He’s gotten more done in three years than any president in decades. Too bad the American public still thinks he hasn’t accomplished anything.
By Paul Glastris
One of the most important tasks a president must master—and Obama hasn’t—is speaking up for his own record. This has been especially challenging for him because of the still-widespread economic suffering across the country and the too-soon-to-tell quality of his biggest accomplishments. And again, his even temperament hasn’t helped. He has seemed to want his achievements to speak for themselves. Who wouldn’t? But the presidency doesn’t work that way. A president has to remind the public every day of what he’s already done, why he’s done it, and how those achievements fit into a broader plan that will help them in the future.
With his State of the Union and some subsequent speeches, he has only begun this task. And while it’s very late in the day, the election is still eight months away. The irony is that, while Barack Obama has achieved a tremendous amount in his first term, the only way to secure that record of achievement in the eyes of history is to win a second. And to do that, he first has to convince the American voters that he in fact has a record of achievement.
Feed the Political AnimalDonate
Washington Monthly depends on donations from readers like you.
Introduction: Why more equality means more prosperity.
By Heather Boushey
Seven ways to raise wages. By Alan S. Blinder
The New Segregation
It's class, not race. And we know how to solve it. By Carl Chancellor and Richard D. Kahlenberg
Driving While Black
"Stop and frisk" isn’t just a reality in New York City. New data shows how police target African Americans on highways across America. By Charles Epp and Steven Maynard-Moody January/February 2014
The growing—and dangerous—divide between scientists and the GOP By Nicholas Thompson July/August 2003
The Joy of Sexology
Does it matter that Alfred Kinsey enjoyed his work more than he let on? By Christina Larson December 2004
Best of Political Animal
More News & Views
Did Congress Do Enough to Prevent Police Killings?
With better research, more resources, and best practices, we can make police shootings a less common occurrence. By Blake Fleetwood 12/18/2014
Dick Cheney, Moral Relativist
The respect shown to Dick Cheney, who is explicit in tossing aside every norm established by the Law of War or Judeo-Christianity, is inexplicable. By Ed Kilgore 12/16/2014
Hyperpartisanship is a Symptom of Distrust in Government
Tip-n-Ronnie era bipartisan feelings are not possible as long as the middle class continues to erode. By David Atkins 12/15/2014
No Kentucky Tax Credits for “Ark Encounter”
AiG claims “persecution” for having to raise their own damn money in order to practice bigotry and propagate ignorance about both biology and religion. By Ed Kilgore 12/12/2014
Jeb Bush’s Toxic Associations
The former Florida governor has been undertaking some recent business associations that are going to be a real problem when he enters the maximum glare of the presidential arena. By Ed Kilgore 12/11/2014
First Step for Rick Perry is Getting Filthy Rich
Ted Cruz is going to eat Perry’s lunch as the candidate of feral Texas conservatives while Perry’s trying to “make serious money” and convince people he’s not stupid. By Ed Kilgore 12/10/2014
Time to Choose on Torture
If past reporting on U.S. torture hasn’t spurred people to jihadist violence, it’s a bit hard to believe that a congressional report is going to do the trick. By Ed Kilgore 12/09/2014
President Obama and the Power of Partnership
What the Republicans fear most is the loss of their power to dominate (either globally or domestically) via a rise in the power of partnership. By Nancy LeTourneau 12/08/2014
Obama Must Remember Sandy Hook
By appointing a surgeon general, the president can change terms of the gun debate. By John Stoehr 12/05/2014
A Theory that Could Bring Down the Affordable Care Act
“Textualists” argue that courts should read statutes without even asking what Congress intended. By Gilad Edelman 12/05/2014
Ben Carson’s Strange PC World
Any expression of dissent from his bizarre worldview is in fact oppressive, and any debate is the suppression of debate. By Ed Kilgore 12/04/2014
Jeb’s Unlikely Tack for 2016
Can the Bush Family sell Jeb as a “different kind of Republican” to the GOP’s primary voters? By Ed Kilgore 12/03/2014
How Obama’s Immigration “Executive Action” Respects the Rule of Law
The president responded to Congress’s inability to enact needed legislation. By Peter M. Shane 12/01/2014
Let’s Pay for the Government We Get
Milton Friedman said that “to spend is to tax.” Someday soon, middle-class taxes will have to go up. By Bill White 11/28/2014
Can We Please Put Some Bankers in Jail Now?
The Justice Department has a chance to get serious about prosecuting financial crimes. What exactly has been the holdup? By Bailey Miller 11/26/2014
Laura of Arabia
Reliable news from Yemen came from a few intrepid young Western freelancers who spoke the language, lived like locals, and managed to stay in the country. By Kelly McEvers 11/24/2014
The American Way of Dying
On Atul Gawande and how our refusal to face up to the realities of aging and mortality causes needless suffering. By Phillip Longman 11/19/2014
The Tie That Binds
How Ronald Reagan, the sunniest president in recent memory, cemented the Republican Party to the dark vision of Richard Nixon. By Ed Kilgore 11/19/2014
Happy Birthday, Methadone!
We need maintenance therapy today to combat a rise in opioid use. But many courts and prisons cling to a Reagan-era “Just say no” mind-set. By Sally Satel 11/18/2014
Slow Growth and Inequality Are Political Choices
There is supposed to be “justice for all” but, increasingly, there is only justice for those who can afford it. By Joseph E. Stiglitz 11/16/2014
From the Blogs
- Day’s End and Night Watch By Ed Kilgore 12/22/2014 6:05 PM
- North Korea Goes Dark By Ed Kilgore 12/22/2014 5:29 PM
- SEC Primary Takes Shape By Ed Kilgore 12/22/2014 5:06 PM
- Yes, Democrats Won Lots of Elections Back When They Tolerated Bigotry By Seth Masket 12/22/2014 10:30 AM
- The Proportion of Americans Under Criminal Justice Supervision is at an 18-year Low By Keith Humphreys 12/22/2014 10:27 AM
- Richard Ford Makes Me Cry By Harold Pollack 12/22/2014 10:24 AM
- Summer School Seems to Work Better for Math than for Reading By Jill Barshay 12/22/2014 10:48 AM
- Minnesota’s Suburban Districts Struggle to Close Discipline Gap By Sarah Butrymowicz 12/22/2014 10:37 AM
- Education Department Unveils College Rating Plan By Kirk Carapezza 12/19/2014 5:40 PM
- Baseball Hall of Famer Henry Waxman - The Dan Snyder Chair in Native American Studies - The Biggest Unknown About Hillary ‘16
- Religious criminals belong in jail … Use Amazon to order an X47B … Nowhere to go by up
- Mobilizing chick power … Male menopause … Can Dems match gun raffles?
Facebook "Like" our Facebook Fan page.
Twitter Click to see a list of our Twitter feeds.
Get the Latest
College Guide & Rankings
Click to View or Download
the Full,Interactive Edition
buy from Amazon
support the Monthly