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Susan Estrich
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There He Goes Again


There he goes again, fulfilling another promise. Imagine that. When he announced the surge in Afghanistan, he said it was temporary. Democrats, especially liberals, screamed bloody murder. How dare he do what he said he would do during the campaign: focus on Afghanistan, on the threat posed by al-Qaida, on capturing Osama bin Laden, dead or alive?

He went ahead and did all those things, and now he's beginning the troop withdrawal. Osama is dead. Al-Qaida has been drastically weakened.

Imagine. A president who does what he says he'll do: universal access to health insurance, gays in the military, diversity on the courts, even an improving economy.

Who does this guy think he is?

More importantly, what do we think of him?

The polls suggest the president is running ahead of every one of the potential Republican candidates and behind the generic one. Depending on where you sit, the good or bad news is that generic candidates don't run. Real candidates run.

With all due respect (in the law, that means with no respect at all, but I'm trying), sometimes it seems like the pollsters of the world must be calling teenagers instead of grownups. You know how it is with teenagers (and the adult versions who never grow up): What they have is never as good as some imagined ideal out there that keeps them from realizing how lucky they are. They may be dating a very nice boy or girl, but where is George Clooney? At a time when so many people are looking for work and can't find it, the job they have is just not good enough, not as good as the fantasy job they can't exactly describe but must be out there somewhere.

The Republicans have some folks running for president who would never fit into what the late Lee Atwater (the first George Bush's campaign manager and a practitioner of the hardball, without-limits brand of politics) called the little boat that contains the relatively small number of men and women (OK, men back then) whom Americans could even imagine as president.

Sorry, Rep. Bachmann. Your feet are planted firmly on the shore. But Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Chris Christie, to name just three possible or actual candidates, all have the potential to jump in there. Barack Obama is very much in there.

So why is none of these guys doing as well as the generic Republican? Is Romney too Mormon or too liberal? Is Huntsman out because he took the call from the president and served as ambassador to China? What makes the generic Republican so much more attractive than the real ones, and also more attractive than the president who keeps his promises?

We are forever telling politicians they need to grow up, and there are enough of them who do (hello, Anthony Weiner) that the message makes sense. But only to a point. It takes guts and determination and very thick skin to run for president — and even more of all of the above to serve as commander in chief. No one is going to agree with you all the time. No one is going to avoid mistakes.

Maybe we need to grow up, as well. I feel very lucky to have Obama as president and very proud of the way he is restoring respect for America in the world and setting an example in politics by sticking to his guns and keeping his promises. But I also give credit to the Republicans who are willing to spend the next year living on the road, giving speeches until they're hoarse, rarely seeing their families and getting knocked around by their fellow candidates and the press, because they have ambition and also because they want to serve this country.

There is no such thing as the perfect candidate, which is what the generic polls measure. I wish the real Republicans the best. But I'm with the guy who keeps his eye on the ball and considers promises to be just that.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



21 Comments | Post Comment
He went back on his word by sending the "surge troops" in the first place. Gitmo is still open. Unemployment went over 8%. Obamacare has more people waivered out than the plan was supposed to add in, etc, etc, etc. What alternate reality is Susan living in?
Comment: #1
Posted by: David Henricks
Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:31 AM
The only reason BHO would be re-elected is if the 50% idiots in this country vote for him, and that includes the columnist. You can be educated and still be an idiot.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Early
Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:51 AM
Uh, when exactly did we get "universal access to health insurance"? No regular insurance company will sell me a policy because of pre-existing conditions. Even if they would, I don't have the money. Theoretically I could buy in to a high-risk pool -- if I had any money.

I remember Candidate Obama talking about a single-payer system. Didn't say anything about caving almost immediately if opposed. What we needed was: a) Medicare extended to cover everybody; b) removal of the income cap on contributions; c) various other New Deal reforms and programs. What we've got is a joke, and a sad one. From the President down, Democrats have consistently started at a compromise, then moved almost all the way to the Republican position.

I remember a lot of other things Candidate Obama said, too. Closing Gitmo. Repealing the obscene insults to the Constitution that have accumulated in the past decade. Lot of hot air, apparently.

Yes, obviously he's preferable to his predecessor, and to any of the Republican candidates. So would a hat rack be.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:18 AM
Meant to add -- the economy is not improving. Oh, if you're a broker on Wall Street, or a banker, it's great. But the economy where people need regular jobs is still slowly sinking. The jobs I'm applying for (and have been for two years) pay, in adjusted dollars, about 30% less than comparable jobs twenty years ago.

