As President Obama’s eight years in the White House wind toward closure, his presidency is already being judged by historians and pundits. A recent USA Today poll gives him a 57 percent approval rating. And to be sure, he can boast of some significant achievements over the past eight years. But there have been failures, as well. Here, we will identify five of his greatest successes – and failures. You be the judge.
1. The Affordable Care Act – Obama supporters consider this to be his chief domestic achievement. It is indisputable that Obamacare provided health insurance for millions of previously uninsured Americans.
2. The killing of Osama Bin Laden – Obama authorized the raid that took out the terrorist dictator. As Commander in Chief, he deserves credit for that which happened on his watch. This was a great victory for national security.
3. Stimulating the auto industry – After the Great Recession, the auto industry was on life support. Through initiatives early in office, the President provided relief, resulting in 250,000 new jobs for GM and Chrysler under Obama’s watch.
4. Dodd-Frank Act – Mr. Obama led Congressional passage of this new law which holds Wall Street accountable in the event of another financial crisis.
5. Economic recovery – Taking over a poor economy, President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, cutting taxes and saving millions of jobs. The jobless rate has hit historic lows (though millions have quit looking for jobs.)
1. Partisan division – The president jammed through the Affordable Care Act without a single Republican vote. This set the tone for historic partisanship, as he governed with little input from Republicans while by-passing Congress with a record number of executive orders. Meanwhile, he blames Republicans for failure to pass immigration reform, when he could have done so with no Republican input (as he did with Obamacare) during his first two years in office, while Democrats still controlled both the House and the Senate.
2. Exploding national debt – After calling President Bush’s $10 trillion debt “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” his policies led to more debt than the previous 43 presidents accumulated – combined.
3. Failure to deter Iran and ISIS – The world’s chief export of international terrorism is stronger than ever. They scoff at Obama’s unenforced rhetoric (“red line”), while he continues to free terrorists whose stated intent is to re-engage in American attacks. As for ISIS, his miscalculation (remember “the JV team” quote?) and refusal to even identify the enemy (radical Islamic terrorists) have led to an utter failure to defeat the enemy.
4. Failing housing market – The burst of the housing bubble has cost Americans more than $7 trillion in home equity. Home values have fallen under Obama, and now stand at 2002 levels.
5. Overpromising economic recovery – Referring to the recession, Obama told Matt Lauer in 2009, “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition.” Instead, Obama has engineered the slowest economic recovery in American history.