Even more suprising than Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is the rabid partisan right’s blindness to the accomplishments of Obama’s still-young presidency. Apparently, they need reminders. Let’s begin here:
Much of this starts with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Part of this act is 5 billion for Head Start and other child care initiatives and existing programs, and 1.4 billion to strengthen the Department of Veteran Affairs.
He wisely signed a number of important initiatives-turned-law originating in the Democratic run congress, including one that extends health insurance coverage to low-income children, and, to allow more people to afford college, a tax credit to offset tuition costs:
$2,500 tax credit to help offset the cost of tuition (among other expenses) for those seeking a college education. Nearly five million families are expected to save $9 billion, according to Treasury officials.
Obama created a White House Urban Affairs office to strengthen U.S. cities. In addition to listening to and acting on the concerns of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and securing for the DOJ 2 billion in Byrne Grants targeting anti-gang and illegal gun control:
The Administration also included an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant – conceived by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the top priority in the mayors’ Ten Point Plan — in the Recovery Bill. This Grant positions cities to receive an unprecedented $2.8 billion, and supports mayoral efforts to meet the goals of the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, which commits cities to meet Kyoto Protocol Standards by 2012. Nearly 950 mayors have already signed the agreement and are working to make their cities energy efficient.
The so-called “Cash for Clunkers” program kept many people in the automotive industry employed and managed to rid the roads of overly-polluting vehicles.
By Executive Order, Obama revoked the stem-cell research limitations imposed by the Bush administration.
Obama secured 15 billion to help start and grow small businesses, and the Making Homes Affordable Act, designed to help thousands of families avoid foreclosure. He also wisely signed the CARD act to protect Americans from the insane credit card company rules and regulations.
The economy is improving, though slowly. But no one in their right mind reasonably expectys the economy to turn sharply around after its disastrous fall in 2008. The Recovery Act takes time, and so far, it seems to be working. Time will tell.
It is too early yet to see whether Obama’s foreign policy will work. Obama’s speeches in Turkey and Cairo wer landmark speeches, but have yet to lead to anything tangible. So, far Iraq seems to go forward with elections, but the stability of the country remains a major question mark. The Afghanistan policy is not clearly formulated, and that’s to Obama’s — and the U.S.’s — detriment. So, far public opinion polls show that international opinion of Americans is heading toward the favorbaility range, which is good for U.S. tourism and cross-national educational linkages. What presidents can and can’t take credit for internationally is not well established. Can Obama take credit for appointing Hillary Clinton who finally got Armenia and Turkey to sign a diplomatic accord? Hard to say, but as this is a young presidency, one can’t expect the entire world to change at once. Unless you disliked Obama from the get-go, in which case such unrealistic expectations can be tranlsated into equally unrealistic criticisms.