With the last day ticking down on the Obama Era, the 44th President of the United States crosses the country in search of any who will listen to him call his tenure a historic success. However, it is important that the record enters the annuals of history accurately and without the input of the Spin Doctor-in-Chief.
- Terrorism: Let’s start with terrorism since Obama has made such a fetish of implying it’s not worse, even though his heavily-lawyered denials merely claim that a highly accurate and unusually organized sort of attack hasn’t been taking place. In essence, Obama wants congratulations because the Islamic State hasn’t marched an army across the Rio Grande and sacked San Antonio, or sent a squad of terrorists to take out a shopping mall with signed, dated, notarized orders from ISIS in their pockets. In truth, the number and frequency of deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil grew substantially worse under Obama. The raw number of fatalities under his predecessor, of course, is distorted by the horrific carnage of 9/11.
- Cybersecurity: It should be clear by now that information security was, at most, a political annoyance to Barack Obama. His primary concern was controlling the public-relations fallout — keeping cyber security disasters off the media radar because they made his administration look bad. A Government Accountability Office report found that cyber attacks against government agencies climbed 35% between 2010 and 2013. We can’t even turn on our smartphones without worrying about Chinese spyware. The one-two sucker punch of Obama going nuclear over the menace of Russian hacking and WikiLeaks to delegitimize the 2016 election, and then springing alpha WikiLeaker Chelsea Manning from jail three decades early, should cement his careless and destructive legacy forever. As if supporting his former Secretary of State’s presidential run after she trashed security protocols with reckless abandon wasn’t bad enough.
- The U.S. Workforce: There’s no denying the U.S. workforce contracted significantly under Obama, and that is not okay. Dips in the headline unemployment rate, leaving the number of Americans out of the workforce at an eye-popping 95 million, while vast numbers of Americans departed the labor force for good and dropped off the government’s reports, were a staple of the Obama era. Most “improvements” in the unemployment rate during his re-election campaign were a result of people giving up on looking for work, which made them invisible to the Bureau of Labor Statistics within a few months.
- Poverty: Poverty unquestionably grew worse under Barack Obama, leaving his apologists to hilariously claim that the poverty rate doesn’t look so bad after you throw in the skyrocketing value of the welfare benefits that grew explosively under his administration. How can anyone wave off a 10.7 million increase in the number of food stamp recipients, at a cost to taxpayers exceeding $16 billion, at a time when employment was supposedly getting better?
- Race Relations: One of the outgoing President’s most surreal claims is that race relations improved on his watch. Polls show most Americans think race relations had gotten worse— in fact, the percentage that finds them poor today is almost equal to the percentage that found them in good shape when Obama took office. Some of this is due to factors beyond the President’s control, but every time Obama got involved directly, he had a knack for ratcheting up tensions and resentments. It is, to put it mildly, a tremendous disappointment that racial tensions grew worse under the President who was supposed to be a historic healer, and that black Americans seem so widely disappointed with their situation as 2017 dawns. (And that’s not just a matter of opinion — there are hard numbers on black employment, median income, home ownership, and welfare dependency to back up their sense of dismay.)
- Government Debt: He leaves office with a national debt of $19.7 trillion, coming just shy of doubling the debt all by himself; and all we got for it was a mediocre economy, dwindling workforce, and sky-high welfare dependency. And the annual deficit started getting worse again in his last year, hitting $587 billion in the fiscal year 2016, nuking Obama’s laughable claim to be a deficit-fighter.
- Education: No one seems to want to talk about this, but the performance of our school system ranged from stalled-out to getting worse throughout Obama’s presidency, even as he enjoyed generous support from the teachers’ unions. We’re constantly told the “skills gap” drives chronic high unemployment, both in general and for specific groups, and better education is the answer. We’re always told we must import more skilled, and more determined, workers to do the jobs Americans can’t or won’t do. This is a damning indictment of our education system, which no stack of carefully-worded government reports from the Department of Education can paper over.
- Foreign Relations: Obama and his foreign policy team were driven by the weird conviction that they could fix the world by doing the opposite of what every previous administration had done. Beating up on America’s allies was much easier than fighting its enemies. Now we have a new Russian-Iranian axis reshaping the Middle East, and scooping up Turkey along the way, which will do a lot more damage to NATO than any criticism Donald Trump could level about its funding scheme. While Obama pats himself on the back for the cleverness of his “leading from behind” philosophy, those who lead from the front are filling the space where America used to be.
- Health Care: No amount of Democrat spin can conceal the breathtaking disaster of ObamaCare, which spent$2 trillion to achieve the goose egg of net improvement in Gallup’s poll. Deceptive statistics about how many people “got insured” because of ObamaCare don’t address the question of how real medicine is changing, and how much it costs people to access their health care benefits.
- Trust in Government and Media: Both are at all-time lows, although it should be noted confidence levels for both have been low for a long time, and trust in government tends to shift along partisan lines. He produced a string of expensive big government flops that shook public faith in Washington, prominently including ObamaCare and its train-wreck launch. Big media burned away its credibility protecting Obama, pushing Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, and getting the 2016 election spectacularly wrong.
I was barely in my 30’s when Barrack Obama became President. I grew up under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. I came of age in the Clinton years and Bush 2 years.
When I look back on everything from Reagan to Obama, all I can say to the era of the 44th President: good riddance.