President Barack Obama

Obama’s Financial Reform Just Made The World A Little Bit Safer For The Other 99%

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This is one of those stories that no one is paying attention to because it’s kind of wonky and complicated. But here’s the For Dummies version for people like you and me.

One of the weird things that happened after the deregulation of the financial industry in the 90s is that corporations that had nothing to do with banking saw a way to get filthy rich by pretending to be a bank but not have to follow any of the same laws that banks do. The result? They played a significant role in the Crash of 2008 and needed to be bailed out.

Via Paul Krugman:

GE Capital was a quintessential example of the rise of shadow banking. In most important respects it acted like a bank; it created systemic risks very much like a bank; but it was effectively unregulated, and had to be bailed out through ad hoc arrangements that understandably had many people furious about putting taxpayers on the hook for private irresponsibility.

One of the things Dodd-Frank did was force companies like GE to play by the same rules as banks and SURPRISE! GE wants no part of it. It’s no fun to play if you have to play fair. So now GE is dropping its “shadow banking” division and the financial industry just got a bit safer.

Exactly what Obama’s financial reform promised to do. But SHHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone!

The funny part about this is that Republicans swore on a stack on Bibles that Dodd-Frank would make banks and faux-financial institutions like GE act even MORE recklessly since they were legally designated as SIFI or “systematically important financial institutions” (translation: Too Big To Fail). Republicans “reasoned” that these companies would rely on the government to bail them out again.

Of course, Republicans were full of it because they knew that Dodd-Frank would impose severe restrictions on “Too Big To Fail” banks and companies. These restrictions would force them to keep enough money on hand to make bailouts unnecessary. Essentially, Dodd-Frank told the SIFIs that they could gamble all they want but they had to be able to pay their gambling debts in full if they crapped out. If there is one thing the rich hate more than poor people, it’s gambling with their own money. Republicans get really sad when the 1% can’t have their cake and eat it, too. And your cake. And his. And hers. And that guy over there’s cake, as well.

Dodd-Frank may not be perfect, but it’s making the world just a little bit safer from the greed and depredations of the rich. And any day that the rich lose a bit of their ability to destroy lives is a good day in my book.

By Left Wing Nation

Obama Is About To Sign The Biggest Health Care Bill Since Obamacare

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AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

TPM DC

And in the strangest of twists, the legislation passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, an exceedingly rare achievement for a Congress that has all but ceased to address big, long-term problems.

The legislation passed the Senate on Tuesday night by a vote of 92-8. It was approved 392-37 by the House last month before Easter recess. Obama had endorsed the proposal as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were closing in on a deal.

“It’s another reminder of a new Republican Congress that’s back to work,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

On the urging of Boehner and McConnell, the Senate rejected six amendments to the legislation offered by both parties and approved it as written. Boehner is expected to send Obama the legislation after a House signing ceremony on Thursday.

“Through this bold, necessary legislation, we have secured critical support for low-income seniors, for poor children, and for underserved communities across the country,” said Pelosi.

The legislation has three broad components.

First, it fixes a gaping hole in the Medicare program by replacing the formula to pay physicians — known as the Sustainable Growth Rate — which imposes steep annual cuts that Congress has routinely overridden for 12 years. Instead doctors will receive a 0.5 percent pay bump for each of the next five years before transitioning to a new system aimed at paying them for quality of care.

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio hold hands. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Second, it cuts billions of dollars from Medicare. It requires seniors who earn between $133,500 and $214,000 a year (and couples making twice that amount) to pay more for insurance and prescription drug coverage, and cuts spending on supplemental Medigap plans in order to discourage over-utilization of services on the taxpayer dime. It also modestly reduces long-term spending on providers of hospice care, home health services and nursing homes.

Third, it extends the Children’s Health Care Program for two years, moving the new expiration date to October 1, 2017. (Democrats had pushed for a four-year extension but House Republicans rejected that idea and Senate Republicans killed an amendment to that effect.)

Physician groups, including the American Medical Association, rejoiced.

The long-term Medicare changes are an important legacy achievement for Boehner, whose restive right flank has for years thwarted his efforts to secure entitlement deals with Democrats. This time many House conservatives, fed up with perennial “doc fixes,” gave him their blessing to cut the deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and stood by him.

In the end, most of the opponents were hardline Republican fiscal hawks who complained that the permanent “doc fix” wasn’t fully paid for, including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL). It is projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to add $141 billion to the deficit in the next decade.

