A conservative friend recently posted a Facebook video seen by dozens of people on Glenn Beck’s web TV show, asking the question, “Where has the Obama administration really taken us?”
Of course, people like Beck don’t really expect anyone to answer the question with facts, but nevertheless, here are the answers:
After more than seven years, billions of dollars wasted, 4,484 American dead and 32,200 Americans wounded he got us out of Iraq and in ending the war there has allowed America to strike decisive blows against our enemies. As the President said in his State of the Union Address, “From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America.”
He’s drawing down the number of American forces in Afghanistan – after more than ten years of war, badly mishandled by his predecessor who decided the real war on terror was against Saddam Hussein and not the guy who had his followers fly airplanes into buildings – with plans to have all American forces out by the summer of 2014.
He ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
He ended Bush/Cheney policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the kind that led to faulty wiring and the electrocution of American soldiers trying to shower.
He ended the Bush policy of not paying for things in the budget, like the two wars, Medicare Part B and his infamous tax breaks for the uber-rich. We have a side seam splitting debt because those wars were finally included on the books.
He issued executive orders closing secret CIA detention/interrogation facilities in Eastern Europe started by Bush/Cheney; he also signed a detailed executive order banning the torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners previously approved and practiced under Bush/Cheney
He authorized operations responsible for taking out Osama Bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and more than 20 top Al Qaeda leaders
He authorized American military support of militants in Libya leading to the overthrow and death of terrorist sponsor Moammar Gadhafi
He’s given advanced weapons to Israel which his predecessor refused to provide, and has increased aid to Israel
He’s authorized (on more than one occasion) Navy Seals to free hostages held by Somali “pirates”- most recently this week
He’s put more boots on the border than ever before; resulting in more arrests, more deportations and fewer illegal crossings now than when he took office.
He’s authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
He ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, doing away with a frivolous regulation responsible for accomplishing nothing of benefit to the defense of this nation.
He led the efforts to reverse a downward spiral of the stock market which on 19 Jan 09, the last day of President Bush’s presidency, closed at 8,218.22 on 19 Mar 12, closed at 13,239.13
After the disastrous economic freefall and catastrophic loss of jobs during the last year of the Bush administration he’s led the economic recovery responsible for creating almost 4 million jobs during the last 24 months, including more jobs created in the last year since 2005
On the day he took office, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said he should let it die (Willard Mitt Romney). With a million jobs at stake, he refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, he demanded responsibility. He got workers and automakers to settle their differences. He got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.
He led the effort to pass the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (economic stimulus plan) creating some 2.1 million jobs and responsible for providing badly needed funding for repair of a failing national infrastructure (I should know because I was in charge of ensuring the ARRA money given to the Corps of Engineers in our local District was spent according to the law).
He created a Trade Enforcement Unit charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China, conducting more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders.
He ended previous administration’s policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
He ended previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices
He provided tax credits to first-time home buyers through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 to revitalize the U.S. housing market
He led the effort to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act providing quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured
He signed an executive order removing restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
He led the efforts to extend healthcare to more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans
He’s a stalwart supporter of a woman’s right to choose
He appointed the first Latina to the Supreme Court
He directed his Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes, and directed the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, to make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history — with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
He approved fewer regulations in the first three years of his presidency than his Republican predecessor did in his. He’s ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. His administration’s enacted more than 500 reforms, saving business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.
He’s made it clear that big banks or financial institutions are no longer allowed to make risky bets with customers’ deposits. They’re required to write out a “living will” detailing exactly how they’ll pay the bills if they fail — because – thanks to the President – the rest of us aren’t bailing them out ever again. Mortgage lenders or a payday lenders or a credit card companies have been told the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices are over. Today – thanks to the President – American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them.
He’s establishing a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. He’s challenged Congress to pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.
He’s asked his Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand federal investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
I voted for him in 2008 because America couldn’t afford to continue the disastrous policies made famous under Bush/Cheney and which McCain/Palin had sworn to continue, and I will be voting for him again in 2012 because we, as a nation, cannot afford to go back to those same devastating policies which the GOTP primary frontrunners are saying they’ll support.