Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Since Donald Trump is now the next President of the United States, it is worth looking at and analyzing the presidency of a man that Republicans did everything they could to demean, demoralize, and discredit. I would say that Barack Obama was good enough that if historians wanted to put him in the elite category, they would have logical reasons to do so. If Abraham Lincoln was the best Republican US President, then you can make the case that Barack Obama was one of the best Democratic presidents ever, along with Bill Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The article will also discuss a particular instance of how Barack Obama became and still is a part of American pop culture. However, this is not a full biography. It will only cover what he accomplished during his time in office. Why should Barack Obama be considered as great a president as Lincoln? Read on to find out.
How Obama Got National Attention
Barack Hussein Obama is the son of Ann Dunham, a white woman, and a Kenyan-born father, Barack Obama Senior. He is considered the first African-American US president, even though he is only half African-American. Obama really got national attention when he spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His slogan of “hope and change” combined with strong oratory skills inspired people from across the country, as they were able to resonate with his message.
The Significance of the 2008 Presidential Election
It was three years later on February 10, 2007, that Obama announced his plans to run for the Presidency of the United States. Credit must be given, though, to Hillary Clinton, who battled him for the Democratic nomination. Obama was very much prepared, and one of his goals as President was to “provide affordable, accessible health care for every single American,” (Virginia 2017). But before the general election of November 4, 2008, I, along with millions of others around the country, never thought that a man with Obama’s background could ever win such an important national election. However, that November, he ended up winning the 2008 Presidential Election very easily over Senator John McCain of Arizona and his Vice-Presidential running mate former governor Sarah Palin.
The result was a 365-173 blowout and in the modern era, this result would be considered a landslide. This was the first landslide victory in US Presidential campaign history since Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole by 379 Electoral votes to 159 Electoral votes. Obama won the states of Indiana and Iowa, states that usually go to the Republican candidate. However, 2008 can be considered a major change election because the American public was tired of George W. Bush. Obama has also become a major part of our popular culture even though he is not a celebrity in the literal sense.
How Barack Obama Is a Part of American Pop Culture
It was on the night of October 24, 2016, that then-President Barack Obama sat down for an interview with TV host Jimmy Kimmel on the set of Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! In an article titled “President Obama Gets Real About the Election and Shades Donald Trump on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!” the President took the time to read what are called “mean tweets.” One of them in particular could have created controversy and make people angry—when Donald Trump asserted that Obama would be considered the worst president in American history. Obama responded to Trump saying “well @realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president,” (McCann 2016). Obama also took the time to talk about 2016 Presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Why is this news item worthy and important in terms of pop culture? The very fact that an outgoing US President is willing to be interviewed on a major TV show, have fun, and at the same time discuss what is at stake in this country is enough to make audiences tune in and listen to whatever he has to say—because, after all, this person is not just anybody. He is the current President of the United States.
Obama took the time to describe how Donald Trump’s behavior and actions have shown that he does not have the temperament to be President of the United States and that he has not presented himself in a way that makes him fit to serve. Obama said: “What we haven't seen before is somebody questioning the integrity of elections and the will of the people, what we haven't seen before, I think, is politics based on putting down in very explicit terms, Muslim Americans who are patriots, or describing women, not in terms of their intellect and their character, but on a 1 to 10 score." He continued, "Regardless of what your political preferences are, there is a certain responsibility and expectation in terms of how you behave, how you present yourself,” (McCann 2016).
This long statement by Obama presents that Trump has very much been a part of our pop culture but that he has attracted attention for all the wrong reasons. Obama’s commentary serves to provide a very important narrative that describes what is really at stake if we elect a man like Donald Trump to this nation’s highest office. And indeed, Donald Trump has been elected to the nation’s highest office. Barack Obama must be very worried now because all of the gains that were made during his tenure can all be lost if Trump decides to go along with his crazy ideas.
