GT_OBAMA_110519

Dave Roberts says Mitch McConnell, but Kevin Drum thinks the Senate minority leader "just had the easiest job:"

McConnell's sole goal for the past two years has been obstruction, something that Senate rules make easy. And the debt ceiling deal was a dog's breakfast of ideas from various sources. McConnell took credit for its final form, but he could do that mainly because, unlike John Boehner, he didn't have to put up with a big tea party contingent and was able to compromise without fear of losing his job.

Benen expands on Drum's conclusion that Obama is the right choice by listing his many (unheralded) accomplishments. Serwer dissents. I think Obama is easily the winner and currently stupidly under-rated – and drowned out by all the noise in the conservative-media-industrial-complex.

Here are the political accomplishments: defeating the most heavily favored party machine in decades (the Clintons) while actually bringing his biggest rival into his cabinet, where she has performed extraordinarily well; helping to cement the GOP's broad identity as extremists opposed to compromise; entrenching black and Hispanic loyalty to his party; retaining solid favorables and not-too-shabby approval ratings during the worst recession since the 1930s. 44 percent of the country still (rightly) blame Bush for this mess, only 15 percent blame Obama.

On policy: ending the US torture regime; prevention of a second Great Depression; enacting universal healthcare; taking the first serious steps toward reining in healthcare costs; two new female Supreme Court Justices; ending the gay ban in the military; ending the Iraq war; justifying his Afghan Surge by killing bin Laden and now disentangling with face saved; firming up alliances with India, Indonesia and Japan as counter-weights to China; bailing out the banks and auto companies without massive losses (and surging GM profits); advancing (slowly) balanced debt reduction without drastic cuts during the recession; and financial re-regulation.

Yes, there have been failures. The election of Scott Brown; the 2010 mid-terms; the surrender to Netanyahu and AIPAC; the botched and ill-conceived war in Libya; the failure to embrace Bowles Simpson up-front; the collapse of cap and trade (maybe not such a bad thing anyway). But notice what hasn't happened. Where are all the scandals promised by Michelle Malkin? Where are his Katrinas and Monicas?

When I read commentaries expounding on the notion that this man is competely out of his depth, I just have to scratch my head. Given his inheritance, this has been the most substantive first term since Ronald Reagan's. And given Obama's long-game mentality, that is setting us up for a hell of a second one.