While accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination, President Barack Obama did acknowledge that the journey has not been an easy one. Obama stepped into a sports arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday to ask for “more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades”.
But before deciding whom to vote and why, it is important to have an assessment of what Obama promised and what he and his administration has actually delivered to the people. In many ways, his first-term has been disappointing: the economy remains weak and housing still remains in a mess. But, then again the state is incomparably better off.
The Obameter scorecard tells us that out of the 508 promises evaluated, the president has kept almost 37% of them, compromised on 14% of them, has broken 16% of them, has gotten stalled on 10% of them and 22% are still in works.
With these things in mind, we present you with the first-term report card of Obama administration.
Areas where Obama as a President failed:
- Closing Guantanamo Bay: One big stumble that came in his way right after he took office was the closing of Guantanamo bay. During an interview on the CBS Program ’60 Minutes’, Obama clearly said that he wanted to "close Guantanamo" and vowed to "follow through on that." However, legal obstacles and resistance from Congress neutralized his executive order to shut down the detention facility within a year.
- Repealing Bush-ear tax cuts: Another promise that went straight into the walls of Capitol Hill was the vow to repeal Bush-era tax cuts for the very rich. And with homeowners struggling to recover from a crippling mortgage crisis, a promised $10 billion dollar foreclosure prevention fund never materialized.
- Immigration Reforms: Even as Democrats gathered in Charlotte to renew their promise for a comprehensive immigration reform, the million dollar question remained whether Congress will approve that elusive reform or not. The promise that Obama made during his 2008 Presidential Campaign regarding undocumented immigrants has not been delivered as yet.
- Housing Sector: Maybe the worst economic move by Obama and his administration was in the form of dropping a bombshell on housing as a bailout measure from recession. Far few mortgages have been modified under administration programs as to what was expected. Moreover, Americans have lost their homes, leading to greater inequality.
Areas where Obama has succeeded (to some extent):
- Economy: Most of you won’t agree, but in January 2009 when Obama took office, America lost 818,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The biggest monthly loss in six decades amidst fears of a complete collapse of the banking sector. Obama did provide considerable support to banking and auto sectors. Statistics from independent sources revealed that his stimulus saved or created nearly three million jobs in the country. The Economist magazine said: “His handling of the crisis and recession were impressive.”
- Education: Democratic Party this time made the reform of schools as their top priority. At the same time President Obama promoted performance-based pay for teachers as well as bonuses for high-caliber math and science teachers. With the help of the Race to the Top initiative he has motivated states to formulate their own school reforms, an efficient way to promote educational reforms. With Pell grants Obama has made college more affordable and has promoted investments in community colleges.
- Domestic Issues: Out of all others Obama does deserve full credit for resolving domestic issues of the country by repealing the DADT ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and allowing homosexuals men and women to openly serve in armed forces. Above all, he was able to achieve health care reform – a goal presidents wanted to make for more than half-a-century.
- Foreign Policy: This is certainly an area where Obama does deserve an A grade and few would have a problem with it. He brought troops from Iraq and fulfilled his promise to take out Osama Bin Laden. Furthermore, Obama’s strategy of international coalition to squeeze Iran while restraining Israel from dragging US into war there also deserves recognition. However, the collapse of his policies in main battlegrounds and hotbeds of terrorism such as Afghanistan and Pakistan can easily convert his A into a B+.
Bottom line: it’s a mixed picture. Not as good as Democrats in Charlotte claim, but still much better as to what Republicans think. Between now and Election Day, even though campaigning has consumed much effort, any news of promise fulfillment will definitely help Obama in the re-election process. Another four years is all he needs to improve his report card.