Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader

Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader

Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader

Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader

Synopsis

How has Barack Obama done in his first term as a "progressive president," especially in relation to his campaign assertions? This book analyzes the performance of Obama and his administration in promoting progressive causes in a wide range of policy areas, including the economy, education, immigration, healthcare reform, criminal justice, and foreign affairs.

Excerpt

Negroes are not magic. If the history-making presidency of Barack Obama and the disillusionment with which many progressives now seem to view the same prove nothing else as we assess them three years in, we can be thankful they have established that truth beyond all contradiction. A negro with magic at his disposal would never have suffered an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent. And he probably would have snapped his fingers and won a public option for his healthcare reform plan.

The idea of the so-called Magic Negro did not originate with Rush Limbaugh, though it is widely associated with him after he controversially invoked it in a characteristically clumsy attempt at satire back in 2007. Actually, it dates to the late ’90s and describes a patronizing and vaguely condescending genre of film in which the troubled lives of the white lead characters are redeemed by the compassion, spiritual insight, native wisdom and, sometimes, actual magic, of some often-saintly African American outsider.

The Green Mile; Clara’s Heart; Corrina, Corrina; Bringing Down the House; The Legend of Bagger Vance … these were all Magic Negro movies. The election of Barack Obama was a Magic Negro movie come to life.

He was elected, yes, on a promise of hope and change. He was elected because the economy went through the floor. He was elected because he was not George W. Bush. And he was elected because some people thought he was magic.

Granted, that observation is unquantified and, likely, unquantifiable. But it explains much of the tenor of the criticism that seems so widespread now. People are not simply angry with him. They do not simply disagree. No, the word one hears most frequently is a telling one: people say they are disappointed in him.

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