No progress for Obama at the one-year mark
Seeing as Barack Obama’s first calendar year as president is coming to a close, I figured I would review his stated goals from his campaign and compare expectations to accomplishments.
In the early part of Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer, he said that his perspective on progress for the country differs from what Republicans see as progress.
“You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country. We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage …We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president,” he explained.
If that is truly the measuring stick by which Obama wants to be evaluated, he has failed us miserably so far as president. Under Obama, over four million Americans have lost their jobs. A significant portion of the alleged jobs he has “saved” with the stimulus have proved to be fraudulent.
In addition to all this, the country now faces record deficits. By the president’s own measure of progress, he has kept our nation at a standstill for nearly a year.
Although I could easily end the column right here, since the president and I both agree that he has made no progress for our country in the past year, I feel that there are other ways to measure progress in this country. Obama was not elected to create jobs. There are many other issues voters expect Obama to solve.
For instance, closing Guantanamo Bay. Obama promised to get that done by the end of this year, and although it hasn‘t yet been closed, he has said he will get around to it. So we can chalk that up to the “progress” column.
What about making our nation energy-independent? That was a goal during the campaign as well. Obama promised that, “For the sake of our economy, our security and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”
No progress has been made in this area yet, because the economy and health care have taken most of Obama’s attention this past year. If I were a betting man, I would bet that we will still be pumping gas in 10 years.
What about our wars abroad? Obama said this past week that he intends to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He is using the same strategy that George W. Bush successfully deployed last year in Iraq. The same strategy that Obama blasted during the campaign and still has yet to admit was a success.
But, to Obama’s credit, this was a difficult decision for him to make and he still made the correct one. He said all along during the campaign that he felt winning in Afghanistan should have always been our primary focus. He said he intended to win in Afghanistan and this decision backs up his campaign promise.
The reason it was a difficult decision, beyond the obvious reason that he’s sending 30,000 more troops into danger and extending the war, is that his anti-war far-left base will be disappointed. They thought they were electing him to end the war, not extend it.
We’ve all seen the silly anti-war bumper stickers around town – Obama has to know that people with those stickers are going to be pissed. If he didn’t, he found out when Michael Moore sent him a letter the day before he addressed the nation about Afghanistan. The letter indicated that Moore would consider Obama a “war president” if he decided to send 30,000 more troops to war. Moore also said that if Obama decided to send more troops he will “Turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics.”
Obama making this decision – the correct decision – in the face of all these critics within his own party is something that should be commended. Hopefully, down the road, he will be vindicated for making the decision when we successfully wrap up the wars in the Middle East.
Lastly, I think we should take a look at what the president has done with health care. Obama came into office with the mission of giving everyone affordable and accessible care. We currently don’t know if his health care plans will be realized since they still have not been passed, but what we do know is the plan will certainly make health care accessible to everyone because it will be mandated.
What we don’t know is whether or not it will do anything to lower the costs of health care. I would argue it will not and it likely won’t, but it’s not fair to say at this point. What is fair to say is that health care is no more affordable or accessible now then it was 11 months ago.
Overall, the first year in office for Obama has led to pretty much no progress for our country. The deficit is out of control, unemployment has soared, Guantanamo Bay is still open, the wars are still going and health care is still far from being resolved. But don’t worry, there is good news. It’s only been one year, Obama still has three. The bad news? It’s only been one year, Obama still has three.
Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.