A feature of the Barack Obama era has been the preponderance of bumper stickers still hailing the President. Some you can notice are as far back as 2008 vintage. My usual practice is to remove strips immediately after the election and usually only the supporters of the losing candidate keep them on.
They are a reminder that despite Obama's current problems there are those that stand by his views. More than any candidate in memory, Obama has stood as a unique force. In many cases his campaigns have assumed the character of a movement representing almost a cultural rather than a political cause. For an incumbent he still appeals to the faithful, which is unusual for a President finishing five years in office.
Throughout his relatively short time on the political stage, Obama has had an iconic presence. From his speech in 2004 from the Fleet Center to his second inaugural, he has represented a profound change in attitudes and a radical cultural shift.
Indeed the agenda of "social liberals" has nearly been realized in its totality. Gay marriage, considered as electorally toxic to all that embraced it, has broken through in a profound way. From the repudiation of "don't ask don't tell" to the Supreme Court decision against the Defense of Marriage Act, state after state has capitulated.
With the addition of New Mexico and Utah, the list gets longer. These were done without approval from the state legislations - because the Supreme Court was comprehensive in its decision. Wonder why Chris Christie folded his hand in New Jersey? Because his lawyers recognized reality.
Much of this is because Obama's justice department gave no aid to states opposing gay marriage, and the first blow against the military, to abandoning DOMA. The President displayed a subtleness unappreciated by his critics. Like Abraham Lincoln, who saw first slavery outlawed in the District of Columbia in April 1862 - before engaging in the Emancipation push. Finally he got a 13th amendment outlawing slavery altogether.
Add on some shifts in how the government handles the economy from industrial policy to healthcare and once more Obama's hidden hand comes into play. Let the chirping birds in the broadcast media talk about a failed presidency, although they should know better. Unlike Bill Clinton, whose proudest achievement was survival, Obama has left a mark.
Perhaps the reason Obama never receives quite his due credit is that some progressives have their minds in another time. This is not the industrial age of steel and steam, it is a time of technology. "Shovel ready" and the picture of blue collar sleeves rolled up is not the reality of America in 2014. Obama has changed the face of the United States in a profound fashion.
For a man who has allegedly not seen his potential realized, Obama has done plenty. The traditional family right has been crushed, with the crusade against abortion as their only issue. The record is clear but the critics drone on.