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President Barack Obama Accomplishments or Failures

Updated on January 3, 2017


President Obama was elected President of the US in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. Over those 8 years, he and his Administration have accomplished much. It is also a record to be examined in hindsight. In the interest of transparency, I did not vote for him. I am a Conservative and I disagree with many of his policies. I try to analyze his Presidency with an open mind. I fully realize that over 50% of the population thought he did a good job as President under the circumstance.

- Nov. 2016


  • ACA act
  • Dodd Frank
  • Iran Nuclear deal
  • Normalized relations with Cuba
  • Omnibus bill
  • bailout of GM
  • Ended Recession of 2008
  • Reduced the unemeployment rate 5%
  • Gay marriage legalized
  • Ended Iraq war
  • Made the decision to kill Saddam Hussein
  • Russia Reset
  • Try to give amnesty to children of undocumented immigrants by executive order
  • Declared climate change to be the biggest threat
  • killed the XL pipeline construction
  • gave billions of loans to renewable energy companies including solar
  • Reduced the size of the military
  • Increased domestic spending for entitlements including food stamps
  • traded 5 detainees for Sargent Bergdahl
  • negotiated return of hostages from Iran


  • Doubled our national debt to 20 trillion in 8 years
  • The stimulus bill passed included funds for shovel ready projects of infrastructure that was not ready
  • the VA corruption continues without accountability
  • the IRS selective scrutiny of Conservative group is an abuse of power
  • the country has record number of food stamp recipients
  • even though unemployment is down, the number of labor participation rate is at all time low.
  • the Iraq war and Afghanistan conflicts are continuing
  • the rise of ISIS came after we pulled out completely out of Iraq
  • the Benghazi disaster was mishandled and 4 Americans died.
  • the recovery is the weakest in modern times with a 2% GDP
  • the failure of Solar companies like Solyndra that cost the tax payers billions.
  • the failure to prevent domestic terrorists from Boston to Boca Raton...
  • the failure to close Guantanamo Bay prison facility after 8 years
  • the failure to indict a single person for the real estate bubble that caused the finacial melt down of Wall Street banks
  • the failure to stop Russia incursion into Crimea.
  • undocumented immigrants status is still in limbo, executive action is ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.


When discussing accomplishments/failures, sometimes it depends on where in the political spectrum one sits. An accomplishment to the left may be looked at as failure by the right or vice versa. One example is the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention. To President Obama, it was one of his top priority when takng office. To conservatives and the GOP, we think it is a bad idea. This failure by Obama actually turned out to be OK.

When it comes to increasing the debt, it is definitely a failure to manage our budget and spending.

Another area of controversy is climate change and the efforts by the Obama Administration to deal with it. This has economic impact in terms of energy policy, credits and incentives for renewables, and the oil and coal industry. It is a complex issue and there are many moving parts including regulations by the EPA. It is hard to assess these as accomplishments or failures because the nature of this problem is a long term effect of perhaps decades or even longer time periods.

The crown jewel of Obama's accomplishment is of course the ACA or Obamacare. It was past by a democratic majority Congress without a single GOP vote. It supposedly gave 18 million American health insurance. Unfortunately, it is failing badly. It is likely to be repealed by a new adminstration and a GOP controlled Congress in 2017. Moreover, the majority of Americans rejected it as a solution. It is also the main cause of our current economic anemia. Business is curtailing hiring and reducing hours of full time workers in order to bypass the ACA mandates. It is a real job killer. At the end of the day, it is more costly for the American people with higher deductibles and less choices.

The bottom line -

  • US economy anemic
  • jobs are hard to come by, wages stagnant
  • debt all time high
  • interest rate near 0%
  • The world is in chaos with ISIS and refugees
  • our country is less respected abroad
  • our military is weaker, cannot fight two wars at the same time
  • Race relations took a giant step backwards

Missed Opportunities...

As the first elected African American President. There was a unique opportunity. There are race related issues that only a black president can engage in. In my daily dealings with people, I often try to engage others and discuss race issues with little progress. The problem is they will always come back to the argument that I am not black therefore I cannot comprehend their plight.

The missed opportunity in my mind is that he could have done a better job of improving race relations among all the people. He could have been a voice of reason and rejected the BLM movement which put many police officers in harms way.

Impact on American Political Scene

The number one impact I see is the destruction of the Democratic party. You have a democrat President with a majority of both houses of Congress being democrats, in 2008. After a short 8 years, they have lost it all. Here is my hub in detail.

In a way, you can say the election of Donald Trump to President is a direct result of Barack Obama and his progressive policies. The American people decided to reject this direction and try something else.


My assessment on the Obama Presidency may be biased. It is taken from my experience over the last 8 years. You can agree or disagree with my conclusions. However, you cannot reject reality. We are a nation of diverse people and ideas. Every so often, the pendulum shifts. This is one of those times.


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    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      If someone is physically able, they need to work. It doesn't have to be a regulat job. We have streets that could be cleaned. There are plenty of volunteer work in local churches, libraries, museums... as I said, the undocument immigrants have taken over most jobs in fast foods and outdoor lawn services.These are jobs that teenagers use to get. Automation will replace some jobs but not all. New jobs will be needed to create and service those machines...

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 15 months ago from California

      Yes, our students need to be much stronger in math and science. As for people on the dole, there's at least 40 million of those. A few of my Facebook friends think these people should be forced to take jobs, but there aren't 40 million jobs to spare. And those jobs in the rust belt that Trump wants to save have been lost for three good reasons: changing markets, globalization and automation. Let those jobs go; it's the way of capitalism. Later!

    • jackclee lm profile image

      Jack Lee 15 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Yes, but we also have 20 million undocumented low skilled workers here. Some of those jobs could have gone to Americans. If we don't have entitlements such as welfare, and food stamps and housing subsidies, those people will do the work to survive and I believe they will be happier earning a living rather than sitting at home collecting benefits.

      The other problem which you reference with lack of skill workers is the H1B visa program. It is the fault of our public education system that does not train our kids for the real world. They teach stuff like gender nutrality and sexual identity but did not teach them to read, write or math. These are the basic skills needed to go on and get a college degree...President Obama was a disappointment for me. He missed opportunity to help our nation come together instead pushed his progressive world view which the people rejected.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 15 months ago from California

      Well, my friend, much needs to be done to help our country do better, but I think Obama's accomplishments greatly outweigh his failures. As for worker participation being very low, our country has tens of millions of people have little education and few job skills; therefore, many quality positions have to be filled by foreigners. Wouldn't it be revolutionary if everybody who wanted a Bachelor's degree could get one without going heavily into debt?