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Obama first-year record

President Obama's interview with The Washington Post has generated almost 1,500 comments from our readers, many of whom are derisive of the president's first-year record, question whether he really saved the economy, ask where the jobs are and debate the merits of health-care legislation that appears to be happening.

The comments range across the host of issues facing the president and the country. Obama's detractors appear to outnumber his supporters, but there is nothing scientific about comment streams. In addition to an often disjointed discussion about Obama, there is also some criticism that the Post's questions were but softballs and that the newspaper is in the tank for the White House. Happens no matter which party is power.

As Scott Wilson writes, "Although Obama noted in the interview that 'the most important thing we did this year was to ensure that the financial system did not collapse,' health-care reform dominated his agenda and will stand as at least one pillar of the legacy he leaves behind." A transcript of the interview is here.

We'll start with ThePoliticalStraycom, who expressed a position I agree with totally: "Mindless and fact-free President bashing too often passes for political debate today. It got boring and annoying with Bush and it's boring and annoying with Obama."

Now on to the sometimes mindless and fact-free President bashing:

First, the Economy:

kavalair asked, "Financial rescue??? WHAT financial rescue. This guy has done NOTHING to create jobs except blow a lot of hot air about jobs he "saved" Show us, specifically the jobs he "saved." He can't because it is just another Chicago thug shell game he thinks the American people are buying. We are not. This guy wouldn't know the truth if it hit him smack in the face. All he ever does is lie, just so he doesn't project the image that he is failing miserably at everything he has done..."

And MaryThresher wrote, "What rescue? He led us into a depression. Then he pushes a scam health care bill on American taxpayers that even he won't have to use for his family. He has done nothing but complain to so called "leaders" of other nations about how cruel the United States has been. The only question the American taxpayers should be asking... is how do we get this... presidential wanna be impeached...."

wheeljc said, "WOW!! He has brought a new level of payoffs to Wall Street to the party; a new level of sleaze to 'business as usual' to the capital; and everything he has touched (Olympic bid, H1N1 vaccine distribution, cash for clunkers, to his Copenhagen waste of time) has been disasters -- and we did not even mention his international blunders (Iran being at the top of the list)!"

But pomeroyt noted that "Preventing a depression was a pretty important achievement... Our economy - after the financial collapse is starting to recover (employment is lagging - which is a normal condition), thanks to quick action by Presidents Bush and Obama and Bush's cooperative and helpful attitude during the transition..."

newenglandblonde wrote, "This administration gets a failing grade across the board. What financial crisis did these folks avert? Please enlighten me. The bonuses are still being paid, the banks have stolen the taxpayers' money and refused to account for it. Foreclosures are higher than they have ever been... wait until mandatory health care is passed, more job losses... This man is in another world!"

blakesouthwood wrote, "...I haven't heard anything about any job creation. And with plunging jobs it means plunging car sales and plunging marriages and plunging home sales. Funny how it's all connected to JOBS. When will Congress and the Fed wake up?"

Rhonda5 asked, "Why is the unemployment rate in our country over 10% and over 11% in my state? If President Obama were solely focused on our nation's economy and working to resolve the financial demise of America then why is the unemployment rate still rising?...President Obama has focused on everything but turning our economy around..."

rbprtman23 said, "If Obama wld have focused on getting people back to work first the rest of his plans wld have been a lot easier. Keeping the financial system from melting down was important but it is how he chose to do it is trbling. He basically saved them at the expense of the taxpayer and he still does not realize how unpopular that decision was... The only thing that will save him is if jobs come back to this country,if they dont he is toast and unfortunately so is the democratic party..."

