When Barack Obama overtook Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2008 many in politics asked how this freshman senator from Illinois could possibly be an effective president with so little experience.
We might, now, have the answer.
Not very easily.
What Obama lacks is that one quality Hillary has. She has been in the fray, both in Arkansas, and in Washington, for many years. She knows how the game is played and is under no illusion that there could ever be anything other than partisan politics, let alone "post-partisan politics" as Obama assured us.
He came to Washington with a child's fantasy that, by just being nice, he could get things done.
He quickly found out that the Republicans are not living in a fantasy world and were going to be anything but nice.
Time and again he tried to reach out to the Republicans and time and again they rejected his overtures. They co-opted Nancy Reagan and just said "no." Their stated objective, even on the night of his first victory, was to deny him a second term. They would do whatever it took to thwart him.
Despite that level of opposition Obama did manage to score some victories. He saved the economy (barel...y) with his stimulus and he kept the automakers from going out of business. He stopped "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", killed Osama Bin Laden and brought an end to our day to day involvement in Iraq.
And, much to the consternation of the Republicans, he was able to pass The Affordable Care Act and provide health care to millions of uninsured Americans.
But Obama is not a stupid man and he seems to have learned from his first term mistakes and acquired some of that experience that Hillary would have had on Day One.
This time around, in this latest crisis in Washington, it was Obama who said "no." The Republicans sent him a bill to fund the government with an amendment to defund his signature legislation.
He told them to go to hell. He said that he would not be blackmailed and would not allow the country to be taken hostage.
The Republicans thought he would cave and were surprised when he didn't. The country was partially shutdown at a cost of some 24 billion dollars.
Then came the tie-in to the debt ceiling. Again the Republicans thought Obama would give in but he held tough and, again, refused to waiver.
And it was the Republicans who were forced to cave in to the stark reality that allowing the country to default on its' Constitutional obligations would not only harm The Republic in a time of a fragile economic recovery but would damage their "brand", possibly irreparably.
It is because of all of the above that I find it laughably ludicrous for some Republicans to claim that it is because of President Obama that the government was closed and that veterans couldn't visit their monuments and that military families couldn't get their survivor's benefits among many other stories of hardship surfacing as a result of the closure.
It was not Obama that caused the problem. It was the Republicans led by the despicable, opportunistic Ted Cruz of Texas.
He knew, after 40 plus attempts in the past to defund Obamacare, a lost election run, in large part, on that issue and a Supreme Court ruling upholding the law, that his attempt to hijack the funding bill was a non-starter and a no-win.
Obama may be arrogant and aloof and a progressive liberal. He may be in favor of legislation that will expand entitlements and grow our insane national debt.
He may be a black man in a white political world and he may have an agenda beyond what we see.
He may have disappointed many, this writer included.
It is okay to dislike him, even to hate him.
But it is disingenuous, at the very least, to suggest that it is his fault that we came so perilously close to default today and caused so many in this country so much pain and anxiety.
The Republicans, for five years, refused to play fair ball. The Republicans tied a desire to destroy Obamacare to a spending bill in an unwinnable strategy.
The Republicans say "no" and then whine when Obama says it back.
The Democrats, over the years, have been responsible for some shenanigans and some disastrous policies in Washington. That's an unfortunate given.
But when you think of what the Republicans have been responsible for over the past 40 years (Watergate, Iran-Contra, the 2000 election, The War in Iraq, The Wall Street Meltdown of '07...), the Democrats failures pale by comparison.
If Obama is responsible for anything it is for standing up to the cowards and bullies on the extreme Right.
To that I say, "It's about friggin' time...!" (I actually said the other "F" word but this is a family blog after all...)
Oh...and by the way...thank you for saving the country.