Why Support Obama?

As the GOP Primary is winding down and America is gearing up towards the 2012 election, Obama’s four year presidential performance is sure to be scrutinized. Many will find themselves asking the question: does Barack Obama deserve re-election? This question has been a major concern for me. I supported and voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Has he been totally satisfactory? No. Does he deserve re-election? Yes. Like many others, I have been disappointed with Obama’s weak response to holding those in Wall Street accountable and the fact that he signed a law that allows indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen without trial. Some people may only concentrate on the negative side but, upon further review, I have found that the pros of another four years of the Obama administration outweigh the cons.

Obama inherited a financial disaster: sky rocketing unemployment, a housing market in crisis, and a global economic system on the brink of collapse. He breathed new life into the system with a $787 billion stimulus package. Obama approached this daunting task with a calm, cool, collected demeanor. He consulted experts and made rational decisions. The stimulus wasn’t perfect, but it did stabilize the economy. He solved other problems using the same method he did with the stimulus. When the auto industry was on the brink of collapse, for example, Obama intervened with a successful bailout. Over one million jobs were saved and an American industry was kept afloat. Because of Obama’s actions, jobs are being steadily added across the country; last month 200,000 jobs were added. Slowly but surely the economy is making a recovery.

Obama oversaw a number of underappreciated accomplishments. He helped establish the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This agency (CFPB) was created to protect the average consumer from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous business practices. He also oversaw major credit card reform which made credit card companies have fairer guidelines on how to handle their customers. Pell Grants were expanded, giving increased aid to college students across the country. Obama helped give the LGBTQ movement a major victory with the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Obama also succeeded where Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and even Bill Clinton failed—the passage of a universal health care law. The controversial law is not perfect but it is still an impressive bill that will help millions of Americans be able to access affordable health care. The Health Care Act reduced uninsured residents by 32 million, allows young people to stay on their parent’s health care plan until age 26, and prevents insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition, among other things.  

On foreign policy Obama has seen many successes and victories. Where the Bush administration failed, Obama succeeded; he oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. When dealing in foreign affairs, Obama has been calm and decisive. Once the situation in Libya became a global problem, Obama intervened in a pragmatic way; he cooperated with NATO forces and ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 year reign. This decision helped fix America’s image throughout the world.  The image of the U.S. acting as an aggressive hegemon has been discredited.  The world now sees that the U.S. can cooperate with other countries.  Most importantly, Obama ended the lengthy occupation of Iraq. The troops were finally brought home from war after seven long years.

Looking back, Barack Obama has made some tremendous achievements. These accomplishments were done despite an economic downturn and increased polarization in Congress. Obama has come out a successful president who took America out of recession and war. As stated above I still have my qualms about some of Obama’s policies and I will not blindly follow his lead; I will criticize him when he fails. But I will also congratulate him when he succeeds.  Right now he is doing more of the latter.  Barack Obama is not perfect.  But, then again, who is?

Jack Barnett is a third-year student majoring in history with a minor in political science. He can be reached at JB723722@wcupa.edu.

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