“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This election year, we are hearing lots of promises. To fulfill these promises, goals must be set. An effective goal must be specific, measurable, and achievable. It’s impossible to know if someone has failed if it’s not clear what was expected of them in the first place.
In seven years, President Barack Obama has accomplished a great deal, but many Republicans still claim Obama is the worst president ever. For him to be the worst, he would have had to do something more terrible than invading a country based on lies, costing thousands of American lives (Bush –Iraq) or worse than selling weapons to a terrorist country in order to finance Central American thugs (Reagan –Iran/Contra). I can’t think of anything Obama has done that even comes close.
When Obama was elected, Republicans had one specific, measurable goal. They wanted to make sure he failed at everything he attempted. Fortunately, this goal was not 100 percent achievable. In spite of Republican obstruction, Obama has completed many of his goals. It would take several columns to list all of his accomplishments, but here are some of the major ones.
Obama promised to:
Stop the hemorrhage of jobs under Bush. We were losing 750,000 jobs every month. Since December 2009, the economy has created over 13 million net new jobs, three times more jobs than were created by both Bush presidents combined. Since March 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was signed, we’ve had 71 consecutive months of private sector job growth, the longest such streak in American history. Unemployment dropped from 10 percent to five percent.
Pass health care reform. He did, and over 17 million people now have health insurance who wouldn’t have under the old system. My self-employed sister has diabetes. She couldn’t afford health insurance before Obamacare; now she is covered and can see a doctor.
Restore our standing in the world. When George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, a British newspaper ran this headline: “How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?” U.S. favorability was declining everywhere. Obama has regained the world’s respect. He has earned overwhelmingly positive reactions in Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and India, with confidence that he will do the right thing in world affairs.
Fight terrorism. Republicans think more boots on the ground, plus carpet bombing, will defeat ISIS. Haven’t we learned our lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan? Obama is hitting ISIS where it hurts, in the pocketbook. He is bombing their oil convoys and their financial centers, destroying hundreds of millions of dollars of their assets. As a result, ISIS has cut its fighters’ pay in half, and many fighters are deserting ISIS. This is a much more effective way to destroy ISIS without costing innocent lives.
Republicans keep saying Obama is a terrible president, he has failed, he has harmed the country, etc., etc. Obama has managed to achieve many of his goals in spite of this negativity. So, what would the Republicans have considered success? What did they want Obama to do that he hasn’t done? Apparently nothing he did would have been right in their eyes. Now they are saying another Democratic president would be like a third term of Obama.
It’s true that a Democratic president will keep the economic recovery and growth going, especially if he/she has a cooperative Congress. A Republican president will bring us a third term of Bush, with new wars, the deficit (which Obama has reduced) growing again, and potentially another economic collapse.
Obama’s goals were to get the country out of the mess Bush got us into and start us on a path of growth. The Republican goal was to block him at every turn. So, the challenge, once again, is what did Republicans want Obama to do — specific, measurable, achievable – and how did he fail their expectations?
Or is it true that he was so hated by Republicans before he even took office that nothing he did would have been good enough? If that’s the case, at least be honest about it and stop blaming Obama for not reaching goals Republicans refused to establish.
If we want to build on Obama’s substantial achievements, we must elect a Democratic president in November. Democrats, please attend the caucus on Feb. 20, 11 a.m, at Wolf Center behind Epworth United Methodist Church. We must choose and support a candidate. Otherwise, we’ll be at the mercy of the Republicans, and our country will sink into chaos once again.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.