This week I had a conversation on Twitter with a reader over former president Barack Obama’s legacy.  Upon reading a rumor that he was working on his next memoir, I wrote this:

I meant it as a humorous little jab, but it wasn’t viewed that way by a couple of the people who saw it.  It was instead characterized as “ODS” or “Obama Derangement Syndrome”.  In response, I used the powerful argument tactic known as “I’m rubber and you’re glue” and implied that people who defend Obama on such things as this suffer from what could be called “OWD” or “Obama Worshiping Disorder”.  No matter what, it seems that certain people can never bring themselves to admit that Obama ever did anything wrong or that his presidency wasn’t a raging success by any historical measure.

But I thought about it further and realized that we on the Right probably do have an ODS problem.  We seemingly can’t admit that he did anything right or that his presidency had any successes.  Is that ODS?  Perhaps.  Usually, I consider ODS to be more of the Birther or “He’s wanted to destroy America” or “He was a gay Iranian puppet” variety.  He totally does smell like brimstone though.  I heard it from a guy.

I can see why Obama fans would get annoyed by us constantly beating down the president they voted for, admired, and defended for eight years.  On the flip side of that though, I think their defense of Obama has become almost reflexive.  They can’t let any attack go unanswered any more than we can let Obama go.

Maybe it’s time we on the Right acknowledged that Obama is gone and can’t hurt us anymore?  Unless, of course, you’re one of those who believe that he’s still guiding the #Resistance from his top secret lair in Washington, DC.

So here goes.  I think Obama was a mediocre president, not a bad one.  I wouldn’t place him in the bottom 10 of US presidents.  Maybe the bottom 25.   His worst negatives were the lack of any major legislation except for the ACA, which brought his party to its lowest level of influence since the 1920’s, his aimless foreign policy that saw Islamic radicals rage across the Levant despite his sincere desire to stop the wars, a perception of weakening of American power along with Russia stepping in to fill the gap, and the worsening of the domestic partisan divide.  The last is the one with which he would agree, and has.

Positives?  He left office with a strengthening economy.  Trump will get the credit for it, but we should be fair and acknowledge that Obama inherited a hideous economy.  Does the president actually have much to do with the economy?  Hard to say, but people do typically remember presidential eras in terms of whether or not they found themselves better off at the end of them.  Me?  I definitely improved my prospects during the Obama years.

Also, he ordered the operation that killed bin Laden.  It was a ballsy raid and it was ballsy for him to greenlight it.  I’ll give him this because I’m glad the bearded shitbeard is dead.

Overall, I think Obama will be remembered in 50, 100, 150 years as a president who was personally popular but enjoyed few legislative or foreign policy successes.  He had no major doctrine nor did he “fundamentally change” anything that Trump can’t reverse (since he’s allowing Obamacare to collapse under its own weight).

I don’t think any of it will be remembered as disastrous unless Iran develops nuclear weapons and promptly attacks us with them.  Of course, he will always be remembered as the first black president, if for nothing else.  That alone will ensure him a favorable rating from historians, you know.

I’d like to see us move past the crazy emotionalism of the Obama years.  That means Republicans should finally admit that if Obama had an evil plan to destroy America, it failed.  Democrats can acknowledge that his legacy is secure but that he fell far short of what they hoped he would.  You guys projected a lot of your own aspirations into him and, like Director Krennic, you choked on them.  We, in turn, poured an enormous amount of hatred into Obama and it brought us nothing but a hollow victory in the form of a RINO Congress and a president with deservedly record-high disapproval.

It’s time to Get Over Obama, folks.  I’m administering some therapy and we can do this with or without the electric shocks.  Confront your ODS or OWD and let’s move past it all.

If you hated him, say one nice thing.  I also think you can find one criticism or failing of his if you loved him.  I’m wondering if we can get a consensus that Obama was simply a president who was personally popular but fell far short of expectations.  That seems fair, doesn’t it?

37 comments

  1. Obamacare is deeply flawed but still a more humane law than anything the republicans have put forth yet.

    I’d also say that obama’s frank-dowd bills might have gone too far but his real estate regulation laws worked out fairly well.

  2. Maybe the bottom 25

    Was this intentional? Because it’s funny. But it’s even funnier if you didn’t mean to put that instead of “top 20”.

    Regarding your request for a criticism, Obama was the “cool parent”. Between beer summits, vast coverage of his NCAA March Madness brackets, and singing Al Green at the Apollo, he very much wanted to be seen as fun. “See? I’m not just a stuffy intellectual Constitutional lawyer!”. It often rang hollow and seemed much more for show than any type of true reflection of what he really cared about in his personal life.

    Vicious, I know.

  3. I’ve long believed that he came into his destiny too soon. He might have been a great president in a more relaxed era but he wasn’t the right one for these times.

