What has Obama really accomplished in his first year as President?

A while back we were discussing whether or not President Obama had done “enough” or otherwise the “right” things since becoming president.

Several commenters draged out long lists of things that were discussed during the campaign (many prior to the magnitude of the economic crisis being realized) and insisted that since none of these things had been completed in the first 10 months of his presidency, he was a total failure.

As I pointed out to these commenters, the president actually gets four years, few presidents manage to do all the things they said they would do, Obama (as was also the case with Clinton) was handed a major problem by his Republican Predecessor that demanded the new president’s immediate and undivided attention, and so on and so forth.

(One common indicator that the whinger in this sort of argument is cluless is a comment like “He hasn’t passed a single piece of legislation” … as though the president was even allowed to pass legislation!…. which reminds me to add that the rate at which things get done depends in part on how things go in Congress.)

Anyway, please enjoy the following video regarding Obama’s first year in office.

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14 thoughts on “What has Obama really accomplished in his first year as President?

  1. “a major problem by his Republican Predecessor that demanded the new president’s immediate and undivided attention”
    I think they break things on purpose, to ensure they’ll have a prayer at the next go round.

  2. Hey, it’s not like they stole all the “O” keys off all the White House keyboards or something!

    p.s. Thanks for the Rachel reminder, although often I get irritated by that because I can’t resist watching until I catch up.

  3. If I can stand to talk to my father again (I need financial aid) I’ll tell him. He’s like the fucking ELIZA program – say the wrong thing and he goes off. Last time he finally got around to mentioning Obama by name (along with the “dictators” in Washington who are printing money like mad and ruining the country – I mentioned a couple wars and he denied there was a deficit. Just f-ing denied it. He said the tax cuts took care of that. I’d be better off if he was telling me I’d be burning in hell – he remarried a someone I think is a fundie 18 years ago, who I barely know.)

    Sorry. The mendacity gets to me.

  4. Obama said that Healthcare was his top domestic priority & he has a piece of legislation through Congress. Not quite signed yet, but he can claim that he lived up to this promise.

    Guantanamo closed (not yet), withdrawal from Iraq (not yet), focus on Afghanistan (o.k.) – he can claim progress.

    Disappointment on DADT & gay marriage, which he might have done more to support. A Latina Supreme Court justice – nice to see, hope it has a positive effect.

    Stimulus & bail out – he can claim that without them, things would be much worse than 10% unemployed. Anger on bankers’ bonuses & what appears to be a Treasury-Wall Street alliance.

    He has dismantled a lot of the repressive Bush apparatus (torture etc.) but he has left the capability there for a new Republican President to revive it. He needs to establish legislative barriers against any such event.

    In summary, he has accomplished a lot for a moderate left-of-centre politician. Big threats are the economy & Afghanistan – I suppose “could try harder” should be the comment here. In many ways, the signs are good but the jury will not come in until 2012. Personally, I think he is shaping up as a “good President”. “Greatness”? – too soon to say.

    Best news is that his support and popularity are still high – approximately 50% popularity rating is better than Reagan’s at this stage. 30% of Americans named Obama as the (living) person they most admire – next was G.W.Bush at 4%, with McCaine nowhere. No sign of a substantial Republican contender for 2012, unless you take Sarah Palin seriously. Possibly Palin will run as a 3rd party “Tea Party” candidate.

  5. I always whine about how Dubbyah will be known in the history books as one of the most influential presidents. He was a moron extraordinaire and really screwed things over, but look at how he, Cheney, and Rumsfeld played the congress and the judiciary. They all bowed down to him – democrats included – and gave the country a royal screwing over. Hell, he even got idiots from other countries nodding like dashboard puppies and joining his crazy wars and shit.

  6. How quickly they forget. If they ever knew, that is.

    Yesterday I got an aardvark question: Who exactly are the group ‘Beatles’ and who was in it?

    At the risk of repetition I’d like to point out that the US now has a Black President. I smile as I happily type that sentence. Laugh, almost.

    It’s possible that the simple fact of President Obama has meanings different to different ages. For those of us over 60, it’s a damn miracle that he’s there at all. The glow of it won’t fade quickly.

    The younger ones rightly want a list of what he’s achieved so far.

    That is huge. The struggle was worth it.


    (I hope I didn’t screw up posting that link, if so, sorry, Greg).

  7. He signed that fair pay act. ASAP, really. That was pretty rockin. A woman of color is on the supreme court now. He made some good cabinet choices.

    As far as foreign policy goes- nothing different really, but it has been about the same with every president.

  8. Stephanie Z,

    It’s not just the number of promises he’s keeping or breaking, but which ones.

    I just a few minutes ago got an email from my school district payroll department answering questings that were pouring into the county office about why our net pay is going down. The answer: new year -> new IRS tax tables. I seem to remember a promise about how taxes would go down for 95% of Americans. (I know, it would take more research to find out if my taxes are actually going up or if they just adjusted the formulas to calculate witholdings, but it still makes my take home pay less, in any case.) And of course, there are plenty of revenue generators in the works that will hit the middle class, such as the tax on ‘cadillac’ health plans.

    He promised two years ago to have the discussion/debate on health care reform be open and include everyone with a stake in it (he even specifically mentioned C-SPAN). Instead, we’re getting a closed door conference to reconcile the Senate and House bills, with White House officials, congressional leaders, and who knows who else involved, but it is anything but open.

    Most of all, he promised ‘change’. And it was clear that he wasn’t just promising changes in policies, but changes in the actual manner of governing. More open and honest, less influence from special interests, less partisanship. How many independents sick of the crap in Washington did he pull in with those promises, no matter how unrealistic it was to expect him to carry through? I didn’t vote for the man because I didn’t believe he would keep those promises, and I see now that I was right.

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