Getting bin Laden and five other boosts to Obama’s reelection bid

 

Christian Science Monitor

“Yes We Can” was so 2008. Now President Obama is the incumbent, with a record to defend. More than whom the Republicans nominate to run against him in 2012, how voters perceive Mr. Obama’s accomplishments and liabilities – two highly subjective categories, at times overlapping – will determine whether he gets four more years. Here are his top six accomplishments, including the killing of Osama bin Laden:

1. Elimination of Osama bin Laden

More than any other single event in Obama’s presidency to date, the killing of the world’s top terrorist scores as a plus, earning the president near-universal bipartisan praise. As commander in chief, Obama pulled the trigger on a risky but superbly planned commando raid in Pakistan that paid off big, not only in the elimination of Mr. bin Laden but in the seizure of a treasure trove of intelligence material.

The dramatic event has spawned a series of side debates: Should the Navy SEALs have captured rather than killed the unarmed bin Laden? Should the US have kept his body rather than buried it quickly at sea? How should the US handle relations with Pakistan?   More…

2. Health-care reform

The passage of the Affordable Care Act, which if fully implemented promises to insure most Americans, represents the single biggest legislative feat of Obama’s presidency so far. Both Democratic and Republican presidents had for decades attempted and failed to expand health-care coverage to near-universal levels.

Despite controversies around how it was passed and its overall unpopularity in polls, there are many popular elements: the provision that allows adult children up to age 26 to be insured on their parents’ plan; the ban on exclusion from coverage of people with preexisting conditions; the elimination of annual and lifetime caps on coverage; the closing of the payment loophole for seniors receiving prescription-drug coverage under Medicare.   More…

3. The economy

With unemployment still high and the price of gas averaging almost $4 a gallon nationally, it may seem odd to suggest that the economy is worth bragging about. Indeed, Obama’s single-minded pursuit of health-care reform, an effort that took far longer than he had planned, was perceived by Americans as a distraction from their top concern, jobs.

But considering the situation when Obama took office, with the economy on the brink of collapse, Obama administration officials argue that the nation could have wound up in much worse straits.   More…

4. Gay rights

Early in his administration, Obama faced grumbling from gay-rights advocates, who had strongly supported his candidacy, for appearing to go slow on their issues. At a White House event in June 2009, the president reassured gay activists that they “will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration” by the time he leaves office.

By December 2010, he was well on track to fulfilling that promise, when he signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which had barred homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Obama has also suggested that he is rethinking his opposition to gay marriage, in line with shifting US public opinion.   More…

5. Education

Obama had campaigned on rising above partisanship and working with Republicans to find common ground on important policy matters. For the most part, that promise has gone unfulfilled. But on education, Democrats and Republicans do share some common ground – and Obama’s Race to the Top has won bipartisan support.

The initiative is a competition for federal education dollars that rewards states that emphasize accountability and data-driven measurement of teacher performance, not seniority.   More…

Comments Off

Filed under President Barack Obama

Comments are closed.