In nine days the Presidency of Barak Obama will come to and end. During his eight years in office we have seen the least productive three Congresses in our history. In his last six years, the House was under Republican control due to gerrymandered districts. In the last two years he faced a total House and Senate in Republican control. What came from these Congresses? Nothing.
President Obama was not perfect. There were some things that I disagreed with him on, but overall, he did more than most other Presidents to help the country.
When he took office, the country was at the beginning of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The day he took office, we were losing over 850,000 jobs per month. Before he even had time to even consider the damage taking place, the unemployment rate rose to over 10%.
The President, with a friendly Congress took actions and got Congress to pass the Republican hated stimulus packages. He worked to help save the auto industry which over 3 million jobs relied. Slowly, the brakes started to be placed on the economic free-fall.
In the last quarter of his first two years, unemployment rates stopped gaining and new jobs began to be created. Since then, we have seen 75 consecutive months of new job growth. That is an unheard of accomplishment. During those 75 months over 15 million jobs were created. That is over 2 million jobs per year. We have never seen jobs grow for so many consecutive months in our history before.
As a result, when the President leaves office, that over 10% unemployment rate sits at 4.7%. It was cut by nearly 60%. The auto industry is on firm economic footing again. In the last two years, income increased at record levels as well.
You know that the workers are beginning to see gains when you look at a state like Kentucky who just passed that “right to work for less” law that Republicans love so much. It was another attack on unions and an attempt to keep wages low so employers can make more money in profits. That is the only reason to even consider “right to work” laws. When workers start making more money, companies turn to Republican controlled state legislatures to put the brakes on those gains.
On top of all of this, our economy has come back without all of the “austerity” measures that European countries tried during the same time period. Their economies are still lagging behind ours. That proves that “austerity” does not work the way conservatives say it does.
At the time he took office, the Stock Market was just over 6,000. Today it is nearly at 20,000. So, if you own stocks they have tripled in value under President Obama.
I argued about income inequality, and I was hoping that the President could do something about it. However, I also realize that he cannot do everything by himself. With an obstructive Congress, there was no way the workers would gain the same attention as the top 1% of the economic ladder do.
Our economy is on strong footing again. Our companies are healthy again. People up and down the economic ladder are seeing greater income for their families. Rather than sinking into a second Great Depression, we were pulled from the brink and put back on the road to a healthy economy.
The Affordable Care Act helped over 20 million people who never had health insurance now have it. The percentage of uninsured people is at the lowest rate in our country’s history.
Under President Obama our NATO allies were comfortable with us and our actions. They worked with us and were happy to have a President who did not dictate what everyone should do. The President worked to build coalitions rather that the rogue “go it alone” of his predecessor.
NATO did not get real nervous until Donald Trump won the election. His rancorous rhetoric about NATO and his love fest with Putin have made them very nervous about our national interest and our commitment to NATO. When you say that if a country of NATO is attacked, he would decide to defend them once he reviewed “if they have paid their fair share” makes our allies very nervous.
The other thing is that this President has not been accused of any scandals. Yes, the conservative wackos will talk about Benghazi and the IRS thing, but there were no real scandals. We did not see anything like Watergate, the Iran/Contra Affair, or the Monica Lewinsky matter.
The so-called scandals were all politically motivated. You don’t have to take my word for it either. Republicans were caught on tape bragging that all of the Benghazi investigations were intended to hurt Clinton during her run for President.
After dozens of investigations and millions of dollars being spent on them, nothing was found to be improper or illegal. Every time Republicans said “we got her” they didn’t have her. Every time they said “we have the proof” they had no proof.
You can argue that the President used too many Executive Orders. But, he did not even come close to the number of Executive Orders issued by the Republican sainted Ronald Regan. He issued almost 300 Executive Orders in his two terms in office. And, he had to deal with the Iran/Contra scandal that resulted in some of his staff going to jail. It was also under his watch that 250 Marines were killed in a terrorist attack on their barracks in Lebanon.
While we have had a few terrorist attacks in our country, they were all conducted by “homegrown” terrorists who were radicalized. No coordinated attack by foreign terrorists took place on our soil.
What most don’t know is that thousands of potential terrorists were arrested and charged before they were able to act. Additionally, all of the “terrorist” attacks were not launched by Muslims. Dylan Roof used a terrorist attack against a black church in Charleston for example.
The rise of ISIS was the direct result of the Iraq war. When you overthrow a government and do not have a plan on what to do when the war is over, vacuums take hold and terrorism gains a foothold. That is what President Bush gave us. But, you cannot end it by simply invading another country like the warmongers want us to do.
He took on climate change. He took on immigration reform. He took on education problems. He took on fair taxes. He was opposed by Congress on every issue, but he kept working on them. That is what a President is supposed to do.
Michele Obama was a First Lady of grace. She, like all First Lady’s before here, picked a topic that was dear to her and helped to teach our children. She settled on nutrition. Even though many Republicans and right-wing media gave her hell for her topic, she stuck to her guns. As a result, we are seeing children trying to eat better. Good nutrition is important for health and even productivity.
When criticized. When called hateful names. Mrs. Obama kept going. She never hurled insults back at her attackers. Her goal was to help children and she stuck to that goal regardless of what her detractors said. That is grace no matter what you think of her.
It is my belief that the Obama’s understood their role. They also understood that being the first African-American family to live in the White House was a huge challenge. They seemed to understand that their behavior and actions would be placed under the microscope like no other family before them simply because they were the first African-American First Family.
They conducted themselves with measured temperament. They conducted themselves in a manner that can be an example to everyone who desires to sit in the Oval Office.
President Obama took office at a very difficult time in our history. We were fighting two wars. We were collapsing economically. He faced problems head-on. You may agree with what he did, or you may disagree with what he did. But, at least he did something in an effort to make things better for the American People. If that is being a bad president, then we will never see a good president.
This President faced more obstructionism than any President in my lifetime. He faced more death threats than any President in my lifetime. Yet, as he leaves office, we have a strong economy. We are safer than we were when he took office. He ended torture as a way of “interrogation”.
My opinion is that President Obama was one of the best Presidents we have had. He faced problems with rational thinking and plans to make those problems go away. He wasn’t always successful. He may not have made all the right choices. But, he worked for us and not his own glory.
There has been a lot of talk about his legacy. The incoming administration will do its best to erase it. But, they won’t be able to do that. Only history will give us a full review of his legacy. I am convinced that history will say that he was one of our best Presidents.
So, I want to say to President Obama a thank you. May you have a very happy life after office. You were a great example of what an American President should be. Farewell!