Thanks, Obama.

In roughly 2,920 days, President Barack Obama made his mark on the United States of America. They say that I’m obligated to push things objectively. Well here goes: Pres. Obama was the finest president in modern times, and I’ll prove it.

To wit: This doesn’t just serve as a way to thank the last chief executive for his exemplary, relatively scandal-free administration. It’s a way to create a snapshot of the situation that has been left for his successor. In this way, “Obama Day 2,920” easily slides into “Trump Day 1” and we can then set aside commentary on the prior Democratic administration and begin focusing in earnest on the current Republican one.

If any of you sonsabitches yells “FAKE NEWS!” at me, so help me I’ll send a gaggle of phone spiders at you.

Back in 2009, Americans were riding on one of two highs. One occupied a highly positive space, echoing empowerment and inclusivity after years of a two-fronted war and the Great Recession. The other was the stuff of cynics: Years of cronyism and falsehoods, Freedom Fries and lowered expectations. Then a young man came along with his young family and said, what if we change things up just a little bit?

We sensed he had establishment ties. We sensed he was riding a populist ideal. We sensed that he wouldn’t betray the corporatists. But, we also sensed that he wouldn’t betray us, either. We sensed that no matter how many curves opposition threw, he could at least hit a single. We sensed that the rising tide of change would at least propel us away from the brink of financial collapse and war-weariness. We sensed that there was no bullshit to this young man or his ideals, even as we knew that he recognized the monster he was up against.

And the against historical precedence, he won. He inherited quite the mess.

When President Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and rising. The Gross Domestic Product had seen an 8.2 percent decrease, falling steadily through all four quarters of 2008. The DOW was at 7,949, the S&P at 805 and the NASDAQ at 1,440. At least 661,000 jobs had been lost from the time he won the election to the time he took office. More than half a million jobs inside of two months, just gone.

The party in opposition, in classic Machiavellian terms, vowed “obstruction at all costs.” That quote isn’t hyperbole, nor is it fake news. It’s the real and verified account of the political environment a black Democratic president found himself elected into.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) Kentucky, saying that he will absolutely be a Republican first, before being a Senator of the U.S.A.

Then, the young man did something remarkable. He led the country, economically, financially, politically and more – even with the obstruction set in his way. To be sure, I will not be the first or the last writer to tell how Pres. Barack Obama successfully led the United States of America. All I can do is lay it out for you here.

 

Economy

Economic factors can be generally measured through six categories: Employment, Gross Domestic Product Growth, Inflation Rates, International Trade, Net Wealth and Real Wages. Real Clear Markets (subsidiary of conservative-leaning Real Clear Politics) ranks Obama’s administration as “disappointing, but not a disaster” in these areas. Translated from the the financial realities subjective to a right-leaning site like RCM into plainspeak, that means, “We felt he had more potential for growth, but didn’t rise all the way.” Dow Jones & Company’s Marketwatch held forth similar, but slightly different, numbers and outlooks. Due to different metrics and measurements, not all matched up, which is truthful in its own way.

Not bad for a kid born in Kenya Hawaii.

Here’s the basics.

Employment: 11.48 million jobs added during administration (RCM); 11.3 million jobs added (Marketwatch).

GDP growth: 2.1 % (RCM); 1.8% (Marketwatch).

Inflation Rates: 1.6 % (RCM); 2.1 % (Marketwatch).

International Trade: Import/Export growth at 4.5% annually (RCM); N/A (Marketwatch).

Net Wealth: 6.8% annual growth (RCM); 6.4% (Marketwatch).

Real Wages: .9% (RCM); .4% (Marketwatch).

Certain factors, like Real Wages, just didn’t keep up overall to past presidents. That’s not Obama’s problem as much as it is an index that’s seen consistent productivity gains since the 70s that wages have not kept pace on. Technology, bruh. That, and the fact that this is a trickle-up economy.

1kvplb6

Someday, Publius will tell you the story of how this image is allegorical to the wealth gap in the United States, land of the free. Until then, pay attention to President Skroob Trump.

Now, there are still problems to his last day. He’s ranked pretty consistently in the middle-of-the-pack for post-WW2 presidents. The deficit grew substantially. But, he (his administration) brought the economy back from the brink of economic depression. This administration, under Obama’s lead, took the market from a recession to parity and beyond! Heckin’ wow!

 

Military

Doesn’t matter what I say here, you naysayers can fuck right off. Pres. Barack Obama closed out Iraq and Afghanistan. Whether or not it started under Pres. George W. Bush, it ended under Obama. We got our people mostly back home after long strings of deployments that pushed our military, budget and culture to absolute exhaustion.

Then it picked up again because of ISIS. As of a Military Times survey, only 36% of servicemembers support him, which tells me that they’re the exact same type of toe-the-line political asshat as when I served. But, the survey exists as fact and I will include it here. The reasons are quoted below:

“Their complaints include the president’s decision to decrease military personnel (71 percent think it should be higher), his moves to withdraw combat troops from Iraq (59 percent say it made America less safe) and his lack of focus on the biggest dangers facing America (64 percent say China represents a significant threat to the U.S.).”

I’d just like to take the time to say that just because someone serves, doesn’t make them right. The same people that were decrying how the military dropped its enlistment standards to fight a two-fronted war are now the same cocks crowing about how Obama’s shrinking the military. From the mouths of my still-serving family members: “I don’t like Obama, but this is just him authorizing the Department of Defense to raise the standards back up to pre-war levels.” So really, nothing to see here.

Withdrawing was something everyone wanted. President George W. Bush initiated, and President Barack Obama followed through.

