make sure, adding a quote from the town's mayor:
 “This is a direct assault on black folks. It goes to the heart of intimidating folks.”
And finally, in case you missed the "vote Trump" spray-painted message, they mentioned it yet again:
The fire and “Vote Trump” message came with a week left in the campaign.
With the battle-space carefully prepped, Hilliary Clinton jumped in to express her righteous indignation, signalling her virtue to millions of Dems and adding to the outrage.

Greenville's mayor called the church burning "a direct assault on the Hopewell congregation's right to freely worship."  "There is no place for this heinous and divisive behavior in our city," he said. "We will not rest until the culprit is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Righteous outrage.  Perfectly reasonable.  Absolutely understandable.
So now, after the story has gone around the world a hundred times, outraged millions of people and done its expected damage to the national psyche, authorities think they've caught the perp, and have charged him with first degree arson.  

Good for the authorities!  Got that redneck knuckledragging Trump supporter!  Yay!

Wait...what?  Y'say the perp is not only black but also a member of the congregation of the church he burned??

Oh my.

I wonder how many people were convinced to vote for Hilliary by this "Trump-supporter-torches-black-church" hoax?  Wonder how many BLM-ers or white leftist loons were enraged by this story and are planning revenge against whites over this hoax?

Finally, I wonder how many left-wing loons are laughing about how easy it is to get ABC and every tv network and propaganda media outlet to run with stories that turn out to be contrived hoaxes--and scheming to contrive the next hundred?

UPDATE:  After the perp was charged and it was revealed that the arson was the work of a black member of the church, CNN decided to set the record running the photo below:

And the Left accuses *conservatives* of firing up hate?????

Wednesday, December 21

NY man fatally shoots a guy he believes is Donald Trump. Mainstream media totally ignores the story

Thirteen days ago in Ithaca New York a man fatally shot a UPS driver in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  Here's the original story.

Now here's what the liberal New York TV station didn't tell you:  The murderer told cops he had just killed...President-elect Donald Trump.

Seriously.  The killer said he knew Trump was going to be in the area, that he felt someone had to kill Trump, and that he waited in ambush outside the business for the man he believed to be Trump to come out.  Whereupon he fatally shot the man.

Now, clearly the killer is nuts, but...did you read this story in the NY Times?

No, you didn't.

How about the Washington Compost?

Again, you didn't.

Now...suppose a crazy white guy ambushed and killed a man because he believed he was killing Obama.  Do ya think the Times and Post and networks would embargo that story?  Hell no.  It would be the lead story for two nights, with updates for the next week about all the guy's connections and "real" motives.

But the story about a guy deliberately killing a man he thought was president-elect Trump? 

Total silence.

Of course crazy nutters have been with us forever.  And once in a great while a marginally-sane one will act against a president.  (Sarah Jane Moore and Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme.)  But what would motivate this particular nutter to kill Trump?  Hmmm.....

The insane rhetoric of the Left and their media allies.  Period.

If anyone still thinks the media are impartial, unbiased, you're nuts.

Tuesday, December 20

Delusional liberals

How crazy are German government functionaries who've drunk the "unchecked Muslim immigration is great" kool-aid? 

Joachim Moller, director of one of the government agencies dealing with immigrants, commented on the fact that only 3 percent of the million or so immigrants are employed, meaning the cost of feeding, housing and caring for the migrants will continue to soar into the billions--all paid by German taxpayers, of course.

Möller believes that the full impact of the refugee influx won't be known for five or six years. ‘It probably won’t lead to us making money, but diversity can have positive effects,’ he added.

Ah yes.  "Diversity can have positive effects."

Monday, December 19

Liberal rag convenes panel of liberals to judge the emperor's greatest achievements

After the election the leftist rag "The New Republic" assembled a panel of--surprise!--leftists to complain about the results and figure out who to blame. 

You'll all be surprised to learn that they concluded that the unbelievable, impossible, unforeseen Trump win had nothing whatsoever to do with voters hating most of the policies of both Hilliary and Obama.  Instead they all decided the Dems' loss was due to--can you guess?--racism and sexism by whites. 

Wow, who could have seen that coming?

From the moment Barack Obama was elected in 2008 he began to disappoint those who had believed in his message of change. He appointed entrenched Washington insiders to his Cabinet. He put Wall Street bankers in charge of regulating Wall Street banks. He compromised with Republicans on the economic stimulus, slowing the recovery for millions of Americans. 
Wait...I thought the Dems always said compromise was good.  So how was Obozo's [alleged] compromise a "disappointment" to his supporters?  Oh wait, got it:  Compromise is only good when Dems want Republicans to compromise.  They think Dems compromising is bad.  Very, very bad.
He refused to push for universal health care...
Wait, did I just imagine the Dems ramming Obamacare through just before Christmas.  It's mandatory, so how can they claim it's not "universal"?
...and deported two million immigrants. He failed to shut down Guantanamo, dispatched another 60,000 troops to Afghanistan, and launched hundreds of drone strikes that killed countless civilians.
Today, income inequality continues to rise, and big banks are bigger than ever, and student debt has hit a record $1 trillion. 
All Trump's fault, of course.  Just like the lack of economic recovery during the record-length recession after Obama's election was totally Bush's fault.

Democrats have not only lost control of every branch of the federal government, they are weaker at the state level than at any point since 1920. Those who thought they had elected a bold and inspiring populist were surprised to find him replaced by a cautious and deliberate pragmatist.

