2014 was one of the most remarkable years in recent memory from an American President.
Republicans in the United States like to call Obama a 'dictator' but, to the extent that's true, it's because the 'people's representatives' in the U.S. congress failed to show up. Only a last minute burst of activity prevented the 113th Congress from being the least productive in history. It is worth noting that the distinction of being the least productive Congress belongs to the 112th (2013).
So despite having a legislative branch that just hasn't felt like working for the last two years, Obama still managed to:
- Overcome the ISIS threat in Iraq and the Russian threat in Ukraine.
- Sign a historic climate deal with China and negotiate a (not yet announced) climate deal with India.
- Took executive action to help immigrants after Congress refused to act.
- Ended the non-sensical embargo on Cuba.
- Beat back a strong lobbying effort to end net neutrality.
Obama also dealt with problems like the tensions in Ferguson and the outbreak of Ebola in Africa. He handled difficult political situations with countries like Russia, Iran and North Korea.
All of this, and more, was done amid a strengthening economy. Unemployment is falling, the deficit is down and the stock market is hitting record highs. Congress, again, can claim credit for none of this because they didn't do anything except attempt to obstruct the administration.
I don't agree with Obama on everything. I could come up with a list of 100 things that I wish he would do and another 100 things I wish he (and the US government) would stop doing but that he managed to make historic strides, with a congress that refused to do their jobs and keep his sense of humor while American voters (in their infinite wisdom) decided to reward the Republican congress and elect a new one sure to do even less should earn the President a medal of some kind.
By the end of next year the eyes of America and the world will have shifted from the president to the pool of 2016 presidential candidates but hopefully the "dictator" can manage to put a few more feathers in his cap while no one is looking and fend off a destructive congress intent on returning the US to the Bush years (or the stone age if they can manage it).
Whatever happens going forward, congrats to Mr. Obama on an outstanding 2014.
P.S. Remeber this? Republicans suck at predicting the future.
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