The reflections and arguments on the Legacy and Tenure of The Obama Administration
By Moses Kamuiru
The most talented campaigners
Barack Obama is among the most gifted campaigners we have ever seen. But as president, he failed in a manner and on a scale that damaged his party, undermined faith in the institutions of government and left the nation more riven than he found it. The Obama presidency has been characterized by injurious incompetence, in particular about his signature achievement, Obamacare. The unveiling of the website was a disaster, and the promises the president made — that Americans could keep their doctors and plans if they chose to — were false. Mr. Obama guaranteed lower insurance costs to families and lower health costs to the taxpayer; instead, costs rose. Several of the state-run exchanges appear to be headed for collapse. Overseas, the Obama years have been defined by spreading disorder and chaos, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, with nations collapsing and borders dissolving. More terrorist safe havens have been established than ever before. Russia and China have become more aggressive and significantly increased their geo-political influence. America is now held in brazen contempt by our enemies and mistrusted by many of our allies.
70 percent of Americans say the country is either more divided or no more united
In some respects, the most significant failure of the Obama years is in the area where many people thought he would excel. Mr. Obama made the center-piece of his 2008 campaign a promise to end a politics that “breeds division and conflict and cynicism.” In February of that year, I praised him for “a message that, at its core, is about unity and hope rather than division and resentment.” He leaves office with America more conflicted and cynical than when he took office. More than 70 percent of Americans say the country is either more divided or no more united than it was in 2009. Race relations are the worst in decades, and our nation is as polarized as it has been in the modern era. It would be silly to lay all the blame for this at the feet of Mr. Obama. Republicans have been rhetorically reckless at times, and President-elect Donald Trump has coarsened public discourse and set Americans against one another in ways that were once unimaginable. But Mr. Obama came first, and he played a role in where we are.
His arrogance that proved to be Mr. Obama’s undoing
In his farewell address last week, President Obama said that for the sake of our democracy we need to heed the advice of the fictional character Atticus Finch, who said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” Mr. Obama never seemed to consider things from a different point of view from his own. He has shown withe-ring disdain for his opponents, continually impugning their motives even as he testified to the purity of his own. It was his arrogance that proved to be Mr. Obama’s undoing. (Even leaders of his party felt Mr. Obama’s derision as if dealing with them was somehow beneath him.) Mr. Obama dismissed those who disagreed with him like a professor forced to deal with stupid, wayward students. He warned us against retreating into our bubbles, but he was never able to escape his own.