A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency


A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency

Barack Obama: A skinny kid with a funny name.

Back in January of 2008, I was a 17 year old who would turn 18 years old in September, just in time to vote in my first ever United States Presidential Election.

I was excited. I payed attention to the 2004 election(And BARELY engaged in the 2000 election), but this was the first election I engaged in, and researched issues. I truly felt independent from my parents', and friends' thinking. I already had in mind, I was going to vote for Hillary Clinton, since she was bound to win the 2008 Democratic Nomination.

That was, until, this skinny "black kid" with a funny name came along. Barack Osama Bin Laden? Wait, what was it? Oh, Barack OBAMA. Now I know...

The 2008 Nomination, and Election

A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency

The 2008 Democratic Nomination was arguably the most contested, grueling, and controversial Democratic nomination of all time. If you thought the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton nomination in 2016 was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. It was extremely close, there was fighting during the debates, the supporters were split on the candidates, and it was racially divided. Hillary Clinton had a coalition made of the "Limousine Liberals", who were largely Caucasian whites, and she did well among Latinos. Barack Obama did well with downscale Democrats in general, but especially among African-Americans, who were the backbone to his nomination win.

After Obama won the nomination, many Democrats were worried he wouldn't beat John McCain(The Republican nominee), since the Democratic party was split in half. However, Obama ended up beating McCain comfortably. Why? Here are the main reasons. 1. George W. Bush was a Republican, and it was time for a Republican to take over for eight years. 2. Bush Jr.'s approval rating was very low-Even Republicans wanted change. 3. Many people voted for Obama because he was considered the first "African-American" president, even though he is bi-racial, and grew up among white people. 4. Obama was charismatic, and many people vote on emotions, and not issues, or logic.

Obama's first term-January, 2009-January, 2013.

A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency

First of all, this should be noted: It is worth remembering that there were just two years out of the eight when the Obama presidency and the Democratic-controlled Congress worked in lockstep; and that those were years dominated at home by the huge and negative impact on the economy of the 2008 financial crisis — on employment and on house ownership in particular — and abroad by the winding down of the Iraq War and the promise of the Arab Spring. During those first two years, the Obama administration’s policies at home and abroad did indeed seem a breath of fresh air — at least to progressives — when set against the domestic and foreign policy stances of the Bush administration with which progressives had been so dissatisfied. To progressives at home and to many observers abroad, the incoming administration seemed to offer the possibility of a new, and a better, American beginning — the opening of a route to a twenty-first century equivalent of FDR’s New Deal.
But, of course, it did not work out that way.

The wars unfortunately did not end, but I won't go into that detail right now. Back in the United States, after a broadly successful long and bruising political battle, administration initiatives on Wall Street reform and on the Affordable Care Act were followed in very quick order by the Republican recapture of the House of Representatives and a turn to the politics of gridlock. From 2010 (when Republicans took the House) and 2014 (when they also took the Senate) any further progressive moves at home became increasingly difficult for the Obama administration to deliver. Mix in a Supreme court willing to strike down part of the ACA and to allow corporations unfettered access to political lobbying, and the Obama administration found itself increasingly isolated and impotent. It found itself blocked on the core of its progressive agenda by Congressional intransigence; and it found any extensive use of executive privilege for progressive purposes blocked by a conservative Supreme Court.
Blocked in this way, the priorities of the president and his administration then shifted. They shifted away from domestic policy to foreign affairs, where presidential autonomy is traditionally greater; and at home the administration became overwhelmingly concerned with protecting as much as it could of the legislative achievements of Obama’s first two years in office. And as his second term lengthened, Barack Obama increasingly turned his eyes forward: exploiting executive orders when the courts allowed him to, but otherwise using the publicity surrounding his office to regularly make the case for progressive change — an advocacy role which implicitly conceded just how much of his own agenda remained to be achieved, and just how much on his watch the progressive cause has been effectively stalled.

Obama's Second Term-January, 2013-January, 2017.

A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency

The 2012 Presidential Election was much closer than the 2008 election.

First of all, many of Obama's voters in 2008 were disappointed with him, and turned on him, to third-party candidates(Such as Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein), or decided to vote for Republican Nominee Mitt Romney. Second of all, Mitt Romney was a much more polarizing figure than John McCain. McCain was nice; Romney wasn't. Romney was on attack mode the entire time, and didn't go down without a fight. As a result, Romney lost, but he didn't lose by much(Electoral, or popular vote wise). Mitt Romney had a coalition of white voters, and was able to energize Caucasian Millennials, but Obama's coalition of minorities, and poverty-stricken whites was able to earn him a second term.

