A salute to the Obama era

As President Obama joked on Jimmy Fallon’s show not long ago, “How do you like me now?”

Well, pretty good, the polls show. Especially as we ponder what comes next.

As Michelle and Barack elegantly and eloquently exit the Democratic convention this week, let’s salute what they brought to the White House: eight years of class, grace and steely determination to overlook and overcome critics, nay-sayers and haters.

Obama saved the economy from a depression, saved the auto industry, saved the banking system, reformed Wall Street, ended one war, wound down another, saved thousands of military lives, killed Osama, cut the federal deficit, pushed through a better health care system, took on climate change and presided over lower unemployment and a booming stock market.

If a Republican had done it, Congress would be carving his likeness on Mount Rushmore.

The President had to do it all without Republicans lifting a finger to help.

Eight years ago, when the economy was about to collapse, candidate Obama listened to the pleas of President Bush and Henry Paulsen and lent his support to a bipartisan rescue bill. Republicans repaid the favor by vowing to oppose anything and everything he proposed, no matter the damage to the country.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Plus, the Obamas did it with no hint of Oval Office hanky-panky, no stories of vase-throwing First Family fights and no tabloid photos of underage First Daughters boozing it up in a Georgetown bar.

We were lucky that our first black President and his family had the inner strength to stoically endure an astonishing level of mindless hatred at the very idea of a black family in the White House. Think Jackie Robinson in politics.

One day the Obamas will get their due credit. They deserve it.

Gary Pearce is a veteran N.C. Democratic strategist writing on the 2016 conventions.