Ten Things I Like Best About President Barack Obama
by Val J. Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice
April 7, 2015 10:55 AM
Some experts say that it is traditional for U.S. citizens to give their elected President a hard time during their last two years in office. There is plenty of proof to back this up. Even the two Presidents who finished with the highest approval ratings, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, were not exempt from this punishment. What is curious is why President Barack Obama has been ripped apart when he has been free from scandals both national (Iran Contra) and personal (marital infidelity). One group of Republicans, who ought to know better, recently went so far as to say the President is a greater threat to the nation than Russia’s Vladimir Putin. I think that it is time that we cut President Obama some slack and take stock of what we like best about him. Here is my top ten list.
1) Intelligence. We want the brightest person we can find to be our President. The consequences of failing to do so can be devastating. Comedian Ron White warned us all that “you can’t fix stupid.”
2) Michelle’s Husband. I believe you can tell a lot about a person by who they persuade to marry them. By all accounts, Michelle Obama is an all-star among the nation’s First Ladies. You get the clear message that she would not have married him if he was not a rock-solid human being at all levels.
3) A Great Father. The President is known to push the envelope in his very busy schedule in order to be home in time to share breakfast with Sasha and Malia. He is personally involved in their lives and has worked to give them educational experiences, while working very hard to give them a life that is as normal as possible.
4) A Man of Integrity. This is seen in matters large and small. Even his toughest critics acknowledge that when he gives his word he keeps it. He stands by decisions that he has made rather than constantly testing the winds to see what is popular. It is a small, but important thing, when he plays golf he will accurately record his score; if he scores an eight that is what he will write down on his score card.
5) Bringing the Best People Into Government. Taking a page from President Abraham Lincoln, he reached across the aisle to recruit a world-class list of cabinet Secretaries, including Robert Gates, Ray LaHood, and Chuck Hagel. He brought his number one-rival, Hillary Clinton, into his cabinet as Secretary of State. It would be difficult to think of anyone with better qualifications or who has served the nation better. Secretary John Kerry has continued in this “why not the best” tradition, which also includes Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius, Janet Napolitano, and Attorney General Eric Holder.
6) Making Tough Decisions. President Obama saved the nation’s banks when many were clamoring for him to nationalize them. Likewise, he saved General Motors (GM) with government loans, which GM eventually paid back with interest, once again becoming a viable corporation that produces great products and employs thousands of people.
7) Fiercely Determined. When the President makes up his mind, he stays at it with laser-like precision. The two best examples: he won the enactment of the Affordable Care Act when every President going back to Truman had tried and failed, and he brought Bin Laden to account for his actions as the mastermind of the 9/11 bombings, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
8) Gifted Communicator. An effective leader finds the right words to articulate his or her vision. President Obama understands the power of his words, and he has the ability to speak directly to the hearts of the American people, moving them to do what is right.
9) An Optimist with No Illusions. His first Presidential slogan was, “Hope,” even though he faced long odds. Cynicism is an easy trap. Only committed optimists have the ability to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of an unlikely accomplishment. President Obama’s optimism about our ability to overcome difficult challenges has been infectious and inspirational for our country.
10) Personifies the American Dream. His election proved to the entire world that any young boy or girl growing up in America has the chance to become President of the United States. His reelection was a ratification of this bedrock principle. It reinforced the notion that America is a “meritocracy” and that even imperfections in its Constitution can be corrected by future generations.