Was Barack Obama a successful President? What were his greatest accomplishments?

Labor Force Participation 2015
Labor Force Participation 2015
Congressional Budget Office: Debt to GDP ratio
Congressional Budget Office: Federal Debt Held by Public to GDP ratio

(Source: Congressional Budget Office)

This National Review article is a summary of some of the things that we’ve been talking about on the blog over the past year. It’s worth contrasting his confident words with the actual results he’s achieved.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Begin with the continued rise of ISIS and an ISIS-inspired attack on American soil in San Bernardino.

Obama’s widely-panned Sunday evening speech on combating ISIS is fresh in our minds; he’s haunted by the fact that the day of the attack, in an interview with CBS News, he declared, “Our homeland has never been more protected by more effective intelligence and law-enforcement professionals at every level than they are now.” In the weeks between the Paris attack and San Bernardino, Obama told the public there was no known “specific and credible threat” to the U.S. — a point that in retrospect only emphasized how blindsided authorities were by the San Bernardino attack.

[…]It’s easy to forget that in mid November, after the Paris attacks, numerous congressional Democrats started publicly expressing doubts and frustration with the administration’s approach to ISIS. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told reporters that the Obama administration ignored the rise of ISIS in 2012 because it contradicted the narrative of the president’s reelection campaign. More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Commandfiled formal complaints that their reports on ISIS and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials.Elsewhere in the war on terror, a prisoner released from Guantanamo Bay in 2012 became one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army soldier that Obama traded for five high-value Taliban prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, was charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, did an interview where he compared himself to fictional heroic spy Jason Bourne.

It was a rough year for American national security. In addition to lingering questions about the security of classified and sensitive information on Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mail server, the Office of Personnel Management revealed in June that it suffered two apparently separate breaches of its computer system, meaning the sensitive information of about 21.5 million current and former federal workers is now in the hands of foreign hackers. (The Washington Post reported that the breach forced the CIA to withdraw personnel from China, but Director of National Intelligence James Clapper disputed the report, without going into detail.)

[…]The new Republican-controlled Senate and House failed to repeal Obamacare, but the outlook for the president’s signature domestic legislation grew considerably murkier in 2015. Twelve of the 23 health-insurance co-ops largely funded through Obamacare by federal loans failed; as a result roughly 700,000 Americans were told they needed to get a new insurance plan. In November, UnitedHealth Group, the biggest U.S. health-insurance company, said it had suffered major losses on policies sold on the Obamacare exchanges and would consider withdrawing from them.

The New York Times found that in many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov have a deductible of $3,000 or more — leaving many purchasers to conclude they can’t actually afford to go to the doctor despite paying for insurance.

[…]Defenders of the president will be quick to point to the unemployment rate at 5 percent, contending he’s presiding over a roaring economy. This year Democrat Bernie Sanders received some attention for echoing a point made by Republicans during the Obama era: The official unemployment rate excludes those working part time who want full-time work, and those who have stopped searching but if offered a job would take it. Sanders contended the “real” unemployment rate is higher than 10 percent; he pointed out that youth unemployment is particularly high. Wages remain mostly flat; when President Obama took office in January 2009, the average weekly earnings of rank-and-file workers in the private sector was $296.88. The preliminary figure for October 2015 is $306.80 — a 3 percent increase over seven years.

Mollie Hemingway has an article on Obama’s failures up at The Federalist.

Here’s a snip:

Another claim made repeatedly by the Obama administration was that people were stupid idiots to be worried about terrorists exploiting entry pathways to the country on account of how good our vetting is. When the Republicans in Congress worked on a bill to improve the process of vetting refugees from Syria, the White House issued yet another — yet another! — veto threat. The statement began:

The Administration’s highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people. That is why refugees of all nationalities, including Syrians and Iraqis, considered for admission to the United States undergo the most rigorous and thorough security screening of anyone admitted into the United States…. The current screening process involves multiple Federal intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, including the National Counterterrorism Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, and Defense, all aimed at ensuring that those admitted do not pose a threat to our country.