And the only people saying China is a threat hasn’t seen our export/import numbers. China is one of our top three trade partners. We’re not going to war with them, and they’re not crossing the Pacific to go to war with U.S. Not on Obama’s watch, anyway.

Also, were you tuning in when he announced that we got Osama Bin Laden? I did, my brother told me to. He doesn’t text much, so I checked it out. For all you fucking naysayers that say “He didn’t do it, the troops did, WARGHARBL!” well you’re half right. He didn’t do it, but if they had died you’d have called for his responsible black ass to be impeached. You don’t get it both ways.

However, many understand that policing the world is best done to a multilateral force. Loner cowboys get shot right quick, but even a small force of allies can take on a larger enemy (anyway, did you guys see the Magnificent Seven remake? Fucking solid!).

The good part overall? Internationally, people don’t view us as a fucking bully with a blunt instrument anymore. The bad part? They understand perfectly well how capable we are of using drone strikes and special forces.

***As a note, I will add that I am opposed to most extrajudicial drone usage, and even Joint Special Operations Command has stated outright that our SO community is growing weary.

The only other thing Obama could have done was try and force through a pay increase, but with Congress failing to stop the very sequestration that it initiated, that’s not his responsibility, and I will not let people forget that. Fuck you, you less-than do-nothing Congress.

 

Domestic Affairs

After waffling on LGBT rights, Uncle Joe led the charge that sealed the deal. DADT was repealed and so was DOMA. Unfortunately, that didn’t halt the neverending string of ALPHBET Acts that will plague Washington, DC for as long as our legislators think they are clever.

Most of all, he passed the Affordable Care Act. And then his own Democrats pulled a Kid Icarus and demanded more, then they got the rug pulled out from under them by a *grassroots* (barf) Tea Party, who’s been yelling at the sky ever since. The ACA is fatally flawed by the providence that it wasn’t enacted by Republicans, even as most of those benefiting from it may be (Protip: rural states have a higher rate of usage). The other problem is that people don’t understand it; and they don’t understand that it and “Obamacare” are the same. fucking. thing.

Time will tell what will happen to it. Granted, the GOP has been screaming for its repeal for six years, but I’m sure that once those 20 million constituents of theirs realize that Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing, there’ll be hell to pay for a repeal. But I digress. After all, they’ve been cooking up a replacement for six years, right?…

fieldcricket

You know what that means.

Consumer Protection and other anti-Robber Barron acts against Wall Street were also passed (like Dodd-Frank. Remember that name, because the next Administration is gunning for it). These acts provide some semblance of protection for real Americans against the Greedsters of High Finance aiming to loot your piggy bank at all costs. Incidentally, Greedsters of High Finance is my next punk rock band name. COPYRIGHTED!

Also, he turned around the U.S. auto industry. Didn’t do a helluva lot for worker protections, but at least they had jobs to go to. Win some, lose some. I’ll take this as a plus for America.

 

Foreign Policy

Reversed the torture policy. I do not have to say anything more on that.

He did something that hadn’t happened in administrations. He deferred to other world leaders. And goddamn it, did that stick out. The world took notice, and they said “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!” Of course, detractors didn’t like it at all, because he showed respect the other leaders initially, instead of the longtime GOP-mantra of “You First.”

Expanded the totally-not-socialist bank bailout policy to the international world.

Know how I know he’s not a socialist? Because he fucking bailed banks out and lent them money at good interest instead of nationalizing them. I don’t want to hear a peep outta you fucking swine on this one. That’s the end of that conversation. No socialist, no socialist, YOU’RE THE SOCIALIST.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist, and neither could Pres. Bush or Obama when they had the opportunity to make billions of dollars in interest off the bank bailout loans. Billions. Of. Dollars.

There were more links here from throughout the political spectrum that I was going to mine, for pleasure, for purpose, and for glory. But they’re easy enough to find, and I can do this all day when I have a good scotch. Today, it’s The Glenlivet 12.

glvob-12yov1

Because I’m not being paid for these things yet, but that’s why product placement matters.

 

These successes are myriad, and they are extensive. They affected Americans positively even when Americans didn’t feel it directly. And history will validate the President Barack Obama administration as not without fault, but still one of the best.

And his success allowed him to provide his successor with this outlook (the following is stolen shamelessly from Fark.com):

“Unemployment rate: 4.7% (and trending down/steady)
GDP: 3.5% increase (4th quarter of 2016)
Dow: 19,732.40
S&P500: 2,263.69
NASDAQ: 5,540.08
Jobs No: 156,000 net jobs added (December 2016 jobs number).

In order to actually have the SAME rate of improvement from 2009 to 2017, the following needs to happen by 2025…

Unemployment rate: 2.9%
GDP: 10.0% increase***.
Dow: 49,398.00 to match Obama’s 150.33% increase
S&P500: 6,379.00 to match Obama’s 181.79% increase
NASDAQ: 23,966.00 to match Obama’s 332.58% increase
Jobs No: 600,000 net jobs added***.”

But since he ran on the “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker campaign, these numbers actually need to be even bigger than the 2025 numbers I just entered. Good luck. We are all counting on you.

*** I had to use an arbitrary number for the GDP and Jobs number since I don’t know how you would accurately calculate a rate increase when the first number is a negative growth number.”

 

To conclude, he did that all against a mostly hostile Congress that was staffed by the kinds of legislators who vowed obstruction at all costs and still ended with a “mostly true” rating from Politifact and a 60 percent approval rate from the American public.

And now it’s your show, Pres. Trump. You’ve got an awful lot to live up to. Let’s hope that you’re a tenth as capable as you’ve been claiming to be these past months.

Once more, with sincerity,

Thank you, President Obama. Now get to vacationing with that awesome wife of yours.

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