Barack ObamaBlack InterestsBlack Men

A Collection of Thoughts on President Obama’s Legacy


January 1, 2017

By Gary A. Johnson – Publisher, Black Men in

Barack Obama the person is a hugely popular and likeable person.  From everything we can gather he is a solid husband, father and family man.  Barack Obama, the President, is a different story.  Despite his popularity in the polls, the majority of Americans feel that he has taken the country in the wrong direction.  For President Obama, it appears by his actions that he thinks it is vitally important to help Americans understand how his two terms have reshaped American life.  He knows that once he leaves office, President Trump may undo much of what he accomplished, including reforming the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

In terms of his legacy, will President Obama be remembered for who he is?  Or remembered for what he did?

Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, President Obama and the Democrats at times, have behaved like arrogant sore losers who can’t accept the fact that their party lost what was arguably the easiest and most winnable presidential race in the last 40 years.

President Obama campaigned across the country for Hillary Clinton claiming that a vote for her would continue his policies.  He claimed that he would be personally offended if folks did not vote for Clinton.  On election day the majority of the people rejected the President’s policies by either casting their vote for Donald Trump or not voting.  Those are the facts.  The President, the Clinton campaign and a lot of Americans are having a hard time swallowing this defeat.  Several college campuses cancelled classes, established “cry-ins” and brought in therapy dogs, Play-Doh and coloring books to help the students cope with the election results.  I’m not lying.  Click here to read more about this.

It appears that the President can’t bring himself to think that people would reject his policies.  Instead, he said that “they” (the Democrats) didn’t do a good job of messaging and getting the word out.  The word and the message was received and it was rejected.  Why?  Everyone has an opinion.

A month before the election, President Obama, the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton got cocky.  Most polls reflected that Hillary Clinton had double-digit lead over Donald Trump.  Obama and the Democrats talked about running up the score in key swing states.  President Obama was seen as Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon.  A sitting and popular President campaigning for her was a move toward positioning the Democrats to retake control of the legislative branch.  Here we are, 3 weeks after the election and the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and President Obama got their asses kicked.  Not only did they loss the presidency, the loss Congressional and Senate seats.

Hillary Clinton ran a terrible campaign.  There was NOTHING clever or smart about her strategy.  One of her main campaign slogans was:  “I’m with her.”  What does that mean?

Ms. Clinton could not connect with young people, even after the campaign and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) rigged the primaries and stole the election from Bernie Sanders.  She was deemed as dishonest and untrustworthy by many in the American public.

Now soon to be ex-President Barack Obama said he will position himself as the leader to help rebuild the Democratic party.  President Obama appears to have a hard time accepting that his agenda was unpopular to many voters.  The old saying, “What goes around, comes around,” has bitten Obama.  After he won the election to become President, Barack Obama repeatedly reminded his adversaries that he won the election and on a few occasions told them that it was their turn to get in the back of the bus.  Now that his team has loss, President Obama is concerned about his legacy. 

The President’s legacy is arguably tarnished in the eyes of some for his failure to be honest about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.   The President is on record over 30 times making a series of promises and commitments to the American people, many of which turned out to be false or outright lies.  For purposes of this article, let’s call them “broken promises.”  For example, President Obama repeatedly assured Americans: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”  According to healthcare giant Aetna, in 2016, Obamacare tossed over 2 million Americans out of their health plans.

According to Chris Conover, a contributing writer for, here are the most glaring statements connected to Obamacare:

  1. Universal coverage
  2. No new taxes on the middle class
  3. Annual premium savings of $2,500
  4. No increase in the deficit
  5. You can keep your plan if you like it


Here are the facts:

Up to 9.3 million people lost their coverage during the first open enrollment period.  As of mid-September 2016, 18 of Obamacare’s 24 CO-OPs had failed, leaving 932,181 members to scramble to find alternative coverage; there’s only 6 CO-OPs remaining.  In addition, At least 811,000 additional Obamacare plan members are involuntarily losing coverage in 2016 due to the withdrawal of UnitedHealth, Aetna and Oscar from various Obamacare exchanges.

