The star of the CNN primetime Republican presidential debate last week was Barack Obama--not Donald Trump. President Obama was attacked more than any candidate actually running for president. He was attacked 38 percent more times than Trump, and almost twice as many times as Hillary Clinton. Although Obama is not running for president, the Republican field is still running against him.
The Republican presidential candidates and other Republican Party leaders hate President Obama, but, really, they should love him . . . or at least like him very much. President Obama, as a centrist Democrat, has been rather supportive of many Republican ideas and policies.
The candidates seemed eager to issue commands to wage war on terrorists, but somehow they forgot that President Obama has been doing that already. The Obama administration has killed many terrorist leaders including one named Osama bin Laden. The administration has been waging what might be called "drone wars" against terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports, "More [drone] strikes were launched during President Obama's first year in office than during both terms of the Bush presidency." The Obama administration has continued and intensified many of the Bush administration's War-on-Terror policies. Any Republican who supports the War on Terror should support the Obama administration.
Listening to the Republican presidential candidates, one would assume that entering into the United States unlawfully from Mexico is as easy as crossing a street in the United States. The fact of the matter is that we have never had more agents on the Southwest border than today. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection also has instituted the use of drones to monitor the Southwest border. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 421,000 people in 2013 [PDF], up from 340,000 in 2011. Obama has been denounced as "the deportation president" by the head of the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization for the high number of unauthorized-immigrant removals under the Obama administration. If Republicans want a "deportation president," they already have one--Barack Obama.
Obamacare should be celebrated by the Republican Party, not attacked. After all, it is essentially the Republican Mitt Romney's Romneycare scaled up to a national level. And the root of Romneycare appears to be a proposal from the conservative Heritage Foundation. ObamaRomneycare is succeeding better than anyone imagined. The Census Bureau reports that "the largest percentage point decline in the uninsured rate" in recent years occurred from 2013 to 2014. The Republican Party could claim this success, but to do so they would have to be willing to share credit with President Obama.
Republicans love cutting taxes. President Obama has been a serious tax cutter. More than a third of the 2009 America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the Obama economic stimulus) was tax cuts. These tax cuts were followed, in 2010, with Obama extending the George W. Bush tax cuts for two more years. In 2013, Obama made the Bush-Obama tax cuts permanent for all but the very richest Americans. The Heritage Foundation called the permanent extension of these tax cuts "unquestionably an important victory."
It is true that not everything that Obama has done is in line with Republican ideals. But this is not the point. The Republican Party lost the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. The question is would they rather have a centrist Democrat like Barack Obama who can support some of their policies or a left-leaning Democrat who would likely oppose most of them. Republicans should be very happy to have Barack Obama as president.
Algernon Austin is the author of America Is Not Post-Racial: Xenophobia, Islamophobia, Racism, and the 44th President which analyses the reasons behind the hatred of Barack Obama.