While the right attacks President Obama for every step he takes, there seems to be consensus on both the left and the right that while he came into office promising a lot, Obama has accomplished very little. We are still in Iraq, deeper in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay is still open, there is no health care reform, unemployment is still high etc. But is this assessment accurate?
According to the folks at Esquire, absolutely not. The magazine says Obama has done plenty in the year since his historic election. Here's a sampling of its list:
-- A day later, Obama reversed George W. Bush's funding cutoff to overseas family planning organizations — saving millions of lives with the stroke of a pen.
-- Three days after that, Obama gave a green light to the California car-emissions standards that Bush had been blocking for six years — an important step on the road to cleaner air and a cooler planet.
-- Ten days after that, Obama formally announced America's withdrawal from Iraq.
-- A week later — we're in early March now — Obama erased Bush's decision to restrict federal funding for stem-cell research.
-- In June, Obama reset the tone of our relations with the entire Arab world with a single speech — an accomplishment that the Bush administration failed to achieve despite a series of desperate PR moves (anyone remember Charlotte Beers?) and a "public diplomacy" budget of $1 billion a year.
-- Also in June, Obama unveiled the "Cash for Clunkers" program, a "socialist" giveaway that reanimated the corpse of our car industry — leading, for example, to the billion-dollar profit that Ford announced on Monday.
And there's more, enough to debunk conventional wisdom that Obama is all eloquent talk, no action. Many on the left acknowledge his accomplishments, but don't think he's moving fast enough on such issues as health care reform, gay rights, actually closing Guantanamo, and climate control.
Of course those on the right think he's moving too fast on such issues as health care reform, actually closing Guantanamo, and climate control.
As Esquire writes:
So the question, a year since we elected him, isn't how much Obama has accomplished. The question is why we've turned so small and mean that we only see half of it — the half we happen to agree with.