Deval Patrick Tells Liberals Obama’s Been a Pretty Damn Good President

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

I didn’t catch Deval Patrick’s speech last night, but I’m reliably informed that it was a barnburner. And like Michelle Obama, he very directly addressed liberals who feel disappointed in Obama’s first term and unmotivated to work hard for his reelection:

If we want to win elections in November and keep our country moving forward, if we want to earn the privilege to lead, my message is this: it’s time for Democrats to grow a backbone and stand up for what we believe. Quit waiting for pundits or polls or super PACs to tell us who the next president or senator or congressman is going to be. We’re Americans. We shape our own future.

Let’s all start by standing up for President Barack Obama. This is the president who delivered the security of affordable health care to every single American in every corner of this country after 90 years of trying. This is the president who brought Osama bin Laden to justice, who ended the war in Iraq, and is ending the war in Afghanistan. This is the president who ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so that love of country, not love of another, determines fitness for service. Who made equal pay for equal work the law of the land. This is the president who saved the American auto industry from extinction, the American financial industry from self-destruction, the American economy from full-blown depression. Who added 4.5 million private sector jobs in the last two-and-a-half years, more than in George Bush’s eight years in office.

The list of accomplishments is long, impressive and barely told—and even more impressive when you consider that congressional Republicans have made obstruction itself the centerpiece of their governing strategy. With a record like that and a vision that hopeful and powerful, I for one will not stand by and let him be bullied out of office—and neither should you.

It’s true: by ordinary human standards, as opposed to the weird celestial standards some liberals measure him by, Obama has had a damn impressive presidency. Frankly, Republicans whose heads have exploded over Obama’s supposed radicalism are probably closer to the truth than disaffected liberals who think it’s all been a bunch of meh and that a second term will just be more meh. What’s more, there’s the flip side of this: even if you think a second Obama term wouldn’t accomplish much, a first Romney term almost certainly would. Here are a few examples:

  • Obamacare will be effectively repealed.
  • Tax rates will be lowered. Offsetting closure of loopholes will probably never happen, which means the deficit will increase.
  • A fifth conservative might very well be appointed to the Supreme Court, dooming Roe v. Wade at exactly the time that Republican-dominated states have become feverishly committed to banning abortion completely.
  • National security policy probably won’t change much. Romney will continue Obama’s policies just as Obama continued Bush’s.
  • Social spending will be cut substantially. This can be done via reconciliation, so all it requires is 50 votes in the Senate, which Romney has a good chance of getting.
  • “Drill, baby, drill” will become the official energy policy of the United States.

If DADT repeal, passage of ACA, financial reform, killing Osama, saving the auto industry, and all the rest aren’t enough to get liberals excited — and if they’re still not enough in the face of what a Romney presidency would almost certainly bring us — then I’m stumped. You’re living in some fantasy world of wishes and ponies that I’m not familiar with. Here in the real world, that’s a helluva record and a helluva contrast.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest