Tyler LaBar
Assignment #3
PS 423
Dr. Henkels
President Obama’s legacy will be forever tarnished, do to his slightly above fifty percent
approval ratings after his first year. Believe this? Many choose to believe that statement, with the
mindset that the first year in office is most crucial. What exactly do approval ratings do other
than stir up more controversy and negligence for the citizens of the U.S. anyway? As citizens of
the U.S., we often struggle with the idea of patience, while convenience slowly taints away any
sort of apathy we have towards a greater good. In today’s society, how fast we can get gas, how
fast we can browse the internet and even how quickly we receive money plays a huge role in our
attitudes towards “life”. I believe that the majority of citizens in the U.S. are too quick to jump
on any president, regardless of their political association, in their first year in office.
Many people believe that the first year is most crucial because of the ideologies many
presidents use during their campaign. These Campaigns tend to excite many people, only to find
that the hype has gone down, the motivation is lacking and the passion has died. I personally
believe that when looking at a president, evaluation and analytical measure takes time.
Regardless of the political affiliation involved in the election, we do have a thing which we call
the “honeymoon”. This typically is the first 2-3 months during office, where not only do the
oppositions respectfully hold back all political pressure, but this is time for the president to settle
in, gear up, “last minute preparations” sort of speak, so that they can tackle the next several years
ahead of them. The interesting part begins after the honeymoon, when the president becomes
visible to the public, in what policies he plans to strive for. I believe this is the time where many
Americans lose sight of patience and turn towards convenience.
We must base our decisions of approval on things that are morally and ethically correct,
not on political affiliation. “There are always going to be two sides to a story,” it’s important to
find the good in a person and in a nation. So political parties’ aside, what makes a president
successful after his first year? I think that we need to base our assessments from a number of
things; is the president visible to the people? Has he stuck with his same game plan from the
beginning? If not, how has he skewed it? Does his word reflect his actions, or do his actions
reflect his words? What is the main goal of the president? I firmly believe that those are very
crucial thoughts on how we should evaluate a president after his first year, because, as a society
it will unite us, humble us, and create more passion between us if we do so.
A lot of us are stuck in a narrow minded place, and at this point they can do us absolutely
no good towards the greater cause, because they believe in one thing and one thing only,
whatever that may be. It is important to recognize that Obama has potential just like every
individual, and that more than likely he will have to make a few mistakes before he can
overcome them. Not everyone is perfect, and Obama wasn’t necessarily giving the best cards to
play with when he stepped in office. There are many characteristics you could use to rate the
president as well, such as his honesty, humbleness, desire, passion, consistency, etc. I believe
that it’s true when they say many presidents don’t get the recognition they deserved until decades
after their time in office. Along with anything in life, things take time; retirement, buying a
home, gaining knowledge, growing up, and these all take time. If you plant a tree, it doesn’t just
grow 100 feet tall in one night, it needs the right nurture, preparation, and it needs to build
strength. I’m neither comparing nor justifying the U.S. to a tree, that would be a bit outlandish
perhaps, but the structure behind it isn’t.
As far as President Barack Obama’s first year as president, I would say that he has been a
success as well as a failure. Reasons for why he would have a successful year; he has made
difficult initiative decisions regardless of what others may find wrong with it, his perseverance
towards a better America and his actions towards a better America. Reasons for how he might
have failed; His economic policies during the last year, some could say his visibility towards the
public. I’m sure you could find a countless number of pros and cons towards his first year from
various people. However, if I had to grade President Obama’s first year, I would say a failure.
When I state his first year as a failure, it doesn’t mean his entire presidency will be, I’m simply
looking at what has happened thus far.
The reason why President Obama ended up being a failure in my mind isn’t because of
past political affiliation, or from some sort of religious background, or because he’s black, or any
other opposition could possibly label me as. It simply comes from what I look for in a leader, and
that is fiscal responsibility. How successful he will be towards getting us out of debt, or
decreasing the amount overtime. Will he be able to keep the economy flowing, rather than
outsourcing every industrial tool, and will he keep jobs going and will he let the American
people strive for the “American dream” with little interference along the way. Many people
hype the president up as being some sort of “messiah,” in which he was elected to solve each and
every problem that one of us faces. That’s an unrealistic view many struggle with.