Now, eight years later, many of Obama’s critics suddenly find themselves yearning for the euphoria that accompanied his election, and fearing for the small but significant progress he made on a host of fronts: equal pay, expanded health care, nuclear nonproliferation, global warming. It’s not just that hope and change have given way to fear and loathing—it’s that so few of us saw it coming. 

Right-wing extremists, it turns out, aren’t the only ones who live in a faith-based reality of their own making.  American liberals have cocooned themselves in a soothing feedback loop woven from Huffington Post headlines, New York Times polls and repeat viewings of Madam Secretary. If nothing else, Trump’s election demands that we return to the real world in all its complexities and contradictions, and confront our own obliviousness.
And you'll see how well they did that below.  Spoiler:  "Hilliary lost because Obama supported her and whites are racist and sexist."

Participants In Our Forum On Obama’s Legacy
Nell Irvin Painter is professor emerita at Princeton and the former president of the Organization of American Historians.
Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of law and professor of history at Harvard.
Sarah Jaffe, a fellow at the Nation Institute, is a journalist who reports on labor and social movements.
John B. Judis, a former senior editor at the New Republic.
Andrew Sullivan, a former editor of the New Republic, is a contributing editor at New York magazine.
Barack Obama came to office with an ambitious liberal agenda. He sought to make America great by emphasizing unity over division...
That's...odd.  During his first campaign he said "If they bring a knife you bring a gun."  Not divisive at all, huh.  "Get in their faces" was another of his unifying lines, as was "I won, you lost.  Deal with it."  Yeah, he's a real unifier.  His statements after the ambush murders of police officers in NY, Baton Rouge and Dallas were emotionless and perfunctory.  He couldn't even be bothered to attend most of the funerals.  Yeah, a great unifier.
...and international engagement over foreign intervention.
Wait, didn't he send an additional 60,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan ("the surge")?  And he ordered U.S. forces into Syria--despite promises of "no boots on the ground."  Yeah, no "foreign intervention" by the emperor.  You bet.
Eight years later, what lessons can we learn from his successes and failures? And how much of his legacy will survive the coming onslaught?

Two days after the election, we sat down with five leading historians and political observers. The streets below were packed with thousands of anti-Trump protesters, and their rising chants served as a grim counterpoint to our conversation about Obama, and where he leaves us.
"Grim counterpoint" because the written demands of most Democrat "leaders" and Lying Media types are pushing the nation closer to civil war.

