Monday, October 22, 2012

Obama's accomplishments

The Salt Lake City Tribune endorsement of Obama had a good, brief statement of his accomplishments as President (Tribune endorsement: Too Many Mitts - Obama has earned another term 10/19/2012):

In the first months of his presidency, Obama acted decisively to stimulate the economy. His leadership was essential to passage of the badly needed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though Republicans criticize the stimulus for failing to create jobs, it clearly helped stop the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs. The Utah Legislature used hundreds of millions in stimulus funds to plug holes in the state’s budget.

The president also acted wisely to bail out the auto industry, which has since come roaring back. Romney, in so many words, said the carmakers should sink if they can’t swim.

Obama's most noteworthy achievement, passage of his signature Affordable Care Act, also proved, in its timing, his greatest blunder. The set of comprehensive health insurance reforms aimed at extending health care coverage to all Americans was signed 14 months into his term after a ferocious fight in Congress that sapped the new president’s political capital and destroyed any chance for bipartisan cooperation on the shredded economy.

Obama's foreign policy record is perhaps his strongest suit, especially compared to Romney’s bellicose posture toward Russia and China and his inflammatory rhetoric regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program. Obama’s measured reliance on tough economic embargoes to bring Iran to heel, and his equally measured disengagement from the war in Afghanistan, are examples of a nuanced approach to international affairs. The glaring exception, still unfolding, was the administration’s failure to protect the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, and to quickly come clean about it.
The Benghazi incident was one repercussions of our intervention in Libya, which I've always thought was a bad idea.

And that could be only the beginning of an unfortunately involvement in post-Qadaffi Libya, as Stephen Walt warns in Arm, train, fail (repeat as necessary) Foreign Policy 10/16/2012.

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