For the past 8 years President Obama and his wife Michelle have graced the White House with their indisputable swagger, charisma and class. When he was sworn in as the first African-American president in the entire history of the United States of America on the 20th of January 2009 it was thought that he would be the catalyst for change, but what will be his presidential footprint? There is no doubt that he will be looked at retrospectively by Historians as being one of the most popular presidents of recent times, but how will people look at his influence as the leader of the free world?
I think it can be safely assumed that sordid affairs with White House interns won’t be on the forefront of people’s minds when looking at Obama and his legacy as the 44th President of the United States of America. Instead Obamacare, the Iran deal, and the extent to which he saved the US economy after the 2008 banking Crisis will be some of the barometers people will use as an order to gage Obama’s success during his 8 year tenure in office.
One of the hallmarks of Obama’s time in office will undoubtedly be the birth of Obamacare. Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act or APA) is a law that seeks to ensure that all 318 Million people living in America have access to affordable healthcare. Consequentially, Obamacare has so far been a huge achievement providing health insurance for 20 million previously un-insured Americans. Yes, there have been teething problems, but generally speaking Obamacare in my opinion has proven to be a great success! Some of the horror stories I had previously heard about the health system in America makes me so grateful that we have our wonderful NHS.
Under the torrential downpour of a full blown recession it was Obama who was tasked with the job of steering the seemingly sinking United States economic ship towards a revival. However opinions have been split on how well Obama has done whilst in office. He took over when the US was in the middle of an economic crisis – spearheading a banking reform, and a sizeable fiscal stimulus helped create a decent recovery and the GDP growth rate for the Obama economy has been 2%. However, if the Obama recovery had been right in line with the 4.3 percent that at is what prior the recession, the country would be $2.2 trillion richer today, according to Investor’s Business Daily. Obama’s growth rate of 2% means that it is the worst since WW2. This is why context is so important, it is important to understand the state at which Obama found the US economy in, and for that reason my verdict is that Obama did a pretty decent job overall and the US economy is in a better place than when he found it. Now we have to hand it over to Donald Trump… lets see how this goes.
One of the ‘blemishes’ that Obama-sceptics will be keen to point out is the fact that having a ‘black president’ hasn’t naturally translated into better living conditions for black people, if anything some may say racial tensions have gotten even worse with the unlimited and outrageous amount of police brutality cases in 2015-16. Some are in the school of thought that Obama has purposely been divisive, and pouring gasoline on the already scorching hot inferno of race relations in the United States. Some say that the racial strife in America today is at a level that hasn’t been seen since the sixties. Others believe that Obama hasn’t spoken up enough and he hasn’t used his platform nearly as much as he should’ve to condemn instances of police brutality. In my opinion there was only so much Obama could do. There was no magic wand that Obama could wave to undo hundreds of years of systemic oppression within the confines of an 8 year term.
The question I would ask when evaluating presidents and their terms is actually quite a simple one, has the person leaving office left the country in a better state than how the met it? It’s by this logic that without living through the terms of the likes of Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover I can deduce that they were not very good presidents because of the carnage that they left for their successors to to clean up. Hoover’s answer to the great depression was to start a trade war and build a massive project called the Hoover Dam. The dam turned out to be a giant wall that did not stop nor solve larger problems. Does that sound like anybody familiar? *Cough* Donald Trump *cough*.
In closing I appreciate that it may take years before we can start to understand the true extent to which Obama has been successful as the 44th President of the United States of America. How seamlessly Donald Trump is able to build upon the foundation laid by Obama will be another indicator when determining Obama’s overall contribution as President. I believe Obamacare will prove to be one of the jewels of Obama’s presidential crown,and Obama has ensured that obscure pub quizzes will not be the only time his name will be mentioned. He will go down in the annals of History as being America’s first African-American president, twice elected.