For my 100th diary on Daily Kos, I have decided to talk about a quote that was more meaningful than anything other in Barack's Obama's reelection. It basically encapsulated the whole election, and even when it was said in Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, it had different meanings to those who had heard. Those words that Chris Matthews had rightfully praised:
"I am no longer just a candidate; I am the President."One could just take those powerful, and humble words as a declarative sentence. It was a matter of simple fact that Obama was more than just a candidate, that he was the President, with all the power and responsibility that the office entails. The office of the President used to have a wide consensus of respect. It used to be that you may not have liked the man that occupied the office, but you damned well made sure to hold up high the office in your esteem. Republicans in this election cycle, but to a lesser degree in earlier election cycles, have basically shown that they are willing to tear down the office of the Presidency in the eyes of the American people in order to gain and hold power. The Presidency is not a lofty position that serves the American people to them. No, to the Republicans, the Presidency is just a means to an end. A figurehead that rubber stamps the corporations and the evangelical churches and their respective agendas.
One could also take Obama's statement of "I am the President" as a positive affirmation that this country rejects the racially-tinged attempts to de-legitamize and impugn Barack Obama as something "other". Something that fools like Sununu call not "a real American". Garbage like Gingrich saying the President is "lazy". And you have conspiracy theorists who find numerous ways to call the President a filthy lair. Some call into question his citizenship, some call into question his honesty about his sexual performance, and some even have the gall to call into question his own parentage, and by proxy, demean the name of a long-deceased woman. I believe those who dragged the reputation of the President's late mother are among the lowest of the low. One could certainly take it as an affirmation that yes, Barack Obama is the President, and nothing that the incurable liars and the den of utter racist scumbags can say will ever change that. Their 15 minutes are up, and we're done with them.
Obama's statement of "I am the President" also had other implications, and in the last few months we saw the truth of that statement in the 2nd debate against Mitt Romney and Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy.
When Romney made himself smaller by taking it upon himself to have the gall to publicly attack the President on the Benghazi attack when the Benghazi attack was still happening, he was roundly panned by the press and every expert in foreign policy. There is a reason why they say "politics ends at the water's edge". And again, when Mitt Romney tried to pull a gotcha moment on the President after the President had taken sole responsibility for the administration's failings on Benghazi. You see, the buck stops with Obama and you don't accuse him of playing politics when we lost 4 great public servants. But Romney just couldn't help himself. He had to go on the attack, and echo a right-wing blog. We all know what happened next with "please proceed, governor" and then the moderator Candy Crowley did a real-time fact check. Since Barack Obama is the President, he knows that on vital matters of national security and diplomacy, you just can't make shit up. That moment where Romney overreached on Libya and Obama was seen as being truthful and serious when it really counts, and that Obama got genuinely and rightfully angry that our public servants were being slandered by partisan hacks will likely go down in history as the moment Romney lost the election. Mitt Romney very publicly failed the Commander in Chief test and from then on, all the momentum went Obama's way.
Hurricane Sandy also showed the nation the true mettle of the President, and showed the nation Romney's true character. While the President was being shown as being on top of everything, and showing that he fucking knew what he was doing, and Chris Christie was giving his honest opinion of just how great Obama was handling the aftermath of Sandy, you saw that with a great President like Obama, government works. We saw that government was being responsive to those who had lost everything, and you saw the President's very real compassion. Romney on the other hand, looked very small in how he wouldn't answer any questions about FEMA's role in disaster relief and wouldn't denounce his "privatize FEMA' remarks. Romney had also tried to disguise a clearly political rally as a "relief effort" and flagrantly defied the Red Cross in trying to collect canned goods when the Red Cross did not want or need to deal with that. Romney could have afforded to write some big checks to Red Cross, and match everyone's contributions. He could have said "I stand with the President and those who are suffering from the aftermath of this storm. There are some things that go beyond politics, and this is one of them." But because Romney was cheap in spirit, and was a miser with his money, he showed that he was simply not ready for prime time, and would stop at nothing to politicize anything.
Today, I celebrate the beginning of four more years of an Obama presidency. I have a lot of expectations of our President. I am hopeful that he will continue to make consequential decisions that bend the long arc of history towards progress and towards justice. I will proudly stand by him as he does the right things, and I will try to gently rebuke him if he gives in to the regressives. I would like to see immigration reform and climate change addressed in the next four years. I will hope that our side will prevail on taxes and earned benefits where the Bush tax cuts expire for millionaires and that our earned benefits are protected from privatization and that our political leaders dare not to cut a penny of benefits nor do they raise the eligibility age to receive those benefits.
I will close my diary with that great quote from the Michael Douglas move The American President
If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the President.