It is customary on President’s Day to acknowledge past presidents, their accomplishments, and perhaps note how they governed in a way that helped shape America’s future. What that usually entails is choosing one or two historically well-regarded presidents and recounting their achievements and impact on American society. But since it has all been said before and most Americans are historically illiterate anyway, the idea of reciting the tired celebrations of past presidents is a serious waste of time. Instead, one decided to use this opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of the current President, Barack Obama, on the federal holiday created to celebrate the office he won twice.
It would be simple to highlight the list of President Barack Obama’s accomplishments; there are many lists posted, and often cited, on various websites. They are accomplishments that, by the way, would be remarkable for any president; much less one with an opposition party that conspired in private to obstruct any and everything proposed by a newly elected President. What stands out among the President’s accomplishments is that despite what an “emotional” faction on the left asserts to the contrary, Barack Obama fairly fulfilled his campaign promises “as the President to all Americans;” not this or that special interest group. Remember, on the night he won the Presidency in 2008, Barack Obama said “although all Americans didn’t vote for me, I will be president to all Americans.”
Obviously, attempting to serve “all Americans” and not just one or two special groups is not going to please everyone, and even staunch Obama supporters have been disappointed by decisions that he believed serve all the people’s interest. But that is what makes the President unique in modern American politics and why Republicans hate him with religious passion and so-called “progressives” continue attacking him. What has been, and still is, a curious assertion is that this President has not fulfilled imaginary promises he never made on the campaign trail, or that due to Republican obstruction the President is responsible for the people’s disgust with government and particularly the Republican-controlled Congress.
It is even more absurd to criticize President Obama for not granting special interests’ wishes when the GOP opposed and obstructed anything the President proposed or supported. For dog’s sake, conservatives even opposed and obstructed Republican policies that Republican special interests supported. These unwarranted attacks on President Obama from the left befuddles Americans wondering exactly where Barack Obama’s non-conservative critics have been over the past seven years. As if to punctuate this point, the death of conservative Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia should inform and remind Obama’s critics within his own party there is no end to Republicans’ crusade to obstruct this President even denying that he is the legitimate President to execute his constitutional authority and mandate.
Over the past seven years, Republicans have done everything to not only obstruct the President, they have attempted to erase everything he has accomplished and presided over through repeal attempts, frivolous lawsuits, and outright proposals to “abolish all legislation passed under Obama’s presidency.” If Republicans were not conspiring with one foreign nation to derail an international peace initiative, they were privately dealing with another hostile nation to prevent the release of American captives. Republicans in Congress also took the extraordinary, and unconstitutional, step of usurping Executive Branch authority by passing legislation favorable to a foreign corporation and the Koch brothers. The same Republicans notified foreign governments that despite the Constitution gives the President of the United States authority to make historic climate deals, America was not be trusted and that Republicans would dishonor any deal they claimed the legally elected President had no authority to make.
Look, Republicans have used every dirty machination to prevent Barack Obama from being President whether it is taking him to court for issuing the exact same executive action as every Republican president over the past 60 years, to prohibiting him from holding BP responsible for an avoidable environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, Republicans are attempting to deny the legally-elected President his Constitutional authority and mandate to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. In fact, the same Republican who wasted four years of taxpayer time and money “to make Obama a one-term president” as the GOP Congress’ only legislative goal, said that it is up to the people to decide who gets to appoint a replacement for Antonin Scalia.
This comment from Senate Majority Leader reveals a common Republican belief that Barack Obama is not the legitimate President of the United States. What Mitch McConnell knows to be true is that the American people did decide who gets to appoint a replacement Justice and they re-elected him as President in 2012; whether or not Republicans like or acknowledge it. If nothing else, this latest Republican outrage should help remind Americans, especially Democrats, that considering the non-stop overwhelming opposition to this President, it is disingenuous to criticize Barack Obama as an “ineffective leader, abandoned and threw his supporters under the bus, or exists solely to serve special interests.”
Even an avowed Obama supporter would be a liar if they said he has been a perfect President; there is no such thing and it is particularly true when they govern for all the people. This President has governed for the good of the people and the nation against overwhelming obstruction by what can only be called a “vast right-wing conspiracy” that plagued the last Democratic president. Add in the “professional left’s” conspiracy-driven attacks on President Obama, and his record of accomplishments is all the more remarkable. People often claim how much the President could have achieved with an agreeable opposition party, and it is a valid claim, but they should also consider how much more he could have accomplished with a supportive Democratic party; particularly when Democrats had majorities in the House and Senate.
If one reflects over the past seven years of the President’s tenure and the efforts and accomplishments he oversaw that have benefitted, at one point or another, every single demographic in America, it is impossible to see his Administration as a failure; especially in an environment with an openly hostile majority opposition. Did President Obama grant each special interests’ every wish and whim? Of course not; that is a fantasy and most Americans understand that will never happen under any president. But President Obama has served all the “American people’s interests” admirably at home and around the world; Republicans and even some Democrats know this is true. So maybe instead of criticizing the man that history will regard as an outstanding, likely transformational President, at least all Democrats can acknowledge Barack Obama deserves special recognition on the day set aside to honor Presidents; even if Republicans deny he is The President.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.