We're in a depression. If it gets even worse, it could drag Obama down with it. (Obviously a Republican would be even worse, but sometimes people get fed up and just spin the wheel.)
Comment: #4
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:25 AM
Meant to add -- the economy isn't improving. Sure, if you're a Wall Street broker or a Goldman Sachs executive, it's peachy and you're richer than ever. But for 95% of the population, it's a depression that hasn't bottomed out yet. It could take Obama down with it. Obviously, a Repubican would be even worse, but sometimes people get fed up and just spin the wheel.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:33 AM
Sorry for the duplicate post. The website keeps switching from Ms. Estrich's column (about Pres. Obama as a candidate) to some ill-informed column vilifying Pres. Carter.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Steven Doyle
Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:35 AM
Suzie has long since gone around the bend. Don't take her seriously poor thing.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Paul
Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:11 PM
You sure?
Comment: #8
Posted by: Paul
Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:12 PM
Obama keeps his eye on the ball ball that is! We're in the middle of an economic disaster (apparently to the liberals it has been improving for two years now) and several wars and this guy finds the time to play more golf than me! And he is the President!
Comment: #9
Posted by: E Ortiz
Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:21 PM
Susan, you have to be kidding us??? Obama told us he would END the war in Afghanistan not surge in more troops and then bring back SOME of them in a long protracted drawdown. ??? I'm tired of hearing about neighbor's kids who have been killed in these wars and kids who have hardly had a chance to experience real life. I see all to many Hispanic names on the rolls of those who have been killed and yet, Obama is slow on the draw on his promise to move on legislation to give Hispanic kids citizenship rights if they have been here for decades and are productive citizens????? C;mon Susan take off the rose colored glasses. The only reason to re-elect Obama is that the clowns the Republicans are now considering are beyond belief... In fact they are not believeable.. Newt? Mitt? The other Mitt? then the third Mitt?? Crazy Michelle Bachmann mother of 28 who wants to dismantle the EPA and raise her children in a nation so polluted that rivers will catch fire again like the Cuyahoga in Ohio??? Rick Santorum who is more interested in what's in someone else's pants than minding his own business....Too Many Uterus issue candidates and Zero with any credibility on foreign policy and economic issues....Please don't give me that bull about Mitt being an economic genius,,,,he only knows how to make money with leveraged buyouts and selling off companies and destroying jobs.....Ron Paul ??? Well you can't win being as nutty sounding as he is...Herman Cain??? Paleeeze?? Simpleton statments and racist comments from a black man??? Obama may win re-election by default as no credible candidate is emerging who can win middle America. But Please Susan, don't tell us Obama has done the right thing in Afghanistan... the longer we stay there the more likely we are to join the Soviet Union on the bankrupt dung heap of history. The candidate who emerges and starts talking about nation building in America, will be the victor. When we have more money to build schools in Afghanistan and no money to pay Social Security that people have earned by paying for it, something is very wrong. Very wrong.
Comment: #10
Posted by: robert lipka
Sat Jun 25, 2011 12:42 PM
1. Promised to get us out of the 2 wars, we are now in 3 (Libia)
2. Promised to repeal the Patriot act, instead it is worse.
3. Promised to fix the economy, unemployment is at an all time high counting all the people who have given up, or have been cut off.
4. Budget, we have no signed budget yet. Bush overspent 4 trillion dollars in 8 years. Obama oversent 8 Trillion in 2 years, The country we will leave our kids will be FLAT BROKE, would you let your husband overspend that much or would you divorce him. I bet you would give him the boot!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment: #11
Posted by: david
Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:50 AM
All this arguing about Obama's accomplishments, or lack thereof, in regard to whether he'll be given a second term is really a waste of time. As an incumbent Obama's future will be decided the same way all incumbents have been. ask yourself the following questions: 1) Will Obama be challenged from within his party? 2) Will Obama have enough money behind him? and 3) Does Obama have enough organization and ground support (or as much as he had last time)? If the answers to these three are 1) no- and 2) & 3) yes- then like his predecessors Obama will most certainly be given four more years. I, for one, can't see anyone challenging him from within the party (political suicide for a Dem)- he certainly has the money and his organization was legendary in his first election. Unless you think somehow his crew has slipped- (possible)- prepare for Obama 2. Before you blow a gasket, find me an incumbent who lost who fit all three of my criteria- Clinton, &Bush (the younger)both won re-election , with high negatives- and neither won with the margin Obama did the first time.
Comment: #12
Posted by: ABIndy
Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:42 PM
Love the optimism Suze.
Sounds just like a Jimmy Carter supporter in 1979.
Just keep the faith and maybe B.O. will find you a job when he is a member of the U of Chicago
faculty working on his Presidential Library in 2013.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Brad McNeal
Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:22 PM
Liberalism is a disease. Truth and facts are the anecdote that they refuse. It's sad but true.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Early
Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:01 AM
Why would a President give firm dates to withdraw troops? Event-driven time lines (free elections, estblishment constitution, etc) make sense, but this is the second time Obama has put political gain above troop safety.
Calendar dates tell the enemy stay calm and quietly build up your base because most of our troops will
be out by Month/Year. By the way, since they'll only be a few American soldiers left then,
they'll be easy to slaughter.
It's tragic Americans are so polarized, they will defend this unconsciousable
act as long as its committed by a Democrat.
Comment: #15
Posted by: affenpinscher
Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:58 AM
Only a true-believer could write a column as delusional as this.
Comment: #16
Posted by: pb1222
Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:27 AM
I can do no better than to quote the unassailable words of a truth teller from the Czech Republic " The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and to undo the follies of an Obama presidency that to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a DEPRAVED ELECTORATE willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Obama who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast CONFEDERACY OF FOOLS that made him their prince. The Republic can [and will] survive Obama, who after all is merely a fool. IT IS LESS LIKELY TO SURVIVE A MULTITUDE OF FOOLS [parasites, moochers, liberals, progressives, Marxists, anchor babies, blacks] SUCH AS THOSE WHO MADE HIM THEIR PRESIDENT" {emphasis added}.

All liberals, all progressives and all those who voted for Obama or who would even consider voting for him again are "enemies domestic" of the Constitution and of this Republic. Note who they are and remember them.
Comment: #17
Posted by: joseph wright
Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:28 AM
Re: joseph wright
Amen! The truth hurts! We must eliminate the DOE!
Comment: #18
Posted by: Early
Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:53 AM
Did a little birdie tell you?
Comment: #19
Posted by: L1307
Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:57 AM
Re: L1307
Yes. It was an American Eagle.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Early
Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:46 AM
Susan, you must be blinded for the lack of light reaching your eyes while you have your face inserted so far up barack obama's butt.( lower case intentional) Or maybe your blind stupidity is from the obamalaid you're drinking. What ever it is is you are getting stupider by the day. You should go see a plastic surgeon or something. Maybe he can remove that big growth on your shoulders.
Bruce Wakefield
Comment: #21
Posted by: bruce
Fri Jul 1, 2011 2:21 PM
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