Obama’s Legacy: Selling Us on Fluff in the Face of Crisis

obamaOn January 20, 2009 (the day Barack Obama was sworn into office) the country was in pretty rough shape. We were in the depths of the Great Recession. Millions of Americans were losing their jobs, companies were shutting down left and right, the stock market was tanking, 12.5% of Americans were living in poverty, and 34 million Americans were receiving food stamps. Our national debt was over $10 trillion. And even with a new president coming into power – one who had an approval rating of over 70% – only 40% of the country thought the nation was headed in the right direction.

I wonder what I would have thought back then, if someone could have looked five years into the future and told me what kind of issues were on the agenda of a re-elected President Obama in the year 2014. According to the president’s State of the Union address, those things are the injustice of rich people becoming wealthier at a faster rate than non-rich people, the need for legislation to deal with women being paid 9 cents less on the dollar than men (not 23 cents as the president stated), and the raising of the minimum wage.

I’m pretty sure that I would have thought something like this: My God. This guy must have been the greatest economic president in the history of our nation! If these things are our country’s greatest economic hurdles in the year 2014, he must have ushered in a level of prosperity and economic solvency that no one could have ever imagined!

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

After five years of President Obama (and 4 1/2 years after the Great Recession ended), our national debt is over $17 trillion – $7 trillion more than when he took office, and $8 trillion more than the amount Candidate Obama told us was both “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic”. The debt is projected to reach $20 trillion by the time Obama leaves office, much in part to the refusal of the administration and the Democratic party to reform our entitlement programs – the leading drivers of our debt.

The U.S. poverty level under Obama has broken a 50-year record, sitting at 15% for three straight years. 47 million Americans now receive food stamps – 13 million more than when Obama took office. Again, this is 4 1/2 years after the recession ended.

The labor force participation rate is at a 35-year low with 1.3 million fewer jobs than when the recession began. This means that if the labor force participation rate were the same as it was when the recession started, the current unemployment rate would be around 11% right now – not the much lower number the administration is now bragging about.

Since Obamacare has been signed into law, the cost of healthcare has continued to rise. Insurance premiums and deductibles have also risen as a direct result of Obamacare. Several millions of Americans (with millions more to follow once the employer mandate kicks in) have been thrown off of their insurance plans, again because of the law.

It sure seems that there are lots of economic challenges out there are far more pressing than the income gap between the rich and the non-rich (which has grown four times faster under Obama),  a trivial income discrepancy between genders, and raising the minimum wage. Yet, those are the primary issues being focused on by our president as we head into the 2014 midterm campaign season, and perhaps the most glaring absurdity of the whole thing is that few people find that weird.

Even with only 30% of Americans now believing this country is heading in the right direction (10% less than when President Obama took office at a very chaotic time in our country’s history), the national narrative is centered around small-ball, abstract, petty issues that no one would rank at the top of their list of concerns. Yet, they’re reliably at the top of the media’s concerns, along with the tiresome War on Women nonsense, so that’s likely what we’ll all be talking about until November.

The political pundits often state that Obamacare will define Obama’s legacy as our president. I understand why they say that. After all, the law (which has never had popular support) affects nearly 1/5 the U.S. economy and is changing (for better or worse) the healthcare system in this country for each and every one of us, either directly or indirectly.From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

I’m of a different opinion, however. I believe the legacy of Obama, when the true state of the union is looked back on years from now, will be his astonishingly successful knack for distracting Americans from the big, historical challenges our country faces – challenges that he has never had an appetite to deal with. I believe his legacy will be his ability to convince a large portion of the country (with a lot of help from the media) that their problems could be solved with aimless pursuits of economic fairness and equality, for which his policies only made less attainable in a capitalistic society that already lends its citizens the best chance of achieving both.