I. Is Trump Obama’s Legacy?

Let’s start with the seismic political reversal that just took place. It’s hard to imagine a bigger shift for America than going from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. The two of them are polar opposites in almost every regard.
Polar opposites because Trump wants to make America great again, while Obama wants to bow to every foreign nation and put the hopelessly corrupt U.N. in charge of everything.
But now, instead of seeing his legacy cemented, Obama faces the prospect of having his major accomplishments undone. How much responsibility do you think that he himself bears for creating the conditions that allowed Trump to get elected? In retrospect, are there things he could or should have done to protect and institutionalize his agenda more?
NELL PAINTER: I don’t think it has anything to do with him personally, except that he’s a black man. The election of Trump was a gut-level response to what many Americans interpreted as an insult eight years ago, and have been seething against ever since.
See?  Raaaacist!  Except enough whites voted for Obama--twice--to give him the presidency over qualified, vetted, experienced white opponents.  But by all means, libs, stick with the "he lost cuz of raaaacism."  I'm sure you're convinced that calling white Americans racists will get them to support your party, since it's worked so well before.
The only way you can see Trump as somehow Obama’s fault is Obama’s very being. It’s ontological.
ANNETTE GORDON-REED: I agree with Nell. There’s nothing he could’ve done in this climate other than be somebody else. We know the record of obstruction by Republicans, the lack of cooperation. Some Democrats suggested that Obama was giving things away before they were even asked for, to try and be accommodating. But there was no chance for bipartisanship—it was obstruction from day one.
PAINTER: Before day one.
What planet have these people been living on?  While the Repubs talked about opposing Obama, they didn't ever actually do anything.  Even with a big majority in the House, speaker Paul Ryan arranged for his party to vote for the "continuing resolution" that gave Obama every budget item he wanted.
GORDON-REED: Before he had done anything: “We’re going to make him a one-term president.” People suggested that he didn’t try to work with Congress enough. They’d ask me about Jefferson and his dinner parties: “Obama didn’t invite people over for dinner like Jefferson did!” But today is a different time, and Obama is a different person. You can always do things better. But nothing he could have done accounts for what’s happened.
SARAH JAFFE: I can’t separate Obama from the financial crisis he inherited. What could he have done if the economy didn’t explode? Maybe he could’ve had a magically perfect health care program, or maybe he could’ve used the crisis to nationalize all the banks. But in reality, probably not. So it’s really difficult to say what he could have done versus what we’d like him to have done.
JOHN B. JUDIS: There were a number of things he didn’t do that could have prevented Democrats from losing their majority in 2010. In his first two years, Obama didn’t really understand the connection between policy and politics. He would say that himself now.
Wait...didn't you morons just claim the reason half the country deserted Democrats was that they're raaacists?  But now you're admitting that there may actually be a "connection between policy and politics"?  Wow, sounds like you're getting closer to the truth--although a minute from now you'll deny any such connection.  But do say hi to reality if you ever run into it.
PAINTER: That’s right.
JUDIS: He didn’t go after the banks and Wall Street the way Roosevelt did in 1933. That left a political vacuum that made it possible for the Tea Party to become the major mass political force in the country by August of his first year. claim that the Tea Party became "the major mass political force in the country" because the emperor didn't "go after the banks and Wall Street"??  Yeah, I remember the speakers at all the Tea Party rallies complaining that Obama hadn't "gone after the banks."  Wait, that's delusional.
And he was naïve about the possibility for bipartisanship, especially in the way that he dealt with the Affordable Care Act.
There was no bipartisan support because Obozo instructed his congressional leaders to not let a single GOP amendment get even a floor vote!  Because they didn't want to risk any Democrats jumping off the reservation.
Obamacare ended up being designed in a way that allowed the middle class and senior citizens to think that they weren’t getting much out of it, and that their tax dollars were going to subsidize the uninsured.
But that's exactly where their tax dollars are going: to subsidize insurance costs for people who couldn't afford health insurance.  That was the entire selling point of the damn thing.  The only way any rational human could claim tax dollars weren't subsidizing insurance for others was if Obamacare didn't provide any subsidies.  But of course these liberals don't understand that there's no such thing as "free government benefits."
So there was a failure in those first two years that led to the gridlock and other problems that made it easier for Trump to come in as the champion, as the man on the white horse who’s going to change all that.
That said, we also have to recognize something else: There’s a third-term curse. The party that controls the White House for two terms always has a hard time keeping it for a third term. Think of Kennedy beating Nixon in 1960. That wasn’t because Eisenhower was unpopular—it’s because Kennedy was going to get the country moving again.
Whoever is trying to succeed the incumbent can’t really position him or herself as the agent of change, because then you’re repudiating your own president: Nixon would be repudiating Eisenhower, Gore would be repudiating Clinton, Hillary would be repudiating Obama. So they have this incredible dilemma that doesn’t allow them to represent themselves as having a vision for how to change the country. The only time I can remember that it didn’t happen was with George H. W. Bush, but that’s because the Democrats nominated Michael Dukakis, who was hapless as a candidate and had no vision of change. Trump was not a hapless stiff—he was a very effective candidate.
Andrew, did Obama help create the conditions for Trump’s victory?
ANDREW SULLIVAN: If Obama had run for a third term, he would have won. It’s Hillary Clinton’s fault. The worst candidate for president in recent history. Worse than Dukakis. She threw this away. Insofar as that’s Obama’s responsibility, it was in not making sure that Biden entered the race, and being cowed by the Clintons, and not finding a successor who could win the coalition he had assembled. The Clintons destroyed Obama. No one else. Even so, she won the popular vote. But because she’s just a dreadful candidate, and someone almost no one can imagine being president of the United States, she—
GORDON-REED: Oh, I could! 
SULLIVAN: She’s a terribly unpopular person. Horrible: no inspiration, no political skills, complete mediocrity. So that’s the mistake—allowing the Clintons to keep control of the party and then allowing this mediocrity to be his successor.PAINTER: [Gesturing to the others around the table] We entirely disagree with that.
JAFFE: Well, I don’t know. I think Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate.
GORDON-REED: I don’t think she was a lousy candidate. But for a candidate to lose to someone who’s never been in the military, who’s never held public office—
Wait, Obama was never in the military.  Neither was Bill Clinton.  Nor, obviously, Hilliary.  How amusing that you criticize Trump for missing this but it's not a problem for your candidates.  Delusional.
[Trump is] not like any candidate who’s ever run before. So there were other forces at play here, most notably her gender.
PAINTER: She’s an older woman.
GORDON-REED. That’s right. It’s clear that many people have a hard time paying attention to older women as anything other than mothers or grandmothers.
SULLIVAN: She’s just a bad candidate and a terrible politician whom large numbers of people despised. You can see it in the polls: She represented everything that people hate about Washington.
PAINTER: Yeah, because she’s an older woman.
Yeah, I constantly hear people saying that the thing they hate most about Washington is that there are way too many older women there.  Uh-huh.  Delusional.
SULLIVAN: The idea that she should have been the candidate to replace this inspiring new person who really did transform America was itself a joke. So was the Democratic Party’s delusion in thinking that being the spouse of a former president would be an advantage in this election, when obviously it wasn’t. She couldn’t even win white women against someone who has a history of sexual assault.
GORDON-REED: Well, that says something about white women. We’re talking about this like it was a landslide against her. I mean, Dukakis—what did he win?
JAFFE: Exactly. That’s why I think Elizabeth Warren could have won.
GORDON-REED: You think Elizabeth Warren could’ve won?
JAFFE: Yes. She could have run on a more populist message, and she would have been better at it. Plus, her name does not say “NAFTA” in Indiana and Wisconsin and Ohio.
PAINTER: But it would say “socialist.”
GORDON-REED: And it would say “Pocahontas.” I mean, she was my colleague at Harvard, and I love and would support Elizabeth. But Trump understands media, he understands narrative, he understands story. This has been a story. And he played it very, very well. He would have done it against anybody.

