While I think that the Obama presidency will be judged a failure, for several reasons (and one huge one), I also know no person is wholly one thing or another.
So, to that end, here are some things that I believe Mr. Obama got right.
Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’’ – Look, anyone who thinks that only straight men serve in the military is deluded. Flat Earthers + Reptilian Overlords from Alpha Draconis + Packers fans deluded. Removing a rule that forced people into hiding is always a good thing. To that end, this was long overdue, and good riddance to a bad rule.
Supported Federal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages – Repeat after me: “Marriage Is A Religious Institution Not A Government One”. So, while the government should not be in the marriage business (their interest should only extend to the civil and civic sides of a union – thus, civil union), that isn’t the way it is. The government shouldn’t be dictating how or whom one chooses to enter into a partnership with. At any level. So while the fight to get the government out of marriage continues, the legal recognition of a same-sex civil partnership is good. Now, to get the government to stop limiting those partnerships between consenting adults in any way…
Well, two things. I am sure there are others. Some lines from speeches were good too, but that is way too much time and effort to read them all.
In the end, too many of what others list as achievements either were not, were a solution creating a problem, misguided, misleading, or simply not an actual accomplishment (encouraging Congress / whomever is emphatically not actually an accomplishment).
About that ‘scandal free administration’ claim. They must have overlooked:
- Operation Fast & Furious (selling guns to Mexican drug gangs)
- AG Eric Holder being the first Attorney General held in Contempt of Congress (related to Fast & Furious)
- IRS targeting of conservative groups (a tactic rejected by Nixon, no less)
- Benghazi (repeated requests for adequate security were ignored, available aid was not sent)
- Clinton’s Server (while part of the administration…not his fault, but on his watch, included since the claim is a scandal-free administration)
- NSA spying / Snowden (while Snowden revealed it, the spying was, again, on his watch)
- Pigford (http://wapo.st/2h4F0JJ)
- Iranian nuclear deal (Kerry lied about the details, and worked overtime to ensure no one in the US knew the deal – the deal that will, almost certainly, see Iran as a nuclear power)
- EPA polluting the Colorado River (oops?)
- Various agency excesses (GSA, Secret Service – lavishly overblown ‘conventions’ for one, hookers and booze for the other)
- VA waiting lists (directly led to avoidable deaths)
- 2013 Shutdown (not the shutdown itself, the theater – blocking open -air memorials, releasing illegal alien criminals, etc.)
- Joe Biden’s serial sexual harassment (realize that in the private sector, he would be fired, and the company likely sued – in this administration, he is honored with a medal…)
- White House paying women less (the median salary for the White House’s 271 female staffers to be $68,658, while the median salary for the 198 male staffers was $76,928 in 2016 – a 10.75% gap, double the DC average).
And there are so many more, some of which I am not sure about, others I am not convinced are on this administration’s shoulders. But scandal free? No, not at all.
And the ‘but others did it too’ is not an argument. Your mom wouldn’t accept it, it isn’t a legal defense, and all it is is an attempt to obfuscate by dragging other into it. If it was wrong in the Obama administration, it was wrong in every other administration too.
But the one that seals the deal, that makes President Obama a candidate for worst President ever? The summary assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. Was he a terrorist, yes, and not someone to be mourned. But you know what else he was? He was an American citizen, and the Obama administration ordered his death absent arrest, trial, conviction, or even a criminal charge. President Obama authorized his death despite his citizenship, despite his protections under the Bill of Rights. The New York Times Editorial Board called the memo that ‘justified’ this killing “…a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result. Perhaps the administration held out so long to avoid exposing the thin foundation on which it based such a momentous decision.”
And President Bush rejected this option, by the way.
It is important that those mourning the end of this administration remember that under Obama, we have seen the US become so much less than it can be. I am glad to see him go.
Wish the replacement was better though…