A Look at Barrack Obama's Presidency
The Main themes that characterized the Obama Presidency
Barack Obama was the first African American leader to serve as the 44th President of the United States. President Obama's story was anchored on values such as a strong family upbringing, hard work, and education as a means of achieving personal goals. He was elected President on November 4, 2008, a day that has since remained monumental in the United States' history. The Obama presidency was anchored on change and equality among all people regardless of color, race, gender, or origin (Zelizer, 2018). Hence, an analysis of the themes that characterized his presidency will be critical.
Themes that characterized the Obama Presidency
The first order of business for President Obama was to handle the shortcomings of the Bush presidency. The president assumed power when the country was fighting the 2008 financial crisis. During this period, over 600,000 American employees lost their jobs, which accounted for an 8% unemployment rate. Nonetheless, by February 2009, Congress had approved the economic stimulus package that was suggested by Obama. Despite that, this package was estimated to cost $787 billion, it facilitated tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits, and funded the public work plans.
The recession was avoided when the GDP growth turned positive in June 2009. Throughout the Obama presidency, the economic policies were influenced by the political climate that surrounded the Great Recession (Aruleba, 2017). This period was marked by job growth, which the best on record since 1939 and improved employment opportunities. Additionally, the country enjoyed low household debts, increased wages, and low unemployment rates. The U.S. economy was growing by 2% by the end of the Obama presidency. Besides, in his second term, the economic growth per person was higher than the growth witnessed within other presidents (Aruleba, 2017). Economic growth remains one of the unique themes in the Obama presidency.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Health care reforms were another key theme that characterized the Obama presidency. According to Obama, the U.S. health care system was yet to achieve its full potential. This is because, in the USA, 16% of the economy was allocated to healthcare spending, yet that did not translate to better patient outcomes. Based on McIntyre & Song (2019), the quality of care in the country was below the expected standards, and they waited to treat patients when they are sick rather than focus on keeping them healthy. Furthermore, the health system left one in seven Americans without health insurance coverage in 2008. Hence, uninsured individuals were exposed to financial insecurity, poor health, and barriers to care.
Obamacare, commonly known as the Affordable Care Act of 2010, focused on changing health policies. The objective was to increase the insured numbers, improve the quality of care, and reduce healthcare costs (Center, Woods, Manchikanti & Purdue Pharma, 2017). It increased the Medicaid programs' eligibility to families and individuals with incomes within the Federal poverty line. Obamacare gained its fair share of criticism across the political divide. Nonetheless, this act also aimed to invest in health information technology, prevention, and research as a long term investment.
Obama, during the campaign period, concentrated on change in foreign policy and domestic policy. In the nomination and election campaigns, Obama pledged to address the issues that were affecting both local and international efforts. For instance, in foreign policy, he highlighted the need for change in ending the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and bring back home the American soldiers. This strategy aimed to make amends with allies and other superior powers around the world. Moreover, change reforms also meant working together with the rivals to address any underlying issues and military and economic problems. The Bush administration had isolated the United States, and now Obama wanted to reengage with the rest of the world and eliminate the stereotype.
The foreign policy change was anchored on the liberal internationalist approach. Based on McCormick (2011), this strategy is influenced by different beliefs and values that dictate foreign policy characteristics for individual states and the United States. In this regard, the Obama administration would garner the majority's support, especially individuals who viewed democratic peace as integral to global progress. Liberal internationalism also advocates for interdependence and international cooperation. It presents an opportunity for states to work together and eliminate the risk of disagreements.
Sustainable democracy was a theme that was quite popular among the majority of post-war American leaders. It requires the presence of active citizens, reliable systems, and robust institutions. Sustainable democracy entails the support of a government that respects the people's will and is governed by consent and not a dictatorship. Obama pledged to double the United States investment in the convergence of democracy and development.
Additionally, sustainable democracy requires that democratic awareness is strengthened on the representatives and citizens' part. Democratic awareness requires that citizens are given the power to control various aspects of their lives. It reinforces the citizen spirit since the citizens are encouraged to develop their skills and grow their talents. In this regard, Obama's presidency was characterized by democracy promotion activities to reposition the United States as the symbol of democracy. Based on Carothers (2012), Obama issued a directive to close the Guantanamo detention center, terminate the CIA secret detention site, and ban the enhanced interrogation measures supported by the Bush administration. This approach was essential in reinstating the USA's position as a democratic state.
In conclusion, Obama remains a renowned leader who managed to go against the odds and become the first African American president. He used the opportunity to enhance the citizens' livelihood by addressing the various aspects that were influential to the nation's progress. In this case, the themes of change, economic growth, Obamacare, and sustainable care were central during his presidency. Hence, during his tenure, President Obama managed to implement his policies by garnering all the involved parties' support.