Barack Obama has been a good president, and I’m proud to have voted for him twice.

Some on the left are angry with the president for not having done enough to advance a progressive agenda. I understand their frustration, but I think they miss the point. The president has to govern the country as it is, not the country those on the left wish we had.

We live in an era that celebrates greed and avarice, hallmarks of modern conservatism stripped of its ideological niceties. The president has done as much as any Democratic president could have done, given the opposition he has faced in Congress, the courts, media and civil society.

One may disagree with Obama’s policy agenda, but the man is a model of moral rectitude. There have been no shameful scandals, corruption, and embarrassing indiscretions in the Obama White House. A modest achievement, perhaps, but compared to the regrettable episodes of previous administrations, Obama’s temperance stands out.

The gap between Obama “the man” and Obama “the caricature” that Republicans love to hate could not be wider. Despite the president’s consistently commendable conduct, he has suffered, with characteristic dignity and equanimity, years of baseless accusations, innuendo and rumor. The fact that the president is a man of good moral character only makes his opponents more hostile to him. They see in Obama a decency they don’t themselves possess and they resent him for it, as if their personal deficiencies were his fault and not their own.

Chris McKinnon


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