Health Care:

Midwester said, "The democrats continue to claim 45,000 Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance, yet they don't even implement the "benefits" for 4 years! Does not that fiscal manipulation translate to 60 democrats voting Christmas Eve to kill 180,000 Americans over the next four years?..."

tommyhendricks wrote, "You leftists just sobering up from celebrating the permanent loss of the "public option"? Have one on me. One thing you may have missed through the bong smoke and gentle sobbing: this law won't kick in before 2014. By then, Obama's long gone, and the new Republican President and Congress will eviscerate this socialist crap in 2012-2013, de facto repealing 98% of it..."

flatlandfarmer wrote, "Annual premium increases for health insurance cost are out of control and eroding our economy!... Big health insurance companies have entrenched themselves and their lobbyist firms for decades in this battle to federally mandate consumer protections at the heart of this reform bill. The public option is not on the table due to the corporate control of the senate. A critically important yet MISSING component of this reform is a trigger [for]... a single payer federal plan if they do not follow the letter of the law...."

dboz1970 added, "Well stated but... Those of us who support Single Payer or at least a Public Option are already so distrustful of the nefarious behavior of the Insurance Cartel, that we believe a trigger is a waste of time. The Insurance Industry will ultimately and undoubtably act in such a way that the trigger is activated so,...why waste time. Start a competitor immediately..."

Mom21 asked, "...this so called Health care reform! It is nothing but a pork barrel. WHY should we be MANDATED to buy insurance from blood sucking insurance companies? Exactly what has he achieved? Who is to control the insurance companies, from raising premiums for chronically ill people?..."

asmith1 wrote, "...For several million otherwise eligible Americans who will be priced out [can't afford to buy a policy and not eligible for subsidies], they better find something to cut from their personal budget so they can come up with the extra money to buy an insurance policy or they will be fined. And if they still can't afford to buy the policy and pay the fine, they will go to jail. And Obama calls this a victory?..."


Reporter Scott Wilson wrote that "Obama's advisers have portrayed a highly successful year pushing important bills through Congress, comparing his record to those of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. Presidential scholars offer a more cautious appraisal, even as they note that Obama is operating in a more partisan time in Washington than those Democratic predecessors had."

This prompted Aprogressiveindependent to say, "...A person does not have to be a presidential scholar to know the propagandists in the white house, including the propagandist-in-chief is greatly exaggerating his "accomplishments," especially comparing him to Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt. You would have to be really stupid, excuse me, intellectually challenged, to believe that."

Chippewa said that "Scott Wilson is apparently too young to remember the time when reporters actually asked tough questions and raised uncomfortable issues, rather than serving as shills for politicians as he did with this article... All that's missing in Mr. Wilson's cheerleading for this disastrous President is a skirt and some pom-poms."

The Birther Noise Continues with mike85, who wrote that "Obama rejects criticism of Obamacare just like he rejects the fact that he is not a US citizen, and that his entire presidency is beholden to special interests. If the truth were known about Obama, the man would be in prison, not the white House."

rbpjlh5 said, "I think that man actually believes that he can CREATE the truth simply by making a statement. If he says it, then it's true. Fortunately for America, there are those of us objective enough to see the truth through all the lies we are being fed on a daily basis..."

ggwalt wrote, "I think President Obama has done just fine... First and foremost, he literally brought this economy back from the brink. He's restored our credibility and respect in the world... He's done all this while battling a group of Republicans who are purely intent on his destruction, and who offer nothing to the debate but falsehoods and paranoid fantasies."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  December 23, 2009; 6:49 AM ET
 | Tags: Economy Watch, Health-Care Reform, Obama  
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I hate to point out that:

1. The economy collapsed under Bush (2 months before the election even; that is 4 months before Obama was sworn in);

2. The stimulus was passed at Bush's request by the Democrats. It was revised under Obama, with almost no participation by Republicans (I suppose it is best to let the economy collapse altogether);

3. GM & Chrysler were bailed by Obama and the Democrats. I suppose that all those who complain about unemployment would rather have an additional 2-3 million more unemployed;

4. 'Cash for Clunkers' is maligned but it did fill the auto showrooms. Empty showrooms don't sell cars.

Much as I would have prefered a different approach to the stimulus, especially as originally passed, letting the economy collapse is NOT a solution. Rejecting every proposal is NOT a policy, either. It si simple obstructionism.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | December 23, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The frothing-at-the mouth hecklers of Obama are going beyond anything that was hurled at George Bush. Equating the two as "equally boring and annoying" is simply dishonest on your part.

For example, MaryThresher wrote, "What rescue? He led us into a depression..."

But how is it "fact-free" to claim that Obama led us into a depression? We are not in a depression, and nor is anyone claiming that we are going into one. So this statement is actually inventing facts to suit the predefined notion that Obama is always wrong.

