President Obama’s first term has not been the uninterrupted tale of disappointment and broken promises that the media, his opponents, and even pessimistic liberals might have you believe. He promised to reform health care, and passed a bill that will allow the United States to finally join the club of developed nations with universal health insurance. He said he would increase the regulation of the financial sector so that we would not repeat the disaster of 2008, and signed such a bill in his second year. He pledged to cut taxes for the middle class; the stimulus and debt ceiling compromise both included tax cuts that gave struggling families a much-needed reprieve. His plan to increase standards-based educational assessment earned opposition in the primary, but his “Race to the Top” initiative set off an unprecedented wave of school reform. He vowed to end the war in Iraq; our troops are home.
He repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” allowing gay men and women to serve their country openly, and refused to defend the shameful and unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act.” His administration passed laws that made it easier for women to sue for equal pay and for students to receive college loans. He dramatically increased fuel economy standards for automobiles and the regulations on coal pollution. Oil imports are at their lowest level in decades. The General Motors assembly lines that seemed at risk of forever falling silent four years ago now churn faster than ever. Osama bin Laden lies on the bottom of the Arabian Sea.
In America, we view the President as wielding near-dictatorial levels of power. We credit him for the good things that happen during his time in office, whether or not he had anything to do with them, and we blame him when things over which he has little control go wrong. This President, time and time again, has taken bold risks that—had they backfired—would have combined him to the place in history occupied by the likes of Carter and Hoover. Let us not forget that President Obama never had an honest partner in the Congressional Republicans who have held dozens of votes on repealing Obamacare but few on fixing the economy or investing in our future. This is neither an accident nor an oversight. Their only agenda is to defeat this President. If Barack Hussein Obama can win a second term despite their rancor, their disrespect, and their selfish obstructionism, they will have failed.