With the pending transition, I’ve been thinking about how I feel about President Obama’s time in office. I’m not a big fan of him policy-wise, but I nonetheless have a respect for him that is felt deeper in contrast to the incoming POTUS. I decided to break down specifically the Pros and Cons of the current President’s legacy.
He Was Our First African-American President
- For all of the disagreements you may have with him, this is an important historical note.
He supported necessary criminal justice reforms
- Just 20 years ago, even Democrats such as Bill Clinton were against removing unduly harsh punishments for minor drug crimes and promoting mandatory minimums. President Obama’s support for reform has helped promote the issue into the broader mainstream.
President Obama supported the Hyde Amendment
- This is one of the most critical pro-life actions a President can take. While his record on abortion beyond that was not good, this was a step that put him out of lock-step with his party.
His family as a whole exemplified grace and dignity in the White House
- The Obamas seem to be a very nice, close family (Michelle’s Mom even lives with them in the White House). He clearly loves his wife, and openly talks praises and exemplifies family values.
In the modern age of charisma, he actually had qualifications for the job
- In an era where expertise is derided, he had an Ivy League education, taught law at the University of Chicago, and served as a US Senator before running for office. He may have benefited from a few more years in the legislature before becoming President, but he certainly stands head-and-shoulders above his successor in terms of being qualified (you could arguably say the same comparing President Obama with his predecessor).
He was thoughtful, not reactionary
- He could have handled Syria better, but for the most part, his foreign policy seemed intentional. While many Republicans would have been trigger happy in the Middle East over the past 8 years, he worked to strengthen our relationship with partners such as Iran and kept us from getting further into a quagmire.
His Liberal Streak goes against most Conservative values
- He appointed 2 far-leftists to the Supreme Court, grew the national debt, and fostered an environment where progress on abortion and religious liberty issues was difficult. No one would excuse him of being in-line with Christian voters, even younger ones who have a basket of policy issues which don’t perfectly align with the Republican Party.
He didn’t always act charitably towards his political opponents
- To be fair, many of his political opponents acted viciously towards him in a way that, to be blunt, they would not have acted towards a white male. That said, even his more dignified opponents such as Speaker Boehner and Governor Romney were often easily dismissed and assumed to be acting in bad faith by the President and his team. I suspect some of the opposition towards him from Conservatives is probably related to this issue.
If anyone has additional thoughts, I would love to hear them in the comments.