I don't care what your expectations before 2009 were, any reality-based review of Obama's first two years shows that Obama got a lot of legislation passed in an extremely hostile environment, with the strongest string of liberal-based legislation we've seen since LBJ; and before that, FDR. That's simply undeniable.
Point: Obama got a lot of fucking shit done, and there isn't one among us who can claim to have done as much as Obama. Yes, that's because he's the president and we're not; but that's kind of the point. Sure, he could have done more and I'm sure he has many of the same regrets we do, but it's not easy when you have to get everything right and even one wrong word can destroy everything.
Yet all the same, there are critics who will INSIST that Obama should have done more. And his track record on domestic surveillance and whatnot leaves much to be desired. And they'll go so far as to lay blame on Obama for every political indiscretion they believe he's made, finding each to be more inexcusable than the last.
But all the same, they think Obama's doing relatively well in a tough situation, and as much as they know he can do better, they're willing to accept him as being better than the alternative. Overall, they consider Obama to be a decent man who not only wants to do the right thing, but has the ability to do it and really needs to take a stronger stand in order to overcome the obstacles he's facing.
Those people are ok with me. I have no problem with this sort of thing at all. I disagree with them, of course, and will defend Obama when I think a defense is warranted. But I think their points are reasonable, and it's only in a matter of degrees on how much we expect Obama to do more. In the end, we both agree that Obama is trying to do the right thing, but could have done better.
The Other Ones
It's the other Obama critics I have a problem with. The ones who insist that Obama is a conservative Democrat or a moderate-conservative Republican or an evangelical Christian or a traitor or a fool.
The ones who take great joy exposing the truth about Obama in everything they write; all in order to educate us fools so that we finally understand what a charlatan Obama truly is. The ones who insist that we're suckers being fleeced. Or who state as fact that Obama is the bastard child of Jimmy Carter and George Bush, exposing him to be a weak-kneed, thumb-sucking, Kumbaya-singing moron who enjoys trampling our freedoms and making a mockery of everything we believe in.
These are the people I have a problem with. Because, come on. Whatever you may think of Obama's decisions thus far, it's obvious the man's not an idiot. Whenever he speaks, it's obvious there's a real person inside thinking about what he's saying. Moreover, he's obviously someone who has embraced liberal ideas, but who is willing to compromise when he feels it's to his advantage.
Liberal by Default
And that's exactly what Obama has always claimed to be. He never said he's a liberal ideologue. He just wants whatever works, and it just so happens that liberalism works. And that's why it's at the basis of everything he's trying to do, because he wants to give us what works. He's said that repeatedly. This isn't a bug in his personality; it's a feature. He wants to do what works and he doesn't want to have to spend a long time messing with it.
And let's be honest. Presidenting ain't easy. It's not like the man has time to sit down and read Talking Points Memo and Crooks & Liars all damn day. I guarantee you that there is a LOT OF SHIT that each of us know that Obama will never hear about. He simply doesn't have the time to sit back and read all the news and analyze it. No matter how much information Obama is fed, it can never be enough. That's why Nixon started wiretapping people, and even that wasn't enough.
As scary as it is, a President can only take the information that's given to them and pray they're asking the right questions and getting the right answers. They're doing all this shit on the fly and everything they say or do becomes the news the moment they do it. Under the circumstances, Obama's performance is utterly amazing.
Attacking the Wrong Side
Fortunately, the vast majority of Democrats approve of Obama, which is why his approval ratings have remained as high as they have. Even the mildly disgruntled Obama critics aren't likely to tell a pollster that they disagree with Obama. Or if they do, that it's like to stay that way by Election Day. They might not like what Obama's doing, but they certainly prefer him over the alternative.
But for some reason, Obama's hardcore critics decided it somehow made more sense to bash Obama for not doing more, rather than making Obama's job easier by bashing the Republicans who were stopping him. Rather than focus their energies on Republican lies and trickery, as they had for the previous eight years, they decided to turn their same muckraking skills on Obama. Every failure, real and imagined, was due to entirely to Obama's failings, and anyone who doesn't agree is a brainwashed fool who is too dumb to see the truth.
These are the ones I have a problem with. And the dividing line is this: If you think that Obama is better than the alternative, then you're ok. But if you think that Obama is as bad as or worse than the alternative, then you're part of the problem.
The Dividing Line
Because, whoopdidoo! You exposed Obama again for not having passed something he talked about on the campaign trail. Yea you! Meanwhile, Republicans are destroying unions throughout the country and crippling already under-funded schools. People are literally dying because of Republican policies. That's the alternative. Not Pie-in-the-Sky Universal Healthcare and ponies in every garage. But real villains doing really bad things. Obama may be flawed, but he's the best sheriff we've got.
So to pretend as if Obama's policies somehow equate with conservativism, or that he's the same as Republicans; I'm sorry, but that's insane. Seriously. Anyone who can look at Obama's healthcare bill and honestly say that it's no different than if we had a Republican president, that person is a total nut who shouldn't be taken seriously. Differences of opinion are fine, but we're talking difference of reality, here. And as usual, that's where we have to draw the line.
In short: It's perfectly ok to criticize Obama. Just don't make an ass of yourself about it.