Sunday, October 21, 2012

Obama's Long Term Presidential Legacy Would Probably Be More Highly Rated If He Were In Office One Term Rather Than Two Terms

The textbook narrative, whether or not you believe the facts support it, of Obama's presidency for the first term would likely be that he was the first elected Black US president; he stopped the US economy from falling into a depression; he received the Nobel peace prize; he ended the conflict in Iraq and brought the US troops home; he signed into law universal healthcare and reformed the US medical system; he reformed and saved the US financial system and ended too big too fail; he saved the US automakers and their employees; he invested in green technologies and increased US green jobs.

With a second term win, Obama faces the likely possibility that the US economy will continue at its sluggish pace, possibly entering into a recession during his second term, with no further significant reduction in unemployment; tax increases will not produce increases in tax revenues or the funds to redistribute income from the rich to the poor; the budget deficit will not shrink and will grow; the number of people without health insurance will not significantly decrease despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act; numerous companies will drop employer paid health care as a work benefit; the churches will win their lawsuit against the mandate for their health insurance work benefit to cover contraception for their employees and Obama will be seen as encroaching on church-state separation; the weaknesses of health reform in fixing US health care will become much more evident as the law is further implemented; Medicare's and Social Security's funding problem will get worse; there will be very few green jobs or positive returns for the government's green technology investments; GM will run into severe financial difficulties; the US will use much more natural gas and not switch to green energy technologies; terrorist activity against the US will increase worldwide; middle east conflict due to Iran's nuclear materials refinement will escalate and cause increased conflict in the middle east; bank lending will continue to be sluggish and financial reform, Dodd-Frank, will be blamed; Obama will come to be blamed for ignoring threats of attacks on the Benghazi consulate and the subsequent deaths of the staff and diplomats; Obama will not tackle tax reform, Medicare funding, Social Security funding, or the budget deficit during his second term.

As a one term president, Obama would be highly respected for his accomplishments while in office. As a two term president, he will be less respected for failing to deal with immigration, Medicare, and Social Security as their problems worsen, and for promoting and signing health care legislation during his first term that left many in need of medical care uninsured, created a two-tier medical system of the rich and not rich, and left many with less access to doctors and medical care than before the legislation; increasing middle east conflict will also undermine his first term foreign policies; continued sluggishness in employment and the economy will undermine his tax and economic policies putting the blame on him instead of Bush.

If I were a first term president and saw what was on my plate for the second term, I would decline to run again because I would recognize that my ideology and worldview does not allow for an effective solution to the upcoming problems. He could have done it very magnanimously by saying he wanted to give Hillary Clinton or some other woman a chance at becoming president. Doing so, whether she won or not, would have catapulted him in the ranking of US presidents. Unfortunately, most presidents, including Obama, think that because a second term is available, they must run to be reelected. In so doing, Obama has probably relegated himself to the middle of the pack of presidents, good, neither horrible nor great.

1 comment :

  1. Almost no ex-presidents do this, but he could just go right back to being in the senate. I never got that attitude that after you were president you had to stop being a major player in politics.