The NYTimes says that Michelle Obama is going to give the first significant (I won’t call it major) speech of the convention tonight. In it, she will be giving her husband’s version of his performance evaluation. I guess David Axelrod thinks this is smart because any attack on Obama’s record will look like an attack on Michelle.
Let’s just get that out of the way. I don’t give a rat’s ass what Michelle is wearing. I can’t stand her accent where it sounds like she has a thick glob of postnasal ooze in the back of her nasal cavity that she has to stopper off with a kegelesque constriction of her uvula. Michelle Obama chose to give working women the finger when she voluntarily assumed the mantle of stay at home mommy and wife who doesn’t really have an opinion about anything because someone *might* accuse her of being angry, thereby reinforcing the negative cultural stereotypes that keep women from succeeding in the workplace. No, I judge her by the standards of my local upper middle class suburban environment. Personally, I find women like her booooooooring as all get out. That’s as far as my personal feelings for Michelle go. She has mass and she takes up space and that’s about it.
Now, let’s get on to her husband’s “accomplishments”.
If I were Obama and were to put together a set of SMART goals for my performance evaluation and rate them, it would go something like this (with most important goals at the top):
In the next four years I will:
Goal Timeframe Accomplished
1.) Improve the economy
- Tighten regulations on the finance industry 2010 Partial
- Account for TARP funds 2009-2012 No
- Let Bush Tax Cuts expire 2010 No
- Prosecute bankers who threaten economy 2010 No
- Implement fiscal stimulus plan 2009 Partial (Inadequate)
- Implement jobs program 2009 No
- Break up dangerously underfunded banks 2010 No
- Implement HOLC for Homeowners 2009 No
(Comments: all of the above would have helped to jumpstart the economy and keep funding to social security at a manageable level, while replenishing treasury through tax revenue.)
2.) Health Care Reform
- Launch study of best practices 2009 No
- Propose model based on study 2009 No
- Work with providers to reduce costs 2009 No
- Propose public option for ins co cooperation 2009 No
- Prohibit rescission for pre-existing conditions 2009 Yes
- Implement individual mandate 2014 Pending
- Subsidize unemployed health care 2009-2011 Finished
- Assure abortion and contraceptive coverage 2009 No, partial
3.) End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by 2012
- Begin drawdown of troops in Iraq 2009 Unclear
- Begin drawdown of troops in Afghanistan 2009 Unclear
(Comments: Like I said, my brother is serving in Afghanistan and he’s been there a year *starting* in 2011, sooooo, I’d really have to say no to the second item.)
4.) Protect Civil Liberties
- Reinstitute Habeas Corpus 2009 No
- Close Gitmo 2010 No
- Bring enemy combatants to trial 2010 No
- Dismantle DHS 2009 No
- Remove DADT 2009 2010, 2011
5.) Promote equality and non-discrimination
- Protect gay families from financial hardship 2012 No
- Protect LGBT individuals from discrimination 2009-2012 Mixed
- Lift non-discrimination clause in gov contracts 2012 No
- Eliminate the Bush Conscience Rule 2009 Partially
- Protect children of illegal immigrants 2009 Unclear
- Defend abortion rights 2009-2012 No
- Defend Reproductive rights 2009-2012 Partially
- Ensure non hostile work env for women 2009-2012 No
- Promote the Equal Rights Amendment 2009-2012 No
(Comments: most of these items were not on his list anyway and female staffers report that the Obama White House should be considered a hostile work environment for women.)
6.) Move towards energy independence
No real plans here
7.) Improve public infrastructure (no real plans)
- Propose public transportation systems 2009-2012
- Encourage use of bicycling where possible ???
- Invest in scientific research and public access 2009-2012 Unclear
As Lambert says, “You can’t buff a turd”. The people scoring this evaluation are not going to listen to excuses. You wanna know why?? It’s because they’ve been subjected to this procedure at their own workplaces and they know that if you did a crappy job, it will be hard to hide it. And if management wants to get rid of you, you could do everything right and still not escape the ax. Of course, if you are a schmoozer who has been knifing your more productive colleagues and kissing the ass of the bonus class, you get a promotion.
That’s just the way it is. Michelle could be tending her garden tonight for all of the difference her speech will make.
And Krugman’s argument that it could have been worse ignores the fact that half of the party was dragged, kicking and screaming to vote for a guy we didn’t think had the experience to handle the tidal wave of really bad mojo that was heading our way. We turned out to be right. We wanted the OTHER candidate. You know, the one who did her homework and had all kinds of practical experience and a built in presidential mentor?
But instead of apologizing for screwing up and promising to address our problems, the Democrats are saying, “Quitcherbitchin’, it could have been worse”. That is not a winning message to the 18000000 of us who are convinced that it could have been a lot better and that Barack Obama is not the best candidate the Democrats could be fielding right now.
The correct metaphor is the one that Katiebird came up with this morning. The arsonists paid off the fire department to let the building burn to the ground. They’re going to build something completely different in its place.