History will place Obama among our great presidents

153211_5_

With his time in the White House growing short, with the country a month away from electing his successor, it’s time to state the obvious: History is going to be very, very kind to President Barack Hussein Obama.

That kind of assessment must of course begin by considering the conditions that a president inherited upon taking office. In Obama’s case, he faced an economy that was in free fall here at home and across the globe, with more than 800,000 American jobs disappearing the month that he took the oath of office, and with the stock market in a historic collapse.

Overseas, the consequences of our Iraq invasion, the single worst foreign policy decision in American history, were already wreaking havoc. Against its will, the outgoing Bush administration had been forced to sign a deal committing the United States to withdraw from battle-torn Iraq with its goals unmet and the situation deeply unstable, leaving its successor to manage the aftermath.

Given all that, what Obama has accomplished in the subsequent eight years is impressive in its own right. The unemployment rate is below 5 percent; the stock market has almost tripled in valuation; some 15 million more jobs have been created.  Overseas, the signs of progress are admittedly less obvious, especially with tragedy playing out in Syria. But meeting the challenges of fundamental Islamic extremism, complicated by our previous bungling, was always going to be the work of a generation or longer, and in the end will have to be resolved internally, by the Muslim world itself, rather than by Western outsiders.

However, Iran’s nuclear-weapons program has been dismantled, thanks to a concerted international effort led by the United States, and the caliphate that ISIS attempted to create in portions of Iraq and Syria is well on its way to disappearing. As our next president will also find, the Middle East is a problem that can never be resolved but can at best be managed.

But when you put those various accomplishments in their political context — when you consider that Obama has been forced to deal with those daunting challenges without a scintilla of support or assistance from what ought to have been his Republican partners in governance — that’s when they become almost remarkable.

In fact, history’s assessment of Obama’s Republican opposition is likely to be brutal. Future students of American politics will look at the challenges that our country faced, then at the GOP’s refusal to cooperate or compromise in any way in addressing those challenges, and they will be confounded. Its incapacity to govern, its willingness to court major damage to the country rather than validate Obama as president, will be as inexplicable to historians as it has been to many of us who have lived through it.

In a lengthy interview with Jon Chait in New York magazine, Obama calmly, dispassionately explains how he attempted to deal with that situation. As a relatively young ex-president, he should be on the scene for many years to come to tell his side of the story, and as a practical matter that too will help guide history’s verdict. There is no competing conservative articulation of what drove conservatives to react as they have reacted. Blind, stubborn refusal to compromise or cooperate does not lend itself to a thoughtful narrative or explanation.

And of course, historians trying to comprehend the Republican Party of the last eight years will see the candidacy of Donald Trump as the culmination and final proof of the GOP’s dysfunction. He is without precedent in American history, at least in terms of a major party’s presidential nominee, and the contrast between Trump and Obama can only redound to Obama’s benefit.

Already, you see that phenomenon playing out in the polls, with Obama’s job-approval rating rising each month as his fellow Americans reflect on his tenure and consider what otherwise might have been without his leadership. He has been a president of historic importance, a fact that makes his status as our first black president almost — but not quite — an interesting footnote.

That’s the most amazing thing of all.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 1

2053 comments
Don Francis
Don Francis

You people are delusional at the AJC! Obozo will be looked at as the destroyer of personal liberties and for his pro-muslim agenda. Worst president in history. Ever!

julescator
julescator

Which personal Liberties were destroyed?  What exactly is on the pro-Muslim agenda.  Can't wait to read this one!

Mattie Lyons
Mattie Lyons

He was God sent and that's why no weapon formed against him shell prosper amen

Steve Wall
Steve Wall

He's absolutely terrible! A complete disgrace! In fact, I believe somewhere down the line, his presidency may be renounced. Vacated! Like a college football team that was proven to have cheated during a championship season. Just show "no active president" from 2008-2016. Perhaps World War III, when Russia and North Korea, Iran, Israel, China, all hurling nuclear bombs at each other, would be a good time to do this.

julescator
julescator

Or perhaps when a plane flies into the WTC and kills 3000 ppl - oh wait........

David Melton
David Melton

He's not the worst, but what has he done that ranks him as "great?"

