In recent blogs I criticized President Obama for not exercising forceful presidential leadership in the face of Republican Party efforts to impose their more conservative solutions to those urgent domestic social, economic and political problems confronting our nation. I was especially critical of his abandonment of his repeated campaign pledge to end the Bush tax cuts disproportionally favoring the most wealthy individuals and families in our country. I believed Obama's tax-cut compromise was so antithetical to the substance and spirit of his election campaign, that I even suggested that progressives who supported him should consider mounting a primary challenge to his reelection as the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
My criticism of what I perceived to have been a failure of presidential leadership was explained and analyzed on the basis of "context"; and, whether the tax-cut "compromise" had been, in effect, a "sell out" of his core values.
The foundation of my political analyses and commentaries has always and continues to be the precept that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, especially in politics, but not to their own set of facts. This precept, taken together with my commitment to always try to dispassionately evaluate and analyze a problem or issue within its relevant factual and/or historical context compels me, now, to publicly admit that my earlier criticism of Obama's leadership may have been premature, shortsighted and distorted by MY improper use of "my own set of facts."
Accordingly, on a closer and more careful review and evaluation of legislative accomplishments resulting from Obama's presidential leadership, my abiding commitment to political integrity and constructive self-criticism requires me to recite, objectively, those set of facts, that persuasively indicate that Obama has been more successful than I originally characterized in recent posts.
Admittedly, the legislative achievements during this past week's "lame-duck" session of Congress, has provided a more meaningful context within which to evaluate Obama's presidency.
For the record, during his first two years in office his achievements include:
- $787 billion stimulus for the economy
- 13-month extension of unemployment insurance
- Rescue of the auto industry
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform& Protection Act
- Health-care reform
- Extension of insurance for a million children under SCHIP
- Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
- Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act
- Ratification of the New START Nuclear Treaty
- Funding of the First Responders Act ("9/11" Word Trade Center)
So, I congratulate you, Mr. President; and, especially salute and applaud the leadership of House Speaker, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
I am mindful that all of the accomplishments recited above do not make a material difference toward ending our continued involvement in Afghanistan or Iraq; and, may not make a material difference in halting the continuation of nationwide home foreclosures or reducing our national unemployment. Nevertheless, I believe, that such accomplishments should, at least, earn President Obama, going forward, a resumption of the trust by those who elected him; subject to "verification," however.