Prose Before Hos’ “Best Of The Rest” In 2012

Best Of Rest 2012 Cover Photo


Please see our 2012 Person of the Year here.

President Barack Obama

Best Of Rest 2012 Barack Obama

We believed in Barack Obama when he said we were the ones we were waiting for in 2008.

But in 2012, we were still waiting. When “shovel-ready”, we learned, didn’t always mean “shovel-ready”. Unemployment still hovered in the 7’s%. That iconic Obama “Hope” poster? Donated to a museum. By lobbyists.

And “Change” looked a lot like the same old. To liberals, the change was too slow. Obama achieved healthcare reform, yes, but he compromised too much with a Republican party he did not need to compromise with.

To conservatives, the change was too great. Obama flirted with socialism as he expanded government in an unprecedented spending spree. He was a black Jimmy Carter who kowtowed to foreign leaders and forgot America’s greatness.

Best Of Rest 2012 Obama Bow

But Mitt Romney couldn’t buy “likability”. And he couldn’t hide “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-eds from Michigan and Ohio TV rooms.

Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson couldn’t shake Middle Class Americans’ core feeling: we like the guy. We re-elected President Obama to a Nate Silver-forecast electoral landslide (332-206).

* * * * * * *

We don’t give Obama enough credit. Or maybe Obama doesn’t do it himself.

One of the great early mysteries of the Obama Presidency is why the master orator cannot trumpet his own accomplishments. Obama The President still speaks well. Magnificently, even. But the content is muddled. True, “Stimulus Package” and “fiscal cliff” don’t roll off the tongue as easily. And it’s easier to attack by speech than to defend.

But Obama lost something when he assumed office. The man of Change changed. He lost the vim and vigor that inspired Americans in the first place. He teased liberals with old swagger every so often. Obama shushed Republicans with a simple “I won” in the early weeks of his presidency. He finally rammed healthcare reform through. But those were rare outbursts in an otherwise cerebral presidency.

It’s as though Obama thought he could stop campaigning when he became president. Less than one out of ten Americans knew they received a tax cut under President Obama, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll. One third thought their taxes rose. One-fifth of Americans (and climbing) believe Obama is a Muslim.

Best Of Rest 2012 Obama Muslim

“Democrats don’t know how to celebrate,” quipped retired Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd. The president led one of the most unheralded first terms in modern political history. He cautiously steers our nation out of the Great Recession while a hapless Congress fiddles as Athens burns. He ended the Iraq War, our nation’s third-longest, in 2011, and will end the Afghan War, our longest, in 2014. He ensured Americans could not be dropped for a pre-existing medical condition—not because it was politically-convenient, but because it was right.

But each time the volume was dialed down. The achievements were met not with fervent applause but relieved sighs. The bills were water-downed, wonkish thousand pagers after months of Washington grind-it-out gridlock.

Best Of Rest 2012 Boehner Pelosi

But President Obama achieved all this while having to tangle with an extreme-right Republican party, the likes of which Washington had never seen before. Where “compromise” was a dirty word. Where believing in man-made Global Warming and evolution were disqualifiers (See: Huntsman, Jon).

But timing was always President Obama’s thing. And if 2008 was about “Change”, 2012 was about “Changing Demographics.” Obama presided over an inflection point in American demographics. He presided over a 2010s when America’s minorities and youth voters discovered they weren’t such a minority anymore.

Obama ushered in a younger, more liberal Supreme Court that will cement a women’s right to choose, and a gay man or woman’s right to marry whom they wish.

Because “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”. Because “GM is alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead!” Because timing was always his thing, President Obama is our Person Of The Year Runner-Up.

Runner Up #2: Malala Yousafzai

Fifteen months ago, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban on a school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Fifteen months later, it is the Taliban silenced as Malala Yousafzai blossoms into a global ambassador for education.

Best Of Rest 2012 Malala Yousafzai

Runner Up #3: Psy

In 2002, the Korean citizen Park Jae-sang smashed a stage to protest the American military. In 2012, the Korean artist known as Psy taught Britney Spears the “Gangnum Style” dance on Ellen’s stage.

The difference ten years and 1,049,094,923 Youtube views makes.

Psy made “Gangnam Style” to immortalize the glitz and glamor of Korea’s Beverly Hills. “Gangnam Style” made Psy a music immortal.

MTV hailed Psy as the first artist to parlay a YouTube video into global superstardom. The Yale Book of Quotations named “Oppa Gangnam Style!” as one of 2012’s quotes of year.

Next up for Psy? A follow-up video. In English.

* * * * * * *

Honorable Mention: The 47%, Big Data, Felix Baumgarter (Red Bull 24-Mile-Up-Sky-Diver), James Bond in Skyfall, The Higgs Boson Particle, Hillary Clinton, Xi Jinping, Marissa Mayer, Nate Silver, Kate Upton, Ai Weiwei

Dishonorable Mention: The 2nd Amendment, Sheldon Adelson, Bashar al-Assad, Citizen’s United, Congressional Deadlines, Mohamed Morsi, Greece, Replacement Refs, The Republican Debates, Mitt Romney

Special Category: North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un

Best Of Rest 2012 Kim Jong Un

A Chinese newspaper falsely reported the North Korean dictator was selected People Magazine’s 2012 Sexiest Man Alive (not actor Channing Tatum). A month later, North Korea’s state-run Korea News Service announced Time Magazine named Kim Jong Un as 2012’s Person of the Year (not President Obama).


From The PBH NetworkHot On The Web
Hot On The Web