After criticizing President Obama throughout his second term, I’ve reversed course and decided that he’s a tremendous leader, one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history.
Perfection is too high of a bar to set for any man, or any president, but Obama has come close to clearing it. What stands between this president and Mount Rushmore?
Republicans — specifically, the stubborn extremists who control the House under the weak leadership of Speaker John Boehner. Gridlock, hyper-partisanship, and ineffective governance, those traits that make Washington so unpopular with voters, are singularly the fault of the GOP.
It is not Obama’s fault; none of it. The president alone struggled to reach across party lines — to build relationship with Republicans, to empathize and understand their points of view, to find common ground on vexing national issues.
“Leadership” is too weak of a word for what Obama has brought to Washington after winning the presidency on a simple promise to change the culture of Washington. “I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations,” he said during the 2008 campaign. “But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”
Fact is, he got it done — all of it. Not only did he pull troops out of Iraq and avert an economic depression, the president tamed joblessness, reversed climate change, improved the nation’s reputation abroad, turned a debt crisis into a budget surplus, and provided affordable health care to millions of Americans. Mission Accomplished.
Obama succeeded while fostering a bipartisan mood in Washington that began, actually, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when he declared, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is a United States of America.”
Only a man of immense humility could achieve such greatness while constantly reminding the public of his own limitations. Obama’s modesty confounded political reporters and other “Green Lanternists” — those who believe that presidential powers, in the hands of the right leader, are immense. Obama needed only a magical pen and phone.
Leadership, it is he.
What We're Following See More »
"President Trump is expected to announce that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be White House communications director, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Trump has left the role open since Mike Dubke resigned in May, and the President has vented frequently to his friends about the performance of his press operation." According to NBC News, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus are resisting the move.
"President Donald Trump's second-quarter job approval rating has fallen below what any other past president has gotten during the same time frame. A new Gallup poll found that Trump averaged a 38.8% rating between April 20 and July 19. The average approval rating for that time is 62%. President Obama was at the average during this time period, as was President Nixon. President Clinton is the only president who was below 50% by the second quarter, coming in with a 44% approval rating." There is also a large partisan gap. "Just 8% of Democrats approved of Trump's job performance during the second quarter, but 85% of Republicans did. Approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent administrations, but the 77-point gap for Trump is a new record."
"The US government will soon prohibit American citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to two tour groups that cater to Western tourists who want to visit the secretive country. The US will announce the ban within a couple of days, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The agency was informed of the development by officials of the Swedish government, which represents America's interests in North Korea, he told CNN."
"Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running. The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. While that’s still a 3.2 percent cut from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, it is more than $116 million above Trump’s budget request. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $145 million in fiscal 2018, which is $103.7 million above the White House budget request."