Notably, numerous GOP fiscal hawks who have a background as physicians put aside their deficit concerns to vote for the measure, including Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Sen. John Barrasso (WY), Rep. Tom Price (GA), Rep. John Fleming (LA) and Michael Burgess (TX). The Medicare benefit cuts were a draw for some conservatives.

“Thanks for all your hard work, Mitch,” Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) whispered to McConnell on the floor seconds after the bill passed.

Obama called the legislation a “milestone” for doctors and seniors on Medicare.

“This bipartisan bill will protect health coverage for millions of Americans, and I will be proud to sign it into law,” he said in a statement. “I hope Congress builds on this good work by finding more ways to make sure every American has access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve.”

Don’t count on that. Within moments of the legislation passing, senators returned to bickering over an anti-sex-trafficking bill that has stalled for weeks due to an unrelated fight over abortion.

~Sahil Kapur

Photo Of Obama Throwing Magic Out Into The Universe Is The Best Thing You’ll See Today (IMAGE)

It’s a “slow news day”…

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No matter which way you look at this photo, it’s amazing. If you see it as President Obama spreading LGBT equality, or being the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or throwing magic out into the universe… it is fabulous no matter what.

The image, taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, is of President Obama boarding Air Force One at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, right before he left after his recent trip there.

via whitehouse.gov

via whitehouse.gov

Now, is President Obama magical? Some would like to think so. He has pushed forward the most progressive policies and ideas of an entire generation. Bringing the nation, as a whole back, from the brink of another depression while pulling us forward in terms of fiscal strength and LGBT equality.

He doesn’t let those who criticize bother him whatsoever, appearing to have a super-human ability to let haters hate, roll with the punches, and smile all the way through it all. He just keeps on keepin’ on and doing what needs to get done.

This image is a perfect portrayal of how he can be seen as a treasure at the end of the rainbow. The reward for following through to the end. The first African-American President of the United States with all the odds against him. However, he knew and knows how important him getting into the Oval Office was, not only for African-Americans and people of color, but for a nation that has been falling prey to conservative fiscal policy ideas that dragged us down deep into a recession. Ideas he’s still fighting against to this day — but he holds strong.

President Obama get’s sh*t done. He got bin Laden, he ended wars, he revitalized the auto-industry, he helped cut our deficit spending by two-thirds, he brought forth and implemented health care reform, and among so many other things, he bravely came out in support of LGBT equality — the first president to ever do so, and as he did equality has been spreading across this nation like wildfire.

So, keep shooting those magic rainbows, Mr. President. We see them… and thank you.

Featured image via President Obama official portrait/Wikimedia Commons

Obama Tells Scott Walker To ‘Bone Up On Foreign Policy’ (VIDEO)

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You Tube/NPR

 TPM LiveWire

“I am confident that any president who gets elected will be knowledgeable enough about foreign policy, and knowledgeable enough about the traditions and precedents of presidential power, that they won’t start calling into question the capacity of the executive branch of the United States to enter into agreements with other countries,” Obama responded. “And it would be a foolish approach to take, and, you know, perhaps Mr. Walker, after he’s taken some time to bone up on foreign policy, will feel the same way.”

Walker responded to Obama’s comments on Twitter and in a Tuesday morning statement.

“President Obama’s failed leadership has put him at odds with many across the country, including members of his own party, and key allies around the world,” Walker said in the statement. “Americans would be better served by a president who spent more time working with governors and members of Congress rather than attacking them. Whether it is cutting a bad deal with Iran, calling ISIS the JV squad, or touting Yemen as a success story, Obama’s lack of leadership has hurt America’s safety and standing in the world.”

Watch Obama’s interview below via NPR. He is asked about Walker’s comments at the 18 minute mark.

Obama Unveils Smart Plan To Combat Climate Change While Training 75,000 Vets For Jobs

Obama speaking about Solar Energy in Utah | screenshot

PoliticusUSA

While speaking in Utah, President Obama announced a new program that will combat climate change while training 75,000 veterans for jobs in the solar industry.

The President said:

I am announcing a new goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. As part of this, we’re creating what we’re calling a solar ready vets program that’s modeled after some successful pilot initiatives that have already been established over the last several years.

It’s going to train transitioning military personnel for careers in this growing industry at ten bases including right here at Hill, and as part of this effort we’re also going to work with states to enable more veterans to use the post-9/11 GI Bill for solar job training.

It’s one of the many steps we’re taking to help nearly 700,000 military veterans and spouses get a job. In fact, about thirty percent of the federal workforce is now made up of veterans. I’ve said it before, and I think employers are starting to catch on if you really want to get the job done, hire a veteran.

