Obama's gathering problems have called to mind a piece I wrote in 2008 that ventured the heretical and not entirely unserious idea that Republicans should just keep the White House. The Bush administration had mucked up everything--from foreign disasters to exploding deficits to a collapsing economy--so thoroughly, any Democratic successor to Bush would be condemned to an infinite collection of seemingly insoluble situations.
My reasoning--again, tongue-in-cheek, but not wholly so--was that since Republicans broke everything, then they should be the ones stuck with the mess. A President Obama or President Clinton would inherit nothing but headaches--the legacy and costs of two idiotic wars, a gutted and not easily repaired fiscal structure, and an economic slump that would be hard to impossible to reverse in short order, since adequate Keynesianism is still largely a foreign concept to the United States Congress.
But, Barack Obama ignored my advice to throw the election. And I'm damned glad he did. Because his accomplishments, despite all of Republicans' incessant bitching and the punditry's vomiting, have been, when one stops to think about them, staggering. Job creation is now moving at a fairly brisk rate, notwithstanding the GOP's best efforts to screw the working class for political gain. Unemployment is bumping into 6 percent. The Dow has increased nearly 200 percent. Healthcare coverage is reaching a universal standard. The auto industry has been saved. And we're out, or nearly out, of those two idiotic wars.
The irony here is that it was Obama--and not the inevitable Clinton--who took the beatings to help set the country straight. Obama wasn't ever a deep part of the Washington scene that screwed everything up to begin with, as Hillary was (at least in terms of foreign policy), yet it will be a broken Obama who in two years will hand Hillary a mostly recovered nation. Thus the inevitable Clinton will inherit not the mess of George W. Bush--whose partisan playmates should have been required to stay and clean up--but the rather tidy turnaround of Barack Obama.
Doesn't seem fair.