In many speeches across the country President Obama said:  “We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”  Can you guess what one of the worst parts of all those plan cancellations is?  Obamacare often forced patients to switch doctors and hospitals in the middle of their treatment.

At a rally in Florida in September 2016, President Obama claimed “a handful of people” would face hefty health-insurance premium increases for 2017.  Last year, eight states had Obamacare plans whose premiums increased by 39% or more.  Half the states saw increases of 30% or more.

Premiums are projected to rise even faster in 2017.  Across Tennessee’s three exchange-participating insurers, the lowest average increase will be 44%. The highest will be 62%.  On average, premiums are going up by 25%, but in some states, the increase will exceed 100%. Given that 15% of exchange plan members do not get subsidized coverage, about 9.1 million will face the full brunt of premium increases for Obamacare-compliant plans in the non-group market.

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.” – President Obama, Sept. 9, 2009.

Less than four years later, the Government Accountability Office announced ObamaCare would increase the federal deficit by $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.

“You should know that once we have fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now — which means your premiums will go down.” —President Obama, July 16, 2012.

Not only did premiums go up, they have continued to rise.  The Congressional Budget Office now predicts that, by 2025, employment-based coverage will cost about 60 percent more than this year because of the Affordable Care Act.

With Obamacare being the President’s signature piece of legislation, it was embarrassing that the website didn’t work, the promises were broken and it was a huge public embarrassment that had to be re-worked for millions of dollars at the tax payers expense.  Where was the accountability for this?

President Obama’s legacy will likely be tarnished because of the President’s and the administration’s lies and deception connected to the Iran Nuclear Deal and for going against a long-held policy of NOT paying our enemies money in exchange for prisoners.  In addition, public and Congressional reports claim that the Obama administration misled the public about the Iran nuclear deal’s contents in order to stymie opponents. The deal was touted as keeping Iran from a nuclear bomb for 15 years, but the new disclosures reveal that Iran could be six months away from a bomb within a decade of the deal.


President Obama appears to have a hard time accepting that his agenda was unpopular to many voters.  There are elements of Obama’s agenda that remain unpopular. But a larger concern for aides is that Clinton failed to make the case for her own candidacy, and not be seen solely as an agent of the status quo.

There were times during the President’s two terms in office where he felt comfortable “talking down” to black folks and lecturing us on how to be better fathers and citizens.  OK.  We need to do better, but some folks were irritated by the format and the way the message was presented to us.  One has to be careful when you decide to publicly castigate your most loyal supporters, that you often ignored and neglected on issues important to them.

The President’s preface for the use of drones to fight overseas has gone unnoticed by many.  However, the Obama drone program has arguably taken more innocent lives than any other administration with almost no accountability.

This past election reflected another mid-term shellacking on President Obama’s watch.  According to most polls, despite his popularity, most Americans believe that President Obama has been moving the country in the wrong direction.  Most Democrats did not want to be seen or associated with the President.  They did not want him to campaign for them.  The massive debt he accumulated was a hard sell for any politician.  On January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in, the debt was $10.626 trillion. Today it’s $19.78 trillion.

It’s misleading to hold President Obama (or any other President) accountable for the deficit incurred during his first year of office. That’s because the previous Administration already set the federal budget for that fiscal year.

The average annual deficit by President Nixon was $11 billion dollars, President Ford $40 billion, President Carter $61 billion, President Reagan $165 billion, President H.W. Bush $235 billion, President Clinton $40 billion, President George W. Bush $250 billion and President Obama $1.3 trillion.

In fairness, Obama inherited a mess when he took office and if that wasn’t enough, this man was disrespected often as the sitting President of the United States.  Do you remember Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) putting her finger in the President’s face in front of reporters?  Brewer had the nerve to say that she felt “a little threatened” by President Obama. WTF?  He should have grabbed her hand and firmly told her, “You got 10 seconds to get your fucking finger out of my face.”

