On the day that President Barack Obama gives his farewell address to the nation, Americans on all sides of the political spectrum will judge the past eight years of the Obama Administration. Books will be written about the place in history President Barack Obama occupies, but as his administration comes to a close, we can consider an objective overview of the past eight years.
Actually, only some Americans will be able to consider an objective overview of the eight years President Obama was in office - the rest have already made up their minds based on bias, and not facts.
As a radio talk show host, I am beholden to no political party or rigid political ideology. Like a majority of Americans, I cannot be conveniently defined as “right” or “left.” The true conservatives and the true liberals may receive a disproportionate amount of attention in the mainstream media, but neither group can boast of controlling the outcome of general elections. And Donald Trump’s victory is no exception to that political reality.
President Obama leaves office with an approval rating over 50%. Many of President Obama’s supporters are overly enthusiastic and many of those who have disliked the President from the first day of his presidency are overly critical and blame him for everything wrong with America and in many cases, even for the things that have gone wrong in their personal and professional lives.
During the eight years of the Obama Administration, America has faced numerous tragedies and challenges, but there has also been many positive developments to recognize. The problem is that those who from the beginning have had a positive opinion of President Obama refuse to recognize the negative aspects of what happened during his reign as president and those who have had a negative opinion of President Obama will not admit to any of the positive and encouraging developments over the past eight years.
Republicans campaigning for Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign were adamant about President Obama destroying the U.S. economy if he was re-elected. The President was re-elected and I see no signs that our economy has been destroyed. In fact, many conservative Republicans have made financial gains through the incredible performance of the stock market.
Excuses are given by those who wish to discredit the President to deflect any positive influence of the his Administration, but it’s certain that if the stock market tanked there would be wholesale blaming of the President.
The U.S. economy is cyclical. Bill Clinton got credit for a booming economy, but the economy had been improving in the latter part of the George H.W. Bush Administration. Clinton reaped the benefits of that in the same way the Donald Trump will reap the benefits of an economy that, in the past year, has shown signs it is strengthening.
Generally, the economy doesn’t suddenly rise or fall with the election of a new president. There are factors that led to stimulation of grown or decline in growth following an election, but our massive economy tends to make long, slow turns and the Trump Presidency begins with positive signs in the economy.
The current unemployment rate has plummeted from where it was eight years ago. Those who instinctively condemn President Obama will give excuses for why that number is down, including saying that the job market is so bad that people have given up and they no longer register in the system.
There is some truth to that, however, the same system that produced the high unemployment numbers that was used to condemn the President was praised when the numbers were high and now discounted when the numbers are low. Poll numbers and stats are either praised or condemned depending on what agenda or message is being promoted.
The U.S. economy can be growing in the right direction, but if an individual loses his or her job, their economic situation collapses. That’s understandable, but it’s not always fair to blame the President.
Sometimes poor performance or bad business decisions or the failure to adapt to a changing marketplace can led to the lose of a job or the closing of a business, but there will be those who refuse to accept personal accountability and pass the blame onto the President. And that happens whether the president if a Republican or a Democrat.
Race relations in America became more contentious under the administration of the first black president. That will be the topic of books and discussions for years to come. While there were times President Obama appeared to speak more from the standpoint of a black president than a president, racial tension fueled by the media increased dramatically under the Obama Administration. I doubt that it’s fair to blame President Obama to the degree many do.
President Obama did not cause racial tension as much as he was the president during a time when America was very racially divided. Donald Trump will not improve race relations because the perpetrators on both sides of the race debate have little interest in coming together. If the perception of race relations in America were as good as it appears to be in our personal and professional day-to-day lives, the perpetrators would lose significance and power. By blaming a president for what’s wrong with race relations in America, those who seek attention and power define an enemy with which they use to rally their follows. Every leader needs to have an enemy in order to gather and maintain a following.
Presidents get the credit or the blame for the good and bad in America, but a president has less direct influence over the actions of individuals that collectively define our society than we are led to believe.
It’s wrong to blame President Obama for many of the things that are not right in America and it will be wrong to blame President Trump for every negative event that occurs while he is in the White House. That, however, will not stop the blaming.
On our talk show weekday afternoons, we will interpret and analyze the top news stories daily from the perspective of setting the record straight on what is and is not the accomplishments or the faults of the next President of the United States with no concern for political parties. I look forward to having you join us for our unique attitude on the air!