If Obama Won’t Defend the Last Four Years, Why Would America Give Him Another Four?

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.

The Obama campaign just sent out a list of “Debate Lies,” a dozen of Mitt Romney’s fudges and falsehoods about his plans and promises. But they didn’t include his lies about the last four years. For example, Romney claimed that half the firms that received green-energy stimulus money went bust, when less than 1% of those firms failed. But the Obama campaign didn’t mention that, because it doesn’t want to discuss the Obama record.

That seems like a real problem.

I get that elections are about the future, not the past. I get that Obama is reluctant to brag about his accomplishments at a time when many Americans are hurting. I get that Obama has done fine in the polls by focusing on Romney and that “Stop lying about my record” didn’t work so well for Bob Dole. And since I wrote a book about the hidden story of change in the Obama era, I get that it’s a bit convenient me to suggest that the President really needs to tell that story.

But he’s got to tell some story, because otherwise Romney’s take on the Obama era will be the only one voters hear. In his opening statement, Obama did point out that he inherited a mess — although he didn’t explain what a GDP-crashing-at-a-9%-annual-rate, 800,000-job-losses-a-month, depression-level mess it was — and he did say that once his Administration reversed the free fall — he didn’t explain how — more than 5 million private-sector jobs were created. For the next 90 minutes, though, he mostly let Romney define the last four years, while quibbling about some of the details. He rarely explained what he has done.

I’m not just talking about my beloved stimulus, although Obama didn’t mention that the $800 billion recovery package he passed during his first month in office helped stop the swoon, producing the biggest quarterly jobs improvement in 30 years. He certainly didn’t mention that the stimulus included an unprecedented $90 billion for clean energy, and when Romney did, Obama didn’t explain how it launched a quiet green revolution or correct Romney’s egregious suggestion that thousands of stimulus-funded companies have failed. I can’t even think of a half-dozen. Romney talked about “losers” like Solyndra and Ener1; why didn’t Obama respond with winners like Envia Systems, which has developed the world’s most powerful electric-vehicle battery, or Silver Spring, which is building millions of smart meters for a modern electric grid? Romney mocked wind and solar; why not mention that wind has doubled, solar has increased over 600%, and they now combine to power 15 million homes with clean domestic electricity?

Granted, the word stimulus remains toxic, and Obama did mention that middle-class tax cuts and Race to the Top education reform were tucked into the stimulus. But he barely talked about his now popular rescue of the now booming U.S. auto industry. He didn’t mention that he allowed gays to serve openly in the military or that he stopped deportations of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. He somehow ended up in the weeds of Obamacare without explaining that his plan will ensure health insurance for millions of Americans who might otherwise end up in emergency rooms. He somehow ended up sounding apologetic about his far-reaching Wall Street reforms.

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Obama also barely mentioned that Romney and the Republicans have fought him on every one of these issues — against an economic recovery package during an economic emergency, against the auto rescue, against the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” against the Dream Act for immigrants without papers through no fault of their own, against universal health insurance, against reforming the financial system after a financial meltdown. He let Romney compare the U.S. economy to Spain’s without pointing out that Spain lapsed into a double-dip recession after adopting the kind of austerity policies that Republicans have prescribed for the U.S. He didn’t mention that he pushed the American Jobs Act, which would have cut more taxes, invested in more infrastructure projects and saved more of the teaching jobs Romney said he valued before Republicans blocked it.

The point is that things are bad, and Obama can’t just warn that Romney will make them worse, especially now that Romney seems to be reinventing himself yet again as a sensible centrist who won’t cut taxes on the rich and likes all the good stuff in Obama’s health care and Wall Street reforms. The President needs to make the case that he’s made things less bad and that with more time he can make things not bad. Obviously, 2012 isn’t 2008, and his campaign can’t be all about change. But change happened. It didn’t make things perfect; it made things better. If even Obama won’t defend the last four years, then what’s the point of four more years?

MORE: Special GOP Issue: Party of No

129 comments
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AsianGrlNextDoor
AsianGrlNextDoor

Maybe he is not doing that because he doesn't believe that these measures can be valueble long term. I can't vote for someone who isn't confident about his legacy.

Helen Pou Turner
Helen Pou Turner

I feel as if POTUS is a quarter of way up a ladder and it is teetering.

Bernard Mwaura
Bernard Mwaura

Obama has to realize that its not about him, America needs him. 

Andrew Colias
Andrew Colias

Admittedly, I am no Constitutional expert, but I cannot recall the office of President having either power or authority to accomplish what these two men are promising. Nor am I convinced that something so multifaceted as the economies of the fifty states are as responsive to legislature as we wish.

