There are a lot of Americans who believe Barack Obama was a failed president. Others see his presidency as a great success and by many measures, it has been.
According to The Atlantic, “In January of 2009—the month Obama was inaugurated—the American economy lost 791,000 jobs. Now—eight years later—the U.S. has experienced 75 consecutive months of job growth.” Unemployment has dropped from 10 percent to 4.7 percent and the stock market has risen 140 percent. According to the FBI, nationwide violent crime is half of what it was 25 years ago. More than 20 million people have health insurance who didn’t have it before, the U.S. auto industry was saved from bankruptcy, the environment is better protected, there have been no White House scandals, and bin Laden is dead.
However, Obama faltered in his ability to promote his own accomplishments. Because he didn’t effectively remind Americans of his successes, a vacuum was created and it filled with misinformation and propaganda. Too many people became convinced that the economy’s recovery was a failure, that terrorism was on the rise, and that illegal immigrants were still pouring across the borders. “(It was) eight long years of disenchantment and incompetence,” wrote Jeff Jacoby in townhall.com. “Our world today is more dangerous, our country more divided, our national mood more toxic.” Of course, no president runs the country for four or eight years without missteps and failures, but polls say Obama leaves office with a 55 percent approval rating. Since polling began, only Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan left with higher numbers.
Donald Trump will be different; for better or worse, he’ll use Twitter to tout his own successes–often. It’ll be a constant source of controversy. Trump has no filter and possesses a lack of public relations sensibilities which could otherwise refine his alarmingly coarse messages.
I bid a sad farewell to President Obama: I, and it seems most, Americans will miss his class, intelligence, fairness, and empathy. I just wish he had conveyed his achievements more effectively. The strengths and weaknesses of Barack Obama’s PR efforts–and presidency–will be debated for years to come.