One of the most irritating things about discussing Obama's presidency with a Republican is their complete denial of the almighty mess George W. Bush left the country in after his departure in 2008.
According to your average conservative, Obama should have been able to restore the economy after the worst crash in a century, sew up the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with all objectives met, and create a booming middle class.
Here was Richard Wolffe reminding Republicans exactly who wrecked the country in the first place, and who has had to clean it up:
From the rise of Isis to mass surveillance; from tax cuts for the wealthy to immigration reform; from the excesses of Wall Street to the struggles of Main Street; this election is taking place in a country that is still torn apart by the Bush years.
Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s hyperkinetic first chief of staff, liked to say that President Bush had left them a ribbon-wrapped gift of a shit sandwich: two wars, the worst recession in living memory and a disastrous international reputation.
But Bush also left them a path out from his own colossal disasters: the massive government bailout of the financial sector, and a Federal Reserve prepared to take unprecedented measures to bankroll the global economy. A drone war to kill terrorist targets without boots on the ground, and a more stable Iraq that could allow for a US withdrawal.
Of course Obama's efforts to undo this mess have been hamstrung by Republican intransigence at literally every turn. From his stimulus package to health care and closing Guantanamo Bay, Republicans have done their utmost to ensure the economy continues to falter, Americans continue to go broke because of health care bills, and the country's international reputation remains badly damaged because of an illegal prison outpost where suspected enemies have been detained often without cause, and tortured.
The most amazing part of all of this is the Republican belief that all the nation's problems can be fixed with massive tax cuts for the rich and not much else. Their foreign policy proposals consist of doing exactly what Obama is already doing (but with more bombs!), and with no means to pay for it.
Trying to convey this to a person who likely gets the majority of their information from Fox News is akin to trying to convince an oil tycoon that their business is bad for the environment.
But the facts remain: George W. Bush was amongst the most disastrous presidents in America's history, and we are still all paying the price for it.
Americans could elect another Republican running on a platform of more tax cuts for the rich and a more antagonistic foreign policy, or they could do the smart thing and elect a leader who actually considers facts before acting, and isn't wedded to an bankrupt ideology that outlived it's use 30 years ago.