…for the "Whatever happened to hope and change?" crowd. John H. Richardson invites you to "Consider the record…"
A week before he was sworn in, Obama jammed part two of the bank bailout down the throat of his own party — a $350 billion accomplishment.Actually, that "Bush's help" bit? Needn't be said at all. There might even be a kernel of truth to it, but there's no requirement to say it whatsoever.
Two days after he was sworn in, Obama banned the use of "harsh interrogation" and ordered the closing of Guantánamo.
A day later, Obama reversed George W. Bush's funding cutoff to overseas family planning organizations — saving millions of lives with the stroke of a pen.
Three days after that, Obama gave a green light to the California car-emissions standards that Bush had been blocking for six years — an important step on the road to cleaner air and a cooler planet.
Two weeks after that, Obama signed the stimulus bill — a $787 billion accomplishment.
Ten days after that, Obama formally announced America's withdrawal from Iraq.
A week later — we're in early March now — Obama erased Bush's decision to restrict federal funding for stem-cell research.
In April and June, Obama forced Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy.
In June, Obama reset the tone of our relations with the entire Arab world with a single speech — an accomplishment that the Bush administration failed to achieve despite a series of desperate PR moves (anyone remember Charlotte Beers?) and a "public diplomacy" budget of $1 billion a year.
Also in June, Obama unveiled the "Cash for Clunkers" program, a "socialist" giveaway that reanimated the corpse of our car industry — leading, for example, to the billion-dollar profit that Ford announced on Monday.
I haven't even mentioned Sonia Sotomayor, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the order to release the torture memos, Obama's push for charter schools, his $288 billion tax cut, or the end of Bush's war on medical marijuana. Or the minor fact that he seems to have — with Bush's help, it must be said — stopped the financial collapse, revived the credit markets, and nudged the economy toward 3.5 percent growth in the last quarter.
Regardless, that's evidence of some significant change, if not every change we hoped for.
There's still hope, though.