OMS2000
OMS2000

Great article!  I have no idea who is advising President Obama!  He has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of .  If he wants 4 more years, yes, he's got to defend the last 4. Mitt is NOT focussing on giving details about the next 4 years because he sees an opening....President Obama is not strongly defending his past 4 years but running on his slogan " Forward...4 more years" .

Having been in sales and marketing myself for over 30 years, I see a President that is NOT selling the sizzle...just the steak! This is a recipe for disaster! Romney on the other hand, is selling his version of the sizzle with an incredible verbal assault on the truth! Hopefully, the new 7.8% unemployment figure will give Obama enough confidence and fortitude to defend his incredible accomplishments after inheriting the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and to effectively sell a vision of the next 4 years under his administration.

Holly Kick
Holly Kick

Romney says one thing today and tomorrow he changes. Forget today and tomorrow .. if Romney is with a group of people, he first finds out what makes them happy and talks to them all the points that will make them happy even if it is against his "direction". Basically he has no direction and integrity.  Atleast President Obama has integrity, he sticks to his points and is a good person.

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

In plain and simple english Mitt Romney is a liar, a bold and arrogant liar.  Paul Ryan also is a liar, just as bold and arrogant.  It is the one thing we know for sure about each of them as they have proven it conclusively while flip-flopping about most everything.  They both have clearly and repeatedly strongly indicated their intent to cut costs for the very wealthy and to raise costs for the middle-class and now they are trying to get credit for something different.  Mitt Romney was caught on tape presenting just that at a private fund raiser where he called 47% of the people “freeloaders on the government” and just days later in the debate he said he would lower costs and focus on benefit for the middle-class.  On several occasions they both have presented their intent to cut costs for the very wealthy while creating the need to raise costs for everyone else.  It simply is obvious they will say whatever they think will impress their current audience and just casually excuse themselves when they are called on it.  If we can’t believe what they say, then what can we expect from them?

Without intending to further blame the Bush-Cheney-Rove presidency for their crimes we can look at them for a valid example of what to expect from Romney-Ryan, as the mentality and focus are the same.  To further validate this comparison realize that this is exactly what the Republicans and “the money” have been working to achieve - a return to their ideal model of Bush-Cheney-Rove with a total focus on serving the 1%, their strong supporters, and on continually deceiving and controlling public opinion.  Bush-Cheney spent eight years totally focused on their private agenda to benefit only the few, the 1%, and on constantly rationalizing their actions by always going before the world with their subterfuge, their lies.  They hid behind two wars, one justified in response to 9/11 only to be abandoned later for a falsely justified war that greatly benefitted a few.  During their tenure they cost this country greatly and brought us to several crisis points, which again proved to be very costly, all completely without conscience or concern for the 99% while the 1% continually benefitted.  Like Romney-Ryan, they were bold and arrogant liars who worked to con the people while they performed as complete “puppets” for “the money”.  The mentality of all those concerned is consistent and is completely focused on serving only the few while insultingly taking the majority for granted.

The Republican / Tea Party has become totally owned and controlled by “the money”, their masters.  We have seen it in the performances of their “puppets” like Boehner, Cantor, Bachmann, Ryan, McConnell and others who put their political ambitions above their responsibilities; in the control exercised by Norquist, Cheney, Rove, the Koch brothers and more as they intimidate their own to assure unity behind “the money’s” interests; in the “puppet” candidates they recruit and try to sell, who are ready to do as “their strings are pulled”; and we hear it in the biased rantings, aimed to excite and con, from the likes of Limbaugh, Palin, Beck, O’Reilly and others.  Obama and the Democrats are really not perfect and the Republicans, with the mega-millions, power and influence of their supporters, spend extensively and work constantly to discredit them but Obama and the Democrats are actually conscientious and sincerely concerned for the people as they make real efforts that they believe will benefit the majority.  The contrast is drastic and in the final analysis the majority can’t expect anything from Romney-Ryan and the Republicans who only consider the people “pawns” to delude, use and abuse in their constant subservient quest to feed the insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite of the few.

73yearoldVet
73yearoldVet

Michael,

How can he defend the indefensible?

Most inept, incompetent and inexperienced president of all times.

The inexperience factor showed up big time in the debate.

 

BenevoIent  Lawyer
BenevoIent Lawyer

 3xFIRE, also known as Gramps, as a very unhappy resident of the Jack And Jill Maximum Security Day Care Center For Incontinent Geriatrics.

Sometimes they forget to change his depends, and that makes him ... grumpy.

He is very forgetful and tends to say things that are almost as meaningless as phonydrearljr1/georgiamd.

You can safely ignore him.  His next stop is the grave.

