Analysis: President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech to a packed house of thousands of adoring supporters in Chicago last night. Amid chants of “four more years” and individual shouts of praise, the President outlined his accomplishments over the last eight years, as well as his hopes and warnings for the coming years after he’s gone. He began by thanking the American people, whether they agreed with him or not, for “keeping [him] honest and making [him] a better man.”
In his opening, Obama credited the founders of our nation and the founding documents they wrote, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for our freedom to achieve individually and to come together to achieve a common good. He said that America is exceptional, “not because our nation’s been flawless from the start but that we have shown the capacity to change.”
The President asserted that the U.S. is a better, stronger place than it was when he took office, citing that we reversed a great recession, rebooted the auto industry, began an historic string of job creation, took out Osama bin Laden, secured “the right” to health insurance for 20 million Americans, achieved “marriage equality” and shut down Iran’s nuclear program “without firing a shot.” But did he set his sights a little too high?
According to CNN Money, 11.3 million jobs were created during Obama’s terms as compared to 2.1 million created under George W. Bush, but he still lags significantly behind other recent presidents, Clinton (22.9 million) and Reagan (16.1 million). While the historic string of job creation is accurate (75 consecutive months), he is also the first president since Herbert Hoover not to reach 3% gross domestic product in any year he was in office.
President Obama also neglected to mention that 92-95 million Americans (33%-37% of the population) are out of the workforce, the highest amount since 1978 and he has increased national debt to 19.9 trillion and counting, according to usdebtclock.org.
Is health care a “right?” That’s a question for another day but let’s take a look at the facts. Three major insurance companies dropped out of Obamacare over the last year: Humana, UnitedHealth and Aetna. In an article in usnews.com from Aug. 18, 2016, Aetna pulled out from 11 states causing 670,000 people to lose coverage and have to go uninsured or change plans, doctors, hospitals, etc. That sounds like a drop in the 20 million-people bucket but these numbers only reflect those who lost plans with Aetna. As was widely publicized less than a month before the election, premium increases were announced almost across the board. According to thefiscaltimes.com, premiums rose as little as 2% in states like Ohio and New Hampshire but as much as 116% in Arizona. Oklahoma was hit the 2nd biggest hike at 69%.
President Obama said, “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, no matter how well intended, was never realistic.” He went on to say that “race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. Obama said that race relations are better than they were 20 or 30 years ago and that is borne out “not just in statistics but in the attitudes of young people across the political spectrum.”
Why is that, one might ask? Who failed? Who is to blame? Whites, blacks, browns? Obama himself? To which statistics does he refer? The Black Lives Matter movement sprung from a false narrative, which he exploited. Michael Brown was shot for “walking while black.” Trayvon Martin could’ve been him or if he’d had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. Did the president wait for the facts to come out to discover that “hands up, don’t shoot” didn’t happen or wait to find out that George Zimmerman was getting his head bashed in before he shot Martin? Did Obama go on TV after the facts came out to admit he was wrong? No. Instead, he lent BLM credibility by inviting its leaders to the White House and vilifying police as racists. July 7, 2016, five police officers were murdered in Dallas and at least one more was killed in Shreveport, La. the following weekend, in the name of Black Lives Matter. If the vision wasn’t realistic, one could say that Obama shoulders a large part of the blame.
“If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working, white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves,” Obama said, driving the wedge of identity politics further into the bedrock of the nation along racial and class lines.
Obama continued, “If we are unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants because they don’t look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America’s workforce.” A standing ovation and thunderous applause ensued. He invoked the literary hero, Atticus Finch to promote empathy between people, blacks, rural poor, transgenders and “even the middle class white guy” who has seen his world upended. “We have to pay attention and listen,” he said
What President Obama doesn’t understand about the people that voted his “legacy” out of office is that, by and large they don’t have an issue with immigration. It’s the illegal part they don’t like. It’s the fact that refugees and illegals are subsisting on their tax dollars or taking jobs that they themselves could be working. Mass numbers of people from other cultures don’t tend to assimilate, they form micro-communities in which they don’t have to learn to speak English or in worse case scenarios, like Muslim ghettos and no-go zones in Europe as well as the U.S., they attempt to install Sharia courts to subvert Constitutional law. Diversity doesn’t make us strong, unity does. E Pluribus Unum, from many, one.
The President boasted that no terror attack had been perpetrated on American soil in the last eight years and then he proceeded to list Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino and Ft. Hood as reminders of how dangerous radicalization can be. Were those not terrorist attacks? Are our law enforcement agencies truly “more effective and vigilant” when the FBI gets called off of investigations into the San Bernardino and Orlando shooters before the attacks occur?
Obama’s hypocrisy wrapped up in his final point. He said that when voter turn-out is at an all-time low among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote. Which is obviously a knock on states who require or want to require ID’s to vote. “When trust in our institutions is low,” he said, “we should reduce the amount of corrosive money in our politics.” That’s amusing when you remember that Hillary Clinton spent over $1 billion on a losing campaign when President-Elect Trump spent $79 million. Did he forget or did he intentionally back-hand Hillary?
President Barack Hussein Obama will leave office in 9 days. It is understandable why so many people love him. He is a gifted speaker who exudes confidence and charisma. His approval numbers are over 50% but over 2/3 of the country feel we are headed in the wrong direction. Obama’s legacy, written overwhelmingly by executive order will be gone just as easily.