It’s too bad President Barack Obama is not a braggart; he has good reasons to be. At the start of this New Year, this nation is heading in a good direction thanks to Obama’s far-reaching vision and cumulative achievements.
Here are just some of them (among many more):
- In November, 320,000 jobs were created. That was the 20th consecutive month of job growth. Wages have increased slightly, overall, in recent months. Unemployment fell from more than 10 percent six years ago to 5.8 percent. Gas prices plummeted last year, putting more money into people’s pockets. Consumer confidence has increased markedly in the past couple of months, and consumer spending is up.
- The federal deficit, under Obama’s watch, shrank steadily and is now the smallest it’s been since 2008. There is still a long way to go, but it’s been a good start. Major spending cuts were made and programs trimmed under Obama, contrary to the stubborn contentions of his constant detractors.
- After the financial disaster of 2008, Obama’s stimulus packages brought us back from the brink of near collapse. The American auto industry was revived, brought back from certain death. Restrictions against Wall Street recklessness were passed.
- Obama, through executive action, opened up diplomatic relations with Cuba after 50 years of an illogical and self-defeating snub of that small country. The new relations will make it possible for the Cuban and American people to share common aspirations, thus undercutting the propaganda pumped out by the Castros about the Yankee tyrant to the north. This diplomatic bridge is as historically refreshing as Nixon’s visit to China and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
- Through executive action, Obama put the kibosh on deportations for up to five million undocumented workers. This step would have been even better if Congress had helped by working with the president and passing comprehensive immigration reform. But, lest we forget, the Republican-dominated House wouldn’t pass reform, and the new Congress, led entirely by Republicans, probably won’t. Obama’s action is a better-than-nothing first attempt toward what is long overdue – an orderly, legal, reasonable path to citizenship combined with beefed-up border security. And lest people think Obama is slack on enforcement, under his watch there were more undocumented residents deported than under any other president.
- The ACA (ObamaCare) has succeeded in signing up 10 million people for private and public health insurance, with enrollment figures still increasing. The law has initiated a number of remarkable first-time-ever health-care quality standards and guarantees; it has helped reduce overall medical costs and has slowed and, in some cases, reduced premiums. The ACA would be even more successful if some states, out of mean-spirited spite against Obama, had not nixed the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid. Thanks to Obama, the ACA is a historic first step toward eventual quality health coverage for all Americans. In time, it will be universally regarded as a landmark achievement. When that time comes, the entrenched ACA-haters will have egg yolk all over their faces.
- There have been important strides toward the development and use of renewable energies, fuel-efficiency standards and reduction of greenhouse gases. Thanks to Obama’s efforts, an environmental-protection agreement was recently signed during Obama’s trip to China.
- Under Obama’s watch and with his permission, a sneak attack on Osama bin Laden’s hideout was authorized, and that vicious terrorist was killed. The president resisted pressures to put troops into wars, and there is some evidence that an alliance with other countries against terrorists is having an effect, at the very least by slowing advances made by murderous extremists like ISIS and the Taliban.
Why doesn’t the president mention those successes? Well, in fact, he has from time to time. But his positive messages were drowned out by all the noisy static raised by ultra-right-wingers who would rather bite the dust than admit our president has ever done one single, solitary good thing. And those clamoring detractors certainly can’t take any credit for anything because in the past six years they have done virtually nothing whatsoever except howl about Obama.
If our president had bragged a bit louder more often and if he had been loudly supported by Democrats defending him, Democrats might not have taken such a drubbing in the last election. Too many of them, alas, were campaign cowards attuned only to polls rather than progressive realities. They cut off noses to spite their faces.
Some will claim the achievements listed above have nothing to do with Obama, that they happened in spite of him; others will blindly insist those achievements are not achievements at all but ill omens for the future; still others will point to Obama’s unfavorable ratings in current polls as proof of his failures. However, let’s remember some very good and even great presidents were unpopular during their terms. No president, including this one, ever succeeded in fulfilling all of his campaign promises. None of them has ever been anywhere near perfect in achieving goals. Major disappointments litter the trails of every president.
Let history – not current polls – be the final judge. Considering Obama’s indisputable achievements so far, he is likely to get a fairly high grade, far higher than the yipping hounds at his heels will ever have the decency to admit.