That's what President Obama accomplished, as stated brilliantly by Charles Pierce in his piece today, Barak Obama: President of the Whole Country.
Pierce summarizes what Obama has faced over four years:
The president defeated attempts to prove he was not born in this country. He beat back attempts to prove that, okay, maybe he was born in this country, but he isn't really an American. He beat back attempts to prove that his policies were three degrees to the left of Trotsky, that he was the friend of and collaborator with domestic terrorists, and that he was somehow complicit — probably by virtue of his middle name — with Islamic extremists overseas. All of that was thrown at him and, for all the effect it had on his chances of reelection, none of it stuck worth a damn.And how did he do it? How did he defeat (in Pierce's wonderful phrase), "the shadow empire of empowered nonsense and weaponized ignorance."
He ignored it. He demonstrated by his actions, including those conciliatory actions that drove his more liberal supporters around the bend, that he would be doing the business of the nation, and that the business of the nation required that he rise above all the foolishness that so many people in Washington take so seriously. This is not to say that he was above politics; his remorseless deconstruction of Willard Romney was proof enough of that, as is the fact that he is quite willing to walk American foreign policy right up to and over the very thin edge of savagery. This is not a man who would have baffled Machiavelli.Pierce acknowledges Obama's first term mistakes (Simpson-Bowles being perhaps the most egregious). But President Obama has been underestimated time and again, most recently less than a month ago, where, e.g., this site was filled with cries of despair that the President has irresponsibly "given away leverage" by not insisting that the debt ceiling be part of the Jan. 1 deal.
Well, now the House GOP is going to furtively vote to raise the debt ceiling for four months, without getting anything in return. And Pierce (who was pessimistic about the election early on, and quite critical of some Obama actions) is hopeful.
The President has the ability now to marginalize that which was marginalized for so long, and ought to be again, while at the same time broadening the national dialogue to include ideas that once were quite mainstream — gun control, the necessity of a social safety net, labor rights — but that were shoved to the margins by thirty years of crackpot economics and the existential night sweats of a country grown too timid to uphold those things that made it worthwhile in the first place.I don't know about you, but I have rarely read anything that expresses so concisely, yet beautifully, the struggle in this country to reclaim and expand the New Deal and Great Society ideas "that were once quite mainstream."
The "Shadow Empire of Empowered Nonsense and Weaponized Ignorance" is on the ropes, and we and the President have a chance to marginalize it.
Read the whole Pierce article.