  4. BTW, I’ve sent you two emails in the last couple of weeks to two different email addresses. Did they go MIA or are we in a fight? 😉

  5. I don’t look at it as OWS, I look at it as ODS swinging both ways, just like TDS now swings both ways – there are those who sincerely expected Trump to push the big red nuclear button as soon as he entered office, and those who think the guy hasn’t done anything wrong since…ever. Both suffer from TDS, just in different ways.

    I’ll give Obama the Osama raid, but that’s about it. I definitely put him in my bottom 10 Presidents, if for no other reasons than my healthcare costs going up by some 1,000% since Obamacare passed.

    As far as giving him credit for a strengthening economy – the economy strengthened in spite of his policies, not because of them. Oil prices were a big part of the economy not tanking again, and the price of oil dropping so low was largely due to fracking on private lands, then he claimed credit for the oil production boom and decrease of imported oil (like any good politician would) during the SOTU. The Stimulus he spent had little to do with any economic recovery.

    And I don’t think doubling the national debt in 8 years can be looked at as any type of success for Bush or Obama.

    One of the biggest problems I had with Obama was his claims to have the most transparent administration ever, then proceeded to hide all sorts of stuff (real reason behind Benghazi, Fast & Furious, Holder in contempt of Congress, the IRS, etc.). And yet in his farewell 60 minutes interview, he claimed to have had the first modern presidency without a major scandal. Really? Does he sincerely believe that?

    And another big problem I had with him was his claims to be the first post-partisan president, when he was very clearly anything but that.

    [/rant]

  6. I just now found them. For some reason, your messages ended up in the Spam folders for both accounts. Apparently, Gmail is wise to that Asian Bride and natural male enhancement side business of yours.

  7. That makes me feel so much better. My gmail does the same to kevinmkr and I keep forgetting to check that folder since my household is all set on Russian mail order brides, boner pills and Nigerian millions.

  8. Here are the things I liked, in no particular order:
    the ACA
    improved America’s image abroad
    the stimulus bill – (this is a big umbrella because it invested in renewable technology, basic scientific research, etc.)
    tax cuts
    17 million jobs
    bin Laden
    auto industry bailout
    troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan
    new GI bill
    repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell” / Obergefell
    reversed Bush torture policies
    new START treaty
    Asia ‘pivot’ – it was fairly visionary, in theory, not sure how much impact it made
    Iran deal
    stem cell research
    credit card, bank, real estate reform
    Sotomayor and Kagan, lower court judges
    wilderness and watershed protection act, other climate stuff
    fair sentencing act
    Cuba
    reduced defense spending while increasing programs in intelligence gathering and “the cyber” (cut Star Wars and reoriented missile defense, killed the F-22, killed Constellation program)
    banks out of federal student loan program, expanded Pell grant spending
    crack down on for-profit colleges
    school nutrition
    quick compensation to victims of Gulf oil spill.
    Some of these Trump might reverse completely, some might not be directly attributable to Obama alone, but overall, he managed to do a lot more than we give him credit for, especially considering the level of opposition he had from the GOP. Partly because the expectations were so insanely high, as you mention. I don’t know if it’s the fault of his supporters or his own rhetoric on the campaign trail. Probably both.
    Yes, we now seem more divided than we did in 2009. But is that because of who he was, as a person, more than anything he did? I think that a lot of the rise in America’s prestige under Obama similarly had a lot more to do with who he was than anything he did (my evidence is that ridiculous Noble Prize he got just for existing.)

    To be fair, here are things I didn’t like
    droning civilians, including US citizens
    deficit
    Libya, Syria and the Arab Spring in general – I wish we had been involved less
    Boots on the ground without Congressional authorisation – horrible precedent given the current President
    war on drugs – wish he did a lot more to stop this, legalize pot, at least
    transparency – appalling record on whistleblowers and FISA
    ACA – should have compromised less in general, bt here specifically
    gun control – wish he did a lot more
    VA reform – wish he did a lot more
    Immigration reform – wish he did a lot more
    Russia sanctions – wish he did a lot more
    Guantanamo is still open
    NSA Spying, TSA groping, lets call these “Patriot Act” infringements – wish he did a lot more to stop these
    didn’t stand up for Israel in the UN
    helped normalize Trump
    Overall, I wish he was more direct and less compromising. The country is divided, anyway. People think the economy is in the toilet, etc., anyway. He could have accomplished a lot more of his agenda and left “the public” with the same negative impression had he been less professorial.

  9. See, I can’t find any fault with that, even if I don’t agree with them. Completely balanced. I deem you “OWD Free”!

  10. Yeah, I can see the term ODS swinging both ways, as you say. However, since BDS was always seen to work the one way, it’s confusing to tell pro-Obama people that they’re ODS, so I felt I had to apply a different term. But you’re right: people on both sides are just Deranged when it comes to having a president they don’t like.

