Barack Obama has been president of the United States for seven and a half years (almost). In that time he made a lot of promises, made a lot of speeches, and bloviated a lot of rhetoric. So, what is his true legacy at the end of his term and was he a success at any of it or not?
That is going to be totally dependent on where you are politically. If you’re Barack Obama, you’ve pretty much succeeded in your mission of “fundamentally transforming America”. What he didn’t say back then was he was going to transform America into a socialist state. While that really didn’t happen, he came close in some areas, and he pushed the envelope to the left in a lot of others. If you’re anywhere to the right of Obama, which includes probably 95% of Americans, you probably view his presidency as a failure. So here’s his legacy:
Obamacare: He did get his signature legislation passed and it is the law of the country today. That’s not to say that if Donald Trump wins the White House it will stay that way. There are a ton of flaws in Obamacare, and they are there for a reason; they are there to make sure that as it fails, it’s replaced by a single-payer system. Obama would view this as a major legacy item.
Trans Pacific Partnership: The left hates this because they don’t see any foreign trade deal as a good deal. The right sees it as a chance to open up trade lanes where we currently don’t have them, and hopefully level the playing field. NAFTA moved jobs that probably were outdated and passé, like the blacksmith and the lamplighter, off-shore to countries that could afford to pay their workers less money. Obama will see this as a major legacy item…so will most Republicans. The Democrats will move to squash it if they win the White House or the Senate.
Iran Nuclear Deal: Like it or not, this is going to be a key signature legacy item, and not for the good. It went from “we aren’t going to take a bad deal”, to “if we didn’t do it, it would have led to war”. This is what happens when you don’t understand foreign policy, and you let a neophyte negotiate your foreign policy for you. Unfortunately for all of us, Obama’s inability to have credible Secretaries of State doomed him from the start.
Syria: Yes, Obama will be blame in the history books for what happened in Syria. It was on his watch, and he drew the lines in the sand, which he ultimately erased with his foot. He showed the yellowness of his belly on this one and the world watch, laughed, and lost credibility in America’s ability to lead because of it.
Russia: Once again, as the worst foreign policy president in history, Obama basically ceded Crimea to Russia without so much as a whimper. He allowed Putin to run roughshod over him because he wanted to be liked by the Russian leader. In the end, he was a lap dog.
Libya: While this one was squarely on Hillary Clinton, she was working for Obama when she came up with the policy, and he bought into it. He will forever be the goat in the dismantling of a solid country with a dictator into a mess. He will also be known as the guy that couldn’t rescue four people destined to die because of his (and her) inability to understand the situation.
Iraq: Again, a terrible foreign policy blunder based around an incredibly flawed idea that if we leave them alone, they can rule themselves. Obama took a successful campaign under George W. Bush, and turned it into a steaming pile of dog shit.
ISIS: While I could make an extremely strong case that this is also Hillary Clinton’s mess, Obama was at the top of the chain of command when ISIS came to power…and he did nothing about it until it was too late. ISIS is going to become this century’s Vietnam because of Obama’s inability to understand the situation and react accordingly.
Not a very good legacy. It would be interesting to see what kinds of things they have in Chicago at his presidential library. I bet there are going to be a whole lot of golf score cards!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!