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.
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"A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf. The incident happened Monday as the vessel closed to within 1,000 meters of the USS Mahan, "despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it." After attempting to contact the Iranian vessel and sounding its whistle, it deployed the flare. After that, the ship had had enough and turned away.
U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick's district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.
"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."