I always find it interesting how we get sucked in by the day to day politics and forget the overarching achievements of this Presidency. And that's why I like to follow Politifact. They remind me of what has been accomplished so far, even after the headlines have stopped talking about them.
So here is what Obama has accomplished in four years:
A lot of the hard work for both success and failure is lost in this statistic, as Politifact says " we rate outcomes, not intentions". But I think such a strict standard increases the value of the promises that Obama DID keep and frankly, it is quite the sight to behold: 239 promises kept in only four years. If you think Obama doesn't keep promises, I think you have the retort.
The categories where he kept the greatest percentages of promises are in healthcare (48%) and education (54%). The promises he kept in healthcare is not a surprise, but education? It turns out, I forgot about the many promises that he kept in his stimulus bill, since it was no longer on the front pages. Thank you, Politifact for that reminder.
And the last four years were supposedly the phase when Obama acted centrist so he could win re-election, so I can't wait for the next four years!
Here is a great summary analyzing Obama's achievements and policy views by experts that Politifact talked to. Everyone should read the whole article, but here are the important bits.
James Morone, a Brown University professor who studies presidential politics and health care, said the law is a rare legislative achievement on par with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
"So many things have to come together, and presidential leadership is absolutely essential. I don’t think Obama has yet gotten the full credit for this accomplishment that history will give him," he said.
The health care law alone fulfilled 19 promises, including pledges for tax credits for people who need health insurance, requirements for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions; and an expansion of Medicare drug coverage for seniors.
The stimulus bill, designed to kick-start the economy, was like a giant goodie bag packed with things Obama had promised.
In some cases, the government simply wrote a check. But often, it provided incentives to encourage private-sector investment or push state governments to take action locally.
It funded efforts to modernize the nation’s electricity grid through competitive grants to utility companies. It offered scholarships and loan forgiveness to medical school students if they were willing to serve as physicians in rural areas. It paid for educational contests to get children interested in math and science. It sent grants to states to improve water quality. And it gave money to American car companies to build electric vehicles and hybrids.
The emphasis on incentives was a favorite Obama approach, said Michael Grunwald, author of The New New Deal, a book that documented the widespread impact of the stimulus. The massive spending effort was "the purest distillation of ‘change we can believe in’ on the policy side," Grunwald said.