Regardless of what you think about President Obama, there’s little doubt that he’s an incredibly impressive individual, especially when you recognize how completely impotent his rhetoric has rendered the opposition party. Even now, as more and more people are waking up to the unfortunate realities of Obamacare and are realizing that the president can’t be trusted to make the right decisions (2/3 of the country according to a recent poll), he’s still able to set the national narrative with his smile, his eloquence, and a litany of poll-tested slogans that we’ve been hearing for years now.

President Obama is undoubtedly a masterful salesman. I just wish my countrymen weren’t the marks being conned.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • KC50

    Mr. Daly,
    I, too, was utterly unimpressed by the SOTU address. President Obama is “majoring in the minors” and wasting lots of time doing that. Meanwhile, many people in our country are hurting and he appears to be totally unaware that his stifling policies are a contributing factor. He now wants to talk about helping the middle class! HIs policies have suffocated the middle class for 5 years.

  • David W. Hunter

    Mr. Daly,
    Do you think President Obama would still appear to be a “masterful salesman” if so many national soap boxes were not constantly telling us how masterful he is? From the beginning, he was coined as the smartest president ever, an yet his academic credentials (i.e. published works) are still suppressed. Do you think he would have been elected to anything greater than state senator if he didn’t have such and effective team protecting him from any real scrutiny? I think his only impressive quality is that, in a time of turmoil within the country, he fit a mold that was able to unite the Democratic Party. He’s an empty suit with a good speaking voice.

  • RMN

    Incredibly impressive individual because of his ability to demonize the opposition with his rhetoric? OMG!

    When you consider how much damage this administration has done to this country it is incredible the amount of support President Obama still has.

  • Wheels55

    I guess politicians love to take stats and turn them into issues. I have never seen a statistic that doesn’t have some subjectivity behind its interpretation.
    Woman earning less than men? It horrible until one really digs into why. Some day, men may stay home in large numbers to raise children while the mothers carry on in the work force. Until then, the natural order of things puts women statistically behind due to her choices.
    Income inequality is another bunch of stats that are centered around personal choices. Many “rich” people fall out of that category every year and many poor move up to middle class and middle class up to rich. Fortunately, it isn’t a dollar for dollar thing – we all can advance if we make the right choices.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    To prove my point, (see below) There is now a story out, that Sandra Fluke is mulling a run for Congress. Wow, I bet she’s qualified. (NOT). BUT, she did shout out loud (really loud), for one of the lefts most cherished of their politically correct positions. State paid contraception and State paid abortion. You know, one of the left’s many, very, very, moderate positions. The media (no doubt) will tout her as a real up and comer, maybe even (in time) the second female President. Because they know, shrieking left wing platitudes, is solid PROOF, you’re qualified to lead.

  • cmacrider

    John: As a Canadian who is unabashedly pro-American, I can’t classify Obama as as “an incredibly impressive individual” nor do I find his speeches put him in the category of an orator. Possibly this is because I have not inherited the white man’s guilt over slavery, maybe it’s because I have heard all that socialist tripe since 1960, or perhaps it is just my expectation of hearing substance and seeing the personification of dignity emanating from the Oval Office, but this guy (irrespective of his ideological position) emotes and arrogant buffoonery wrapped up in high school slogans.

    It is truly amazing how such a frightfully inept individual, who often sounds like a circus barker, can keep Americans infatuated. Hopefully they will look at themselves in their true light and decide in the fall election … “we deserve better than this.”

    an incredibly impressive individual
    an incredibly impressive individual

    • cmacrider

      Sorry John … the “cut & paste” messed me up a little bit

  • D Parri

    JD, this was a good article that reverberated the primary essences of success for POTUS, Obama. He is a successful strategist, a masterful speaker, undoubtedly the Campaigner In Chief, and a Divider and Diversionist…unmatched.

    My only parting with you on points covered by your piece are in the issue of what the legacy of Obama’s tenure will look like in the future.

    Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer, POTUS, and the owner of a term now used quite frequently, i.e., stagflation, has till now possessed the legacy status as being the worst…least successful POTUS in modern history. I believe that will change soon.

