Does Obama still matter? Normally that would seem like a stupid question. How can a president of the United States not matter? Sure, he's a lame duck, with just over two years left in his presidency. And, yes, the House has denied him any legislation for the past two years.
He's also been denigrated by the press as being a drag on Democratic candidates this midterm election year. As if members of Congress don't do enough to drag themselves down.
Before looking at whether Obama still counts for anything, let's take a quick look at who is dragging whom down. It sure looks to me like the Democratic officeholders have done a terrible job of supporting their president and their leader.
Where were they when all the flagrant mistruths were being hurled around about Obamacare and him personally? Why was their applause silent when he saved the auto industry and brought it to profitability for the first time in decades? Where were their cheers when he pulled us out of the recession which still sucks down much of Europe? We have had quarter after quarter of really good job numbers here and not a peep of applause from the Demo politicos. And all those great steps he took by executive order to save the planet from suffocating and/or drowning in climate change? Moving us toward closing thousands of coal burning power plants and drastically lowering car AND truck emissions (that had never been done about trucks before) - hey, those are very big deals! But we don't even get from Democratic politicians the sound of one hand clapping.
If they had defended him and his policies, maybe we wouldn't have had a wipe-out of the House in 2010. If they had defended him and the truth since then, maybe we'd have a better chance of holding the Senate this year and even regaining the House. Regarding the latter, the climb is tough but we only need 17 seats to swing the majority, and 25 seats are squishy enough to raise a hope or two. If they had drumbeat his accomplishments they could have - as Democrats - looked better themselves.
But no matter what, does Obama still matter? Oh, honey, you bet he does! There is talk that he is close to a deal with Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program. That is truly big time. It's potentially saving millions of lives from an Iran weapon, and it's also forestalling Iran grabbing control of the Middle East and springboarding a nuclear arms race among the wild card nations around it.
He also can still do more for the environment with his executive orders, still bring effective pressure for better wages by government contractors, still keep deportations low (though he has to meet the Congressional minimums or be impeachable). And he can still manage the U.S. role abroad without getting us into another boots-on-the-ground ten-year "war" a la Bush Jr.
He keeps plugging away, his hair getting whiter. But he's still in there punching. Right now his military is saving the afflicted people of West Africa from Ebola. Abandoned children are not dying in the muddy streets.
Meantime the New York Times editorial board has the audacious hypocrisy to scold the Democratic party for not telling about Obama's immense achievements. Hey! Isn't the press supposed to keep us informed? Isn't that the point of a free press in a democracy, to inform the voters? The New York Times and the rest of the mainline media has buried Obama's record like it was a disgusting secret and has consistently failed to answer the lies the GOP has told.
One example: a few weeks ago one of the NY Times OWN REPORTERS started his story by saying in so many words, "This is really a big story." But his editor ignored the flagging and buried the story.
It was a wowser, totally refuting two of the GOP's biggest misrepresentations. (1) Contra the GOP, the cost of Medicare is going down, down, down and not up, up, up. And (2) the country is not going broke. These are the facts produced by the figures. The lies being corrected thereby were the ones fundamental to the whole GOP construct that brought us the Tea Party, Sarah Palin and her death panels, the terrible cuts in the government programs we all need, such as the CDC budget. And these lies were the justification for the government shutdown and threats not to raise the debt ceiling.
Many Americans have been hoodwinked into a gloom and doom view of our country because the press and the Democrats have failed in their jobs. That's the great tragedy of the last six years. It's a far greater tragedy than Obama not getting the credit he deserves. Hell, people, he's a black man in America. Do you think unfairness is a surprise to him? Like him, I too have been punching above my weight all my life. We just keep punching. It's who we are.
And neither the chicken-livered Democratic party or the fraidy cat media can take that away from my buddy or me. We are who we are and we've done what we've done. And it's enough for us personally.
As for the "judgment" of the talking heads and the mis-written record? Like the man said who walked away into the mist, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." I don't either.
And I'm sure Obama doesn't.