Posted by: MarkLai2 | December 23, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

At last we know the color OBAMA, the Skin- Marxist/communist and the americans are suckers. They elect him and they got the CHANGE. Only conclusion is Americans are dumb. Country like India under democracy, know the meaning of THE SMALL BUSINESS- they are thriving well with nearly 8% browth rate and china with communism has the same

Posted by: jayrkay | December 23, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

fr zippyspeed:

>...The same media that cast Bush as a bumbling, mealy-mouthed doofus...

Well, that's because DUMBYA is a fake, a snake oil salesman, etc. When President Clinton was in office, we had a good, solid economy. When bush was in office we had widespread corruption, Brownie, deadeye dickie, HALLIBURTON, two illegal wars, etc.

Posted by: Alex511 | December 23, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the feedback. When I review comments on a particular article I look hard for balancing remarks and don't always find them. The major issues here -- the responses to the economy and health-care reform -- come complete with strongly held partisan positions that are rarely expressed with an inclusion of the possibility that the other side might have a point.

Posted by: Doug_Feaver | December 23, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"I believe you cherry picked the most negative anti-Obama comments to highlight the haters. "

Silly little one. No one hates Obama.

Just saying you don't like him and pointing out that he's floudering like a fish on the dock is not hating. That's simply telling it the way it is.

I love the man and his family. I just want them to go back to Chicago where they can give interviews on how the great right-wing conspiracy did them in and cost them the 2012 election.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | December 23, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I was following the bloggers on this topic and I believe you cherry picked the most negative anti-Obama comments to highlight the haters. Obama's job approval rating has been stable at about 50 percent for some time now which is approximately the number who voted for him. His assessment of legislation passed is factual. It is a given that the extremists on the right are not going to support him regardless of what he does so I don't consider that to be news.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 23, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Baseless imaginary hyperbole. That's the problem in this country. Bush was demonized for the stuff he did. Obama is demonized for things that haven't happened.
I wonder if the same Bush supporters who didn't like when Bush was criticized still feel that its treason to speak against the president during wartime?

Posted by: priceisright | December 23, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Agree with ScottChallenger... don't give exposure to the constant loathing that these sourpusses have exhibited ever since President Obama came to office. They will not [as a matter of PRINCIPLE!]find anything positive in what he and his administration have achieved so far, so why should their views be taken as the "broad consensus"? If they were not so prejudiced, they would have to admit that much has been acheived in one year .... all of this with constant obstructionisms and sky-rocketing negativism, and the same-old-same that we have been fed the previous eight years.

Posted by: nitellub | December 23, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't mistake the sourpuss right winger/neocon attempts at sabatoging Pres. Obama and their attempts to take over WashPost message boards as an indicator of the public's approval of Pres. Obama and the Democratic House and Senate.

In your article you seem to make this mistake. Do not let the loudmouthed and crybaby 15% skew the truth. Otherwise, your no better than a Fox news report.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | December 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If you've had enough "fact-free" Obama bashing, then how about some good ol' media bashing? After all, no one is as complicit in Obama's wide expanse of failures as the slavish media. These are the same people who savaged Bush over "staying the course" on policies, but laud Obama for "keeping his cool" when he, say, takes a week to react to democratic revolutions in Iran (IRAN) or 3 months to decide to copy the Iraq Surge in Afghanistan. The same media that cast Bush as a bumbling, mealy-mouthed doofus, yet collectively sighs in good-natured humor when Obama starts babbling like an idiot without his teleprompter, bangs his head on Marine One, or tries to enter the Oval Office through a window.

The 4th Estate used to be a valuable check and balance on the excesses of the first three. Now it's just a cheerleader for the excesses of Obama's Administration. By greasing the skids for his many lunatic policies (like trying to fix two broken Democrat healthcare programs by adding a third), you've come to share blame for the pain so many of us are suffering out in the real world. If you'd listened to your commenters instead of ridiculing them, maybe the Post wouldn't be shuttering all of its national bureaus and becoming another shriveled DC-centric remora to the federal government's shark.

Posted by: zippyspeed | December 23, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

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