The plan is smart because it trains tens of thousands of transitioning military personnel and spouses for a civilian job in an industry that is growing ten times faster than the national average. The president also pointed out the military bases that get a substantial percentage of their energy from the sun save money that can applied towards other goals and missions.

The nation has undergone a dramatic shift from a president who fought a foreign war for oil (Bush and Iraq) to a forward thinking president who is using growing clean energy industry industries to train veterans of the Bush wars for good paying jobs.

The plan that the President unveiled isn’t just good politics. It’s also common sense. No veteran should have to take a low-paying service industry job because they can’t find anything else. It is part of our national obligation to everything possible to help those who served succeed when they return home.

President Obama is creating opportunities for today’s veterans to acquire the jobs of tomorrow.

Poll: Republicans Think Obama Is A Greater Threat Than Putin, Assad

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AP Photo / Olivier Douliery

This speaks volumes about the Republican Party generally, as well as their negative messaging to constituents regarding the President of the United States.   Therefore, I’m not surprised…just saddened by the fact that in 2015 prejudice and ignorance still reign supreme in the United States of America.

TPM LiveWire

Republicans also said they saw Democrats as a threat. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans said that the Democratic party was a an imminent threat to the U.S., and 22 percent of Democrats said they felt the Republican party was an imminent threat to the U.S.

Reuters/Ipsos surveyed 2,809 Americans, including 1,083 Democrats and 1,059 Republicans, online March 16-24 with a margin of error plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

The Path We Are On: Barack Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

attribution: none

 

The People’s View

Informed Citizenry, Progressive Analysis, Commentary and Rants

Spandan has given me the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and ideas. I spend a lot of time in thought and something that I have given a lot of thought to is the human condition. Due to the human condition we have basic human needs and I understand one of those needs as being the need to feel safe.

As an infant it is vitally important to be provided with a sense of safety in order to develop into becoming a healthy adult. When you feel safe you feel at ease and are therefore in a better position to be at your best. When you don’t feel safe you are tense and are likely to feel the need to defend yourself from that which you perceive has caused you to feel unsafe.

Humanity as a group has created a world in which it is impossible to feel safe. We have created a world in which we have to compete for access to basic human needs. If you are a winner in this competition it’s possible to have access to way more than you need and if you are a loser in this competition it’s possible you won’t survive.

The inequity and disparity that is the outcome of existing in a world of competition creates a great tension which has the potential of exploding into a war between those who have nothing and who are therefore fighting for survival and those who want to protect themselves from those who they believe want to take away that which they have in excess.

If a war were to break out that war has the potential to grow and become a major war and due to the technology of today that war could become a nuclear war and a nuclear war would destroy all live on planet earth for millions of years.

We are headed down a path and when you are headed down a path it’s a good idea to be aware of where that path is leading otherwise you might end up somewhere you would not prefer to be. Right now humanity as a group is headed down the path of self destruction.

Early in President Obama’s first term he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. The expected reaction to this took place with most people saying he didn’t deserve it yet and probably would never deserve it. So why did the committee award him this prize? Was it because he wasn’t GWB? Was it because they hoped he would work towards peace? Was it because of his work in the senate? I guess only the committee knows why they gave him the award.

A short time ago I got an email from Dennis Kucinich saying that I should contact my representatives and tell them not to give the president any more war powers as we have had enough war. I would agree that we have had enough war but that’s not the question. The question is how can we end war. The idea Mr. Kucinich has seems to me to be like what would happen if you tried to lose weight by going on a starvation diet. You might lose weight but you’re likely to get sick and then put it all back on because it’s not a healthy balanced approach. You aren’t helping if by trying to solve one problem you create another.

Creating peace in a world that is at war is difficult and requires someone to have an understanding of many issues in order to make it possible to do more good than harm. From my perspective President Obama is a man who possess a great deal of understanding of a vast range of issues and he has the awareness of the vital need  to move in the direction of peace.

The path that humanity as a group is on at this time is the path towards self destruction so it’s clear that we need to take a different path. On the path that we have been on we have seen ourselves as separate competing against each other for survival. In order to get on a different path we are going to have to change our fundamental understanding of ourselves. We are going to have to understand ourselves as One which is the reality.

We are profoundly interwoven, interconnected and interdependent. You can understand this if you observe a tree. If you pull the tree from the ground it will die. It is only able to thrive as a tree through it’s connection to the whole of life. The reality of this tree helps to prove that we are One. When you look into the eyes of “the other” you are looking into your own eyes because we are One. Therefore when anyone hurts the whole of humanity hurts because we are One.