II. Obama’s Machine

Obama entered office with one of the most effective political machines in history. But instead of using it to create grassroots support for his agenda, he basically shut down the entire operation and told his supporters, “I got this.” In basketball terms, he bet his entire presidency on an inside game. Do you think that was a mistake?
JAFFE: Well, he didn’t shut it down. This narrative kind of annoys me. He mobilized it in the wrong direction. I was reporting on the people in Organizing for America, who came out of Obama’s campaign. And when it came time to pass the Affordable Care Act, the people who were organizing through the OFA were told to pressure Republicans, who were never going to vote for anything. They should have pressured wavering Democrats, like Rep. Bart Stupak from Michigan, who were going to flip the whole thing if they couldn’t have it be anti-abortion. So I cringe when people say he demobilized his operation. He just didn’t mobilize it in a way that would have actually been useful, because he wasn’t willing to deploy it against his own party.
Wait...I'm pretty sure Obamacare passed, even though it took Obama personally lying to Stupak, absolutely promising that Obamacare wouldn't provide federal funding for abortion.  That lasted about a week.  But rather than admit the real cause of the Dems' problems, this Jaffe moonbat is gonna claim the non-problem was Obama not turning his thugs loose on wavering members of his own party?  Delusional.

He certainly didn’t mobilize it in the way that the right mobilized the Tea Party—as a grassroots machine. Did he miss an opportunity by not capitalizing on the operation he built and running it in a more active way?JUDIS: It’s hard for presidents to do that. Reagan didn’t really try to do it.  One of the things Obama was unwilling to do in his first year was to declare himself the president of Main Street against Wall Street—to really go after the Republicans. He only figured that out after August 2011, when they really screwed him with the whole national debt crisis and the sequester. If he would have done that from the outset, there would have been more of a possibility of mobilizing. But it was that kind of ambiguity that left the door open.
PAINTER: We’re also forgetting the cultural context of all this: that Obama was operating as a black man among a whole bunch of white guys.
They were middle Americans whose gut sense was distrust—not being comfortable with him, not wanting to go along with him.

SULLIVAN: He won reelection easily. All these arguments about his first term: How did he win reelection if he got things so wrong?
You’re saying that it didn’t matter that he didn’t mobilize grassroots support?
SULLIVAN: If he’d moved left in that first term, he wouldn’t have won reelection.
JAFFE: I think it depends what we’re defining as “left.”
GORDON-REED: He didn’t have to go very far to be too left for some people. For the first black president, there were all kinds of psychic things going on that just don’t apply for a “regular” person. He couldn’t have gone too far left and won.
PAINTER: This is the only place I’m sort of separating myself from John. Because you, John, are thinking of this context without the racial dynamics that played a big part in narrowing his room to maneuver.

SULLIVAN: He won more white voters in 2012 than Hillary Clinton just did, OK? He was always popular with white people in the Midwest. This whole racial thing is just so myopic.GORDON-REED: No, it’s not. We’re talking about his responses to things. We’re talking about why an individual maneuvers in a particular way. If you are an African American person and you are in this setting, you can’t maneuver like a white person. Sure, there are white people who like him—that’s not the question. The question is, why did he act in a particular way?
SULLIVAN: What should he have done otherwise and didn’t because he’s black?
It sounds to me like you’re all reaching a similar conclusion from different directions. You all agree that Obama didn’t move left.
Well, other than forcing national health insurance on the nation.  Oh, and "cash for clunkers."  And refusing to enforce valid laws.  And sending shoulder-fired missiles to ISIS via Syria and the CIA "annex" in Benghazi.  Other than those, he didn't move left much at all.
Andrew’s just saying that he didn’t need to [move left], because he already had the support he needed among white voters.
SULLIVAN: They keep saying that because he’s black he couldn’t move left.
PAINTER: Andrew, that is so gross, in the sense of using such a big club. You’re not hearing what we’re saying in terms of context, psychology, and culture. It’s not a toggle switch of racism, or “because he’s black.”
Gosh that's odd...cuz you just got through saying all the problems he had (??) ramming through his policies arose precisely because he was black.  Which way do you want to go?
It’s because of the fine-grained nature of our society. What he could accomplish changed month by month, week by week, congressman by congressman, senator by senator.
Ah, we see.  It's the fault of "our society" being "fine-grained"--whatever the hell you mean by that.  And no other president--say, Reagan or G.W. Bush--had to contend with that, eh?

JUDIS: I agree. At the time, there was always the Jesse Jackson comparison—that if Obama wanted to succeed, he couldn’t sound like Jesse Jackson, he couldn’t raise hell. But I think there were two other factors that played into that. First was the financial crisis: Tim Geithner and Larry Summers argued that they couldn’t do something that would create a crisis of confidence among the banking industry and Wall Street. And second was that based on Obama’s experience as a state legislator in Illinois, he had this idea that he could pull off a bipartisan compromise. Those are really the two big reasons, leaving aside race, why he took a very cautious course of action that first year.
JAFFE: And there was almost no one within his party who was willing to break ranks with him. Nobody was pulling left.


Attorney and author
OBAMA’S BIGGEST FAILURE As a Pakistani-American it pains me to see how often the Obama administration boasts of its capture of Osama bin Laden. Using a public vaccination program as a front to collect DNA via a CIA operative has seriously impacted the credibility of public health programs in Pakistan. This has led to fewer vaccinations and more disease outbreaks all over the country.
WHAT HE DESERVES MORE CREDIT FOR He is probably one of the best-looking and most charismatic presidents in several decades.
Oh, yeah!  That's definitely what he deserves credit for.  Seriously.

