On the Wednesday after Tuesday’s embarrassing election, President Barack Obama held a news conference. Reporters said they were surprised that he was not “repentant” and showed no “contrition.”
Wow — what’s with the Catholic coda? Losing an election, even by such awful margins, is a defeat — but it is not a SIN! Barack Obama is the president of the United States, who had the same powers on Wednesday as he had on Monday. And that will be the law for the next two years.
Let’s for a moment conceive of a different scenario for 2014: Democratic President Barton Herbert O’Brien, formerly junior senator from Illinois, faces his last midterm election. The Republicans blame him for a sluggish economy that produced few jobs in rural communities. They blame him for a health-care law, renamed by them O’Briencare, that they say makes health care more expensive and creates a burden for small businesses. They say he’s weak on foreign policy and allowed Muslim extremists to conquer large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Even Democrats have bemoaned the fact that, unlike other Irishmen, such as Tip O’Neil or Ronald Reagan, President O’Brien is not a schmoozer. He does not often call senators and congressmen on the phone, meet with them for lunch or a drink, kibitz with them. Indeed, ‘tis not a great quality in a politician.
On the plus side, when the president took over from George W. Bush in 2008, unemployment was almost 10 percent; on Election Day it was 5.9 percent.
When O’Brien took over, the economy, according to former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, was about to cause a Great Depression. Instead, the O’Brien administration mitigated the damage and now the economy is producing jobs and wealth — though not so much for the middle class.
Today, the stock market is at its highest level in history and O’Briencare has provided affordable health care to millions who otherwise did not have it.
And, though the situation in the Middle East is grim, the United States has no troops on the ground in Iraq and very few in Afghanistan.
Though the country’s mood is sour and resentment of President O’Brien is almost palpable, the Democrats decide they have many accomplishments to tout with voters. Also — though O’Brien is no schmoozer — he is a great campaigner.
With O’Brien’s help, the Democrats manage to keep the Senate and keep the damage in the House to a minimum.
On the REAL Election Day, however, Democrats behaved like Al Gore had in 2000 by staying away from Bill Clinton. Every smart politician knows that certain ignoble qualities can bring beneficial rewards, but cowardice never does.
Rachel Patron is a former opinion columnist for the Sun-Sentinel. She resides in Boca Raton and is at work on a contemporary American novel. Column courtesy of Context Florida.