Because even liberals say so. The famous thrill going up their legs (in the words of Chris Matthews) is now forming a cold, embarrassing puddle in their shoes. There’s a reason why Hillary Clinton, campaigning as the guarantor of Obama’s third term, just got smoked by a kooky geriatric. Bernie Sanders is catching on in part because he tacitly concedes that Obama has been a dud.
“We voted for hope and change, Mr. President, but what did we get?” asks progressive radio host Bill Press, a longtime voice of the left on CNN shows such as “Crossfire,” in his new book “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down” (Threshold Editions).
The answers are saddening: “stagnant wages, a struggling middle class, rising income inequality and a diminished social safety net.”
Press issues a withering indictment of virtually every notable event of the Obama years:
“In the end, the Affordable Care Act pleased few.”
“Obama’s claim that everybody could keep his own plan and doctor was so far from true that Politifact actually gave it the worst possible designation: ‘Pants on Fire.’ For all the promises to abandon the Bush-Cheney policy of ‘anything goes’ in the war on terror, Obama would, for the most part, not only continue down that same path, but expand it.
“The place where progressives anticipated the most change is where, to their shock and chagrin, they found the least.”
“Not since Richard Nixon has a White House used the powers of the presidency to threaten or actually persecute journalists for seeking to uncover and report the truth. The Obama administration’s war on journalists raises serious questions about how much freedom of the press really exists today.”
“[Obama] let us down. He simply failed to lead.”
Perhaps most damagingly, Press admits racism had little to do with Obama’s failures. To say that “it’s all because he’s black” is “a very convenient excuse,” Press says. “But I don’t buy it.”
Moreover, Press faults Obama for the poor state of race relations in this country, which according to polling are the worst they have been since the Rodney King riots. (Last May, 61% of Americans rated race relations as “bad;” in that violent spring of 1992 it was 68%.)
Such is the sickness of the burn in Press’ book that he quotes many other crestfallen lefties such as Michael Moore, who said in 2014, “When the history is written of this era, this is how you’ll be remembered: He was the first black president. . . . Eight years of your life and that’s what people are going to remember. . . . You’d probably wish you were remembered for a few other things.”
Matt Damon, Press notes, has suffered a kind of brokeback bro breakup with Barack. “He broke up with me,” Good Will Martian said in 2013.
“You know, Jimmy Carter came out and said we don’t live in a democracy. That’s a little intense when an ex-president says that. So, you know, [Obama]’s got some explaining to do.”
Even the guy who did the HOPE poster is saying NOPE: “Not even close,” was Shepard Fairey’s answer when asked last year whether Obama had lived up to his promise.
Judging by what happened in New Hampshire this week, it’s fitting that Bernie Sanders blurbed Press’ book.
Though Press’s argument is itself unintentionally funny in places (“most liberals are also pragmatic realists,” he claims), it’s a bracing reminder of how little lefty promises are worth.
Press spends a chapter noting that the $787 billion 2009 stimulus (remember how that was going to fix the economy?) “fell way short of expectations,” which is a little like saying “Fantastic Four” wasn’t quite as good as it could have been.
Another chapter dings Obama’s woeful foreign policy, another notes with alarm how the president has more or less burned down the Democratic party to warm his own hands.
Democrats have lost 13 Senate seats, 12 governorships, 69 House seats and control of 30 state legislative chambers since 2009, “all of which leaves the Democratic Party in worse shape today than it’s been in decades,” Press says.
Press closes the book with two letters, one to President Hillary Clinton, the other to President Bernie Sanders.
The Hillary letter is three pages of warnings about abandoning Obama as a model and living up to progressive dreams, while the Bernie-gram contains only one piece of advice: “Now be yourself, Bernie. That’s all we ask.”
Sanders has about as much chance as the Church of Scientology of healing what’s wrong with this country, but that’s pure, desperate Obama fatigue talking.
We, as a nation, spent a lot of our psychic capital on Obama. It turned out to be the ballot-box equivalent of Cash for Clunkers