III. His Biggest Success

Let’s broaden out beyond politics and talk about what he achieved as president. I’d like to hear from each of you what you consider to be his single biggest accomplishment that will outlast the Trump era. What will history look back on as his greatest achievement?
JUDIS: What will outlast Trump? We just threw everything out! [Laughter]
Well, that’s really the question now: What did he do that’s going to survive?
JAFFE: That’s such a hard question. After Trump, I think we’re going to look back at Obama and be like, “Oh, this was such a decent human being in the White House.”
GORDON-REED: And no scandals.
JAFFE: Right! Even the people who are the angriest at Obama post pictures of him and his family on Facebook and go: “Look at how great they are.”
Yeah, I see that all the time.  "Wow, that Michelle Obama is really class, eh?  And we only had to pay $85 MILLION for their vacations.  What a bargain!"

JAFFE: OK, true. But if Hillary Clinton was going to be president in January, I would have come in here and been really critical of the Affordable Care Act. In a few months, though, I’m going to have no health insurance instead of crappy health insurance. It all looks very different now. I don’t know what’s going to last.
   What we will remember is an upstanding family, a liberal, ethical administration. It will look like the good old days.
PAINTER: I agree with you that it’s going to be mostly nostalgia, because the Republicans want to dismantle everything that Obama did. As you say, what we will remember is an upstanding family, a clean-living family, a rather liberal administration, as well as ethical and honest. It will look like the good old days.GORDON-REED: Also the fact that he got elected. It was a particular moment.
PAINTER: And reelected!  We can feel good about ourselves.
And there you have the core of liberal value-judgments:  Actual results are unimportant--what matters is that we can feel good about ourselves. 
GORDON-REED: We can feel very good about it. America crossed a particular marker there. I think that will be important. Along with his intelligence, his spirit.
Andrew, this is something that you’ve written about. You have called Obama a “living, walking example of American exceptionalism”—just the fact of his election, and the way he’s conducted himself. Do you see that as the thing that will most endure? Or do you see other things he’s accomplished that will be a significant part of his legacy?
SULLIVAN: Look, we just elected someone, and we have no idea what this person is going to do in office. He has supreme total personal power for the indefinite future. He’s destroyed the Republican Party and created what looks like a neofascist party in its place. But I would put a bet that a lot [of what Obama did] may last that people are currently dismissing. Let’s just take three examples:
   First, of all the things Obama achieved, saving the global economy from a second Great Depression is a huge achievement that will outlast Trump.
"He single-handedly saved the entire world economy from a second Great Depression!  That is SO cool!"  That's so marvelous...except for the fact that it's total bullshit.  
Second, redirecting American foreign policy away from neoconservative, global interventionism will actually be entrenched by Trump. That is one of the key reasons he was elected in the first place, and that huge shift in global power is something that will last. And third, Obamacare. Republicans are saying they’re going to repeal it. Well there are 13 million people, including me, on Obamacare. I’m extremely happy with my Obamacare.

SULLIVAN: The question is: Can they throw 13 million people off health care and face no massive political problem? The thing that’s happened is that the dog has caught the car. They now have to do what they said they were going to do, and the consequences of doing that would be quite extraordinary.
So those are three rather huge things that could well outlast Trump. Sure, there are things Trump can throw out. He can eliminate every single action on climate change that Obama was able to do through the executive branch. But that doesn’t mean that Trump can abolish the fact that climate change is happening. At some point, reality will intrude.
SULLIVAN: And there are other things that could survive Trump. Let’s look at the Iran deal on nuclear nonproliferation. Will Trump really rip it up and launch a new war in the Middle East? Will his buddy Putin, who signed the deal, be happy with that? I don’t think that the revolution in civil rights for gay people can be easily reversed. I think the social shift we saw toward legal marijuana and the unwinding of the drug war is something that may well endure. And I think Obama as an emblem of the future of America may well reemerge.  And in 20 years we may see the Obama administration as the architecture for the entire twenty-first century. So let’s just pause on the notion that it’s all completely over.
GORDON-REED: And it’s been wrecked by the white nationalism that’s always been there, and now feels that it has power.
"Raaaacists!  Everywhere!  And now it feels it has...power!"

John, same question: What do you think Obama has achieved that will outlast Trump?
JUDIS: It’s possible that there might be a way to preserve Obamacare so that it’s actually improved. That’s what happened in Australia after Conservatives repealed national health care—Labor came back and made it better, and now no one will touch it. That would be an amazing achievement for Obama. Getting through the Great Recession, especially the auto bailout, was important. In his second term, the Iran deal.
JAFFE: Sitting here and listening to the chants of the Trump protesters in Union Square, I’m reminded that thousands of young people got trained as organizers in Obama’s campaign. Then they went out and raised hell and didn’t wait for Obama to do it for them. The young people in Ferguson, the young people in New York, the young people in Chicago and everywhere else are saying, “OK, real change is not going to come from the president. It’s going to come from us.” That, in the long run, may be one of the most enduring aspects of Obama’s legacy.
Even liberals get it right once in awhile--even if they don't mean it the way they think:  Obama's urging his followers "If they bring a knife, you bring a gun" has led directly to tens of thousands of "youths" breaking the windows of businesses and setting fire to cars.  Wow, just like Paris!  That's SO COOL--a legacy he can be proud of, eh?


