09/04/2014 10:40 am ET Updated Oct 28, 2014


While the line of critics of Obama's presidency has been growing, the evidence of his success as president has become clearer and more secure despite the colossal frustrations and disappointments, even to his most ardent supporters, since his reelection.

History is clear. Presidential success is measured by how well that president did in addressing the main challenges and goals that he [so far only men] set out in his first election.

In the case of Obama those matters were [1] the economy and financial system [2] extricating the country from two impossible wars [3] improving the health care system and health at large.

Though obviously there are still large numbers of folks who will dispute this view, any fair and objective judgment has to give him top grades on the first two and a B+ on the third because the initial execution of Obamacare was very poor.

The economy and financial system were in a very shaky state in the fall of '07 and winter of '08. Our current unemployment rate and the stock markets are clear and convincing evidence that his steps taken early and continued have saved the country from what could have been a much longer and serious depression.

We are all but out of both Iraq and Afghanistan despite really intractable issues in both places. That has to rate as a difficult but major success.

Health care in some ways was/is the toughest issue. A lot of folks wish he had tried harder and solved the single payer issue, me included. Still it was a major feat and the evidence grows daily that the there is progress toward the goals of more folks being covered and bending the cost curves to constrain overall growth of costs. The seriously botched roll out was worse than an embarrassment and sadly an indication of pervasive weaknesses in his managerial experience and skills.

Since his reelection Washington has been in a stalemate. It does take two to tango so no one should excessively blame Obama for his role in the stasis. Indeed he could have done a far better job of 'politicking' the congress and related interest groups. The Republicans have clearly been determined from the beginning to destroy his Presidency whatever it takes, regardless of his accomplishments or lack thereof. Therefore, one can reasonably conclude that his failures of management and political skills were not caused by his second term Republican opposition.

The sooner that the country comes to the realization that whatever the Republicans try to do to Obama in the next two years, his first term successes have already won him a place in history as a very successful president.

And, therefore when and if that fact becomes clearer, the Republican opposition may finally see that the more they try to diminish the President for wrecking the country, the more they may diminish their political attraction. At least that is way it ought to work.

At that point our national government again might be able to work a bit more for the good of the country.