Ten best and worst of Obama’s first term

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Below, find my summary of the best and worst of the last four years. Perhaps the bestest, not included, is the mass movement that elected the president and whose influence must be brought to bear to create real change in Washington and beyond. With that some of the worst can be reversed and turned into bests.

10 best

1. Signing of the Lily Ledbetter Act. One of the first acts of the Obama presidency was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which reversed a Supreme Court decision limiting women's right to sue for pay discrimination. The act was signed on January 29, 2009.

2. Support of the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would allow workers to bargain with employers if a majority signed up for recognition.

3. Support for taxing the rich. President Obama has continuously advocated allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and making the rich pay taxes proportionate to their income.

4. Support for marriage equality. On May 9, 2012, Obama became the first U.S. president to support gay marriage. Prior to his announcement, Vice President Joe Biden indicated the administration's support.

5. Appointment of two women, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, to the Supreme Court.

6. Sponsored and pushed for the American Jobs Act to address the unemployment crisis.

7. Pressing for Obamacare, the Affordable Health Care Act. The president, ignoring conventional wisdom, supported and passed national health care legislation that other presidents, including Bill Clinton, had been unable to achieve.

8. Keeping campaign promise, pulled troops out of Iraq.

9. Affirmed workers' right to collective bargaining.

10. Condemned "right to work" laws, most recently in Michigan.

10 worst

1. Carrying out targeted assassinations of U.S. citizens accused of terrorism without trial, notably Anwar al-Avlaqi.

2. Military intervention for regime change in Libya under the guise of establishing a no-fly zone to prevent an alleged possible massacre of civilians in Benghazi.

3. In debt ceiling negotiations with the GOP before the 2012 election, Obama reportedly put cuts to Social Security and Medicare on the table.

4. On several occasions in Wisconsin, calling on public workers to accept the idea of "shared sacrifice," implying their benefits packages were excessive.

5. Appointment of GOP favorite General David Petraeus as head of the U.S. command in Afghanistan and later to head the CIA.

6. Inability to close the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo, Cuba, and place prisoners accused of terrorism in the U.S. judicial system.

7. Appointment of General Electric CEO Jeffrey R. Immelt to head the administration's economic advisory board. Immlet laid off over 20,000 workers, shipping many jobs overseas.

8. Appointment of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to the Treasury and White House economic team, both of whom were knee-deep in the sub-prime banking crisis.

9. Continuing the Cold War policy of enforcing a blockade of Cuba.

10. After refusing corporate donations to his first inaugural, the president has accepted big capital cash for the second.

Photo: Beth Rankin/Flickr

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  • thanks for the article. I would, however, actually move two of Joe's 'bests' to the 'worst' column. I do not see 'support for labor law reform & colllective bargaining' as 'best' when those issues were placed on the back of the backest back burner, in this case one that did not at any time even see the light of day, as any kind of 'best.'

    Thomas Jefferson 'supported' ending slavery, but only within the privacy of his own discussions, but never within the real, live public arena that could've possibly saved thousands/millions of lives & helped hasten the end of that evil practice. I really do believe that Obama does 'believe in' labor law reform and collective bargaining. However, his and his party's failure to in any way place this key, central issue forward in any real way, such as forcing a yes/no vote on the issue, forcing a real public discussion, has greatly harmed our nation going forward.

    Only when the public discussion can be shifted from who can best cut the budget to a real economic discussion of how to best get income to those who will best help our entire economy move forward, can we begin to deal with the real issues of recovery. That, at its core must include the discussion of the greatest redistribution of wealth from working folk to the super rich, the growing income gap between wealthy/working class. The only real solution is to again strengthen unions, which will actually then begin to shift wealth back to working people.

    That cannot happen until this issue is placed firmly in the middle of our national economic discussion. While we have not done nearly enough as labor/people's movement to get it there, Obama certainly deserves no award for his role in burying it!

    Posted by bruce bostick, 01/13/2013 11:42am (2 years ago)

  • Thank you brother Joe Sims for this piece. It is an effective summary of the contradictions of our time, and the important work we have before us as communists.
    Hebrews 12:14 and Matthew 6:14, from the Bible, are instructive. "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness,
    without which no one will see the Lord." The citing from Matthew is: The Lord's Prayer.
    The communists are necessarily builders of peace and forgiveness, by whatever name and method.
    We know very, very, well the failings of the Obama administration and presidency(including the ten worst).
    We also know very, very, well that we are builders in times of controversy, and not merely bitter critics.
    In this way, the great Henry Winston was the perennial builder, as the great W. E. B. Du Bois may put it: Wedding the Toil of toiling climes.
    Today, in the face of the worst and best steps of our elected leaders like the president Obama, we need to help build and organize millions in our world for peace, jobs, and the protection of our planet. We will build this from and among all people as Hebrews indicates and instructs.
    We must show the Obama administration our millions, our will, our resolve and our righteousness.
    From Proverbs 14:34-Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 12/18/2012 12:36pm (2 years ago)

  • Roosevelt and Johnson and Obama said, "Make me do it." We have fallen down on our responsibility with regard to Obama. We need to organize as many and as large demonstrations for peace and social justice as were done for the first two.

    Posted by Eliot Kenin, 12/15/2012 4:37pm (2 years ago)

  • Obama is really the worst president the US ever had, if not one of the worst: for example, the national health program which is included in the 10 best has allowed the profit hungry private insurance companies in its program and those private insurance companies have started to increase their premiums in anticipation of increasing costs to pay pre-existing cconditions or past histories, forcing many companies to drop or reduce the company-privided insurance protection, and also has allowed pharmaceutical corporations to charge the highest prices of medicines in the world, instead of negociating with them to limit the costs of medicines.

    Posted by pat, 12/13/2012 11:51pm (2 years ago)

  • http://www.aclu.org/blog/immigrants-rights/truth-about-current-state-immigration-enforcement

    Posted by charles brown, 12/13/2012 6:45pm (2 years ago)

  • Supports education deform

    Posted by charles brown, 12/13/2012 4:39pm (2 years ago)

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