Just when Republicans thought they had the advantage after the 2014 election a surprising thing happened, a President showed up.
President Obama has had a remarkable two months. He has taken leadership to lead the country on the issues of immigration reform, climate change, and starting the ball rolling on a new relationship with Cuba. And no less important, after much delay on the part of the Senate of the United States, many judges were confirmed.
From the outset, President Obama has believed in government having the capacity to do good, to do big things for society and mankind. Now in the last years of his presidency, he is free of any other elections and his focus is to do what he set out to do.
He has given up on Congress being willing to compromise and as a result he has begun to use executive power to ensure that the will of the majority is heeded in situations that offer him the opportunity to take executive action. President Obama is not alone in the history of American politics to make use of executive power to get things done.
Republicans may complain and claim that there has been executive abuse. History offers many examples of strong President’s using their office to move things along.
The world has witnessed the beginning of a real chance for progress on the climate change front as the United States and China have begun a new effort to reduce greenhouse gasses. China is motivated for if there ever was an example of a clear and present danger to the health of the Chinese people we see it in the air they breathe. You are not supposed to see the air but they do. The future health of the world will be impacted by the positives of the new agreement on climate change cooperation.
Something needed to be done to bring millions of people who are living in America without proper papers. Many of them have children born in the good old USA. Action needed to done and the House of Representatives refused to bring the issue of immigrants without documentation up for a vote. The Senate had already passed a bi-partisan bill. There is no indication that the House has any plans to take up the measure and argue whether the Senate bill is good or bad.
Congress’s approval numbers are in the toilet, and for good reason. They have the perception that they can not agree with the President on anything, and the people’s trust in Congress is at an all-time low as a result. We do not have a parliamentary system but they are acting as if they do. A parliamentary system is a detriment to our party system and an impediment to the will of the majority being expressed by the people’s representatives being in Washington.
Cuba’s isolation from the United States has existed for 50 years. It is a failed policy as freedom has not improved for the Cuban people. With the Pope’s help a new relationship has begun. It is believed that greater economic opportunity and the aging leadership of Cuba will offer change for the future by ushering in greater contact with the United States. We are all consumers and with greater contact, pressure will grow on the government of the people of Cuba to provide greater freedom for their people.
The confirmation of the numerous nominees for the judiciary will leave a more subtle legacy of President Obama’s presidency. Lifetime judge ships will leave an imprint on our collective lives. We forget how important the interpretation of the Constitution can have.
The President almost immediately after his election, sought to close the prison in Cuba. Congress refused to cooperate. He has sought through his good offices an alternative solution. Our prisoners at Gitmo are slowly being distributed to various country’s. Again, the obstructionism of Congress has failed to stop the miserable situation at Gitmo.
By any historic metric, the Obama presidency would be considered a success already. The President is now freed from any further elections and with that freedom political courage is now present for all to see. It is going to be interesting to see what other surprises we have in store for us in the next two years. If these last two months are any indication his last two years will be anything but inactive.
History will be the guide post on a final assessment of President Barrack Obama. Like other strong Presidents of the past, President’s like FDR and Teddy Roosevelt, their actions helped create strong feelings. The roller coaster of emotions never occurs when weak leaders are elected. Passions are not so present when you have the Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge’s of the world. The emotions of the moment cloud our judgement. It will take cooler heads and time for a fair judgment to take place.