Dan5404
Dan5404

I am 72 year old, so I've lived through the same time as you and my experience is just as important as yours.  Obama is by far not among the worst presidents.  How about Hoover?  How about Nixon?  How about Bush?  Your Tea Party friends were complaining before Obama's first year ended that he hadn't cleaned up Bush's 8 year legacy of debt, unfunded wars and tax cuts, causing  near financial collapse.  The GOP decided they would not do anything to help the economy and used more than 500 filibusters to block every job-producing bill presented.  Despite that he has stopped another depression with a stimulus and produced regular job growth for two years with no help from half of Congress, who pledged allance to Grover Norquist instead of the United States.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Forget the guy in office from 2000-2008 already have you? Guess it's easy to do since your party hides him from the public as if he was an illegitimate love child.

Yourstrulee
Yourstrulee

Wow, great work there! I almost feel the strength of your emotion. And the closing sentence? Omg! You really spoke to me and I share your same fear to the point where I feel trapped wondering if there's even a point to vote for anyone at all? If my only hope is Obama, but he doesn't convince me he is confident, determined enough to pull us through and out of all this mess, towards a better future, who in the world will? What will happen with all of us down here? Very disappointing indeed.

Dan5404
Dan5404

He deserves four more years because the Romney 5-point "plan" that he can't reveal details about is the same list from the John McClain campaign and the disastrous George Bush years.  Certainly reason enough.

texastom
texastom

Romney is a liar just like Bush.

texastom
texastom

Because Romney is a liar just like Bush was. He tells you to trust but puts us in debt with another unneeded war.

texastom
texastom

Because Romney is a liar just like Bush was.

texastom
texastom

Because he is not a  liar like Romney!

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

THERE IS AN IMPOSTOR USING MY HANDLE AND PICTURE, THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS

THAT HE HAS AN UNDERSCORE BETWEEN BENEVOLENT AND LAWYER.  PLEASE

BEWARE.

politathiest
politathiest

Does anybody find it hilarious, that after a night to think about it, conservative tax policy experts are coming out and saying, "aahhh, hold on a minute Mr. Romney, that thing you said about putting caps on deductions to pay for your 5 trillion tax cut defecit.... Ya, you need to Like RETHINK that" . It turns out Romney "deduction cap" will dispaportionately tax ..... THE RICH! Which any good conservative lap dog will tell you will kill jobs! Soooo....which Romney is running for prez....the hard core, tea party conservative, or the very MODERATE candidate we saw last night? Any Tea partyers out there asking the same question? Lololol.

paulejb
paulejb

How do you defend the indefensible? Easy. You lie, and lie, and lie. Obama and his minions are good at that.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Yet not as good as Romney and Ryan. The most dishonest candidate duo in recent memory

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

So you didn't get the red meat? Then vote for the GOP because that is all you get, nothing else, not the truth, not a direction, not a plan, nothing, notta, zilch.

I think what you saw was a very disappointed Obama, disappointed with Romney and his lies.

But you say he has to call him on it. But look your co-worker Alex was out first thing about how Obama lied about the 5 trillon tax cut, a complete BS story again.

One thing I know is that Obama is different, and 30% of the population recent it, he just doesn't look like them.

The Press complains when there is no information, but yet even Joe ripped into Obama up for giving a thoughtful detail description of his plan instead of joining Mitt in the Wrestling Ring.

What the hell do you want?

Richard Giles
Richard Giles

What Romney’s debate performance clearly demonstrated, as he has consistently shown, is that he changes (“flip-flops”) whatever he says according to the audience he is trying to sway.  No matter how confidently and strongly he presents, the reality is that he can’t be trusted, as his changing story totally indicates, when he is being dishonest and just saying whatever he thinks will impress at the time.  I don’t know if this is simply a continuation of the Karl Rove strategy that the Republicans have adopted, but it has become very disgustingly prevalent within today’s Republican / Tea Party as seen from Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michelle Bachmann and others including the likes of Norquist, Cheney, Rove, the Koch brothers and several others where they all feel they can just deceptively and aggressively play people for their own self-serving interests.

This not only clearly indicates that they can’t be believed, can’t be trusted but also it is disgusting and offensive as they boldly and arrogantly insultingly take people for granted as being “pawns” to be conned and manipulated at their will.  Obama had a flat performance and missed the opportunity to call Romney on these obvious extensive deceptions, which was really a pity in that Romney walked away cocky as if successful with his con.  The reality is that nothing has actually changed and Romney and the Republicans are still totally committed to serving only “the money” and obviously just boldly confident in their ability to dupe the people and control public opinion.

