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Imagine the date is September 12, 2001.  President George W. Bush goes on TV and announces that the day before, the United States military and intelligence services had thwarted a plot by terrorists to blow up the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and White House.  It was a tremendous victory by the government, saving thousands of lives.

My prediction is that President Bush would get a few slaps on the back, and within a day or two, we'd be back arguing about the budget, Star Wars (GWB was pushing to re-institute the anti-ballistic missile system in 2001),  abortion and taxes.  My point is that credit for preventing a horror pales in comparison to the horror itself.

In a nutshell, this is President Obama's problem.  When historians write about Obama's first term, they will talk about health care and avoiding a second Depression.  His efforts to avoid massive unemployment, bank failures, and a complete stalling of the economy, will be viewed as his greatest achievement.  His enemies claim we "got nothing" for the trillions of dollars in Federal stimulus.  In fact, we got a lot of worthwhile road, bridge, mass transportation, and energy projects [among others].  General Motors and Chrysler were saved, as were the jobs at these companies, and the millions of feeder jobs from the parts suppliers to the luncheons that fed the workers.   For a better list,  see .

But the sum of the individual successes pales in comparison to what would have happened had a full blown 1930's-style Depression happened.  Virtually all economists on the right and left agreed that had Obama not done something, we would have had such a Depression.

But having done something, a lot in fact, does not appear to be inuring to Obama's benefit.  in fact, he's being pilloried because the bad economy he inherited is not as good as the populace would like it.  High unemployment, dropping home prices, inability of businesses to borrow, and the huge expansion of the federal debt are supposedly all Obama's fault.    Yet the rational response is that we would have been so much worse had he not done what he did.  That's hardly a good campaign slogan.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fortunately, you aren't working for Obama campaign (6+ / 0-)

    Because I think Obama is doing a very good job, thank you very much, of proving that we're better off today

  •  You're absolutely right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZappoDave, Dracowyrm

    but polls have shown clearly that the majority of people do understand (and remember) how bad it was and that the bleeding stopped and started to get better under Obama's leadership.

    Proving a negative is always a difficult if not impossible thing. But in this case there is real history still fairly fresh in peoples memories... which is why we are doing ok and were doing ok before Romney started to implode.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 06:04:07 PM PDT

  •  Well now let's see. (5+ / 0-)

    You say President Obama has a problem.

    I say Mitt Romney has a problem.

    So what is your problem?

    I don't give a 47 percent nickel what President Obama's so-called deeply concerning problem is.  Because he has blown way past all that old tired stuff and is blazing a new trail.

    Give me the problem called BARACK OBAMA any day.  My kind of problem.  Yay problem!

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 06:19:17 PM PDT

  •  Oh well, let's pull out that worn out canard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Dracowyrm

    that is so ridiculous!

    President Obama, President Obama, President Obama has been doing an extraordinary job, from the get-go.  Wring your hands all you want, but he won the Presidency in 2008 and he's going to win again, with a fabulous public relations strategy.

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 06:32:41 PM PDT

  •  When your good at something it looks easy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mistral Wind

    If he does the job right it will look like he's doing nothing at all.

    History will be kind to President Obama once classified information is in the history books and a clear picture of his Presidency is available.

    The dude is just good!

    Forward he cried from the rear, and the front rank died. - Pink Floyd

    by TexasJay on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:10:59 PM PDT

  •  9/11 was different. It was obviously not (0+ / 0-)

    perpetrated by Bush administration so no one blamed Bush for it (Bush missed some signs of the impending attack but it's not the same thing as causing it). Also, wars tend to cause the 'rally to the flag' effect that helps the administration.

    Depression is a different story b/c there would be no way for Obama to avoid blame for economic problems if he did nothing to solve them (see Hoover). So 'it would have been much worse' is not such a bad campaign slogan under the circumstances.

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