President Obama among America’s greatest
By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook
There is just no comparison between the effortless intelligence, dignity, elegance, diversity, and high standards of the Obama administration versus the vulgarity, corruption, mean-spirited, and self –centered nature of the Trump administration. I am sure history will rank Barack Obama among the top five U.S. Presidents for having achieved more in his eight years since Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Johnson to enrich Americans’ lives, against unprecedented obstruction by the Republican Party, the Tea Party, a racist element in this country, and even some conservatives in the Democratic Party.
The Washington Monthly provided a list of President Obama’s Top 50 Achievements, too numerous to mention in this column. So I have limited my list to just those during his first few months in office.
In just the first 100 days of the Obama administration, he achieved as much as some presidents in a full term. The following is a look at his first 100 days of accomplishments. First, he immediately put policies in place that prevented the failure of U.S. banks, stopped astronomical job losses, and the worst financial disaster since the 1930s Great Depression. He developed the stimulus program that pumped $19 billion into healthcare to improve the medical records system in preparation for his signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, that provided over 20 million uninsured Americans with quality healthcare; and $9.3 billion for 2500 highway projects in 50 states, creating over 260,000 new jobs.
His $2500 tax credit for debt-burdened families offset the high cost for college tuition, while saving $67 billion that provided more student loans by eliminating banks as “middle men” in processing and managing those loans; developed the plan that saved America’s auto industry from bankruptcy and the loss of millions of jobs; created the Office of Urban Policy in the White House to help inner cities with anti-gang and anti-gun activities; and renewed America’s respect as a world leader with his work in rebuilding our international alliances and engagement with middle eastern countries, making it clear we are at war with Islamic terrorists, not the Muslim people.
In recognition of his stabilizing effect as a world leader, his exceptional skills in diplomacy, and communication in building relations for international cooperation, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Most of all, “no drama Obama” brought a sense of calm stability to a nation in turmoil with his cool, self assured demeanor, even in the face of the kind of obstruction, disrespect, and racist attacks no other U.S. President has had to endure.
In great contrast to Obama’s record of positive achievements, his successor has chosen to tear down, instead of building on his predecessor’s successes. Trump has been President less than a month. And in those few days, has caused damage to our image around the world and sown so many divisions in our own country that it will take years to heal. He has been named in over 50 lawsuits for his personal misconduct, business conflicts, and infamous Muslim ban that sparked massive anti-Trump demonstrations nationwide and internationally. He has named ultra-conservative political operatives from his campaign as his chief strategists in the White House and cabinet nominees; many without even the basic qualifications to hold the positions. Steve Bannon, creator of alt-right and racist Breitbart News, is his chief White House Advisor/ Strategist and now a member of Trump’s National Security Council.
His nominee for Education Secretary had no idea what a Pell Grant is, and knows even less about public education, except that she cares little for it and would be Trump’s instrument for removing restrictions to public funding for private and religious schools. Her confirmation and Trump will signal the death of public school education in America. Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, is Trump’s nominee for Energy Secretary_ even though he advocated the elimination of the department he now wants to run. And Jeff Sessions, former Alabama Attorney General and current U.S. Senator well-known for calling Black men “boy” and “nigger” during his early days in Alabama, is Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Justice Department responsible for enforcing civil rights, voting rights, immigration, and discrimination laws while ensuring equal justice for all. As Alabama’s Attorney General, he did as little as possible on civil and voting rights cases; and as a U.S. Senator has been one of the most strident opponents to the Voting Rights Act, women’s rights, gun control, and immigration rights for Muslims and Hispanics_ except Cubans. In addition, though during the campaign he challenged President Obama’s right to sign Executive Orders into law as presidents before him had done, Trump has created bad relations for America around the world with his poison pen Executive Orders over his first week in office.
Over the next 4 years, America will come to recognize what a class act we had in President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and the whole Obama Family, who served with the dignity the White House deserves, and left office without a hint of scandal after 8 years.
The stink of scandal is already permeating that graceful building and Washington with the newest occupants.
If a fifth President’s head is ever added to Mount Rushmore, I cannot think of a more deserving candidate than President Barack Hussein Obama.
Dorothy Inman-Johnson is host of Just the Facts_ a weekly, progressive radio talk show on WTAL 1450 AM Radio, newspaper columnist, author of Poverty, Politics, and Race in America and Lessons from America’s Best and Worst Cities, former Tallahassee Mayor and City Commissioner, and former long- time educator.