So, about this second term of Barack Obama. From gun control to immigration reform, and from Supreme Court nominees to the minimum wage, the Obama administration found itself during the President’s second term increasingly unable to deliver its legislative agenda. And if you doubt that, think only of some of what the President himself laid out as that agenda in his 2013 State of the Union Address, delivered before the entire Washington political class (and via television, the entire nation) - an agenda that the Washington political class then consistently failed to deliver.
Not everything, of course, was negative. As the second Obama term came to a close, real living standards did begin at last to rise again for the bulk of the American middle class, and the deepest recession in U.S. post-World War II history (the one that had cost more than seven million U.S. jobs between 2008 and 2010) had been replaced by more than 73 months of steady if modest job growth (some 12 million new jobs in total). But the deeper structural problems of the U.S. economy remained largely intact: not least the outsourcing of well-paid employment to cheaper labor markets abroad and the associated growth in the U.S. trade deficit, especially with China; the steady failure to invest sufficiently in existing infrastructure and in the new technologies of the digital age; the persistent gap in wealth and income between the privileged few and the numerous poor, with that gap overlaid by visible maps of ethnicity and race; and the continued spending of huge treasure on foreign wars and military deployments in a context of limited welfare and education budgets that nowhere nearly matched the scale of the US’s deficits on educational performance and urban renewal.

Likewise abroad, and for all the success in negotiating a nuclear-arms deal with Iran and a climate change accord in Paris (neither of which is likely to survive a Trump presidency), the Obama administration left its successors much the same legacy it was left by the administration of George W. Bush: an unresolved Palestinian question, an immersion in what now seems to be a state of permanent war in the Middle East, and (actually an extended) covert military machine deploying drone warfare in an expanded number of countries and covert operations in territory formally controlled by more than half of the globe’s sovereign nations. The president had gone to Cairo five months into his presidency seeking, as he put it, “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam...share common principles — of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” But that widely admired speech turned out to be simply another of those early statements of intent that failed later to gather policy traction. Indeed, on foreign policy more than domestic policy, the Obama desire for that new beginning is even further from attainment in 2016 than it had been in 2009.

Where Barack Obama went right: The desperate attempt to stimulate a struggling economy. Where Obama went wrong: Obamacare, and the Affordable Care Act. These were his best, and worst moments.

So, how do I feel about Barack Obama? The same way I felt about him as an 18 year old who voted for Ralph Nader: A lame duck. His lack of experience was a concern for me, and it showed in his presidency. However, he doesn't deserve the extreme criticism from his "haters" either. He had some good moments, and I felt he really did want to help at times. Compared to Bush Jr., he was a godsend. Compared to Bill Clinton, he was an embarrassment. I rank him as mediocre at best, but leaning towards weak. Granted, I don't see much hope for any strong political leaders anymore.

And that's all there is to say. Barring something unseen, Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States next week, and we need to give him a chance. I didn't vote for him, and I'm skeptical of him as well. Regardless of your views on Obama, his personality was likeable, and I enjoyed him being in office.

A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency

Farewell, Obama!

A Reflection on Barack Obama's Presidency
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Most Helpful Girl

  • Izumiblu
    This is nonsense, Obama inherited a problem of his own parties origin. THe Clinton era efforts to give easy access to sub prime loans and following efforts by Barney Frank and Andrew Cuomo is what paved the road for the housing bubble and collapse. Bush was just an idiot and allowed it to happen and rightly gets some blame for it. Obama's first mistake was focusing on the ACA and not focusing on tax reform and economic recovery which is why the congress turned to the republicans after the first two years. The supreme court isn't willing to strike down parts of the ACA, they are required to because they uphold law that congress creates... the same body that made the ACA architected it to be illegal. THe SCOTUS does not make law or create political institutions or create social welfare programs, that is not their mandate. The Citizens Unites was a disaster of a ruling... but the Supreme Court didn't create that beast, the congress did... and it is not a coincidence that congress has done nothing to change law.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • Anonymous
    Obama was a Chicago community organizer. At least 39 people have been shot across Chicago over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, leaving 10 dead. More shit will go down in DC on Friday during the Presidential Inauguration. Obama is in part responsible because of the way he mishandled Ferguson, MO.
    LikeDisagree 7 People
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • John_Doesnt
    An amazing president with a great vice president. He brought us so close to universal health care.
    So sad that it's gonna be destroyed in the next 4/8 years.
    LikeDisagree 16 People
    • I disagree with him being an "amazing" president. His health care act isn't helping at all, and is actually costing people MORE money. But as you saw in this take, I left it open-ended, and I admitted he did some good. His first term wasn't bad at all, but his second term was weak.

      In all fairness, we should give Donald Trump a chance (And I voted for Hillary Clinton).