Associate professor of history at NYU
OBAMA’S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:  The Iran nuclear nonproliferation deal—a difficult and painstaking agreement that dampens the ardor of those advocating for another large-scale, costly, mass-casualty war. 
WHAT HE DESERVES MORE CREDIT FOR Maintaining his composure and avoiding many of the traps laid for him by right-wing brinkmanship.
It would be more convincing if anyone had an example of a "trap laid for him by right-wing brinkmanship."
HOW HISTORY WILL JUDGE HIM Favorably. His ability to preside over a mostly scandal-free administration...
Does that include ordering the IRS to delay issuing tax-exempt status to conservative non-profit organizations?  Sending arms to Mexican drug cartels ("Fast and furious")?  The VA scandal? restore dignity to the highest elected office...
Yes, oh my yes.  The racy, risque Bushes--G.W. and Laura--were infamous for decorating the White House Christmas tree with pornographic ornaments.  Wait...that was the Clintons.  But by all means, credit Obozo with "restoring dignity" to the presidency.
and to conduct an often intellectually elevated discourse on public affairs far outstrips the low bar set by his predecessors.

IV. His Biggest Failure

Let’s take the same question in reverse: What do each of you see as Obama’s biggest failure?
PAINTER: Overestimating the ability to work across the aisle. Coming in and thinking that he could work with Republicans. Paul Krugman and Hillary Clinton told him in 2009 that this sunny idea of bipartisanship was unrealistic.
Notice what Painter did here:  Obama's biggest failure is that the Republicans wouldn't cooperate with him.
I myself wanted him to be tougher and not take so many steps toward the Republicans and really to fight it out much more.
What a surprise.  But give us a single example of Obozo taking ANY steps to compromise with the Republicans?  I can't think of a single one.  And you'd certainly think that if this had happened, it would have been touted endlessly by the NY Times and WaPo as an example of how gracious and cooperative the emperor was being.  Never saw such a story?  Me neither.
GORDON-REED: I was not overly thrilled with Guantanamo. I understand I don’t have all the information, but many of those people were not the worst of the worst.  As a lawyer I’m concerned about what it does to the rule of law to have people held without trial for this length of time. That’s problematic to me, the way he handled that. He continued Bush’s foreign policy in ways that I think—mainly with Guantanamo and the drone war.
JAFFE: And the surveillance state, which is now going to be in the hands of Donald Trump. I used to get very frustrated with people saying, “It’s OK to have all this surveillance—we trust Obama.” We might—but look at who’s coming next.
You liberals are getting closer and closer to the problems:  "WE trust Obama with [fill in anything you want], but...oooh, we can't trust a Republican president with the same powers!  But the reason Trump supporters supported Trump wasn't that they didn't like Obama's (and Hilliary's) policies, but that they were...wait for it...raaaacists!"
John—biggest failure?
JUDIS:  Squandering the majority in Congress in the first two years. In foreign policy, Libya just jumps out. They misjudged the Arab Spring, and left that situation even worse than it was before.
SULLIVAN: I can’t think of a single major huge mistake, except the Libyan intervention. It’s staggering how few mistakes this man made.  I do think the war to contain and destroy ISIS was a mistake.
Leftists totally believe that we can coexist with ISIS...despite their insistence that they want to destroy anyone who won't convert to Islam.  And of course leftists don't have any problem with that, seeing as how they're big on the equality of religions.
That he did it at all? Or the way that he did it?
SULLIVAN: That he did it at all. That there was any attempt to intervene against ISIS in Iraq and Syria was, I think, a great mistake. Because it destroyed the coherence of his foreign policy position, which is that we cannot control these events.
He did his best.  I know that makes me sound like a total Obamaphile, and I am. But again, the one major failure of his, the Libyan intervention, was primarily a function of the Clintons.
[Laughter from the other panelists]
SULLIVAN:  You can laugh, but it’s true. So the biggest failure was allowing Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, and not finding someone who could actually succeed him. He failed to nurture the next generation of Democratic talent sufficiently enough, to make sure that his legacy could be secured. That’s his biggest failure.
Many people would argue that it was Obama’s failure to address systemic racism that gave birth to grassroots, street-level movements like Black Lives Matter. There were a lot of people on the left, especially a lot of black Americans, who felt that Obama was lecturing them about their behavior and chiding them for not playing politics by the rules he plays by. Many younger supporters wound up feeling that they had to go outside of the conventional political apparatus, because Obama wasn’t willing to articulate and confront some of the systemic issues of racism that go back to the Clintons.JAFFE: Right—white identity politics in this country is certainly not new. It goes back to the founding of this country. It way outdates Hillary Clinton.
"Raaacists, citizen!"


Professor of American history, NYU
OBAMA’S GREATEST SINGLE ACCOMPLISHMENT:  Expanding [sic] government health insurance for millions of people. More Americans now are able to access medical care than before his presidency.
"Expanding" government health insurance?  No.  He got his party to pass a ghastly law that compelled all Americans to buy health insurance--and would fine anyone who failed to do so.  And would give "free" insurance to the poor.  So what's the logical outcome?  A lot of people making a thousand or two more than the subsidy cutoff would work less so they'd qualify for the subsidy.
BIGGEST FAILURE Not addressing more forcefully the country’s economic inequality, and not pushing for laws that would make it easier for unions to organize.
HOW HISTORY WILL JUDGE HIM People will always recognize his significance as the first African American president, and the symbolic importance of that victory for black freedom and equality. But these last eight years will also represent a time of loss: a moment when it might have been possible to do far more to grapple with the political and moral crises that our society faces, especially around economic hierarchy, environmental devastation, the power of elites, and the conditions of working people.

