Saving his Legacy: Obama’s Farewell

Tonight Barak Obama gave a farewell speech.  It is amazing how full the Chicago auditorium was as I watched.

I mentally contrasted this with the Hillary crowds.  They didn’t even compare. If she had Obama’s draw, she very well could have been president.

If Bernie Sanders were allowed to compete fairly in the Democrat Primaries, I almost think we would be saying President Elect Bernie Sanders instead of Trump.  He could have easily ridden Obama’s popularity coat-tails into office.

As the President spoke, he spoke in a way that was intended to rescue his program legacy.  As many commentators have noted, when Obama is on the ticket, he wins.  When his policies (minus his good looks) are on the ballot, he loses.  His policies stand as his legacy – which doesn’t look so hot right now.

Before I go down my list I will say, I see the light at the end of every tunnel. I see the silver lining behind every cloud.  I will start on the positive:

The most calming thing I’ve ever heard Obama say was what he said tonight: he affirmed our peaceful transition just days away.

One of my all-time favorite things is seeing him affirm his wife Michelle and his commitment to his marriage. Nothing is more important in our culture today than a Dad and Husband showing love to his wife and kids.  That is a seriously beautiful thing, and I was touched as I watched that.

 There are a great many in the unwashed minority American population that took heart they can succeed in this country if they didn’t believe it before.  America is truly a place where we are willing to all work together seeing people as people, not as categories.  I content Obama played more to the “You are oppressed”, cup half-empty side of the American psyche than he did the cup-half-full, optimistic side and I think that has had a negative effect in the view of folks and contributed to the chaos we see in the country today.

After 8 years of Obama’s policies though, I see no Hope in the Change he brought about.  I am more optimistic for the changes (reverting back hopefully) to come as 2017 progresses.  But we’ll see.

In his farewell address, President Obama reminded us of what he thought were his successes: Iran Nuke deal, opening Cuba relations, the auto bailout, the longest employment growth spurt in our history (!!!???) and of course his crowing achievement, Obamacare.  He called out a post-racial America where he says things have greatly improved, “No matter what some folks might say.”

The truth in these is still obvious despite his enthusiastic delivery:

  • Iran is the state sponsor of terror and we just injected them with a healthy infusion of cash to modernize
  • Cuba is still run by an oppressive Communist regime, also infused with much needed cash
  • The auto-bailout, while nice on the face (and bluntly providing me with great employment) came at a large cost to where certain stock and bond holders took an unrighteous loss of their money and their gains
  • Each month Obama’s BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported jobs numbers, they gave a rosy picture on Fridays, then adjusted those numbers down the following week without any press fanfare
    • The total universe of jobs in the US continued to shrink
    • The U3 Unemployment numbers (90 days Unemployed) saw people shift to the U6 category (long term unemployed) which were not counted against the universe of jobs – giving us a fake unemployment number of 5% or lower
    • 99 million people are out of work today – that is approximately 1/3 of our entire population.  Gallup says the Unemployment rate is about 9.x% and I’ve seen it reported higher in other places.
  • President Obama promised better priced, better quality, more accessible health care. If you like your doctor, you can keep him.
    • Obamacare has caused premiums to increase 116% here in Arizona alone, many insurers and doctors have opted out of the Affordable Care Act due to onerous regulations, rules and costs – making the promised reality unrealized, as predicted in 2010 before it’s passage.
  • The racial divide in the US is more sharply pronounced than I’ve ever seen it in my lifetime. Rhetoric from the top of our country’s leadership dictates much direction.  Obama’s words and actions have sadly served to stoke the fires and divide, not heal the divides that existed.

Obama’s legacy is spotty at best.  Of course he will not point to the disastrous failure of the Fast and Furious program – delivering US weapons to Mexican drug Lords in the hope they would commit crimes in the United States with them to create outcry against the 2nd Ammendment.

He definitely won’t point to that disaster in Benghazi, Libya. Hillary’s fingerprints are all over taking out Muammar Gaddafi – leading to Libya becoming a failed state incubating ISIS – out of which reports have come the US used it to run guns to Syria, thus arming ISIS with US weapons.

Of all the things, I think Benghazi, at least to me personally, is the most heart-breaking. Have you seen the movie 13 hours?

He departs office after causing no small amount of turmoil by putting his finger in the eye of Israel at the UN, blaming the Russians for purposely swaying the election towards Trump, undermining the incoming Administration through his words and promising to speak out after leaving office – unlike past presidencies — all of this among other things.  Obama’s departure is fitting for the state he has left this country – in tumult.

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