In watching some of the cable news stations this weekend prior to the start of the Republican National Convention, I have seen some media outlets noting the increasing theme of the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan presidential ticket touting themselves as... "America's Comeback Team." Really? Where are they coming back from?
Okay, I've just about had enough of this country's selective memory regarding what a screwed-up condition this country was in when Barack Obama took office less than four short years ago! Everyone wants to concentrate on what all HAS NOT happened in these few years but very few are concentrating on what all actually DID happen!
If the Obama campaign has not already planned a "Before & After" ad focusing on the state of this nation before he took office and how far we have really come since then, they are committing political suicide! The Barack Obama/Joe Biden duo is the REAL "America's Comeback Team" regardless of what the political pundits, beltway media and right-wing nut jobs claim. To be the leader of a so-called 'comeback' you have to have led something or someone from the depths of an abyss, to lead from bad to good and low to high... and that's exactly what President Obama has done... even if many within our "non-partisan" media and political pundits don't want to admit it, or highlight it. Many of them think that they will somehow be accused of "choosing sides" if they point out what good President Obama has done, which is just dumb! This isn't about choosing sides, it's about reporting facts and ladies and gentlemen, these are facts!
- Before Obama, the stock market was in a literal freefall hitting at low as 6,000 points and many people saw their 401(k)s become worthless; since Obama, the Dow Jones has rebounded to over 13,000 points and, along with the NASDAQ and S&P, is hitting consistent highs on a regular basis, which is also great news for those 401(k)s that help to put more money in American's pockets, right? Oh but I forgot, Obama is bad for business though, right?
- Before Obama, America's automobile industry was deemed dead in the water by many and even some said that we should just let the entire industry "go bankrupt" (who was it again who said that?); since Obama, General Motors (which climbed up once again to become the #1 automaker in the world), Chrysler and Ford are all posting record profits and rehiring many of their employees who had been laid off from factories around the country during the recession.
- Before Obama, the United States economy was heading off of a cliff going 110 miles per hour, stocks were tanking, credit was drying up and the housing market was deemed DOA (dead on arrival); since Obama, the economy, while still struggling to take off as many would want, is finally off of life support and slowly coming back giving people in this country, and around the world, hope that not all is lost. The GDP is up and taxes, regardless what anyone on political news shows say, are the lowest they have been in over 60 years.
- Oh... and contrary to popular opinions, the stimulus DID in fact work and it has been noted by several respected economists around the world that the U.S. economy and unemployment would be a whole lot worse had we not had it!
- Before Obama, the United States was deeply, deeply engaged in two wars and bordering on trying to start two more (i.e., Iran and North Korea); since Obama, the war in Iraq, which many felt was an unjustified war only made justifiable with contrived facts and figures and outright lies, has ended and those troops have been reunited with their families and the war in Afghanistan is winding down responsibly. Although Afghanistan is not ending as fast as many would like, including me, at least it's not expanding as some on the right would like.
- Before Obama, it seemed that the terrorists had us, and most of the world, on the run and was no doubt winning the war on terror... since Obama, Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, Muammar Gaddafi and a large host of other al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are dead and many others are now on the run and in hiding themselves. America is the new home-run king and Barack Obama has been our loaded bat!
- Before Obama, millions of Americans had no access whatsoever to any kind of affordable healthcare and many have even died from the seemingly endless lack of quality care for poor and middle-class Americans (especially seniors, single women and children); since Obama, universal healthcare is now the "law of the land," something that many other presidents tried and failed to do for the past 100 years!
- Before Obama, the United States was losing over 700,000 jobs every month (let me say that again because I don't think this gets NEARLY the attention that it deserves); just over three short years ago, the United States was losing OVER 700,000 JOBS PER MONTH with no relief in sight! Since Obama, while employment is definitely not where many would like it to be, this country can still boast the fact that we have consistently GAINED jobs every month for the past two years and have had over 26 straight months of constant JOB GROWTH!
- Before Obama, America's image around the world was basically in the toilet. (Sorry, there's no delicate way to put it). As someone who has frequently traveled abroad on business, I can vividly recall receiving letters and emails with travel tips and warnings about do's and don'ts while traveling overseas like not wearing anything (or even packing anything) that could identify you as an American. Plainly put... we were HATED -- HATED! Since Obama, America's standing in the world has not only been rebranded, our president draws large, adoring crowds overseas, many waving U.S. flags, pretty much wherever he goes. Our last President (Bush) left us with a glowing and enduring image of him in one of his last overseas trips dodging a shoe being thrown at him during a press conference in Iraq... remember that? And who among us can forget German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the most powerful people (not women... people) in the world literally cringing from an impromptu GWB shoulder massage during a G-8 Summit in Russia. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the good ol' days... how far we've come!
