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Evaluation of Obama’s presidency

With new candidates, campaigns and controversies dominating the political arena, it is shocking to realize that President Barack Obama will not be leaving office until January 2017. I am thankful that we are guaranteed a year of safety from the Trump madness, but it is surprising to remember how long it has been since Obama first became commander-in-chief.

Obama became president in 2009, and after nearly eight years of his leadership, it is clear that Obama’s career is distinguished by a combination of his best achievements and worst mistakes.

I am currently a junior, but I still remember when I was in eighth grade and Obama was announced as winning the election to become the 44th president of the United States, making him the first African-American to hold the office.

I would ask you to look at both of Obama’s terms objectively, but I know it is impossible for anyone to fulfill this request. One cannot be impartial about politics because we all have our own opinions. However, I do request that you attempt to disregard party labels (another impossible task considering how difficult it is to escape from partisan politics), and I ask you to keep an open mind and listen to my reasoning before disagreeing with what I have to say.

Yes, Obama is a Democrat, but that is not all he is because there is much more to strong leadership than your party alignment. He has positions that individuals on both sides of the political spectrum can agree with.

Many Republicans and Democrats can agree with Obama’s stance on education and his views on clean energy.

Shelby Oliver, a freshman biology major, believes that, overall, President Obama did a satisfactory job while in office because of his determination to publicize a variety of significant issues.

“I think Obama was a brilliant president,” Oliver said. “He brought attention to the lower class, and although some of his ideals were not perfectly executed, the issues themselves were brought into the spotlight. He additionally brought a lot of attention to global warming, which I thank him for.”

It is important to give credit where credit is due; Obama inherited a damaged country from Bush. Our country was struggling with an economic crisis while simultaneously trapped in multiple wars, yet Obama managed to succeed in uniting this country. And, he has provided American citizens with hope for the future.

He passed the stimulus in 2009, which triggered economic growth during the major recession. Once the stimulus took effect, unemployment decreased and new private sector jobs were created.

Obama has been a level-headed president, and he has provided optimism in a time when our country was experiencing a second Great Depression. He was not a perfect president, but he did a good job. Obama also ended the Iraq War in 2011, which was a remarkable triumph during his presidency.

His emphasis on clean energy and climate change has started a revolution. Obama is responsible for most of the attention these pressing issues have gained. Nevertheless, his most outstanding accomplishments were not domestic victories but international successes.

Obama is the only president who played the game of diplomacy well. Other presidents failed to attain the global relationships which Obama maintained. In an increasingly globalized world, international alliances are crucial for the continued survival of the United States as a superpower.

However, Obama’s presidency has not been a continued succession of highs because there are some broken promises that detract from his career.

Obama has taken a backseat in Syria, and he is essentially allowing Putin to have power over the territory. This lack of involvement in Syria may be detrimental because it is unlikely that Russia will stop at Syria. Putin is likely to attempt to take over other countries, and allowing Putin to bombard the entire region will only create more instability in the Middle East.

Obama also failed to shut down Guantanamo, and this broken promise is accompanied by his inability to reduce drone attacks. He also deported millions of undocumented immigrants, and he failed to gain support for and develop a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Taking into consideration Obama’s tremendous feats demonstrates that he set a high standard for future presidents. Obama accomplished a lot during his two-term presidency, and his standard of excellence will be hard to match. Although his presidency contained some broken promises, every president has made promises which they later failed to meet.

Obama was a worthy American of the presidential title, and it will be interesting to see who comes after him. One thing is for sure, he has set the bar high, and it will be difficult to fill his shoes.

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