    Undeniably, recessive forces attacking both the national and individual prosperity have been present throughout both the Carter and Obama Empires, but the one trump card that Obama will have in his hand will be in his claim of leading the way to the demise of American healthcare, as it was once known to be.

    If the rhetoric Obama used to sell his plan had not been simply smoke and mirrors, the legacy could have been an entirely different story to be told. Imagine if each household’s cost of health insurance had been reduced by $2,500 per year. Imagine if anyone with health insurance already could keep their policies. Imagine if signing up were as easy as going on Amazon.com.

    I think this will be known as the 3-D POTUS…Division, Diversion, Deception. This is his legacy.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Possibly. But something tells me that historians will be kinder to the first black president than what he deserves.

      • D Parri

        I think that will depend upon the degree of his 3-D’s. So far, he’s not lookin’ so well.

        • Jeff Webb

          >>Also, no aspersion towards you, but doesn’t the contemplation of his
          legacy when viewed through the prism of race then become, in itself, a
          racist comment?<<

          If the question is referring to John's comment, I'm not seeing it. Tweak the comment to "Chris Matthews is kinder to the first black president than what he deserves," and it's still nothing more than an assessment of the person showing the kindness. (My example is more a hopelessly laughable understatement than an assessment, but you get the pic'.)

  • Jeff Webb

    All well and good that people are waking up to BO’s dishonesty, but they’ll only be fully awake once they recognize just how shameless this guy really is. Imagine how hard someone slaps himself upside the head after saying “wait, he’s the very reason things are this bad, yet he keeps pretending he’s only a concerned witness!”

    • D Parri

      JW, I am still trying to regain my voting rights on this site. If you have any clout or influence, please pass it on.

      Now, about the Campaigner In Chief. He is very good at one thing…but one thing only. He can campaign, campaign, campaign. Sell, Sell, Sell.

      • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

        Still having trouble with the voting? Did you ever try creating a new account?

        • D Parri

          I have not created another account yet. However, I was on another site that is equipped with Disqus and my voting worked like a charm on it. I really believe that there is some incompatibility on the website here that hasn’t been worked out yet. Thanks again for your help.

      • Jeff Webb

        Thanks for the upvote-in-spirit, DP. I’d normally be delighted to put in my two cents for you, but it wouldn’t add anything to boost the effort, sorry to say.

    • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

      Sadly, I think a lot of people will never wake up to this.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    I could not disagree more! Not with the article, that’s actually an accurate reflection on the chaos of liberalism. It’s “The smile, the national narrative and the eloquence”, (of Obama) making him so successful is where we part ways. Charming and eloquent yes, but. Having a keen interest in politics and media in both the U.S. and Canada, I have noticed (to my utter dismay) the following. Competency has become completely and totally irrelevant to the left wing. Beliefs are what count in part, and saying them loud (really loud) are what count in full. If you are for abortion, against capital punishment, for gun control, against offshore drilling, for welfare programs, shriek about global warming and the need for immediate action now, and maintain even the slimmest patina of celebrity, the media will consider you fully fit to lead. A city, a county, a State or a country, it doesn’t matter. What matters, is your thinking MUST be politically correct. Barrack Obama, is in fact, the most politically correct candidate in history. And even those areas where he lied about his beliefs not being fully politically correct, (like opposing gay marriage at first), he got a pass, because the politically correct crowd knew their candidate was only saying what he had to. While not quite as politically correct as Obama, Hilary ranks right up there. Five years after her first inauguration, we’ll be hearing about how her smile and eloquence still sets the National agenda. NOT. Unhappily, the national agenda is being set by well closeted Marxist acolyte’s (and their liberal dupes), who’ve managed to infiltrate most of our cultural institutions. And if this sounds like hyperbole? Do you have a better explanation? (I mean other than mass insanity)?