James Silvis III
James Silvis III

FDR, Lincoln, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt were great presidents! Obama is the gimmick elected by a generation of fools looking for entitlements!

Gary Sellers
Gary Sellers

Not by any stretch of the imagination. Carter will place higher in ratings. Of course, Obama could be in Fed pen later.

Mary Maclin
Mary Maclin

Nobody will never be better than President Obama

Caryl Hafer
Caryl Hafer

Are these people idiots? Carter just lost first place!!

Terry Lee
Terry Lee

Hi Mr Cudi lm just so great that you put yourself 1st and your no longer judging yourself bc it's better to address the issues than ignore or run from them. Please know your not alone, your Family, Friends and Fans got your back !! Don't hold anything back from your Drs. let them help you, so you return living, loving and enjoying life to the fullest. I'm so proud of you !!!!!! #IMJUSTAFAN

Kay Durham
Kay Durham

Obama is the worst President we have ever had he should be in prison for treason

Kevin Thibodeau Sr.
Kevin Thibodeau Sr.

Hey Cruz Cisneros: Skin color has absolutely nothing to with this, so put the racist card away.

Kevin Thibodeau Sr.
Kevin Thibodeau Sr.

He done a tremendous job to bring this country and economy back to greatness. Thank You Mr. President

Tony Antonelli
Tony Antonelli

maybe in the land of bizzaro world. you r the worst president in a long time

Carol Hasty
Carol Hasty

That is insane, he is the worst ever

Ambrose Constantine
Ambrose Constantine

Denial doesn't change the facts live with it and read history and your children would see how stupid you all of them you're racist Republican

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith

I will always teach my kids that we elected a islimic terrorist for President

Wonda Heard
Wonda Heard

NO WAY WHAT HAS HE DONE GREAT . FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT THAT'S NOT NOTHING

John Fair
John Fair

Jay Bookman... you need to brush up on your Hemingway... It's okay to write drunk, but you need to remember the second part... edit once you sober up...

Valerie Grissom
Valerie Grissom

No, worst president ; after Jimmy Carter! A total incompetence!!

Pat Lyons
Pat Lyons

Get off the crack, Obummer is the worst.

Cruz Cisneros
Cruz Cisneros

There you go, affirmative action still in effect. The worst president in the history of the United States being called one of the best. See how much whites love blacks. And you think you're discriminated against. Lmao

Eddie Watson
Eddie Watson

Jon Loveless, I agree with almost everything you say except for just one, Carter is 2nd to Obummer and if we allow Hillary to move back into the White House I believe she will also move into the # 1 spot within 90 days of entry

Bruce Aultman
Bruce Aultman

Your joking how about the sorriest we have ever had

Geneva Odom
Geneva Odom

WHO SAID HE IS GREAT//////I HAVE NEVER HEARD IT

Hallie Holmes
Hallie Holmes

Respect for his wife,children and the love for each other that they exhibit. What a way to go.

Robert B Badal
Robert B Badal

As an American who has done something relatively few Americans have done--lived abroad and traveled extensively--I can state from first hand experience that Obama is definitely the most globally respected American president we have had in a long time.  While America is respected as a country, Americans as individuals cut a sad figure to most educated people in the world, denying climate change, dissing government, fighting against universal health care--and their racist reaction to Obama.  The latter is a huge part of most of the disparaging comments about his legacy, which if he were a white Republican, would probably be enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.  Watching the US from a distance, this is patently obvious and both sad and embarrassing.

julescator
julescator

@Robert B Badal I agree and I lived overseas for a while also and you are correct.  I have seen the "ugly American" up close through the eyes of the world and it ain't pretty.  You are also correct that the rest of the world is wild about Obama and love him.  These people here with the ugly comments have low self-esteem, little to no education and couldn't name 10 countries of the world on an unmarked map!  President Obama is a rare human being and we were lucky to have him cross our path when we needed him the most!

Phyllis Binkowski
Phyllis Binkowski

And I suppose if Hillary Clinton gets elected she will probably be right on his tail unfortunately they are wrong and in the future it will be known

julescator
julescator

Yes because what we need is another does of GOP governance and another Tickle Down Recession.  Yep a third term of Bush with the Vulgar one at the helm.    NO THANKS!