It’s possible to not realize that or feel that because we have cut ourselves off and separated ourselves through creating a world in which we need to compete for survival therefore we have been creating a world in which no one can feel safe.

In order to understand and experience ourselves as One it is necessary to have an open heart. When you live in a predatory world that we experience today it is very difficult to live with an open heart as that is seen as as sign of weakness by those who are looking to exploit those who they perceive as weak.

United we stand and divided we fall is not just a nice slogan or idea, it represents one of the basic laws of life. In Oneness we thrive and in separation we self destruct. This is the reality that we must face in a sober way. President Obama is working on earning that Nobel Peace Prize although in observing the man winning that prize is not what is important. My sense is that he is looking towards the day that the Nobel Peace Prize would be given to humanity as a group because we have decided to take a path that is different than the path we are on today.

 

A comment worth noting from the above article:

mwm341 a day ago

Barack Obama won the Prize for his international relations work, with special emphasis on nuclear weapons reduction BEFORE he was elected.

The timing of both his nomination – 12 days after his taking office, and, the award of the Prize a few months later confused a lot of people – and brought out a lot of people who were happy to insist that there was no good reason for the prize.

Too many of these people – many on the Left! have insisted on keeping that myth alive, and maintain that President Obama must earn the Prize in a way that lets them decide that he deserves it.

I find it disconcerting that these people still believe that a Black man should have to achieve twice as much to receive grudging recognition, and am even more disappointed that this sentiment is expressed by people who count themselves as members of the progressive community.

Obama Family Reportedly Thinking About Moving to NYC Because Chicago Is a Mess

President Obama and the next Mayor of NYC Bill DeBlasio leaving Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn October 25, 2013 | WBLS

Upstate New York or Long Island may be their preference. Residing in the city is an option as well…

Mediaite

How bad is Chicago right now? Depends on where you look (the shootings kind of suck, as does the weather) but apparently it’s losing its allure enough that the Obamas may not move back after they leave the White House.

BuzzFeed reports that the Obamas are considering a move to New York after Barack’s term ends, thanks to “messy Chicago politics and a personal craving for a new beginning when they leave the White House for the last time as residents. The first family fears the Chicago they left is not one they want to return to, and a source close to the family said the long-shot New York library bid has emerged as a serious alternative.”

This may be partly due to the non-popularity of Obama’s former Chief of Staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who Obama heavily assisted during his election and famously has low poll numbers (though those numbers are quickly rising thanks to his re-election campaign). Or maybe they don’t like the blizzards.

But why would they move somewhere that has equal amounts of bad weather? For one, suggests BuzzFeed, they may be seriously considering Columbia University’s bid for the Obama Presidential Library (he completed his undergraduate degree there, after all). They could also be considering the sad inevitable path of…becoming pundits:

Another New York Congressman, Long Island Republican Peter King, suggested New York would offer Obama a better environment for staying relevant, should he want to.

“New York is the media capital of the world. I think that’s what he wants and you don’t get that anywhere else,” said King, who added that he’d “heard second and third hand” that Obama is seriously considering New York. “I can certainly understand why.”

Let’s hope that’s not the reason, guys.

The Good, The Bad and The Infuriating Aspects of Ted Cruz Signing Up for Obamacare

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attribution: none

The Daily Banter – Bob Cesca

On one hand, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) signing up for an Obamacare health insurance policy is fantastic news. As we discussed yesterday, Cruz had a number of options at his disposal after losing his health insurance coverage due to his wife taking a leave of absence from Goldman Sachs. And no, he isn’t required to buy an Obamacare policy, so he absolutely had options.

But before we recap his options, it’s important to underscore that contrary to what many observers were suggesting throughout the day Tuesday, no — the law does not mandate that all members of Congress and their staffers enroll in an Obamacare exchange plan. Or else. The law merely states that exchange plans are the only plans offered to congressional employees, including members of Congress. Here’s the text from the ACA (emphasis mine):

SEC. 1312. CONSUMER CHOICE. (d)(3)(D) MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN THE EXCHANGE-

(i) REQUIREMENT- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, after the effective date of this subtitle, the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are–

(I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or

(II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

In other words, members of Congress can do whatever they want, but the government is no longer offering the old Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) to members and their staff — only the exchange plans under Obamacare. And since the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is continuing to pay 72 percent of the premiums (the truth behind the so-called “Obamacare exemption for Congress”), the best value for members and especially staffers is to sign up for an Obamacare plan.