Barack Obama: Notable Accomplishments
Some of the most notable accomplishments in the tenure of President Barack Obama include:
- Signing into law the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Critics are quick to try and point out that the ACA is a job killer. This is an idea that is highly partisan and echoed by Republicans that wanted to see Obama fail. Actually, the ACA is set up to provide tax credits for small businesses and it makes it easier for employees to get coverage. In addition to this, because of the ACA health subsidies are provided to individuals that earn $46,000 a year, “making health insurance affordable for more low-and-middle-income families,” (Services n.d.).
- Successfully putting in place a nuclear deal with Iran.
- Lifting the embargo against Cuba allowing better relations between the two countries.
- Being responsible for the successful elimination of Osama Bin Laden.
- Bringing most US troops home from Iraq.
- Signing the Achieving a Better Life Experience or ABLE Act in December 2014, a law that now allows people with disabilities such as myself to have a special savings account without losing disability benefits.
These are the best things that this man has done for the United States, in addition to significantly lowering the nation’s unemployment rate. I think the people on the right will still think that Obama was a terrible President, but that’s their problem! Some people will never appreciate the good things that he did, especially considering how he had to deal with the GOP trying to obstruct everything that he tried to do.
Was he a perfect President? No, he was not. However, his campaign slogan of “hope and change” combined with his excellent public speaking skills and great charisma really gave me and others around the country hope that he could give us a better future. I would argue that Obama has given us a better future than we may have had under a McCain presidency.
The US Economy Under Democratic Administrations
Historically, the US economy has been better under Democratic administrations. Here are a few examples to illustrate this point. When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, the US economy was struggling and he made it better by his administration adding millions of jobs. Franklin Roosevelt brought the United States out of the Great Depression and he was partially responsible for the victory in World War II. But more importantly, FDR had a good heart and character, something that is lacking in Donald Trump.
Barack Obama Showed Proper Leadership
Most importantly, Barack Obama is a man that showed proper leadership, something that is critical for the great presidents to have. Instead of starting a war with a huge Middle Eastern country and spending tons of money, Obama, with careful planning, eventually was responsible for the nuclear deal that severely limited Iran’s capacity to have a nuclear weapon. That is the way to show leadership!
He fulfilled his campaign promise to bring US troops home from Iraq in 2011. Even though terrorism in the world still exists, Obama must be given credit for the elimination of Osama Bin Laden. He sent those US navy seals to a faraway place in Pakistan. Due to the bravery of these men, the man who had avoided capture for so many years and brought so much pain and suffering to families in the US was finally brought to justice and killed on May 1, 2011.
No one can tell me now that a Republican president could have been successful. George W. Bush vowed to get Bin Laden for years but he never was able to. The reason is because the people around him were too concerned about going after Saddam Hussein, a man that really was never a threat to anyone. George W. Bush was an inept president who really had no clue what he was doing. Barack Obama was a proper President that knew exactly what he was doing. That is the difference between a great US President and a bad US President.
How Obama Was as Great as Lincoln
I hope that history will say that Obama was as great a President as Lincoln, because he deserves it. Lincoln brought the country together after a horrible Civil War and Obama brought the country together, united it, and gave people a reason to believe that they could succeed. In spite of the racial tension that still occurs here in the US, Barack Obama should convince other African Americans that there is a chance for you to do well. Will it be easy? Of course not, but hope and faith is the first step. Hopefully, Barack Hussein Obama will become a great role model for children growing up today.
There is so much more that can be said about this man but the United States was brought from a ridiculed and laughed at country under George W. Bush to a country that was much more liked and respected abroad. Those of you that still think Barack Obama was a bad President, you haven’t seen anything yet. It is about to get much worse under Donald Trump. History was made in 2008, and history was also made in 2016 with Donald Trump being the oldest man to ever be elected President. But he won’t be anywhere near as great as Obama. If Obama had been able to run for a third term, most analysts would probably agree that he would have beaten Donald Trump pretty easily.