V. Obama and Race

Let’s talk about race directly for a moment. How did Obama do at handling race, given his position as the first black president?
PAINTER: It put him in an utterly impossible situation. Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t. Damned if he went left, damned if he went right. I have many friends—including Cornel West—who were against his lecturing to black people. I can hear that, I can see that. But, jeez, he’s the president of 320 million people.
GORDON-REED: I’m not a Marxist at all...
The hell you aren't.
...but I think he was in an impossible position.  

SULLIVAN: I want to bring up something about “identity politics.” Because there was an area of extraordinary success Obama had in the advancement of civil rights. Namely, the achievement of marriage equality
That was the 5 members of the Supreme Court, sparky.
...and openly gay people in the military, which no one believed could happen.  But we did it by eschewing identity politics.
Say WHAT?  Sullivan--an open homosexual--is a total devotee of identity politics.
JAFFE: Keep in mind that the Tea Party came first. It wasn’t Black Lives Matter.
Yeah, and there's just a total equivalence there:  You remember all those Tea Party types murdering--gee, dozens of minorities, right?
The Tea Party was ready to be angry at Obama on day one, explicitly because he was a black president.
"Raaaacists, all of em!  That's the only reason Obama couldn't do even more!"
With his election, Obama accelerated a demographic trend that we all expected would take much, much longer to manifest itself. Will he be judged differently as the world catches up to what he managed to accomplish?GORDON-REED:  He came exactly at the time he was supposed to come.  He belongs where he was, and it’s for us to deal with that.  I think he’s here to teach lessons. We have lessons from this that came at precisely the right moment.
Like, don't ever elect someone in the future who hides his background and college transcripts.
JAFFE: Has there ever been an American identity that was not racial?SULLIVAN: Yes. There can be understood to be something that transcends race, as a citizen with no race.
How does that happen, exactly?

SULLIVAN:  That is what Obama really represented: both black and white.
Not quite seeing that.  
JUDIS:  It’s not surprising that Obama got the nomination in 2008. At that point the two biggest interest groups in the Democratic Party that hadn’t yet got to serve at the top were blacks and women. And those were the two most important post-Sixties groups.
Gee, and here I thought liberals and Dems were always touting "merit" and a non-racial society.  Nice to see them admitting what everyone knew all along.
Second, in early 2008, I looked at psychological studies designed to measure implicit racism.  I concluded that race is overrated in terms of understanding why people do things. I don’t think it is all about race. [And yet...] That’s a factor in Trump’s popularity, for instance, but it’s only a factor.  A lot of the people who voted for Trump were people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.


Editor at the Washington Post
OBAMA’S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT Allowing schools to provide free lunches for everybody if at least 40 percent of students are eligible for subsidized meals. It’s the best kind of politics: a small but substantial improvement that opens up the imagination to greater possibilities.
"And ya know what the next possibility that we really need is?  Free college for everyone!  Free homes for all--in elegant neighborhoods!  And a free car!  And a minimum wage of 50 bucks an hour!  And the best thing of all's FREE!"
BIGGEST FAILURE Obamacare has fallen far short of what was promised.
This can't possibly be true, citizen.  Obamacare is perfect, just like it is.  We should demand that the Republicans not change a single letter of that marvelous law!  And if you've heard there are video clips of Dem Jon Gruber saying that the only reason they could pass this was because the American people were too stupid to understand it...well, that's just FAKE NEWS, citizen!  Got that?  Fake!  Cuz if it had really happened the Times and WaPo would have told ya.
WHAT HE DESERVES MORE CREDIT FOR The stimulus package, which likely saved the country from a far more devastating recession. And how conciliatory his statements on race and unity have been.
Living on another planet, apparently.
HOW HISTORY WILL JUDGE HIM Very kindly. Obama restored a sense of dignity to the presidency, and he maintained his composure through some extremely difficult years, often providing a sense of security and trust when no other institutions did so. I didn’t always agree with him, but I will dearly miss hearing his voice.
Good Lord.  This is pure political fellatio.

VI. The Big Picture

Let’s talk about a larger perspective on his legacy. It’s worth pausing for a moment to remember what a huge goal Obama had when he ran for the White House. He didn’t just want to be president—he wanted to change the way politics work. He wanted to change the way we see ourselves. He wanted to usher in a new and lasting era of liberalism or centrism, depending on how you define it.
Socialism.  Communism.  Hey, tomato, tomahtoe.
When we look back at him from a historical perspective, will we think he succeeded?
JAFFE: No, but it won’t be entirely his fault.  I don’t think that was possible, given that capitalism was basically imploding around his ears when he entered office. There was certainly no new era of civility or bipartisanship.  Nobody was gonna let him do that, no matter how hard he tried.
Ah yes, the emperor tried so hard to be civil.  And bipartisan.  And "nobody" (three guesses as to who) was gonna "let" the emperor be civil or bipartisan, "no matter how hard he tried."  Uh-huh.
The political change we’re experiencing right now has more to do with the resurgence of a populist right around the world: in Europe, in Latin America. We’re seeing Trumpism in many forms, in many places.  I don’t know how you can credit or blame Obama for any of it. I think it’s global.
Andrew, any thoughts on Obama’s big ambition, and whether he succeeded?SULLIVAN:  The kind of good, white-working-class jobs that used to be the backbone of the American middle class is just gone, never to return. And automation and technology is going to make it even worse.  There’s really no solution to this.  Obamacare was about providing a safety net for exactly the white working class that ended up voting for Trump.  And because there is no solution, my concern is that people will increasingly seek out authoritarian leaders, as well as scapegoats to blame for all sorts of things that cannot really be stopped.