Some accuse Obama of being dishonest but by any objective and rational evaluation that is baseless and is simply emotional rationalization to justify biases.  Obama’s conscientious concern for the people and honestly unselfish efforts are totally apparent and are in complete contrast to what the Republicans demonstrate; want better from him, fine, but don’t think you are going to see the current Republicans with a conscience or concern for the majority as that would be totally against their recent history and the reality that they are owned and controlled by “the money”.  Should the majority fail to see all of this or should they be conned into accepting the Republican’s deception or the rationalizing that the Democrats are just as dishonest, then we are very apt to be returned to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, with the results being “more of the same” and the country further pushed into a two-class society where the 1% continue to feed their insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite, competing in having it all, while the 99% are left struggling and loosing more.  

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

Sometimes it takes a better liar to cover up for a horrible liar, and Mr. Grunwald is such a man to do just that for Obama.

Case in point, you state that Romney wants to "cut" taxes for the rich, is simply a lie, and you're too smart to play dumb, so let me spell it out for you.

Extending the Bush Era tax cuts, is not "cutting" taxes, it's keeping the tax rates the same as they have been under the four years under Obama. How can you even type that lie with a straight face, and expect to have any credibility? Romney isn't cooking up lower numbers for the rich, he's keeping the rates the same for everyone who pays taxes. So that's a lie, plain and simple.

I believe the reason Obama didn't do a better job of explaining his record is because for the last 4 years, it's been the likes of you who have provided cover and assurance to him that the American Public was buying what he was selling, when in fact 50% of Americans have opposed almost everything he's done while president.

I also see that you along with Obama don't want to talk about the $716 billion dollars in cuts to Medicare that has been described as savings..Really, savings? That's the spin that you guys have went with since Obamacare has been in play..The savings is a 15% cut to providers, who now are forced to do the same work for less money. That's why the medical community are now not accepting new Medicare patients and some are even stopping all  Medicare care, and who can blame them? Would you like a 15% pay cut, Mr. Grunwald, and only to be expected to work just as hard at your job? I seriously doubt, and who could blame you..

Obama will be rightly judged for his success and his failures, but when your failures outweigh your success, you can"t stand to high on the mountain, and bring attention to yourself. That's what he has you for..

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

HereTerry let me summarize Mitt's argument for you:

Policies similar to mine crashed the economy, you didn't clean up this mess fast

enough and I'd like a shot to finish the job Bush started and see

if we can get a reprise of the Great Depression.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 Romney isn't the president, yet. So his policies are just on paper, and they aren't anything close to Obama's, which is tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend..

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Actually Romney's policies aren't even on paper more like on a shakeable Etch a Sketch. However the fact that one of his main economic advisers is Glen Hubbard who was one of the chief authors of the Bush economic disaster makes it apparent that his policies will be similar. Tax Cut for the Rich and spend, tax cut for the rich and spend, tax cut for the rich and spend.....

georgiamd
georgiamd

 You are exactly right, Terry, doctors are leaving Medicare in droves. Obamacare is usually the reason for dropping this bureaucratic entanglement.   Scheduled cuts in physician reimbursements by Medicare are forcing an

unprecedented number of doctors to drop out of the program that provides

medical care for seniors. This could leave thousands of elderly in Georgia and millions nationwide without access to a doctor. It is estimated that 40% of doctors will stop accepting new Medicare patients and you have Obamacare to blame.

gysgt213
gysgt213

Doctors have been dropping out of Medicare since 2001.  Since 2001, Medicare reimbursement has been cut about 20 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.  There are a lot of struggling practices out there that just cannot survive with these types of reimbursement rate cuts.  Here is a link that supports what I'm saying.  Blaming this trend on Obamacare which has not been fully implement yet is complete and utter BS. 

http://www.chron.com/news/hous...

georgiamd
georgiamd

 You are WAY off the mark, gysgt213, as a medical practitioner, I am fully cognizant of the negative impact Obamacare is having on our industry. The 700 billion dollar cut to Medicare involves REDUCED payment to providers and as it is, we are only compensated 40% on the dollar to provide this service.

Try to pay your staff and pay your overhead with 40%, instead of 100% and you will be out of business very quickly.

Cuts to Medicare providers will affect Medicare beneficiaries ...

Medicare providers

are among the clear losers in the debt ceiling deal. Come November,

they face two really unpleasant options: absorbing whatever cuts the ...

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/e...... - Cached

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 And why did the AARP support Obamacare and the cuts to Medicare, it's simple, greed...

Greed, that's right, because now  when Obamacare starts in 2014, The AARP will start selling gap insurance to their members. It's estimated that their first years take will be upwards to $114 million dollars..