Year One of Obama Administration Shows Progress
President Obama’s Report Card
Stimulus bill, new direction of Afghanistan/Iraq are highlights of first 365 days in office
By Evan Barnes
Sentinel Sports Editor
It was exactly a year ago next week that Barack Obama was inaugurated as the country’s 44th President–a historic occasion that many never thought they would see in their lifetime.
The inauguration was the fitting end to one of the most significant moments in American history–the first election of a Black man to the nation’s highest office.
It was a moment that all Americans will remember–especially Black Americans that never saw
Looking back at the first year of the Obama administration, there were significant accomplishments that were reached
The main concern starting office would be his response to the economic recession plaguing the country since December 2007. He responded by signing into law the $787 billion stimulus package.
He also signed the “Cash for Clunkers” program last summer that allowed Americans to trade in their cars and receive a rebate for a more fuel-efficient model.
It’s still too early to tell how much it helped the majority of the American public–experts predict it may take another year to start seeing its impact. But as the unemployment rates rose 2% in 2009, efforts like these will be judged closely as failures or success of the administration.
Obama also made healthcare reform a priority and encouraged Congress to pass a bill before the year ended. They responded with both the Senate and House of Representatives passing their versions of the healthcare bill.
The bill falls short of the President’s wish for a public option included in its language but as both Houses come together to create one bill to be approved for his signature, this will be something to watch in 2010.
In regards to foreign policy, he lived up to his promise of committing more troops to Afghanistan. Last month, he announced an additional 30,000 troops to the region with the plan of complete troop removal starting in the summer of 2011.
He is still committed to his plan to remove combat troops from Iraq in 2011 as well, reinforcing his position to not build any permanent bases in the region by signing it into law in October.
This has been one of the President’s high points as he has made several speeches and trips abroad to improve the United States’ relations with its allies and the Muslim world.
His “New Beginning” speech in June in Cairo was seen as a significant step in opening a dialogue with the Muslim world and the Middle East–with relations strained during President George W. Bush’s administration.
Obama’s impact abroad culminated with him being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in October–becoming the third sitting president and fourth overall to receive the award.
While there was debate about if he deserved it so soon–it was a validation of the hope he inspired during his candidacy and optimism the world sees with him as President.
There are due criticisms of his first year. Some have said that he needs to do more than issue tough talk to banks regarding how they have distributed the bailout money. Others have said that he has attempted to tackle too much early on and spread himself too thin.
While his handling of Afghanistan and Iraq have been met with mostly approval, his approval numbers on the economy (44%) have dipped to the lowest of his presidency according to a survey released Tuesday by Opinion Research Corp.
But overall, most observers would say that President Obama’s first year has gotten off to a solid start with the jury is still out on his accomplishments. All eyes will wait to see what he does in his second year, especially in regarding to signing a healthcare reform bill and addressing more domestic issues.