Dems: Don’t Take Obama for Granted


A friend of mine posted a Facebook status quoting a CNN anchor about the nominating processes of the two major parties: “Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.” This completely explains Mitt Romney’s inability to lose ground in the Republican race despite the fact that the Republicans are almost stubbornly unwilling to like him.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. It also explains some of the dissatisfaction that President Obama has from fellow Democrats. While it’s true that he gets most of his criticism from the right wing, he’s not immune to grumblings from the left. For example, some liberals accuse him of being too soft on Republicans in the name of bipartisanship. But I’m not sure how much of the criticism he’s facing from the left is legitimate ideological grievance so much of a case of broken hearts.

We’re the more idealistic party, even to the point of naïveté. In 2008, we legitimately believed that Obama could fix the economy even while it was still breaking. We believed he could change the system in Washington, with the aid of the system in Washington. Even now, with the benefit of hindsight, I believe that those beliefs were legitimate considering the sheer length of the coattails he brought with him into office and the almost electric atmosphere anytime and anywhere he opened his mouth.

But the economy didn’t seem to get better—despite 22 consecutive months of net job creation. The Republicans seized his goal of health reform and turned it into an unconstitutional intrusion on American citizens—despite the fact that the individual mandate to buy insurance was originally a Republican idea. The Tea Party emerged and the Republicans routed the Democrats in 2010. The Republicans began using the filibuster in the Senate to a ludicrous extent. Congressional gridlock stalled everything to a halt. The Washington system that was supposed to be fixed instead dug in its heels and became even more intransigent than usual.

Basically, things weren’t always going right in our relationship with President Obama, and there have been a few fights. I might be able to write this better if I’d actually had the experience of a relationship, but perhaps the best metaphor is if you’re with a girl who’s pretty and smart but hooked you with her personality, only she and you have had some problems. You start looking around at your other options. There are a few girls on the left who seem nice enough but just don’t draw you in the same way. There’s the possibility of that one girl on the right who seems to be into you, though she’s got a reputation for cheating. There’s the possibility of being single for a while, but then nobody wins.

So you talk it out with the girl you already have. As you talk, you begin to realize that, not only is she better than the competition, but she’s better by a landslide. She’ll take you home when you’re in a dangerous spot, she’ll drive you to the hospital, she’ll actually use the gifts you give her, and she’ll treat you with respect. You realize that that’s the kind of girl you want to be with, and who wants to be with you.

As Democrats, we can’t afford to take President Obama for granted, and we can’t afford to let other Democrats take him for granted. We have to remember that he brought the troops home, expanded health care coverage, uses the tax money the government takes in to improve America, and—unlike any of the Republican candidates—respects all Americans for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, until January 20, 2017 do us part.

Published by Caitlin Cleaver

Class of 2014 Duke University in Durham, NC

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