Obama’s Legacy is Dismal but Forgettable
President Obama gave his farewell speech last night, orating for more than 50 minutes.
As noted by the Washington Examiner, his remarks were “longer than the good-bye speeches of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.”
But this wasn’t because he had a lengthy list of accomplishments.
Unless, of course, you count the bad things that happened. And there are three things on my list, if you want to know Obama’s legacy for domestic policy.
And those three things, combined with his other policies, produced dismal results.
In other words, Obama’s legacy will be failed statism.
Writing for the Orange County Register, Joel Kotkin is not impressed by Obama’s overall record.
Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. …The greatest accomplishment of the Obama presidency turned out to be his election as the first African American president. This should always be seen as a great step forward. Yet, the Obama presidency failed to accomplish the great things promised by his election: racial healing, a stronger economy, greater global influence and, perhaps most critically, the fundamental progressive “transformation” of American politics. …Eight years after his election, more Americans now consider race relations to be getting worse, and we are more ethnically divided than in any time in recent history. …if there was indeed a recovery, it was a modest one, marked by falling productivity and low levels of labor participation. We continue to see the decline of the middle class.”
And Seth Lipsky writes in the New York Post that Obama’s economic legacy leaves a lot to be desired.
Obama’s is the only modern presidency that failed to show a single year of growth above 3 percent… Plus, the Obama economy failed to prosper even though the Federal Reserve had its pedal to the metal. Its quantitative easing, $2 trillion balance-sheet expansion and zero-interest-rate policy all produced zilch. …The recent declines in the unemployment rate are due less to the uptick in employed persons than to an increasing number of persons leaving the labor force
All these accusations are very relevant, and I would add another charge to the indictment.
Median household income has been stagnant during the Obama years. And the data for Obamanomics is especially grim when you compare recent years to what happened under Reagan.
By the way, the bad news isn’t limited to economic policy.
Here’s what Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner wrote about Obama’s cavalier treatment of the Bill of Rights.
The Bill of Rights is a barricade protecting Americans from their government. Part of President Obama’s legacy will be that he inflicted damage on that barricade, eroding freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, the right to bear arms and the right to due process. Through his political arguments, executive actions and political leadership, Obama has taken some of the holes punched by previous presidents and made them broader or more permanent. This means that after Obama leaves office, people will be more easily silenced, killed or disarmed by their own government.”
Tim extensively documents all these transgressions in his article. The entire thing is worth reading.
To be sure, there are people who defend Obama’s legacy.
From the left, Dylan Matthews wants readers of Vox to believe that Obama has been a memorable President. And he means that in a positive sense.
Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history — and that he will be a particularly towering figure in the history of American progressivism. He got surprisingly tough reforms to Wall Street passed as well, not to mention a stimulus package that both blunted the recession and transformed education and energy policy.”
All of those presidents changed America in very substantial (and very bad) ways.
Obama, by contrast, wanted to “fundamentally transform” America but instead turned out to be an incremental statist. Sort of like Bush.
And I can’t help but laugh at the assertion that Obama got “tough reforms to Wall Street” Dodd-Frank was supported by Goldman-Sachs and the other big players!
Let’s get back to the Matthews’ article. His strongest praise is reserved for Obamacare.