    I agree with all your criticisms, BUT would like to know if I can at least get you to acknowledge that Obama wasn’t the Antichrist? If I can get that, you get pronounced “ODS Free”!

  11. Careful. The day this blog gets 10,000 hits, we are SO selling out the domain to a Chinese spammer outfit. I do promise to attempt to make an arrangement where RVS alumni get a discount though. I make the best deals.

  12. I can agree with most of this but I was never very enamored of the ACA. I resolved to be neutral officially since I have very a good healthcare plan and didn’t really want a change. It would be selfish not to acknowledge that others don’t have it so lucky so I kept my mouth mostly shut there. My main objection was the mandated insurance. I don’t like mandated purchases. I understand the reason but it is a slippery slope I don’t want to go down. I don’t want to be forced to buy Ivanka’s fugly shoes someday.

    My main gripes with Obama were the drones and leaving GITMO open. He could have done better with the WOD.

    Yea he didn’t do much for the deficit but the GOP has some blame here. They had no intention of allowing it to go down on his watch. Besides, the deficit is only going down if we reduce defense spending. Wasn’t going to happen with a GOP congress.

    Yea, his compromising got old when it became obvious that it meant absolutely nothing to the GOP. Less than nothing. He finally seemed to get that through his head when he gave his last fuck.

    Sixty odd days into the Trump admin and I miss the guy every time I see him. He was imperfect but damn. A girl can only take so much. The only nice thing I can say about Trump is that I do have empathy for the mentally ill. I actually do.

  13. I really wish he just pushed all the way to single payer and gotten it over with. The ACA is a shitty compromise. My own insurance has gone up. However, I am willing to pay more if it means more people are covered. That, to me, is way more pro-life than what we usually call pro-life.
    Aside from just coverage, they say that 90k people have been saved by the computerized medical records provision of the ACA, alone. There is so much in there, aside from the the the basic provisions everyone knows about.
    The mandate – I am mandated to buy tanks and fighter planes, though my taxes. It’s less obvious, but ends up being the same thing. I am much happier buying coverage for poor people.
    Again, it’s a shitty compromise, the money could be spent much more efficiently, but it’s a leap in the right direction.
    I would love something like the British system, single payer for all, and you can buy more coverage is you can afford it and want to on the private market. That way people aren’t going to the emergency room when their condition is life threatening when it could have been prevented with a yearly check-up and a shot or a pill. We all know which way is cheaper, overall.
    What’s WOD? I assume you don’t mean Crossfit.

  14. She didn’t say he was the Antichrist, just mentally ill. Why are the rules different for TDS and ODS?

  15. Oops. I’m guessing she meant War on Terror, but I’m sure she’ll clarify when she sees it.

  16. I prefer to think she meant Crossfit. Obama’s six pack really needed some work at times. I mean, he can never be the vision of masculinity our current POTUS is, but he could have made an effort.

  17. War on Drugs.

    Thrill it is early. It is entirely possible that Trump will just start firing people. He is getting very shitty council and he needs competent people. The boobs he has helping him are making him look bad and once he realizes this shit will hit the fan. Perhaps a reboot would help me a bit with my TDS. For instance, liberals are bitching about Ivanka having and office and a clearance without an actual job. I think the clearance is probably unlawful (no need to know) but give her the office and whatever she needs. She is one of the few people that can get through to him.

    Better?

  18. Here are the things I liked, in no particular order:

    Adding on to my already enumerated issues, this makes up an almost complete list of everything I disliked. Ha!

  19. Aside from just coverage, they say that 90k people have been saved by the computerized medical records provision of the ACA, alone.

    Yeah, they said I could keep my coverage too. I don’t believe it either.

  20. watching what has been posted on FB and twitter, i can see clearly that ODS and TDS are 2 sides of the same coin…
    same shit different presidents.

  21. I guess going in 4 to 8 year cycles of angry paranoia alternating with mean-spirited vengeance just works for some folks.

  22. I did like that Obama did go easy on states that legalized weed, and made a half assed gesture to pardoning some people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

    Another thing that i can say that i am very happy what what Obama did, His constant demonizing of gun owners and half ass stabs at gun control, instigated a massive growth in the Firearms manufacturing infrastructure, lowered prices increased options and encouraged more and more development and innovation.

  23. I agree with all your criticisms, BUT would like to know if I can at least get you to acknowledge that Obama wasn’t the Antichrist? If I can get that, you get pronounced “ODS Free”!

    Obama wasn’t the Antichrist, or secretly Muslim, or from another country, and I don’t think he wanted to harm this nation. He wanted to do the best he could, the best he knew how. Unfortunately a community organizer is about as qualified to be President as a reality TV business mogul. They’re both extreme narcissists, which is not a good trait for a leader.

  24. This is pretty much what has to change. There is a cart/horse thing with this. Who is going to go first? You can forget boomers and most Xers that have been in this shit for decades. It won’t be possible until millennials are more represented in politics.

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