    • Trump's first order of business is to remove Obamacare and he has no plans to replace it. At least Obama tried. The only reason he's had such a hard time is because of Republican controlling congress.
      We need universal health care and it was/is only the democrats who want to give it to us.

    • I'm not saying I agree with Trump's proposal to completely remove Obamacare, but universal health care is a major failure. My mom is a nurse, and I know several people in the medical field, and all of them have explained to me why this is a complete disaster.

      First off, universal health care creates exceptionally long waiting lists for care, since "everyone" has health care. Second of all, you won't necessarily get your choice for who you want to have for your physician (Since he/she may be booked). Third of all, as I've been told by my own doctor, co-payments would skyrocket with universal health care. We could see co-payment rates shoot up to 50 percent of what would have been your bill. So, if you get a surgery which would have cost $2,000, you would have to pay a $1,000 co-payment beforehand.

      I was like you at one time. I wanted universal health care, but after hearing it first hand from people in the medical field, it would be a disaster.

      And if you read my take, I already me

    • Show All
  • 1truekhaleesi
    He wasn't perfect but neither is any president. Personally, I think he was a good president. If I compare my family now to 8 years ago, we are much better off. If a majority are better off now than eight years ago, the president did his job. Meanwhile Republicans are trying to pass a bill that allows peaceful protesters to be killed by police. I will respect Trump, but I don't have to like him. That's nicer than what Republicans did for obama.
    • Funny enough, Donald Trump is actually a Democrat in disguise. He suddenly became a "Republican" in 2015.

    • That's what I thought was weird. He used to be a huge donator of Planned Parenthood. One part of me is saying, "oh god we're all going to die." The other part is saying, "it won't be so bad"

  • Metlahaed
    I will miss Obama, at least I get to watch the show from afar as Trump runs America.
    Disagree 3 People
  • echoaj
    Obama was a decent president. Coolest prez ever. He will be missed by many.
    Joe Biden is my boy.
    LikeDisagree 9 People
  • Iraqveteran666
    He was a major failure but his only success was creating a cult of celebrity around himself and his family.
    • This was a good honest take rather than the fan boy ones we usually see.
      He give bidden the medal of freedom and he was given the noble peace prize before he did anything. Boy those medals are really worthless.

  • Phoenix98
    Failure disgrace and a corrupt legacy, that's what he'll leave behind.
    Like 1 Person
    • Rissyanne

      Don't forget about the terrorist and the crazy traitor he's letting out of prison

    • Phoenix98

      @Rissyanne yeah those to.

  • lumberman9
    We'll see Obama wasn't bad although I don't find him to be amazing either, but now it'll be interesting these next four years
  • mostwomenshouldstfu
    The only thong Obama tried to teach me was I don't need to work hard to make it. End of story.
  • xDocilexFaeriex
    Bravo, Sir... I loved your take on Obama. Solid!
  • Anonymous
    Personally I though Obama wasn't an okay president and I don't understand why people don't like him. I will say he has the best personality of all presidents being the coolest. I know republicans too that'll miss him. If anything though I say George Bush was one of the biggest clowns to be in office but if I survived that then we can survive Trump.
  • Anonymous
    Thank god it's finally over I'm so tired of hearing about the Obama family when all they did was spend money, hover around media and cause more problems for the poor families of America which is where a large portion of our troops come from these days. At least Bill didn't bullshit us so much
    Like 2 People
  • Anonymous
    The Republicans decided early on to block everything they could and obstruct everything they could. Now Republican voters blame the outgoing administration for not getting things done and their voters lap it up.
    LikeDisagree 5 People
    • Incorrect The Republicans did not control the House until 2010 and the Senate until 2014. While its true while in power they were obstructionist, before then, such as continuing the bailouts, the ACA, are 100% Obama and the democrats. Also, many of the democrat minority are threatening to obstruct, which is hardly the way to get things done, or to convince people that you are "The party of Reason."

  • Anonymous
    Yes he, and his fellow democrats accomplished so much of his campaign promises:

    Promise to stand up to Wall St., and end the bailouts: LIE
    Promise to end the Bush Tax Cuts: LIE
    Promise to oppose fracking: LIE
    Promise to end tax credits that outsource American Jobs: LIE
    Promise to pass meaningful healthcare Reform: LIE
    Promise to close Gitmo: LIE
    Promise to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan: He did mostly get us out of those so he's one for 6 so far...
    Promise to invest in Infrastructure: LIE
    Promise to look into NAFTA violations: LIE

    Obama did not attempt to stimulate anything, accept Wall St. despite promising to oppose the bailouts. It wasn't lack of experience that hurt his presidency it was lack of Truth.

    His best moment was probably getting Bin Laden, which he was very much involved in the planning and execution of the operation. Much of his Presidency I would consider a failure though.
    Disagree 3 People