Obama’s Presidency: Reviewing the Effectiveness and Influence of the Obama Administration [OPINION]
The 2007 Democratic nomination was Hillary Clinton’s to lose. Clearly the favorite, she was guaranteed the nomination unless an amazing force was to appear out of nowhere. By mid-2008, then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois had become that very force.
The 2008 Democratic primary election has often been compared to the 1960 election, where the favorite, Lyndon B. Johnson, lost the nomination to the amazing strength of the John F. Kennedy campaign. Barack Obama took the nomination and ran with it, becoming the 44th President of the United States – the first African American to hold the office. As his time in the White House comes to a close, we take a look back at his presidency. As the old homage goes, hindsight is 20/20.
President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Right away he promoted and passed an $800 billion stimulus package to revamp the economy. Two of every three Americans approved of the new President, a higher starting rate than both Presidents Clinton and Bush.
President Obama’s first 100 days in office have been compared to those of FDR in terms of activity and productivity. President Obama signed executive orders that closed military proceedings at Guantanamo Bay, and demanded that the Department of Transportation make an active effort to improve fuel efficiency. He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act of 2009, which changed the statute of limitations of equal pay, along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, which expanded insurance coverage.
In February of 2010, President Obama passed an executive order, creating the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, giving both parties a voice and responsibility in handling fiscal matters. His role as Commander-in-chief led to the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. He also ended military involvement in Iraq and signed the New Start nuclear arms Treaty, an extension of Reagan’s START, with Russian.
It was during this time that the BP oil rig exploded, and the Benghazi attack of the United States Embassy occurred. President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were criticized for their handling of the BP situation in the gulf, and many of the Americans saw them at fault for the deaths of United States soldiers and diplomats in Benghazi.
The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary marred the beginning of Obama’s second term, leading to a call for reformation of national gun laws. 2013 saw President Obama call for immigration reform, a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.
The same year, the federal government shut down, as Republicans were trying to defund the Affordable Care Act. President Obama then signed legislation to end the shut-down and raise the debt ceiling. President Obama then announced a deal with Iran to freeze their nuclear weapons in return for lighter sanctions. The deal was highly criticized, and combined with the healthcare.gov disaster, President Obama’s approval rating was the lowest it had ever been at 41%.
President Obama opened 2014 by calling ISIS a junior varsity-level terrorist group, for which he later received great criticism, and signed an executive order increasing minimum wage for federal employees. When video of the ISIS beheading of a journalist surfaced, President Obama denounced the murder and returned to the golf course. To make matters worse, in the state elections, Republicans took over the House and Senate in Washington, making President Obama’s second term virtually impossible to pass what he and fellow Democrats wanted.
Next, President Obama proposed that students should receive two years of tuition-free education from community colleges around the country, vetoed the Republican bill to fund the Keystone Pipeline, and the Supreme Court recognized the right to gay marriage nationwide.
Putting It All Together:
The Obama Administration seemed to draw more criticism than any other presidency in recent memory, but his leadership in a time of economic strife, and his great oratory abilities put the American public at ease and allowed the country to get back on track.
This article has been full of legislation, executive orders, tragic events, and the changing of the political landscape under his presidency, all of which can be easily found on a Google search. All of these events, with their effects on the economy and country as a whole, are what allow us to analyze the overall success of his presidency.
President Obama has created an average of just over 1.3 million jobs annually. The Dow Jones is at around 17,000 – for comparison, it was approximately 8,000 when he was elected. Unemployment is down from 8% to 6%. We now have a positive GDP growth, rather than negative as it was when he took office. Aside from the economy, Obama has also made other positive changes during his tenure such as: 90% of citizens have healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act, the war in Iraq has ended, fuel efficiency standards have heightened, and the auto industry has been improved.
Every president receives his fair share of criticism. However despite all that President Obama has accomplished and the way that he has guided this country out of the Great Recession, he still has unparalleled amounts of criticism regarding his presidency.
History will serve President Obama well. He will go down as one of the better presidents in the history of the United States, not only because of his successes, but also because of the magnitude of those successes with a Republican Congress and a Senate in his second term. Though the Republican Party has seemed to refuse to work with President Obama in nearly every capacity possible, the country is certainly in a better place than when he was inaugurated, no doubt due to the man’s undying effort and commitment to the American people.
What are your opinions of Obama’s term as POTUS? Please share your thoughts below.