President Obama’s historic 8 year run as President officially ended today. Irrational Politics gives out final grades for his time in office on an issue by issue basis. The grades are based on Obama success relative to his targeted agenda and does not represent an opinion on the issue itself.
Personal Character – A+
President Obama represented a man of high class and character throughout two terms as President. He avoided any scandals throughout his 8 years, and was calm and measured in the face of constant and sometimes unfair criticism.
Economy – A-
President Obama inherited a disastrous economy and was able to turn it around from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Under his watch, we reduced the unemployment rate, cut the federal deficit, kept a low inflation rate, and the stock market has recovered. However, real wage growth has been flat and the GDP growth rate of 2.1% has been the 4th lowest of any President.
Immigration – D
President Obama was unable to get comprehensive immigration legislation reform passed, even with his sweeping 2008 election mandate and some bipartisan support. This failure is one of the main reasons that enabled Trump to win the presidency with his hard line immigration rhetoric.
Foreign Policy – C+
President Obama was able to get Bin Laden, reduce our military footprint in Afghanistan/Iraq, and get an Iran nuclear deal done. However, the rise of ISIS and the destabilization of Syria are two major blemishes on his foreign policy legacy.
Equal Rights – A
The LGBT community made great strides under President Obama with a huge shift in public opinion and support over his 8 years. Many states legalized gay marriage and he repealed don’t ask don’t tell for the military.
Healthcare – A
Obama was able to get the Affordable Care Act passed, which provided healthcare to over 15 million uninsured Americans. This is an impressive feat considering Bill Clinton was unable to get comprehensive healthcare reform passed.
Gun Control – D
Despite an abundance of tragic mass shootings like Sandy Hook during his tenure, President Obama was unable to get any form of gun control passed. Bill Clinton was able to pass some measure of gun control with the Brady Bill.
Women’s Issues – A
President Obama passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay act and appointed 2 female Supreme Court justices. He also supported women’s reproductive rights as well.
Leader of Democrat Party – C-
This is where Obama’s biggest failing occurred as the leader of the party. Democrats will end the Obama era with 39 fewer House seats (233 to 194), three fewer Senate seats (51 to 48), and 12 fewer governorships (28 to 16). Obama also narrowed the Democrats’ appeal, both demographically and geographically, in ways that helped Republicans seize unified control of the White House and Congress and establish their biggest advantage in state governments since the 1920s.
Overall Grade – B
Overall, President Obama was a historic and solid president. The transcendent nature of his candidacy will redefine the American history books and social fabric of this country for years to come. His ultimately legacy is a catch 22 – he looks extremely favorable to some in comparison to incoming President Trump, but at the same time, the short comings of his legacy allowed for someone like President Trump to be elected.