[I]f poor, vulnerable refugees are vetted this much, surely we must be vetting regular immigrants even more, right? Bad news. One of the San Bernardino murderers came into the country on a fiancé visa. Her tough application included questions such as, and I’m not joking:

  • “Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?”
  • “Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted or otherwise participated in genocide?”
  • “Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted or otherwise participated in torture?”

[…]The New York Times further reports that the murderer was openly calling for violence against the U.S., but we totally missed it because of how bad our vetting is:

WASHINGTON — Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., passed three background checks by American immigration officials as she moved to the United States from Pakistan. None uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad. She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it… Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country. But immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks, and there is a debate inside the Department of Homeland Security over whether it is even appropriate to do so.

ABC News also reported that a “Secret US Policy Blocks Agents From Looking at Social Media of Visa Applicants, Former Official Says.”

[Obama] issued a veto threat after claiming we couldn’t do any better at screening people. Turns out we’re asking them to volunteer information about how bad they are and respecting the “privacy” of their public comments calling for violent jihad.

Andrew C. McCarthy also has a similar post up at Investors Business Daily.


In his reluctant Dec. 6 Oval Office Address, Obama said things like: “Since the day I took this office, I’ve authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is.”

Inquiring minds wonder to what effect? How did terrorism’s leadership, which he said was “decimated” in 2012, reconstitute itself so effectively? And why is Obama intellectually incapable of calling Islamic extremists what they are?

He talks of increasing allied air assaults. But we’re 17 months into the assaults. Why does it take new terrorist attacks to ramp up what he said we were already doing? And why do 75% of the sorties return without dropping their ordnance? (Hint: Obama’s strict rules of engagement prohibit collateral casualties and require advance leaflet drop warnings.)

In his weekly remarks Saturday Obama said “Our airstrikes are hitting ISIL harder than ever.” Which wouldn’t take much.

He also stated, accurately, that Special Ops forces are in action, but neglected to mention they total about 250 against an ISIS army estimated at 40,000.

[…]Then, there’s the Iran nuclear deal. You may recall, although you’re not supposed to, the interminable negotiations were touted as preventing the world’s largest national exporter of terrorism from developing nuclear weapons. We now know Iran hasn’t even signed the agreement.

And Iran has violated existing U.N. resolutions in recent weeks by testing not once, but twice, ICBMs capable of carrying nuke warheads. The second test came as the U.N. was still discussing the first violation.

So why is it that so many Americans voted for such a miserable failure?

Here is an illustration. Suppose you have someone who comes from a cultural background that is incompatible with American values. Her culture is much less successful than American culture, because their beliefs are all false. But she is loyal to her failed culture, and cannot bring herself to blame her own people for their failures.

Well, she will have to avoid all evidence that American policies work, such as the evidence from red states succeeding while blue states flounder. She refuses to read anything (e.g. – economics textbook, civics book, American history) that would overturn her misplaced loyalty to the failed values and policies or her community. She only listens to news sources that confirm her desire to blame America for her misfortunes and the misfortunes of the people from her culture.

Who will she vote for when it’s election time? She will vote for someone who blames America for the failures of her community, too. Regardless of whether he is competent to be President or not. The desire to have someone who blames America for the failures of her own culture is so strong that she will not care if she votes for a President who fails horribly at everything he tries.

And that is why a buffoon like Obama can be elected and re-elected as President in America, even though he does such a poor job.  There was no reason to believe that Obama could succeed in any of the things he talked about in his speeches. He had no demonstrated ability in any of the areas he campaigned on – no achievements whatsoever. The people who voted for him had no evidence that he was capable or competent.

Instead, they voted for him because it made them feel good about themselves, despite their failures. He blamed others for their failures, and they liked that. They did not want to take responsibility and adopt values and policies that worked – the true values and policies that made America great. They wanted to feel superior to those detestable Christians and those evil patriotic conservatives.

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