President Obama

Is There A Pilot On Board?

Steve Benen and historian Michael Beschloss on the Guggenheim documentary and the scale of the disaster the president inherited.

When the narration tells viewers, "Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president," that's not hyperbole. Given that FDR "only" had to deal with the Great Depression, and Obama inherited a financial crisis and two wars, Michael Beschloss has argued that Obama's job was actually harder than anything any incoming president had to deal with in modern American history.

Put it this way: Obama entered the cockpit of a plane that was crashing, and managed to gain altitude, slowly but surely. As easy as it is to complain about the ongoing turbulence, the point of videos like these is to remind folks that the nose isn't pointed down anymore.

No, the president didn't handle it exactly the way you wanted him to (not you "you," but "you" in the figurative progressive sense). But as I wrote in The Daily Banter this week, there's no denying that the president prevented a deeper crash and has, in a very brief period of time, turned the disaster into a steady recovery. That's big and it's historic.