If Cruz doesn’t have to sign up for an Obamacare plan, what were Cruz’s other non-Obamacare options?

He could’ve immediately enrolled in COBRA, which would’ve allowed Cruz and his wife to keep their existing policy. He could’ve signed up for an Obamacare policy as an individual, like some members of Congress are doing to sidestep the so-called “illegal” premium sharing plan implemented by the OPM (continuing the policy of premium sharing from Congress’ previous health insurance program). Or he could’ve simply enrolled directly with an insurance provider in his state.

And what did Cruz choose instead of all of these alternatives? He chose his arch-nemesis: Obamacare. Why? Because none of the above options would’ve included the 72 percent premium sharing from the government. And the plans offers, probably one of the Gold-level plans is likely comparable to his wife’s Goldman Sachs plan. So, not only did Cruz basically endorse the Obamacare option, but he did so in part because of Obama’s allegedly impeachment-worthy decision to continue the premium sharing plan for Congress.

All told, this was almost a de facto endorsement of Obamacare. Ted Cruz, of all people, thinks Obamacare is the best deal for his family. The hypocrisy angle is almost a sideshow compared with this. Cruz filibustered Obamacare. He helped force a government shutdown over Obamacare. He’s lied dozens of times about Obamacare. And now he’s basically saying, “Hey, this Obamacare thing and the employer premium thing that I’m opposed to — really great deal!” So, again, for a rabid Obamacare enemy to pull off an inadvertent Nixon-to-China moment is a huge endorsement of the law.

On the other hand, it should also infuriate anyone who has an insurance policy due to or via Obamacare.

I’m personally just now reaching the contemptuous anger stage in my coverage of Ted Cruz this week, precisely because of this story. If Cruz makes it all the way to the White House (he won’t, but let’s — cough — imagine) one of the first things he’ll do is to repeal Obamacare, thus stripping me and 16+ million other Americans of our insurance policies. Repealing “every word” of the law also means repealing the part about pre-existing conditions, which would subsequently allow my insurance company to either dump me or to jack up my premiums beyond affordability.

Meanwhile, Cruz won’t have to worry about his current Obamacare plan once he’s president. Why? Because he’ll be covered by the other government-run health insurance program, FEHBP — the aforementioned Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. There’s something wickedly unfair about this scenario, not that it’ll ever happen but that he’d jump at the chance if he got it. It’s like blowing up a bridge just after he’s managed to make it across. Screw everyone still on the bridge.

You know what this is like? President Glenn Greenwald ordering a series of drone strikes. It’s like Ayn Rand receiving Social Security and — wait, never mind. She did. Someone said to me yesterday that I probably didn’t return any of the money I saved from the Bush tax cuts. Well, no, I didn’t. I also didn’t oppose the tax cuts for middle class earners (my income level at the time), going so far as to filibuster those cuts on the Senate floor and voting dozens of times to repeal them. It’s more than hypocrisy. It’s about the decision to sign up for something he’s all along claimed to hate, but now thinks is a pretty good deal — only after misleading millions of Americans into hating the bill and therefore electing more lawmakers who want to kill it.

Ultimately, though, I’m filing this particular chapter in the Ted Cruz saga into the same folder with stories about radically anti-gay Christian evangelists getting caught having same-sex affairs. Hypocrites, yes. But also iron-fisted persuaders who influenced and indoctrinated millions before committing their hypocritical deeds. The hate lives on.

5 Obama Successes Republicans Have To Pretend Never Happened

5 Obama Successes Republicans Have To Pretend Never Happened

President Obama arrives at Bob Hope Airport via helicopter from LAX, en route to ABC Studios for an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

The National Memo

Republicans have consistently said that a president cannot take responsibility for a strong economy — unless of course he’s a Republican.

A weak economy, however, is always a Democratic president’s fault. And if a Republican president presides over the worst financial crisis in a half-century after seven years in office, that is clearly the fault of poor people.

President Obama is in an awkward position when it comes to the economy. It’s only great if you compare it to the last 14 years. But with 50 percent of America now saying in the latest CNN poll that his presidency is a success, he figures that he’s now allowed to “take a well-earned victory lap” by answering the question Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) asked for four years: “Where are the jobs?”

“Well, after 12 million new jobs, a stock market that has more than doubled, deficits that have been cut by two-thirds, health care inflation at the lowest rate in nearly 50 years, manufacturing coming back, auto industry coming back, clean energy doubled — I’ve come not only to answer that question, but I want to return to the debate that is central to this country, and the alternative economic theory that’s presented by the other side,” the president said in Cleveland on Wednesday.