Here are some other memorable moments of disrespect against President Obama:

  • 9 months into his presidency as he addresses Congress Rep. Wilson yells, “you lie” during the President’s State of the Union speech.
  • The whole “birther movement.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) publicly announced, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.”
  • Rep. Joe Wilson, yelling “You Lied,” during the President’s address to the nation.

Much of what President Obama accomplished happened with a “hidden hand” via Executive Order and because of that, and his perceived arrogance in doing so, many of those accomplishments can easily be undone by President Trump.  President Obama, talking about his Executive Orders once said:  “Where I can act without Congress, I’m going to do so.” — that just pissed off his opponents and strengthened their resolve to reverse his achievements–and they will just to teach him a lesson.  Had the President been able to advance his agenda by passing laws, his achievements would be difficult to reverse.

Here are a few thoughts and theories on why Hillary Clinton lost the election, President Obama’s legacy and how Donald Trump won the election:

  • Chicago, Obama’s hometown, witnessed 762 homicides last year, the most in two decades, and 1,100 more shootings than in 2015. Obama’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, the reason is the Ferguson effect, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald. What’s more, statistics show that police are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than white ones.
  • According to Peter Roff, a contributing editor to U.S News & World, under President Obama, the national debt rose to $19.9 trillion dollars according to the U.S. Treasury. Not all of that is his responsibility; just $9.2 trillion of it, which is still a pretty considerable number.
  • Politically, President Obama has been the worst thing to happen to his party since Bill Clinton. During the eight years he was president, the Democratic Party has lost 717 seats in state houses across the country, 231 seats in state senates, 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 12 governorships and 12 seats in the United States Senate. As he leaves the stage, 70 state legislative chambers are under GOP control – including those in 32 states where the legislature is all Republican, compared to just 13 for the Democrats. And in 24 of the 32 states with Republican-controlled legislatures, voters also elected Republican governors, whereas the Democrats control everything in just seven. (U.S News & World
  • In November 2016 at the Men’s Day program at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, DC, Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan said President failed to do what should have been done.” Minister Farrakhan continued with his message to the President by saying, “Your people are suffering and dying in the streets,” of Chicago, so “you failed to do what should have been done.”  Farrakhan also said it is time to let Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump do “what he wants to because he is not destroying your legacy.”
  • According to a November 22, 2016 article written by Conrad Black in the National Review, Donald Trump won because the United States has had the 15 worst years of misgovernment by all branches and both parties, and the only period of absolute and relative decline, in its history. In addition, for the last six years two-thirds of Americans polled have steadily thought the country was going “in the wrong direction.” Click here to read more.
  • Filmmaker Michael Moore believed Trump won because nearly 70% of all voters thought Hillary Clinton was untrustworthy and dishonest. She represents the old way of politics, not really believing in anything other than what can get you elected.
  • Hillary Clinton did not fire up the Obama Coalition.  She got nearly 5 million fewer votes overall than Barack Obama.
  • Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because President Obama is an arrogant sore loser who refuses to believe that his policies were not in the best interest of all Americans.  Many Americans believe President Obama knowingly lied about the benefits of Obamacare and the Iran deal.  Add to that, his handling of the sluggish economy, his social agenda, the slow “wussy-like” response to ISIS, the IRS scandal and his Justice Department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server.

This does not include President Obama’s skirting Congress, his pushing amnesty for people who entered the country illegally, favoring Black Lives Matter, unilaterally imposing crushing environmental regulations and the numerous other unpopular policies that absorbed his attention.

I believe the actual substance of the President’s domestic policies and their impact on the country remain poorly understood.  I make my living teaching leadership development.  I used to work in the West Wing of the White House and I know a little “sumthin’ sumthin'” about the intelligence business.  I’ve studied President Obama’s leadership style.  I believe this is a President who has clearly conveyed to his staff, “do not bring me bad news or things I don’t want to hear.”  As a result, I believe President Obama has surrounded himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear.  If you dare bring him bad news, you will find yourself out of favor with him.  Some key advisors have not served the President well.

