Ten best and worst of Obama’s first term

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


Joe Sims
Joe Sims

Joe Sims is co-chair of the Communist Party USA. He is also a senior editor of People's World and loves biking.