Even though I’ll proudly cast my vote for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders this November, I don’t know if either one will be able to live up to the high standards that Barack Obama has set for the Oval Office. While our current president has been far from perfect, I look back at what he inherited when he stepped into office on January 20, 2009 in amazement that we’ve come this far.
We’re in the midst of an historic streak of private sector job creation; unemployment has been cut in half; we passed health care reform; Osama bin Ladin is dead; and homosexuals can now serve openly in the military – among many other bits of progress – and we’ve done all this while Republicans in Congress have done everything they possibly could to sabotage this president. While all presidents from either party experience congressional obstruction from the opposition party, we’ve never seen blatant attempts to sabotage a president and the country like we’ve seen with Republicans during Obama’s time in the White House. Hell, Republicans flat-out tried to embarrass him on an international stage by trying to subvert his foreign policy, doing just about everything they could to prevent the Iran nuclear deal from being agreed upon.
Though despite all of this, President Obama prevailed practically every… single… time.
Whether it was Republicans trying to use the debt ceiling as a means of extortion, or a government shutdown to try to block his signature health care law, he always got the better of those who put petty partisan politics ahead of what was best for the country.
I’m sure either Clinton or Sanders will be a quality president – but they’re just not going to be President Obama. Not only has Obama been a great president, but he made being president look “cool.” A gifted, witty, funny speaker who’s probably one of the most intelligent presidents we’ve ever had. Again, while I haven’t agreed with everything he’s done, I never felt like he was going to embarrass the country the way George W. Bush did on countless occasions through his eight years in office. While President Obama might have not always made the right decision, even when he made the wrong move, I never felt like he did so because he was an idiot – like his predecessor.
This is not meant to be a knock on either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – I like both candidates. However, they’re both a little gaffe prone, not nearly as charismatic and sometimes do things where I’m left wondering, “What the heck were they thinking?”
So as this final year of President Obama’s time in office ticks down, I get a little depressed to know that it’s almost over. A man who stormed into the White House unlike we’ve seen anyone before him, who did as promised by helping usher in far more change to this country than he currently gets credit for. Under his watch, we’ve seen issues like gay rights, climate change, health care and equality for women make huge strides. Even though he wasn’t able to accomplish nearly as much as he would have liked to – because voters let him down when he needed a Congress that would work with him – I do believe that when all is said and done, history is going to look back upon him as one of our better presidents.
Even now as the 2016 election treks on, his approval numbers continue to improve. With an approval rating of 47 percent, Obama’s rating is 19 points higher than George W. Bush’s was at the same time in his presidency. So with an improving approval rating, it seems that quite a few Americans are starting to appreciate the president a little bit more based upon the candidates who are battling to take his place next January.
Call me a “fanboy,” or an “infatuated Obama lover” – that’s fine. I never claimed he was perfect… not even close. But one thing I have realized during this very long and grueling 2016 presidential election is that I’m really going to miss President Obama when he leaves office early next year.