- Before Obama, banks largely benefited from the student Pell grant/loan program even more than the actual students who received the loans as banks were collecting huge sums of money and fees for doing nothing more than just simply existing and acting as a middleman. Since Obama, banks no longer have a stranglehold on the student loan program and the money being saved by not paying banks to do absolutely nothing is being passed on directly to the students in need and they are finally reaping some of the benefits or a program that was always supposed to be about helping them... not banks.
- Before Obama, the U.S. banks and Wall Street were like a forest fire burning out of control and consuming pretty much everything in its path with no firewall in sight; since Obama, while not all of the Dodd/Frank regulatory policies have been 'completely' put in place (thanks to Republicans in Congress), at least now Wall Street and the banks have some sort of oversight and regulations in place that prevents them from completely bringing down the global economy as we know it... as they almost did back in 2008!
- Before Obama, gays and lesbians in the military lived in constant fear of being outed and thrown out of military service under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) law that was passed under President Clinton, which basically made gays and lesbians in the military persona non grata; since Obama, DADT is history, DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) seems to be on its last legs as the Obama administration and the Justice Department has ceased defending it and the LGBT community has one additional supporter on its side, President Obama who this year became the very first sitting U.S. president to come out publicly in support of same sex marriage and equal rights under the law for all.
- Before Obama, children of illegal immigrants were completely confined to the dark shadows of our country and lived in hiding constantly wondering and worrying about if they would be rounded up one day while simply walking down the street and sent back to what is to them a foreign country; since Obama, these children now have a legal path to citizenship and no longer have to live in constant fear of the country they love, and have called home basically all their lives, sending them back to a country they know nothing about. NOTE: And let's not forget that he has done this all while also securing the U.S. borders and deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants. And had it not been for a Republican filibuster and a mere five... FIVE votes in the Senate, the DREAM Act would today be a reality!
In short, Barack Obama is the one true PROVEN comeback kid in this election! If everyone would stop trying so hard to be non-partisan for a moment and just be honest with themselves and their constituents, viewers and readers they would admit that President Obama was the plunger that pulled this country back from being completely flushed down the proverbial toilet. I've read comments and listened to many people from other countries wonder why so many in this country are so openly hostile towards President Obama. Many of them have commented about how they would LOVE to have Obama as the leader of their country and how, especially compared with some other leaders around the globe, Americans do not know what a good thing they have. Unfortunately, that seems to be our MO (modus operandi) here in the good old US of A, we never seem to fully appreciate a good leader until after they are gone. I just hope that doesn't happen with President Obama. It would be extremely sad and unfortunate if only after he's gone, we truly come to appreciate our country's 44th President who saved our economy, rescued the auto industry, led the killing of the world's most notorious terrorist who killed over 3,000 people on U.S. soil, helped the U.S. gain over four million jobs in just over three years, oversaw a 7,000 point rebound in the U.S. stock market in less than four years, gave us universal health care (something no other president had been able to achieve) and refurbished America's image abroad from being universally hated to being widely admired once again. And remember, he did it all while having to deal with the most partisan and disliked Congress in U.S. history! Oh and by the way, did I mention that he also just happens to be our nation's very first African-American president... I think most of us have forgotten what a monumental achievement that was for him too!
Unfortunately, what took over eight years to destroy cannot be magically all fixed and tied up in a pretty bow in less than four! (I'm talking to you Mr. Jeb "stop blaming my brother" Bush.) But fortunately, President Obama at least has us on what many believe is the right track and just imagine what all could be done if he actually had a Congress that was willing to help progress instead of hinder it. Republicans have taken to asking if this country is better off than it was four years ago, if the Obama campaign has even half the smarts I give them credit for, they'll tee this one up on the 9th green and go for an eagle because from where I, and many others sit, that answer is an unquestionable YES!
I know than many people in the U.S., and around the world, are still hurting and I'm hoping that things continue to improve economically for everyone but you cannot deny that our country as a whole has indeed come a long way from 2008!
P.S. Just in case you want a recap, try reviewing this article from the Washington Monthly highlighting President Obama's Top 50 Accomplishments. it might help to refresh the memory of some to note that, contrary to some beliefs, this president did in fact accomplish something during his first term in office!