Eight years ago, charismatic and inspiring Sen. Barack Obama inherited an unemployment rate of 10 percent, which shredded 800,000 jobs per month. During his battle with the national debt and unemployment, he captured the hearts of millions of U.S. citizens who were yearning for change. Now that his term in office is coming to an end, his legacy must be examined.
Past presidents have all failed in establishing a national healthcare system, but Obama succeeded. With the Affordable Care Act, Obama demonstrated his belief that healthcare is a right, laying out the foundation for universal healthcare.
Obama achieved a lot more on the domestic front in addition to establishing the necessary foundation. The Dodd-Frank Act was the first major crackdown on Wall Street’s power in a generation. He enacted bold regulations to curb emissions of greenhouses gases and combat climate change. Through executive action he has protected nearly 6 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. He ended the ban on gay and lesbian service in the military.
Obama’s biggest foreign policy success has been the Iran nuclear deal. Under this deal, Iran must give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium. Iran is only allowed to enrich its remaining uranium up to 3.67 percent. To put this into perspective, medical research-grade uranium is enriched to 20 percent and weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90 percent.
Other equally important successes are the Paris Climate Deal, attempting to come to a rapprochement with Cuba and eliminating Osama bin Laden. Obama called for operation Neptune Spear, which specifically targeted and killed bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida and the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.
His extensive use of drones, however, has eliminated several key members of al-Qaida, but collateral damage has left innocent civilians dead. His biggest failure, however, was failing to negotiate with former president of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki, which helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq.
Domestically, Obama has had failures as well. Obamacare needs revisions. He also failed to create the political change he promised in 2008 and failed to usher in a new era of public enthusiasm for the Democratic Party and the government.
President Obama will be remembered as one of the most consequential presidents in recent U.S. history. In the past eight years, he has completely transformed the healthcare system in the United States, passed tough reforms on Wall Street, appointed two of the four women to ever serve in the Supreme Court, put in place the toughest climate regulations in the nation’s history and reached a peaceful settlement with Iran over its nuclear program. No matter what one’s political views are, it is impossible to deny the magnitude of these deals. The Obama Administration was also scandal-free—he and his wife are exemplars of elegance and integrity.
History will look kindly on Obama as his presidency was active and accomplished. Obama has maintained hope, which has forever changed this nation.