wrote a post proclaiming that Barack Obama the best President in my lifetime. I also predicted that he is likely to be a better President than any successor I will live to see.
Three tumultuous years later, I am pleased to see that President Obama has lived up to my expectations. I am proud to stand by my initial assessment. I will enthusiastically cast my vote for his re-election on November 6.
We have a tendency the mythologize our presidents. But the office of the presidency does not come with the powers to shape the nation in accordance to your will. There is no enchanted staff, bestowed on inauguration day, that can be wielded to shine the blessing of full employment upon us all. Even the Hollywood-tale of the spellbinding statesman able to unite us, cow the opposition, and win the day with unimpeachable logic and soaring rhetoric - is largely a myth.
Ultimately, inevitably, the President of the United States is just a person. The office itself is a job. The chosen individual is either good at it, or not.
By this basic, honest, standard Barack Obama has been an exceptional President of the United States. Over the past four years, day after day, on issue after issue, he has demonstrated an uncommon combination of wisdom, patience, competence, compassion, and leadership. He is good at this.
There are number of areas where the actions of this President have had a positive impact. On education, the environment, financial reform, immigration, the war on terror, clean energy, killing Bin Laden, foreign policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, marriage equality, equal pay for women, women's reproductive rights, disaster relief, student loans... the list of positive achievements is long and impressive.
And there are two issues in particular that have touched us directly.
I've spent my career working for technology start-up companies. It has often, and recently, been the case that these small and new companies do not offer health insurance coverage with the job. Shopping for insurance for my family has given me an all-too-close perspective on the dysfunction of the current system and the urgent need for reform. We've been denied coverage, had family members rejected due to pre-existing conditions, and seen huge premium increases year after year. Even for people with money and good jobs, the system is broken. It hasn't worked. It especially hasn't worked for small businesses. My experience has left me with zero sympathy for anyone who has opposed health care reform and immense gratitude for this administration for seeing this through.
Everyone should be able to afford health insurance for their family. Thanks to this President that is will soon be a reality. It is inconceivable to me that anyone would want to throw it all away and return to the costly, nightmare, unstable system we've been force to live with.
The second issue is the economy. Our family has been fortunate enough to have weathered the Great Recession with relatively little personal hardship. But it's not hard to remember what things were like four years ago, when the financial crisis hit. I remember walking by the empty storefronts on my way to work. I remember wondering who was going to close next, and how this business or that new restaurant was going to survive. I remember personally laying-off one new hire and putting off on others while we cut back to see what would happen.
Are we better off now than we were four year ago? We absolutely are. I've recently left my job and signed on with a new one, not because I had to, but because there were new opportunities to pursue. In my little corner of the world, new businesses are opening. New companies are hiring. Existing companies are seeing new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are dreaming and scheming once again.
Part of the recovery comes from the natural rhythms of the business cycle. But no small amount of credit is due to President Obama and his administration. They pushed through the stimulus bill that invested in roads, bridges, clean energy companies, and saved million of jobs. They provided assistance to the states to close budget gaps and keep workers on the job. They cut our taxes and put more money in our pockets. They supported an aggressive monetary policy that saved our financial system and insured banks were there with the capital and credit that businesses need to survive and to grow.
The last four years have not been easy. We have been cursed to live in interesting times. But we have been blessed to have Barack Obama as our President for the last four years. I am proud to support him for another term.
All people, all politicians, all Presidents are imperfect. But this one is as good as they get. We are lucky to have him. He has earned our support, our respect, and our vote.