Way back on July 3 of 2010, a reader of my Mitchell R. Grosky Photography Blog responded to my entry on “The Hope and Promise of Barack Obama” by writing, “How’s that hope and change working out for you?” At the time, G.M.’s comment left me speechless. Of course, I could have spoken out about the success of the Stimulus in helping to the stop the bleeding of the Bush recession and to begin to turn the tide on the economy. I could also have pointed to the fulfillment of his pledge to end the War in Iraq. Instead, I remained silent, knowing that I had certainly pushed the envelope by optimistically placing our new President among his predecessors on Mt. Rushmore.
You can see the original blog entry at
but my major point was this:
“In Barack Obama, I feel that we have a dynamic, compassionate individual whose wisdom, intelligence, and willingness to listen to others will be essential in confronting the enormous problems that confront America and the entire world. With the support, sacrifice, and work of the American people, it is my hope that President Obama will lead us into a brighter future, one in which people of all colors, races, religions, ethnic origins, and life choices, live in mutual respect. I look to a more peaceful world, one in which the greatness of America is manifest by the elimination of poverty and by the establishment of equal opportunity for all.”
Well, with the actions of President Obama and the Congress over the past two weeks, I now feel emboldened to respond not only to G. M. , but also to all of those others who may have asked that same question: “So how’s all that hope and change workin’ out for you?”
To all of them I respond that President Obama–at the end of just the first two years of his Presidency–has accomplished an extraordinary amount! Not only has he ended the War in Iraq, not only has he passed a sweeping health care bill, not only has he taken steps which are leading to an improving economy, not only has he improved the outlook on America among nearly all of our allies, but he ends the year with these five amazing successes:
ONE: He has fulfilled his commitment to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”–ending discrimination against gays and lesbians who fought for our country but were removed from the military.
TWO: He has extended the tax cuts which will ensure nearly all working Americans a payroll tax cut of at least 1,000 dollars—even at the expense of continuing those tax cuts for the rich (which he had hoped to eliminate but was unable to do so because of the Republicans’ intransigence) . This bill also extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans still without jobs.
THREE: He has passed his number one foreign policy initiative: the Arms Control Treaty with Russia–the new START treaty which will “scale back leftover cold war nuclear arsenals” and make for a safer world.
FOUR: He has secured a deal for a bill which will provide 4 billion dollars for medical care of first responders who became ill after inhaling fumes and dust from Ground Zero on Sept. 11.
FIVE: He and Congress have passed new sweeping changes in food safety, increasing inspections of food processing facilities and forcing recalcitrant companies to recall tainted food.
Each of these accomplishments is significant by itself. Together they establish President Obama as a very successful President in just his first two years—especially when all of these successes have come despite the Republican party’s announced goal of ensuring from Day One that President Obama not be given any successes at all. Having proven beyond a doubt that he will do all he can to fulfill his campaign promises, President Obama begins the second half of his first term with a new respect for his perseverance, his intellect, his compassion, and his commitment.
Sure—the Nobel Prize may have been premature, as was my semi-tongue-in-cheek anointing him as heir to Mt. Rushmore……but the accomplishments noted above prove that President Obama is well on his way to a Presidency of Extraordinary Success.