- Killed Osama Bin Laden.
- Ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (which Clinton created and grew to hate.)
- Passed a massive healthcare bill that both Clintons failed to create (pre-existing conditions, child coverage, Medicare "donut hole", increased eligibility for medicaid, etc. etc. etc.)
- Ended the Iraq war and began the pullout
- Credit Card bill of rights and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Fully funded the Veterans Administration,
- Reduced our Nuclear spending - in part by completing START Treaty obligations before they were required by the treaty. What a great idea. Do it early and save some cash.
- Helped Libya's revolution succeed with real military aid (air support) without putting hundreds of American troops in Libya.
- Ended the DOJ's corrupt and illegal hiring/promoting/firing practices (which under Bush were) based on which political party people belonged to (all new hires have to sign a pledge not to do this - so everyone knows it is illegal instead of pretending "oh, thats not legal?")
- Raised fuel standards for cars and light trucks
- Required that at least 10% of US electricity be from renewable sources - as of 2011, it is about 11%: 6% hydroelectric + 3% wind + another 2% from a combination of solar, biomass and geothermal. Most of this was from strong growth in Hydro and wind
Some of you are going to say that Bush should get at least some of the credit for Obama's #1 success - killing Bin Laden. Maybe that's true (I disagree. If Bush 'helped' he helped to the extent that it took 10 years to find Bin Laden. Finding him after 10 years is a failure. Finding him in less than 3 years is a sucess). But Bush is definitely responsible for creating Obama's major "failure" - the Recession.
Note the recession is technically over, according to economists. But it's not back to normal either. Yes, that's a big one in my mind bigger than any but the top 4 Obama successes . However, if I had a choice of having Osama Bin Laden still alive but the economy thriving, I would rather take the situation as it is now. I bet a lot of other people - Democrat and Republicans - would keep it the same as well.
But the economy is also the one thing that presidents don't really have a lot of control over. Presidents can't go on a hiring spree to give everyone government jobs. They can't even pass laws - Congress does that. They can push and scream and yell at Congress plus they can propose laws and carry them out quickly or slowly. They can hire the right/wrong people and put them in charge of our financial policy - such as raising/lowering money supplies and interest rates charged to banks, but that only has so much of an effect. Basically, if the problem wasn't stupid Federal policies in the first place, there is not much they can do.
While presidents get the blame for the economy, they can't really do all that much about it.
People are going to look back at Obama and say he was one of the better presidents. In his first term, he did 4-5 very difficult, very important things, plus about 6-7 easier, but still important things. He only failed on the one thing he didn't have much control over - the economy.
Obama has not done a bad job. The Republicans may not like a lot of what he has done ( of the 11 good things, I can see them hating #s 2,3, and 5, and not liking 9,10 and 11, but that still leaves 1,4,6,7, and 8 that they wanted done ), but the things the GOP dislikes were Democrat priorities and the Democrats are all glad he did them. Quite a few of the people that voted for him wanted those list items the Republicans hate.
By any reasonable standard, Obama has done both America and the DNC proud. The people that voted for him got about as good as can be expected. Yes, the people that voted against him dislike the things he did - that is why they voted against him. Obama is a clearly successful President, not a failure. He did most of the big things he wanted to do. The one main thing he hasn't done, well, it's pretty impossible for a President to do - at least not without a lot of luck.