A sensible media would be debating which of Obama’s two great accomplishments — the stimulus or the Affordable Care Act — is a bigger success; which better proves that the government can successfully intervene to prevent suffering while reshaping our economy to be more sustainable; or about which Republicans were more wrong.

But conservatives won’t let that happen. They’ll focus on metrics that languished before Obama came into office — we’re very concerned about labor force participation all of a sudden! — and blast him for not solving all of the failures of conservative economics and foreign policies.

America should be used to Democratic presidents outperforming Republicans by now. While no administration is perfect, President Obama has staked strong claims for liberal values and policies that prove things Republicans have to pretend never happened.

  1. Proved trickle-down economics are wrong, again
    You don’t hear it mentioned often enough, but 2014 was the best year of job creation in this century. This is a key point, because it’s the first full year in which Obama’s economic policies really took hold. Most of the Bush tax breaks on the rich ended in 2013. And in 2014, new taxes on the wealthy and corporations kicked in to help 16 million Americans gain health insurance. The result was a job market like we haven’t seen since the’90s. As they did in 1993, Republicans claimed that asking the rich to pay a bit more would destroy the economy. So, of course, the opposite happened. It’s almost as if some tax hikes on the wealthy are good for the economy! But if Republicans admitted that, they’d have to give up their entire reason for existing, which is to comfort the most comfortable.
  2. Proved we can expand health insurance coverage and shrink the deficit.
    America’s long-term debt problems are largely built on conservatives’ unwillingness to do what every other advanced nation in the world does — insure everyone. As a result, we pay more and get worse results than almost every industrialized country in the world. Obamacare has shown that we can increase coverage dramatically while cutting more than $600 billion from long-term debt projections. Republicans have finally gotten honest in their new budget and admitted that their alternative to Obamacare is… nothing. They’ve got nothing because Obamacare was their alternative, and every prediction they’ve made about it has been wrong. Health spending isat a 50-year low, businesses aren’t dumping employees’ coverage, hospitals are performing better, and policy cancelations were likely lower than they were before the law. Meanwhile, Obama has been even more successful at shrinking the deficit as a percentage of GDP than even Bill Clinton.
  3. Proved that the government can kick-start a clean-energy revolution.
    When it comes to fighting climate change, President Obama has done more than anyone on Earth. Beyond the regulations he set in his first term, which are quickly reducing our dependency on dirty energy, the stimulus launched the clean-energy technological revolution this nation needed. Republicans started calling the stimulus “failed” before it even became law. And that kind of message discipline — plus half a billion dollars in ads that smeared the bill — scared Democrats from bragging about it. But now that we’ve experienced the first year of economic growth where carbon emissions didn’t increase in 40 years, maybe they should.
  4. Proved we can regulate Wall Street without killing the stock market.
    Good news! Bankers are complaining about being regulated too much. Despite this “over-regulation,” we’re seeing constant stock market records. Meanwhile, the memory of the costs of under-regulation — 8 million jobs and trillions in wealth — continues to fade. Democrats have become newly proud of the Dodd-Frank law now that they see how desperate Republicans are to gut it. The success in keeping the economic engine of the rich purring should not dissuade those on the left. Instead, they should continue to fight against the persistent dangers to our economy that come from ridiculous executive compensation schemesstock buybacks, and high-frequency trading.
  5. Proved that we should give diplomacy a chance.
    The Bush administration left America facing a newly nuclear-armed North Korea, an Iran building nuclear centrifuges, and a wrecked Iraq, run by a propped-up sectarian strongman with no interest in reconciliation. Democrats were likely naive in assuming this Tower of Babel of foreign policy disasters could be kept from crumbling. The Obama administration’s effort to re-engage the world may seem foolhardy now — but what was the alternative? More confrontational Republican alternatives would have guaranteed nothing but more American lives lost. Syria is a disaster. Libya proved that regime change is never simple. Putin is emboldened or frantically flailing, depending on your point of view. But as a result of re-engagement with our allies and a Medvedev-led Russia, sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table. We’re closer than ever to a nuclear deal that could prevent another, still more disastrous war. And even if it fails, at least we tried not to repeat the catastrophes of the past.

Despite these successes, Republicans have to see Obama as a floundering, economy-shrinking, deficit-creating failure, or risk questioning their failed worldview.

Essentially, they have to pretend he’s Bobby Jindal.