GORDON-REED: Just reading about how technology is changing, things like self-driving cars and what that’s going to do to the workforce? It’s not going to be pretty.
SULLIVAN: The whole country is going to be high. That’s the only option at this point.
Ah yes:  To leftists, notions like cutting goofy and non-productive rules to make it easier for new businesses to start and operate are total non-starters.  Businesses are eeeevil!  What we need is good (high-paying, unionized) government jobs.  Yeh, a much better plan!
All the working-class men in particular who are under such siege right now will have to be high and playing video games to keep their lives together, because there’s much less work for them.
JAFFE: It’s not inevitable. None of it is inevitable. It’s all a question of who has power and who decides where it’s going to be distributed. If we decide that we are going to put millions of people out of work and not come up with something for them to do, then that’s ultimately a political question that is bigger than any one president.
GORDON-REED: And to go back to your original question, this is not something that Obama could have solved on his own.
SULLIVAN: Equally, Trump can’t solve it, either.
JAFFE: But that doesn’t mean there’s not a solution. There’s either going to be a lot of people starving in the streets or we’re going to find a way to take care of people. We may not like the solution, but there’s going to be one.
The "solution" for libs just won't involve businesses creating jobs.  Cuz one of the cornerstones of liberal thinking is that businesses are eeeevil.  Free markets are terrible!  And capitalism?  Don't even get them started!


OBAMA’S GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT The terrific blow he delivered to American racism, and his resounding demonstration that a clean, scandal-free administration is completely possible.
BIGGEST FAILURE Obama entered office with an enormous mandate and majorities in both houses of Congress; he leaves it with Republicans in power all over the country and a public so anxious they chose an obvious demagogue as his successor.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST? Three things: His many wars.
Wait, didn't he get the Nobel peace prize?  Seems like the committee nominated him the very week he was inaugurated.  Wow, he must have done some really faaabulous things that first week, eh?  I mean, he had to, cuz otherwise it would have been...well, a total sham.  A farce.  Nominating him for some reason other than his accomplishments.  Wow.  Reverse racism?
His capitulation to the Clinton faction of the Democratic Party after he beat Hillary in 2008. And the continued turning of the revolving door.
HOW HISTORY WILL JUDGE HIM Very positively, at first. He is a powerfully inspiring man, and in certain ways he has been objectively superior to the Bushes, Bill Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, and Johnson, all of whose administrations were enormously flawed.
But Obama's was...well, no words are sufficient to describe how wonderful it's been!  There's never been another president in history who's been this super--not Lincoln or George Washington or even the next-best after Obama, Bill Clinton!
Over time, however, people will start to ask, What did Obama actually do?

VII. The Verdict of History

Which presidents will history compare him to?

PAINTER: The great presidents faced extraordinary challenges. Are we going to put him up with Franklin Roosevelt? Well, he didn’t go to war and he didn’t get a depression. He’s certainly going to be above Reagan, if you ask me.
PAINTER: I would put him right under Franklin Roosevelt, but I’m a partisan.

SULLIVAN:  People will see the sheer caliber of this man. The grace and poise with which he conducted himself in unbelievably difficult circumstances; the way he withstood abuse and disrespect with extraordinary calm and goodwill.  After he leaves office he'll remind us of what it is to be dignified in public life. Especially if this hideous monster who’s succeeding him continues to despoil the public culture.
We have to remember, Obama is leaving office having been elected twice by a majority and with approval ratings that are matching Reagan’s. If he had a successor who could continue that, then he would be in the epic position to be the architect of the entire twenty-first century.
GORDON-REED: That’s right. We have the advantage of having him around as a young man—and his wife and family, too, who have been incredibly important to the spirits of so many people.
JAFFE: I’m very interested to see what Obama does under President Trump.
That was actually my final question for you all. If Obama came to you and said, “What should I do in my post-presidency?” what would you tell him?
SULLIVAN: No speeches at Goldman Sachs, please. [Laughter]
GORDON-REED: He says he wants to do something about gerrymandering.
Oh that's hysterical.  Because gerrymandering was done entirely to ensure that minorities won seats in congress.  Obama doesn't want to change that.
JAFFE: That would be really important. Push to restore the Voting Rights Act. Fight voter suppression.
Translation:  Abolish all photo-ID laws in order to vote.  Ensures vote fraud.  Which is peachy with Dems.
SULLIVAN: My heart has gone out to him so many times. I get emotional just thinking about what they did to this man. What a beautiful American. [Begins to choke up] You know, I’m going to be an American soon, because Obama helped get rid of the ban on people with HIV becoming American citizens, which was signed by the Clintons. He means what America means, what it can mean—the fusion of the races.  He has a great temperament and great pragmatism, and he has great Midwestern decency. I’m in awe of this man. God bless him. I mean it. Thank you, Mr. President.
Why not just let the Left appoint him emperor for life?

These people are totally divorced from reality.  But they're great at virtue-signalling to their friends.