As someone that has watched the Obama Administration from the sidelines, I think they have not a mixed but a fairly succesful score card. Am I on crack? no let me make my case.
The top achievements of this administration can be counted as :
Healthcare reform: Something that no democrat came close to getting. Not Carter, Not clinton and not anyone in congress. It wasn’t a visionary idealistic leftist plan, it wasn’t universal government funded care, it wasn’t comprehensive (no illegal immigrants) but it was real. everyone would get health coverage under Obama’s plan…it thus advanced welfare of America and Americans a few tens of yards.And it didnt hurt that the millenials were completely covered under Obama’s health care plan, employed or not. Obama risked all for this, he incited the big drughand insurance companies to create the tea party as revenge and got it to within the last 25. Kudos.
Millitary successes: Not only did he helm an administration that killed everyone with a name in Al quaida (Osama bin laden OSAMA BIN LADEN!!!!, ayman zawahiri, anwar alaqui ,….etc) , He took on pakistani and Isreali neocons with no drama. “these are the facts on the ground, this is what we want…) He also is helming the biggest withdrawal of US troops in history, from Afganistan and Iraq, he is also spearheading the reduction of the US millitary budget by as much as a trillion dollars. Modernizing the fighting force while also reducing spending on the millitary is a huge achievement.
Foreign policy successes: Apart from being given the Nobel peace prize “for being obama” the 45th president also is well respected all over the world. The Arab spring (egypt and syria excepted) were handled without putting US personnel at risk and in accordance with international law but also achieving US objectives. The US now is on the road to stop being an occupying power , while keeping bases and control strategically everywhere in the world. It is time for the “peace offensive” ofr a Pax Obama plan for the world.
Economic successes: Successes? aren’t we sliding into economic freefall? nope. Life has been rather good for the US actually, Low interest rates, record financial industry profits, record volumes of corporate cash sitting on the sidelines, all mean that the Obama administration has done rather well for the corporate sector in the US economy. The household sector has sufferred because the corporates have been waging class warfare on the households for supporting the Obama Administration and have held back investment and job creation inside the US economy. with a limeted toolkit of macroeconomic tools, the Obama Fed has done a remarkable job keeping interest rates low and Inflation low. The Auto industry bail out has also proven a demonstrable success and these companies have returned to profitability under receivership.
The Economic failures of the administration have been 1. not enough keynes: the economy can easily handle more keynesian spending. while the Obama Administration had its three houses of congress , they lost the opportunity to get their programs funded and for economy boosting keynesian spending. Its one of those big misses. 2. Misreading/ miscalculating Europe. A Paul volcker central bank would not have allowed the european debt crisis to get to where it is now. The failure of the administration was the misreading of the structure of financial europe(which they thought was similar to the political europe). If they had recognized that with euroclear and the NYSE integration, the financial systems between europe and the US had effectively merged, they would have opened inter central bank borrowing lines much earlier and swung into coordinated action on sovereign debt before it looked like a crisis. 3. the misreading of china: Just because the chinese talked a sweet sound, the administration seems to have assumed that the chinese were on their side. in reality the chinese were playing the democrats and the republicans against one another for their benefit. to this extent,the president’s naivete in foreign economic policy became evident. also he had a vacuum for a policy on India, which is always a mistake. Fannie and freddie receivership and the continuing weakness of the housing market are very private sector caused problems , which the obama administration inherited, but has done a manful job in keeping the housing sector from falling off the precipice again.
Domestic successes: Allowing Gays to serve openly in the millitary(thus making it legal for the ROTC in most colleges), making non felony immigration crimes a low priority, Taking on racist laws in states, the dodd frank bill.
Political successes: 1. Standing up to some entrenched interests in the US. As a representative of the household sector, the President can only do a little at a time to take on the ogres of corporate excess, but having taken on the Insurance and the financial industry, the president has done a great job showing backbone. the healthcare law is signed, Dodd frank is LAW. 2. the tea party is the single biggest achievement of the Obama presidency. If it were not for the tea party, we would all think the republicand were a reasonable group of pols ready to govern the nation. now we know that they are completely in hock to large corporations who would sink the country into class warfare for a 3% tax increase and allow crazed whackjobs that believe creationism and the abolition of the environmental protection agency, and the department of education are the priorities for governing. Now to the centerist…about 60% of America…there is no choice, but the democratic party.
The big setback for the Obama white house has been the citizens united judgement, from a supreme court stacked by the previous administration with such right wing zealots as Roberts, Alito, join the borderline crazy scalia and the silent but rightwing thomas . With nine seats filled, the Obama administration lost a real opportunity to fill the bench with more balance.
Still All this listed have happened in three years of the first term . this list of achievements would be awesome if counted in TWO terms of any other president. There is an unfinished agenda, but Barack Obama has got a tremendous amount achieved in the three years in office, and the groundwork he has laid for his remaining time (one/five years) also indicates a lot of work will be done before Obama is finished with the US. All indications are that he will leave it a better place than he found it, even if the opposition commits hara kiri trying to “prove” othervice.