Lt. General Michael Flynn who has accepted the job as Donald Trump’s next National Security Advisor, sounded the alarms about the threat of ISIS, when he was in charge of the Defense Intelligence Agency.  I find it incredible that President Obama never met with Flynn.

Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, who are former Secretaries of Defense and Directors of the CIA said President Obama did not respect his armed forces’ chiefs and in fact rarely met with them.  Others have said that President Obama thinks he knows more than his generals and is not above telling them so. As Gates wrote in his memoir Duty, “The controlling nature of the Obama White House and the staff took micromanagement and operational meddling to a new level.”  Not only did Obama not take the advice of his military chiefs, he never even met with them. At a recent Congressional hearing, four top military figures testifying on national security were asked whether they had voiced concerns to Obama. Each one said no, they had never met the man.

Two months before the election, President Barack Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 46th Annual dinner.  He told the audience that he would take it as a “personal insult” if the African-American community fails to turn out for the presidential election and encouraged black voters to support Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  Obama said his name may not be on the ballot, but issues of importance to the black community were, including justice, good schools and ending mass incarceration.  “I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” Obama said with a stern look and booming passion. “You want to give me a good send-off, go vote.”

Black folks, despite their loyalty to President Obama have not done well economically under his stewardship of the U.S. economy.  Blacks have been largely shut out from the nation’s economic recovery.  Many are intoxicated emotionally with having a black man and his wonderful scandal free family in the White House for eight years.  That is something to be proud of, however, not benefiting from the economic recovery is not emotional–that’s a tangible hardship that is easy to measure.

At various times during his career, President Obama faced criticism from some blacks that, because he didn’t grow up in the hood and he attended an Ivy League school that he simply wasn’t down with the cause or (here we go) “black enough.”

History will decide the full measure of the successes and failures of the Obama presidency.  Fortunately for the President, time passed tends to be kind to the legacy of ex-occupants of the Oval Office.  On the first day of 2017, President Obama reflected upon the successes of his presidency in a series of tweets via Twitter.  The President touted “the longest streak of job growth in our history” and said that “after decades of rising health care costs, today nearly every American now has access to the financial security of affordable health care.”  The President concluded his tweet series by writing: “It’s been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year everybody.”

Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the President said,“The president prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself,” Jarrett said in an interview broadcast on CNN on New Year’s Day. Critics of the Obama administration said Jarrett was trying to re-write history.  These critics and a few government watch dog groups site the IRS abuses, Benghazi (where 4 Americans lost their life), the Clinton scandals, the lies told about Obamacare, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and other Obama administration failures.

“This is delusional,” said Tom Fitton, Executive Director of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, said, “The Obama administration has a scandal rap sheet longer than my arm.”  Fitton also wrote that the Obama administration was more corrupt than the Nixon administration.

The bottom line is we cannot gloss over President Obama’s flaws.  We all have them.  He has succeeded as President of the United States for two terms.  That is a fact and history will record that.

I think the President should transition to civilian life quietly and I think history will judge him kindly.  This will NOT be the case.  President Obama has made it clear that he will not go away quietly.  He will move into a home in the city and he has vowed to be a voice and mentor to others in an effort to resurrect his failed Democratic party.  I think this is a mistake.  The strategy will only serve to remind people of his failures.  He will also make it easy for Republicans to “pile on” and highlight their successes as they collective work to reverse many of President Obama’s policies and Executive Orders.


About the Author:

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder of Gary A. Johnson Company & Associates, LLC, a management training and consulting company. The company manages a variety of Internet and digital media enterprises including Black Men In, one of the most popular web sites on the Internet, Black Men In Dating and the Black Men In Syndicated Blog. In addition, the company manages Homework Help, an educational resource site for children, college students and parents.

Sources:  Multiple media, news and government sources.

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