I've never been a huge fan of "The Departed." It's a good movie, but I think it pales in comparison to Martin Scorcese's better films, movies like "Goodfellas", "Casino", and "Raging Bull."
But "The Departed" does contain one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. Coincidentally, it's a line that President Barack Obama has used on the campaign trail. It's the scene where state police and the FBI are conducting a stakeout, but they lose sight of the suspect they're tracking because they failed to put enough cameras in the building they're staking out.
Mark Wahlberg's character shouts, "Unbelievable! Who put the (expletive) cameras in this place?" The camera tech responds "Who the (expletive) are you?" to which Wahlberg replies "I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy!"
I think of this line all the time, especially when I hear conservatives mock President Obama by asking the question "How's that 'Hope & Change' working out for you?"
"Hope and Change" was Barack Obama's campaign slogan in 2008. But as the recession dug in and unemployment skyrocketed during Obama's first term in office, it was oftentimes used as a derogatory dig at the president. There were bumper stickers. There were blog posts. In 2010, Sarah Palin famously asked a Tea Party convention, "How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?"
Well, Sarah, we're now six years and counting into Barack Obama's presidency, and I have to tell you: That hopey-changey stuff is working out great! Of course, I say that as someone who reads the news and pays attention to the President's accomplishments. And to channel Mark Wahlberg in "The Departed," you... must be the other guy?
Let me remind you of a few of this President's accomplishments, and then let's ask ourselves again how that "hopey-changey" stuff is working out......
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the U.S. economy was struggling. Economic growth was at a 26-year low. The economy had just suffered its worst year since the Depression. I hoped that would change. And guess what? It has. By December of 2014, economic growth was at an 11 year-high. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.8%. By October of that year, it had soared to 10%. I hoped that would change, too, and it has. Today, the U.S. unemployment rate is 5.5%. Again, how's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, consumer confidence was at its lowest level since the inception of the Consumer Confidence index in 1967. It stood at just 37.7%. I hoped that would change, and it has. Under President Obama, consumer confidence has soared to an 11-year high. It currently stands at 96.1%. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the American auto industry was on the ropes. GM and Chrysler were headed for bankruptcy. I hoped that would change, and it has. Today, U.S. auto sales are at a 14-year high. Chrysler was up 32% in May, and GM just reported its best month since August, 2008. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the U.S. housing market was also on the ropes. New home sales were at an all-time low, and I hoped that would change. It has. Today, new home sales are at their highest level since 2008. Existing home sales have increased year-over-year for 8 consecutive months, to a six-year high. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the United States was hooked on foreign oil, as it had been for decades. I hoped this would change, as America's addiction to foreign oil had gotten us into a couple of wars that probably weren't in our best interests. And you know what? It has changed. Today, domestic energy production is at an all-time high in America, clean energy production has doubled, and the United States is the world's #1 producer of oil and gas. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, America's global approval rating was in the toilet, as Pew Research points out in its "Global Public Opinion in the Bush Years" survey. Just 53% of Brits had a favorable view of the United States, down from 83% in 2000. Only 31% of Germans approved of the United States, down from 78%. In short, even our closest allies hated us. I hoped that would change, and it has. Confidence in President Obama has soared to 88% in Germany, and global approval stands at 55%, compared to just 26% under George W. Bush. How's that for change?
In 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the world was a dangerous place for U.S. diplomats. Much of the world despised us, and American dignitaries were a popular - and easy - target. In fact, under President George W. Bush, thirteen American consulates and embassies were attacked between 2000 and 2009, resulting in more than 60 deaths. I hoped that would change, and it has. Since President Obama took office, only three U.S. consulates and embassies have been attacked, resulting in seven deaths. That's seven too many, for sure, but let's be realistic - it's also a vast improvement from the previous administration, and further proof that our embassies and diplomats are safer and more secure today than at any point since 9/11. How's that for change?
Back home in the United States, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, nearly 16% of Americans had no healthcare insurance. That's a total of 48 million Americans! I hoped that would change, and it has. Today, the number of Americans without health insurance is at its lowest level on record. How's that for change?
Last but not least, I have many friends and family in the LGBT community. These are decent, caring, hard-working Americans who love their country and love one another. But in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, their love was recognized in just two states: Massachusetts and Connecticut. That's right - same-sex marriage was legal in only two states!
I hoped that would change, and it has. Today, finally, same-sex marriage is recognized in all 50 states. Gays and lesbians now enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of us, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is no longer a privilege that applies to only some Americans.
So getting back to the question, how's that "hopey-changey stuff" working out for me? It's working out fine, thank you very much! The U.S. economy is back, unemployment is down, housing is up, the American auto industry is killing it, domestic energy production is at an all-time high, more Americans have healthcare insurance now than at any time on record, gays and lesbians are free to marry whomever they want, wherever they want, and the world loves us for it! Things couldn't be better.
But again, I say that as someone who reads the news and actually pays attention to the President's accomplishments. That's what I do. That's who I am.
You must be the other guy?