Thursday, December 24, 2009

Frank Schaeffer Weighs in Again

I have been sitting on this for a couple of days. Frank Schaeffer is one of my favorite reads. He writes at Huffington Post and he also has his own blog. I don't read much on Huff Post anymore, but I do check out his blog. You can get there by clicking on his name above, but I am posting this article in full here.. I am also going to post Andrew Sullivan's latest from The Atlantic. It is more or less a response to Frank's and is very good. But here is Frank:

Obama Will Triumph — So Will America

Before he’d served even one year President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter -- are sticking with our President. Why?-- because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe, the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition – from both the right and left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling “prophecy”-- snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office-- none of which was his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries

# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and immoral

# The worst economic crisis since the depression

# America’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of prisoners of war

# A health care system in free fall

# An educational system in free fall

# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done nothing)

# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally irresponsible Bush administration…

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the President’s desk!

“Help” from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office -- do to “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist", was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies, child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won within virtually minuets of the President taking office, they’d been “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is stronger than any other president’s has been. Never that mind he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how "disappointed" they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond… “Governing”?! What the hell does that world, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics' ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality defining their ideas—say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office… twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community – in just 12 short months -- President Obama:

#Continued the draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Restored America’s image around the globe
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort to halt global warming
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants” needing to “water the tree of liberty”…
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those "disappointing" accomplishments -- IN ONE YEAR -- President Obama “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!

Who actually has failed...

...are the Americans that can’t see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, depending on your point of view) to everyone!

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president please pass this on and hang in there!

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of “Patience With God – Faith For People Who Don’t Like Religion (Or Atheism).”

Frank may be contacted at


Leslie Parsley said...

Annette: Wow! Thanks for posting this. Hope you don't mind but I put a link to your blog on Truth and will do likewise on Sue's. It is such a good read.

Leslie Parsley said...

Re Huff Post. Just since I've been blogging - about 6 months? - the HP has been going down hill. I recently wrote something about an article on Tiger Woods. It wasn't so much about him as the idiotic writer. In it I express my low admiration for Huffy and why.

Leslie Parsley said...

Well, I hate to hurt your feelings but I did go back and suggest folks go directly to Schaeffer's blog because of the Sullivan response. I'm sorry.

Leslie Parsley said...

I owe you one for pointing me to his blog. I have put him on my list. I think he's an incredible man even though he looks like one of those fire and brimstone circuit riders.

Annette said...

He was a fire and brimstone circuit rider.. until he woke up and got a real

He talks about it and isn't afraid to be very open about it.. He and his father were instrumental in starting what is now known as the "religious right" and he is very vocal in calling them out.. Because he says they have lost their way and they are not being very religious now, but mostly hypocritical.

Thanks Leslie.. I have posted him and linked to him before.. He is a huge supporter of the President and is a good man to quote when it comes to the Bible and anything religious.

You won't hurt my feelings.. I wanted this to sit here for a while before I confused anyone with Andrew's words.. I will post them in a bit.. so no problem at all.. I will post them in another hour or so.. just wanted everyone to see this first, then read Sully's.

Jerry Critter said...

Interesting post, Annette. Sometimes we lose sight of where we started and where we have gotten to in a short period of time.

Annette said...

Thank you for stopping by Jerry, yes, we do lose sight sometimes.. it's very easy to be negative and down in the mouth, but we should be reminded once in a while exactly what we started from and where we are now.. In just a very short time our President has accomplished a lot.. with a bunch of centrists to work with.. remember, he has done all this with Traitor Joe, Ben Nelson, Sen. Lincoln and Mary Landrieu. Plus a lot of other so called Blue Dog Democrats..

Sue said...

I really like listening to and reading Schaeffer, this was awesome Annette!!

Frank Schaeffer said...

Hi A: Frank Schaeffer here wishing you a Merry Christmas and grateful that you posted my op-ed for your readers. Thanks for the kind words and may 2010 be a lovely year for you. Frank

Distributorcap said...

i think you have a new fan - Mr Schaeffer (who by the way is terrific, like you)

Ron Henzel said...

Geologist Dr. David Gee, chair of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress and author of 130 plus peer reviewed papers said, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" (Dr. Gee is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.)

These and many, many quotes from scientists engaged in the climate debate can be read in the "U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk 'Consensus' in 2008 & 2009."

Even the most committed global warming kool aid pushers are now reduced to urging cap-and-trade policies as a form of "risk management" because the science has become so unsettled and questionable.