Four years ago, during his campaign and during the presidential debates, Barack Obama promised a few things.
He promised to focus on Al Qaeda and responding to those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11.
He delivered. Osama bin Laden is dead; the leadership of Al Qaeda is in tatters.
He promised to withdraw our troops from Iraq.
In December 2011, the last U.S. troops left Iraq.
He promised to put together a national health care plan.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act into law. It isn’t the sun, moon, and stars we were all hoping for (I particularly wanted a public option), but it is a start.
He promised to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for U.S. military servicemen.
On September 30, 2011, that policy was ended. Amazingly enough, our military forces are not in disarray as a result, and the world has not ended.
He did try to close Guantanamo; the prison is still open because…well, there are still prisoners, and Congress refused to pass a bill to cover the costs to transfer the prisoners to a facility in the U.S.
He did try to pass a cap-and-trade bill, but once again this was obstructed by Congress.
He has instructed the Justice Department to stop enforcing The Defense Of Marriage Act.
He signed the Lily Ledbetter Act into law shortly after he was inaugurated.
When President Obama was elected four years ago, the economy was in freefall. The stock market hit its low in March, 2009, two months after Obama was inaugurated, but had done the majority of its fall the previous year. The high of 14,164 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was hit in October 2007; by late October 2008, it was already down to 8,451, and it wavered around that point for the remainder of the year. Now? The DJIA is back up around 13,000. By the end of 2008, the U.S. GDP was plummeting by almost 9% for the last quarter of the year. Starting with the third quarter of 2009, the GDP has been positive again. By late 2008, the U.S. had lost 2.6 million jobs for the year. Job losses continued, though slowing down, until March 2010, and have been on a continuous upward trend since October 2010. Even though faced with a recalcitrant Congress, President Obama managed to get a jobs stimulus bill passed in 2009, and economists agree that without it, unemployment would currently be much higher and GDP much lower.
The world economy tanked in 2008. There are countries out there—ironically enough, many European countries that Republicans consider “socialist”—that followed the austerity path, rather than the economic stimulus path. Those countries are now still mired in deep recession and high levels of political unrest (Greece, for instance, is facing unemployment of 25%).
Climate change is on everyone’s mind right now (even though there was no mention of it during the presidential debates), what with Hurricane Sandy’s recent hit on the Northeastern U.S. Barack Obama is aware of and his administration is quietly working on dealing with global climate change. The U.S.’s carbon emissions have dropped to a 20-year low, natural gas and renewable energy resources have become much more prevalent as energy sources for the U.S. during his administration, and U.S. auto MPG rates have been ramped up, with the most recent requirement going up to 54 mpg (average) by 2025.
I think Barack Obama did a hell of a job given the mess he walked into. When he was elected, the Onion’s headline was “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job”. Why he still wants it is anyone’s guess (my personal opinion is that his poor performance during the first presidential debate this year was that he was wondering if he really wanted to deal with this shit for four more years). But since he wants it, I’m going to vote that he gets it.