How Will History Judge Him?
Three month ago Democrats were trounced in the midterm election's unpopularity. But you'd never have guessed that to watch the president's State of the Union address last week, said Christ Cilizza on WashingtonPost.com. "From start to finish, Obam was supreme confident, challenging - and mocking - Republicans at every turn." He winked. He cracked jokes.
Bolstered by an improving economy and a surge in approval ratings, and liberated by the knowledge that he has run his last campaign, he is "clearly feeling a renewed sense of purpose and mission". The speech made one thing clear: Obama "isn't planning to go quietly over his final two years in office".
He has a good reason to feel bullish, said Jonathan Chait on NYMag.com For all the flack aimed at him, the president has achieved almost everything he promised to do in his first inaugural speech. He steered America out of its worst recession since the Great Depression, "would down two wars while avoiding other", reined in the execesses of Wall Street and reformed the broken helath-care industry. And by championing what he described last week as "middle-class economics", he is now laying the fondation for Hillary Clinton's presumed run, said Brian Beutler on NewRepublican.com.
If Democrats adopt his priorities of reducing taxes on labour and raing then on capital, he could do what Reagan did for the Republicans: shape "the parameter of the economic debate for years to come".
Obama's no Reagan, said Christopher Caldwell in New York magazine. History "will eviscerate him" for what he has done to the US. He has governed through executive orders and the kind of bare-knuckle tactics that saw his unpopular Obamacare reform signed into law without the support of single Republican. He leaves behind a nation "less united, less democratic and less free" than the one
And his speech last week last week shamelessly favoured tactics over consensus, said Richard Lowly in The New York Post - lost of left-wing, soak-the-rich proposals that will never get throu Congress and are solely desinged to send Rupublicans into a "Pavlovian rage". Obam is certainly a "polarising figure right now ", said Dominic Tierney in TheAtlantic.com, but once he steps into "the more forgiving sepia glow of retirement" his popularity will soar. People will recall what they liked about him: his intellect, his wry rumour, his inspirational life story.
Good president or not, he's likely to be "a great ex-president".