The Obamas Won Popular Opinion, the Obstructionists Won Government

The Obamas left Washington with very high approval ratings and the recognition that they represented the best of America with exemplary decency, intelligence and dedication. Roy Wood, Jr. of The Daily Show isn’t wrong when he says of course Obama will prosper by the cringeworthiness of the next act on stage. It’s easy now when they’re off stage for the press to finally give the Obamas the credit that they felt they had to qualify for 8 years.

The bothsidism, false equivalence and the pretzel logic of a broadcast media that is so cowed by the right that they have declared the middle ground somewhere between the truth and a lie, can now be relaxed for the Obamas. Decorum dictates that the hacky politics of personal destruction that were okay and appropriate until yesterday against those good and decent people would now be tacky and inappropriate. A truce is called on them. And why not now, in this truce, actually cite their many successes?

But make no mistake that the other side, Mitch McConnell and the obstructionists won. They’re still there and still in charge. They famously stole a Supreme Court seat, but it’s forgotten how many job creating, pro-worker pieces of legislation they blocked. Legislation that would have helped create better jobs for the people who voted against Hillary because Democrats have supposedly left them.

In the morally neutral coverage of our politics a decent man leading a decent administration was stymied by politicians acting disingenuously, vindictively and strategically to create amoral gridlock and dysfunction that devastated many people who needed their government’s help.  Progress on vital issues can’t be made because one major national party has chosen bullshit over science and math and that choice is treated as just as valid.

The bad actors are still on stage and hurting the country. But the truth can’t wait until they too are off stage.  If, as Edmund Burke said, “[t]he only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” then how much damage can be done when good people and good ideas, truth itself is minimized and bad people and bad ideas, damnable lies are elevated by a media-political environment that upholds a perversion of neutrality as the model of how the public should be informed about their public servants?

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