But even before his inauguration, Obama had come face-to-face with the severe threat to the global economy posed by a collapse of banks, homes, mortgages and jobs, including more than a million in the teetering auto industry. Also, we were fighting two expensive wars "off the books," and the United States was held in low esteem around the world, thanks to the blunders of the previous administration.
It was, in fact, an epic mess that would have challenged any president. But at the same time that Obama was putting together an administration to tackle it, his opponents, both in Congress and among the right, were not only vowing to make him a one-term president, but they were following through on their pledges with historic obstructionism, eventually taking the government to the brink of shutdown more than once, getting perilously close to defaulting on our debt.
Barack Obama's achievements, and there are many, are all the more notable against this backdrop. They compel his re-election.
Thoughtful and well-reasoned, as expected. I have to say the endorsement I liked best was by Esquire's Charlie Pierce, who's more forceful in spelling out the several ways in which Obama has been a deep disappointment -- and why voting for him a matter of great urgency.
Barack Obama owes more than I'd like him to owe to the Wall Street crowd. He probably at this point owes a little more than I'd like him to owe to the military. The rest he owes to the millions of people who elected him in 2008 — especially to those people whose enthusiasm I neither shared nor really understood — and he will owe them even more if they come out and pull his chestnuts out of the fire for him this time around. He may sell them out — and, yes, I understand if you wanted to add "again" to that statement — but they are not likely to revenge themselves against the country if he does and, even if they decided to, they don't have the power to do much but yell at the right buildings.
On the other hand, Willard Romney owes even more to the Wall Street crowd, and he owes even more to the military, but he also owes everything he is politically to the snake-handlers and the Bible-bangers, to the Creationist morons and to the people who stalk doctors and glue their heads to the clinic doors, to the reckless plutocrats and to the vote-suppressors, to the Randian fantasts and libertarian fakers, to the closeted and not-so-closeted racists who have been so empowered by the party that has given them a home, to the enemies of science and to the enemies of reason, to the devil's bargain of obvious tactical deceit and to the devil's honoraria of dark, anonymous money, and, ultimately, to those shadowy places in himself wherein Romney sold out who he might actually be to his overweening ambition. It is a fearsome bill to come due for any man, let alone one as mendaciously malleable as the Republican nominee. Obama owes the disgruntled. Romney owes the crazy. And that makes all the difference.
Yeah, that about sums things up.