President Obama: The Right President for the Wrong Time

December 2, 2011
With the presidential election less than a year away, the possibility of President Obama’s reelection is far from certain. He’s polling to the mid to low 40’s and is the reliable punching bag for the right-wing (and increasingly the left-wing) media. The President is constantly maligned for his lack of leadership, poor communication skills, and lack of tangible achievements during his two-year tenure. However, this portrait of the president as a do-nothing president is misleading, muddying the achievements of a surprisingly productive president.
On social issues the President has achieved many of his stated campaign goals. He signed a Fair Pay act, extending the statute of limitations on paycheck discrimination suits, and helped to reform student loan payments, making them less expensive to young Americans. When it comes to LGBT rights he’s been more progressive than any president in American history. He repealed the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military ban on gays, and with the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime prevention Act (which extends Hate-crimes definition to include sexual orientation) and the Justice Departments end of support for anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act (at the discretion of the President), President Obama has not only shown a clear support for LBGT rights with his rhetoric, but also with his actions. The President’s sweeping healthcare legislation, while gutted of its precious public option, still ends the exceptions for pre-existing conditions and spending caps, so while the legislation only went halfway, it still wasn’t at zero. He ended the Bush-Era ban on federal funds to stem cell research, providing a new avenue for researchers to explore, hopefully leading to new medical advancements. While the President hasn’t created the liberal utopia that was promised in his campaign, he has accomplished sweeping social change that has affected everyday Americans to a significant extent.
In the realm of foreign policy, the President has managed to turn a traditional Democratic weakness and turn it into a strength. With the death of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama was able to accomplish a major goal of the War on Terror while also deposing the leader of the fighting force the US has been engaged with for the past decade. President Obama handled the situation perfectly, not telling always shifty Pakistani government and by acting swiftly but also intelligently on the information given to him. He ended the War in Iraq, fulfilling one of his main campaign promises and ending the long national nightmare that is the Iraq War. His handling of the Libyan Civil War saved the lives of thousands of Libyans without prolonged and costly US involvement. There has been an increase in drone strikes under the Obama administration which has made for a more effective military policy while also limiting US casualties. All in all, the President has done a superb job as Commander-In-Chief.
Unfortunately, all these accomplishments are diminished by the Great Recession we are currently living in. The President’s approval rating is almost entirely based on this issue. People vote by their pocketbook and their pocketbooks are pretty empty right now. But not as empty as they would’ve been had it not been for the actions of President Obama early in his presidency. The much maligned stimulus package actually saved the economy from the free-fall that it was in, lowered the unemployment rate and raised the national GDP. While the stimulus was too small for an overriding economic recovery (which was prevented by Republicans in Congress) it did its job, it stimulated the economy. Unfortunately, it seems the country is headed for a double-dip recession. With the impending collapse of the Euro and polarity in congress that no president could fix, Obama is left with a month-long window to somehow fix the economy before election season starts in order to prevent running a campaign which will focus on the negativity on whatever laughable excuse for a presidential candidate that the GOP parades out. While this type of campaign has worked (Truman in ’48 with the Do-Nothing Congress), it isn’t exactly the picture that the president and general Axelrod want to paint.
President Obama is the perfect president for a perfect economic environment; however we are not in a perfect economic environment. The President’s strength lies in issues which are, in the American conscience, irrelevant at the time. No one cares about US-Iraqi relations when they’re standing in line for unemployment benefits or lacking in disposable income. Let me put it this way, the people in Zuccotti Park don’t care about the Iraq War anymore. No one does. The sooner the President realizes this, the better his presidency becomes.





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IntrepidRose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 6, 2011 at 8:59 am
Good arguements. This is well-laid out. I don't agree with your arguement concerning the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. (that was not the right way to handle him), but it's a good piece.
 
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