Election 2012

On Day 36, "90 Days, 90 Reasons" Runs Out of Reasons to Re-Elect Obama

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We've told you before about 90 Days, 90 Reasons, the website launched by literary darling Dave Eggers. Today, we're laying the project to rest.

Ideologically, 90 Days, 90 Reasons was a mess from the very beginning. Eggers praised Obama for being a peacenik, even though that is not true. Shortly thereafter, film critic Roger Ebert submitted the patently false claim that "President Obama faced down the GOP and the health industry to finally reform American healthcare."

Things went further awry when Jesse Eisenberg reported that he was being held captive in Mongolia. This was really troubling for Eisenberg, because if it were up to him, "I'd never leave my apartment and, more specifically, the bedroom area." However, his captors were nice enough to put him up in a yurt with a wireless connection and a Michelin rated tapas place downstairs, from which Eisenberg hunt-and-pecked this gem: "I think Barack Obama is a good leader for our diverse country because he's seen how the world lives." 

Things got more surreal from there. Eggers recruited a rock star to write: "Finally!!! Sweet justice! A real live person is our president! Who has a real live family and a loving relationship with his wife! A president that does not seem like an evil robot!!!"

Until recently, I was willing to say this for the project: Every entry prior to the above was, at the very least, distinct from the inane bullshit that came before it.

Now, 90 Days, 90 Reasons is simply recycling previous days' affirmations. 

Par example

Day 1: Obama is the first president in U.S. history to acknowledge the right of gay couples to marry and enjoy the full benefits of marriage in the eyes of the law.

Sample sentence: "My sister Megan is married to one of the most wonderful women I have ever met. Her name is Amber." 

Day 18: Mitt Romney opposes marriage equality.

Sample sentence: "My cousin, who not long ago retired from a career in the Episcopalian ministry, is gay, is out, has been out for a long time." 

Day 21: President Obama promotes an openness that his opponent hopes to quash.

Sample Sentence: "A friend recently told me a story about a gay woman who, for over a decade, was in a loving and committed relationship."

I suspect all of the above authors truly mean it when they say they have gay friends whose lives suddenly seemed less bad the moment Obama stopped whipping gay America with a giant wire hanger, pulled it close, and said, "Stop crying, baby. I've evolved," because symbolic actions sometimes lead to actual actions. 

But there is a problem with these testimonials, and it is not that none of the authors above is, uh, gay, or that Obama's advocacy on behalf of the GLBT community is as tepid as it is recent. It is that Dave Eggers promised us 90 Days, 90 Reasons to re-elect Obama, and what he's giving us is 90 Days, Half a Dozen Reasons Obama Helps Rich Straight People Feel Less Bad About Their Own Privilege.

Days 3 (written by a man) and 11 (a woman) are both about what Obama has done for women; Days 9 and 16 are about the things Obama has done to help at-risk youth; Days 17, 22, 23, and 28 are about how rich Republicans hate poor people; Days 32 and 33 are about how Obama, despite his record deportation numbers, loves immigrants; Days 7, 8, and 24 are about how Obama, despite his propensity for charring Muslim children, is a foreign policy whiz. The days I haven't mentioned specifically are mostly about how Obama is just better; the words "Supreme Court" appear in various entries so often that you'd think Chief Justice John Roberts had voted to strike down Obamacare. 

And today's entry? Well, Reason 36 ("Mitt Romney plans to remove regulations on air and water quality and cut off funding for the National Labor Relations Board") sounds a lot like Reason 27 ("Romney wants to nullify the Environmental Protection Agency's power to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.") 

In its initial two weeks, I wondered if the biggest problem with 90 Days, 90 Reasons is that it's being written by people who stopped having their assistants read the news to them three years ago. Now I wonder if there just aren't 90 solid, Team Blue reasons to re-elect Obama.