Having shared and graded the Obama Legacy Thursday and Friday on domestic and foreign affairs, today we will provide our initial grade overall with nine days left in his presidency.
Obama came into office as we indicated Thursday in a tough economic moment. He had the support of the country for both, the situation he inherited and the hope he brought as the first African- American President. Citizens of all stripes were with him to lead us out of the mess and into a brighter tomorrow.
He came promising hope and change and his goal was to fundamentally change America forever. He brought and espoused a vision of a fairer America at home and a simple member of the world community abroad. He saw America as biased and clinging to its religion and guns. He saw a world where America was at fault for most of its ills. We should be one of the world community and not lead or get involved. He thought if he spoke softly and even subtly apologized the wounds would heal, the rivers part and the sun shine. He had an idealism that did not match reality.
He forced through the Affordable Care Act, pushing the day of reckoning out past his time in office. He did it without talking to the Republicans. He passed it without people knowing what was in it as his lead house of representative person so famously said, “You need to pass it to know what is in it”. He never talked to congress as others did and instead said he had “a phone and a pen and would use it”. He governed by executive action. It was unprecedented. The man who would talk to Castro and Iran would not deal with the opposition party in Washington. He meant to change America with his pen.
It might have worked and this evaluation would be so different if he had succeeded in electing his successor. For then the executive actions would have stood. The health care law stayed. The Supreme Court stacked in his favor. Immigration doors opened wide and the country fundamentally altered forever. It would have been a different America.
However his party and candidate lost. The pen will now be used to undo his actions and the health care law changed. His policies will be altered completely and the court will not be a refuge to save him.
Thus as he leaves now you see the petty and foolish moves he makes to try and secure some legacy. It is almost pitiful to watch.
So today we can offer an assessment, but as stated before, time is the judge. If Trump fails and people turn back then Obama’s place in history will be enhanced. If Trump succeeds then Obama is in another place. So we can only judge today by what we saw and think will be.
And that grade today is D+.