After his first year, I believe I can state that I do not think he did that. His economic
policies such as the health plan, the stimulus package and the war on Iraq are which I don’t
believe were done correctly. The stimulus package, which ended up being over 1 trillion dollars,
has an interest rate from china that should have never been considered by the U.S. Even if
Obama’s forecast of paying the loan off was on time, it would make the loan value of over 1.8
trillion dollars. The stimulus in my opinion was a terrible idea to begin with. The idea that we
will put people back to work for 4-5 years building roads, the idea that the stimulus package
would have guaranteed one in every five jobs was a governmental job goes against my belief of
how to evaluate a president after their first year. Allow the people to strive for the “American
dream,” how are you supposed to do that when we are constantly being taxed on everything.
Tom Coburn from the Wall Street journal makes a good indication on the stimulus
package as well, “this bill contains very little meaningful tax relief to make small businesses and
American companies more competitive. Instead, the tax provisions of the stimulus are essentially
a modest cash handout that repeats the failed policy of George W. Bush's rebate-check stimulus.”
(Coburn, 2010) Personally this is important to me, in that in order to sustain a healthy economy;
we have to consistently be putting into the economy as individual consumers. The more we put
in, the more we will get back, which is a traditional economic value. As a student in college,
taking many different political science, business and sociology classes, I was not impressed
when following the idea of the stimulus package. I rather felt that the political party was not
representing what the people wanted, rather pushing their own thoughts and “agenda” through.
Now understand that my reasons for why he has been more of a failure rather than a
success are my personal opinions. It very well may be that President Obama’s stimulus package
does above and beyond what its initial potential was, and turns the U.S. completely around. I am
a critic along with everyone else in the world, and I claim no testimony towards being correct,
rather my implications on how I feel towards the situation. In the same article from Coburn, he
states that the stimulus in theory was to “expand 610,000 jobs in the next two years.” It is very
possible that the expectations of that forecast may exceed the initial number, and I hope so. I just
don’t see it happening, I think that we acted on our feelings prematurely, instead of calculating a
bit more, understanding the real effect the bill may or may not have on our economy.
The healthcare policy is one that struck me as very odd, in how we are suppose to
implement it when we currently are out of a recession, which would be calculated by various
economists, but to many people feel we are still in one. We are one of the largest nations in the
world when it comes to GDP (growth domestic profit) and we are the melting pot of the world.
We have the luxury of living the way we do, choosing the things we want, and I believe
socialized healthcare takes away from that. Examples I have come across in the years are both
indicating good and bad potential to the health care bill. The pro to this is one which many
people from the U.S. have a had great help when injuring themselves in other countries, typically
getting right in, and having proper medical help for no charge at all or a very small amount. The
con behind this is the military socialized healthcare we have implemented here in the U.S. Many
have struggled to see medical attention for quite some time do to the first come first serve
Here me out, I don’t necessarily think socialized healthcare is a bad thing initially,
but for the long run I do. Reason being is that becoming a medical doctor here in the states, and
true for most parts of the world and is one of the most admirable jobs one could have. Takes a lot
of time and effort to become one, and if you were to take away from privatized health care,
wages of these doctors would presumably go down quite a bit, making the job less attractive in
some cases, which theoretically could decrease the quality of service we get. It would only be
fair to say that it would take more knowledge and understanding of economics as well as the
intentions of the bill for me to concisely give an accurate opinion; it also would be fair to say that
a lot of information behind a lot of these actions are unknown to the general public. Openly my
opinion towards the healthcare bill is not as great as it is towards the stimulus, again just
reiterating the way I felt towards it while following it.
To conclude the following opinion on President Obama’s first year, I believe that there
are certain aspects of his character that are worth taking into consideration on how well he has
done thus far. However on the decision making process and policy decisions, I feel that he failed
to recognize the importance of the policies as well as the opinions of the people. This again
though is not a reflection of how well he will do in the next few years, rather a starting point to
enhance his knowledge and understanding when it comes to procedures in the future. It more
than likely will take decades for us to fairly evaluate Obama’s time in office, for now it is time to
work in unity and strive for a greater good as a nation.
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