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The more attention I pay to politics, the more I feel sorry for Barack Obama. Yes, the president of the United States. Duly elected. The most powerful man in the world.

He hasn't done a great job, and I haven't agreed with him on every issue. (Read: We should've left Afghanistan the moment Karzai rigged the election.) But a lot of the crises he inherited were out of his control, and frankly congress (and especially the filibuster rule in the senate) not the presidency, is what's screwing our country up.

The stimulus didn't fix the economy? Of course it didn't. After it got through congress it was 40% tax cuts, and loaded down with pork.  (And maybe too small - I honestly don't remember if Obama was pushing for a bigger one.) It bore little resemblance to the vast overhaul of infrastructure Obama was advocating for.

He ran on a health care bill. He wanted a health care bill badly. I did too, for that matter; the way people go bankrupt from illness in this country is a national disgrace. When it got to his desk, it was an individual mandate - buy health insurance or your taxes go up by a certain percentage. But it also had sweeping new regulations on what insurance companies could do, and it was better than nothing, so he signed it.

He bailed out the big banks. Yeah, I didn't like it either - we should've replaced 'em all with a national bank IMO - but I can see where he was coming from. They had the economy over a barrel and even Republicans who have been more than prepared to sink the economy to get re-elected were terrified enough to vote for the bailouts.

He's a corporatist sell-out to the left, and they're not entirely wrong on that. There are elements of those criticisms I agree with. But the vitriol from the right - I don't know if it's 'cause he's black, a democrat, some kind of warped "revenge" for how dems criticized Bush or what - is horrendous. Apparently he wants to execute my grandmother, he's a hardline Stalinist and a secret al-Qaeda member AT THE SAME TIME, he illegally immigrated here from Kenya, etc. They dig up everything they can from his personal life and use it as an excuse to bash him.

Is part of it 'cause they have no legitimate criticisms? Of course, and it probably speaks to the fact that given the cards he's dealt, he hasn't done a bad job. I might like to get into politics someday when I'm older, but the venom spewed at him is really giving me second thoughts - I wouldn't be thick-skinned enough to take all the personal attacks. He fills out a bracket for March Madness and he's attacked for not focusing on the real issues, his birthday is used as an opportunity for Fox to bash the "liberal media" for wishing him a happy birthday, and for internet trolls to question whether it was his REAL birthday.

I haven't agreed with him on every issue, and he's certainly no Washington or Lincoln or FDR. If we're still in Afghanistan in '12 with no end in sight or unemployment is still high and he faces a primary over it, I might even vote for his challenger.

But he has one of the hardest jobs in the world. I know he's a politician, I know he wanted the job. But he's got to make important decisions impacting 300 million people on a regular basis, angering people (often with good reason) whatever he does - and that's if he does the right thing; he probably feels even worse when he screws up.

These days, I end up feeling much more sympathy for him than outrage. I'm sure he tunes most of it out, but on the other hand he's going gray already from the stress. Of course in a democracy people have to criticize their leaders and debate the issues, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But it seems like it's being taken to ridiculous levels these days. He's still only human, and more often than not I want to tell the media and blogs to give the president a break.

Originally posted to birdboy2000 on Sun Aug 08, 2010 at 10:10 AM PDT.


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