Much controversy and demagoguery has attended the presidency of Barack Obama. I found it refreshing then to read the last in a series of short biographies of all the presidents, his of course being the most recent. It is only about 600 words, a challenge to be sure to sum up a complex and contentious four-year term, but I submit that it has been done very well. If you have been wondering how history will view Barack Obama’s first term, I submit it will not be much different from what you read here. I reprint it here from the Joplin Globe, the caption being “Provided by staff reports.”
Barack Obama is a living example of the diversity and mobility of 21st century America. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in Kenya. His mother, Ann Durham, grew up in Kansas. They met at the university of Hawaii, and Obama was born in Honolulu.
Obama had a sparkling academic career, an undergraduate degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the prestigious Harvard law Review. At Harvard, Obama met his wife, Michelle Robinson, another law student. The couple settled in her hometown of Chicago.
Obama lectured at the University of Chicago law school, but he got practical experience working as a community organizer. He registered voters. He ran a successful campaign to get elected to the Illinois Senate, where he worked on ethics legislation and played a prominent role in passing a law to require the videotaping of police questionings and confessions in homicide cases.
Obama demonstrated practicality and eloquence at the 2004 Democratic National Convention as he ran a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.
“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America,” Obama said at the convention. “there’s a United States of America.”
The speech helped Obama win the Senate seat and he launched his presidential campaign in 2007.
The leading candidates in the 2008 primaries were Obama,, an African-American, and a woman, US. Sen. Hillary Clinton, of New York. Obama won enough delegates by May to clinch the nomination. Obama named Clinton as Secretary of State after his election.
Obama defeated Republican nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain in the 2008 general election to win the presidency. The nation’s first black president took the oath of office of Jan. 20, 2009.
Obama’s first term has been marked by successes and setbacks. Unemployment rates have improved since the depths of the recession in 2009, but economic growth has come at a slow pace.
Among his efforts to repair the economy were the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He renewed loaned to General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 so they could continue operating while they reorganized and the American auto industry has rebounded.
The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has been dubbed Obamacare, was signed into law by Obama in 2010 Some major provisions of the law, including state health insurance exchanges, are scheduled to take effect in 2014.
The Iraq War ended on Obama’s watch, in August 2010. Obama has pledged to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Obama oversaw the military operation to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.