President Barack Obama has been in office for just under two years. Twenty-three months.
As the clock runs out on this first half-term (not full term mind you) he has already pushed through sweeping healthcare reforms that eluded Democrats for decades.
His administration changed radically the system for student loans, widening the pool of low-income Americans who can go to college and ending a shameful big-bank giveway.
He used Roosevelt-era liberal economic strategies to pull the country back from the brink of fiscal apocalypse.
And in the process passed dramatic financial reforms, reversing a generation of Reagan-era deregulation, which includes the first-time creation of a new consumer protection agency for investors.
He also pushed through a tax plan with Republicans that is, in fiscal terms, extraordinarily liberal.
Yes, it eschewss taxing the rich, but it also maintains high levels of spending and cash give-aways (in the form of payroll tax holidays and unemployment payments) to lower- and middle-income workers.
Put bluntly, this is the $800 billion dollar stimulus many progressives were demanding, albeit with some strings attached.
As I write, the Obama White House is a single Senate vote away from repealing Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell.
Obama deftly deployed his top military commanders to help reform a policy that progressives — especially in the gay and lesbian community — have loathed for seventeen years.
Yes, anti-war activists are, reasonably enough, impatient with Obama’s slow timetable for withdrawing from Afghanistan and Iraq.
But it’s also fair to point out that Obama made it clear from the beginning of his election campaign that a quick withdrawal was off the table.
And on the peacenik front, he also used his first two years to negotiate an ambitious START nuclear arms treaty with the Russians..
The plan, which has a good chance of passing during this lame-duck session, would dramatically reduced the number of nuclear warheads in the world, and lessen the danger of arms proliferation.
For the under-30 crowd, that might elicit a shrug. But for people like me who grew up in the Cold War era, that will feel like a huge accomplishment, if Obama can win ratification.
To be sure, there is plenty in these first two years for everyone to be cranky about. None of these policy victories were pure or unadulterated by compromise.
And they didn’t trigger the turn-on-a-dime economic recovery that some Americans hoped for.
But in the end, conservatives were forced to give ground on nearly every front, from government spending to conservative social policies.
It strikes me that if anyone has a reason to complain, it is the tea party crowd, not the MoveOn.orgers.
So here’s a question for our liberal readers: Was it enough? If not, what more did you expect from Mr. Obama in his first two years?