Most of the very educated political scientists and analysts would agree with me that Barack Obama was one of the best Presidents in US history. Lincoln, the self-educated lawyer from Illinois would have been very proud of Obama. Obama really did not start any wars. He did intervene in the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which I opposed from the beginning, but he did not start any new wars, and he really wanted to create a more level playing field for people of all socioeconomic levels. Whether you liked him or not, you must at least admit that Barack Obama is polite, classy, and a great family man.
- McCann, Mac. 2016. Complex. October 24. Accessed January 22, 2017. http://www.complex.com/life/2016/10/obama-gets-serious-about-election-jimmy-kimmel.
- Services, Executive Office of Health and Human. n.d. Mass.Gov Health and Human Services. Accessed January 22, 2017. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/feature-story/top-10-reasons-why-the-affordable-care-act-is-good.html.
- Virginia, University of. 2017. Miller Center. Accessed January 22, 2017. http://millercenter.org/president/biography/obama-campaigns-and-elections.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Ara Vahanian
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on June 14, 2017:
Angel Guzman: thank you very much for pointing out that Obama lost Missouri in 2008. Just an error on my part. Also, I was not aware of the fact that the Cuba embargo is still in place. Thank you again for commenting and enjoying my work!
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on June 14, 2017:
I really like your passion here but you are incorrect in a couple of your claims. Barack Obama lost Missouri in 2008 but it was close. Also he eased restrictions with Cuba but the embargo is still in effect though weaker. Good read Ara.
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on January 24, 2017:
Thank you again for commenting! All the great leaders throughout history have led by setting a great example. Obama showed that there is a way to resolve disputes with other nations by way of dialogue. The Iran Nuclear Deal is one such example. Thanks again for your thoughts and I appreciate it very much. Have a wonderful day!
Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 24, 2017:
Yes all great leaders lead by their own example. They can't lead by acting childishly stupid and crazy.
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on January 22, 2017:
Oztinato: thank you for your thoughts on this article. I could not have said it any better myself. The key phrase is that Obama looked after the nation. Yes he did and he really also is an excellent public speaker. He was a very quality President.
Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on January 22, 2017:
I believe Obama is up there with Lincoln.
If we recall the entire planets mood when Bush was in, and then compare it with the instantaneous positive ability of Obama to change the whole planet's outlook to positivity we can see a Great Leader at work.
Then he immediately looked after the health of a nation while steering it through the GFC and leaving a much more prosperous nation.
(Incidentally the GFC was caused by real estate moguls.)
He withdrew from the hideous Iraq war and wiped out bin Laden etc etc
An unbeatable modern day president.
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on January 22, 2017:
I give you all the credit in the world for this thoughtful and well analyzed comment! I am so happy that Obama was able to succeed with his health care plan and because of him, we have so many that are alive today that would probably not be alive without that legislation. The Republicans are so heartless that they want to throw 20 million people off of their health insurance. They have no plan to replace the ACA and no common sense either. But you are right, Obama's got to be among the TOP 5 US Presidents ever! I will miss him so much!
Alternative Prime from > California on January 22, 2017:
NICE Article CELEBSFAN78 ~ Most Historians will have no choice but to realize the inevitability that President Obama is a TOP 5 American LEADER ~ I Place him in the TOP 3 at par with President Lincoln ~ If President Obama's ONLY Accomplishemnt was "RESURRECTING" OUR Dying Economy which Republican George W Bush left him as a DIRECT Result of his "Unecessary & RECKLESS" Massive Tax Cuts for Corporations, this alone would JUSTIFY a TOP 5 Placement ~ But we all know President Obama's Accomplishments FAR Exceeded his Economic Brilliance with Enhancing Health-Care by Insuring at least 20 MORE Americans who otherwise would be Deprived of a Doctor's Services ~ President Obama's Accomplishments are "Many & Legendary" ~