George Graham

Bad Pundits Misrepresent Obama’s “Record”

You probably don’t watch “The Cycle” on MSNBC. I’ve tried to, but there’s a prim debutante type with big, black-rimmed spectacles (above, left) that I cannot bear to listen to, so I’ve invariably changed the channel. I suppose she’s there to provide “the other side” of whatever issue they’re discussing.

As I clicked on the program the other day, I heard her suggest to former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell (above, right) that Mitt Romney could win the presidency simply by emphasizing President Obama’s “record.” To my surprise, Rendell didn’t argue with her. He rambled off on some tangent or other.  And this guy is a Democrat!

What is it about Democrats that make them reluctant to state their case?

If that young woman had asked me such a loaded question, I would certainly have set her straight.

What “record” is she talking about? Didn’t she hear Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Party convention?

Clinton clearly and irrefutably explained that no president could have solved in just one term the problems Barack Obama inherited. And Clinton did it with simple arithmetic.

To me, President Obama’s “record” is quite amazing.

Despite the most subversive Congress in history, he has managed to get an impressive list of landmark laws passed, from health care reform to various anti-discrimination provisions (equal pay for women, ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and so on). He has protected America from terrorists, bringing Osama bin Ladin to justice and  taking out several al Qaida leaders.

He got American troops safely out of Iraq, and he is carefully extricating America’s young men and women from the quagmire in Afghanistan.

So he hasn’t magically paid off the National Debt, and he is still operating at a deficit.  And he hasn’t yet got the unemployment rate back to an acceptable level.

I suppose the Republicans believe they could’ve done better?

They conveniently forget that when President Obama entered the White House, the economy was in free-fall, shedding jobs by the millions. It took the new presient a few months – and a hefty stimulus package – to check the downward spiral and turn things around.

What would Romney have done in his place? I shudder to think.

Romney is a staunch supporter of the policies that caused the economic crash, the policies pursued under President George W. Bush. He promises even deeper tax cuts for the rich, more military spending and less regulation of financial markets.

It was Bush who burned through the surplus left by President Clinton. It was Bush who slashed taxes – especially for the rich – adding $1.2 trillion in lost revenue to the debit side of the ledger.  It was Bush who gave codgers like me a prescription plan that he didn’t bother to fund, a plan blatantly padded to give drug companies a fat profit. It was Bush that lied America into Iraq, squandering trillions (some of which ended up in the pockets of Dick Cheney’s buddies, and some of which remains unaccounted for).

Faced with the greatest economic crash since the Great Depression, President Obama did what he had to do. And what he had to do included borrowing some quick cash to fund programs needed to head off a total catastrophe.

I wonder if the young lady in the black-rimmed glasses remembers what caused the economic collapse.  She might recall it was the Republicans in Congress who repealed the controls that Franklin Roosevelt imposed to prevent a second Great Depression. And it was this lack of regulation that let the banks abuse the economic system and plunder the national treasury.

To equate President Obama’s emergency spending with President Bush’s reckless adventurism is obviously absurd. Yet that’s what the pundits are doing. I suppose they think that’s “giving both sides of the story.”

No, young lady with glasses, Mitt Romney could not win the presidency by citing President Obama’s “record.” Not if you so-called pundits would learn a little arithmetic.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for