HUFF’S POST: Taking a look back at the Obama presidency

Taylor Huff

“Thanks, Obama.” It’s a phrase many of us have heard thrown around sarcastically these past eight years. Whether it’s a flat tire or the rise of ISIS, it’s become commonplace to hear that same exasperated claim.

Over the past 18 months, President Barack Obama has dealt with criticism from both sides of the aisle on his performance in the White House. Our shiny, new president-elect has even labeled him as “one of the worst presidents in the history of our country.”

Now that he’s a lame duck, what better time is there to examine what Obama has accomplished in office? As many prominent Republican leaders likely said on election night, what do we have to lose?

Politicians make a lot of promises when they’re trying to get your vote. 508 to be exact for Obama, according to Politifact.

Regardless of whether you lean left or right, it’s unrealistic to think a president will prove faithful on all of his promises. We’re lucky enough to live in a society with checks and balances where compromises are necessary for a government to properly serve the people.

If a president can address many of the major issues across all areas, areas like economic, social, foreign policy, etc., while leaving the country in better shape for the next person in power, that should be considered a job well done.

When we as citizens expect one man or woman to be our saviors and solve the countless problems in this world, we set ourselves up for failure.

That being said, a president should be held accountable for the major promises he or she makes while campaigning. For Obama in 2012, these were universal health care, a cap on carbon emissions, immigration reform and economic recovery following the housing market crash to name a few.

Perhaps the most important task for Obama was to improve relations between Republicans and Democrats to initiate a more bi-partisan government.

In his defense, Obama’s health care bill passed, he raised fuel economy standards and created new financial regulations to stabilize our economy.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the two major parties is pitiful. It’s as if we’re living in a country that has two completely different plans for its future.

Take the recent vacancy in the Supreme Court for example. After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Obama did his job, as outlined by the Constitution, and nominated Judge Merrick Garland.

Knowing Obama only had a short time left in office and needed Senate approval, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked Obama’s nominee in hopes that the new president would elect someone more conservative.

That’s the level of pettiness this country’s federal government has reached.

So if we’re judging Obama solely by the current political climate of the country that he promised to improve, then yes he has failed.

But if we look at how he has helped millions of Americans afford healthcare, the steps he has taken to address climate change and the millions of jobs he has helped create, the phrase “thanks Obama” may start to sound more genuine.