Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Obama, our current president, won against Republican John McCain in the 2008 election on the platform of hope and change. The election was a landmark one, due to the fact that Obama is obviously the first African-American president. Obama made several promises after being elected, including that he would close Guantanamo Bay by January 2010, and would start pulling out troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and end American involvement in the near future. To start of his presidency, Obama passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which aimed at helping the struggling economy. The act included increased federal spending for health care, infrastructure, education, various tax breaks and incentives, and direct assistance to individuals, which is being distributed over the course of several years. He also started the Cash for Clunkers program which gave money to those who traded in their old junky cars for newer cars that had better mileage. This garnered mixed results as has the stimulus package. Obama then intervened in the Auto crisis, causing some car companies to restructure, be made public, or sold to foreign car companies.
Obama also made a point to get Health Care Reform passed, though it was a failure in Clinton's terms. Obama presented several versions of Health Care reform before it was passed by Congress. Currently, Republicans, having taken part of Congress back, are trying to get "Obama Care" repealed.
Two years into Obama's presidency, Guantanamo Bay is still open, the war in Afghanistan is still going, the economy hasn't quite bounced back, and though Obama officially announced that the war in Iraq is finished, there are still soldiers in the country. Many at the mid-term elections were dissatisfied with Obama, feeling that not enough change had happened and feelings that Obama was a d0 nothing president were rampant. Due to a new lack of popularity, the Democrats lost the House. But just as Clinton did his best after losing a majority in Congress, Obama was able to pass many bills in the lame duck session before the Republicans took over the House. Don't Ask Don't Tell was officially repealed, a tax deal was made to protect the unemployed, a new law regarding food safety, a nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, and the passing of the Zydroga bill, otherwise known as the 9/11 first responders act. Also in the time of the lame duck period, Tax cuts were extended for the rich, as it was the only way to get the Zydroga bill passed.
Obama has had his ups and downs so far. His popularity seems to come and go, so we'll see if he will be reelected, which seems like a sure thing unless Republicans are able to find a really great candidate. Obama has not been without controversy, as many were upset that he received a Nobel Peace Prize for not really doing anything. Others have called into question his religion and place of birth, though Obama has publicly claimed to be a Christian, coming into the religion during his 20's, and his birth certificate is openly available to view from the Department of Health in Hawaii.
I cannot give him a grade at this time, since he hasn't even finished one term yet. Is he a perfect president? Not even close, but hopefully in the next couple years we will see a fulfillment of some of the changes and promises he made on the campaign trail and hope that he isn't just business as usual. *NOTE*: Since Obama is our current president and there is so much news on him and bills passed, I probably forgot like a million things to write about, but will try to keep this article as current as possible. History tends to show us what is the most important in a person's presidency, and I don't have the luxury of seeing this from a distance, as I don't with Bush's presidency.