Campaign advisor: How many?
Obama: Maybe 1 or 2 percent.
Campaign adviser: Look, 98 percent keeping their plan? That's virtually everybody. Just go with it.
It turns out it was more like 5 percent. And of course, there is the Healthcare.gov website that took two months to fix. Two months of bad press about how government can't perform like the private sector, which is a myth because 8 out of 10 businesses fail in the first year. The federal government can't go out of business, so when it makes a mistake, it has to fix it. How does a failed campaign promise and a poorly designed website become the equivalent of a failure to provide emergency assistance to a major city (New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) or of going to war on false pretenses (Iraq) and proclaiming victory months into a protracted disaster? Who died because of the website failure? How much did it cost to fix it compared to 8 years of war?
Is Obama held to a different standard by the media? Heck, the worst they can say about him is that he's not as outgoing as other presidents; he doesn't like to glad hand and schmooze as much as Bill Clinton or George Bush. Have his poll numbers dropped simply because people found out he's not perfect? I saw a cartoon recently showing Obama walking on water, but sinking and now up to his knees. The last panel shows an elephant (GOP) on the bottom pulling him down with its trunk.
There's a lot of good that Obama has done for the American people in five years, but he could have accomplished much more with a "loyal opposition" instead of a perfidious one. Background checks, immigration reform, closing corporate loopholes -- these are issues large majorities of Americans favor, but Republicans are blocking. It's time for us to stand up for this man and for sensible lawmaking. It's easy to get stirred up by a great speech during a campaign; it's harder to cast aside your gloom and get stirred up to change public opinion. But that's what we need to do to convince the other side to support sensible, needed policies, or to mobilize to vote them out.
Epstein, a retired teacher, is a musician and writer living in Charleston.