US Podcast: Obama Says Goodbye — But What Has He Accomplished?


PHOTO: President Obama waves good-bye: “He needed to confront some issues head-on”

I spoke on Wednesday with BBC Breakfast TV and BBC radio outlets about President Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago and his lasting accomplishments.

I have mixed feeling on both topics, as I told BBC Radio WM. The chat also includes an introduction to the claimed evidence of Russia compromising President-elect Donald Trump and the effect on his incoming Administration.

Listen to discussion

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I’m not sure it was the right speech for two reasons.

The first is that Obama might say America is a better country [since he took office in 2009], but it’s a very nervous, divided country right now.

This came across more as a pep rally: the people was speaking to already support him. I think he needed to speak more widely to a range of Americans, which leads me to my second point.

I think he needed to confront some issues head-on and say, “Look, these are serious times,” rather than this far-flung speech about achievements and general challenges.

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  1. America is clearly in a worse condition than it was eight years ago. This isn’t exactly Obama’s fault, although he could have been more hard-headed and less anxious to be liked.
    Lyndon Johnson was a ruthless bastard and accomplished much more.
    I would group Obama with Woodrow Wilson as a well-meaning academic.
    His main achievement was normalizing relations with Cuba. And he didn’t prevent the natural economic recovery after 2008. His worst failure was in dealing with the Muslim world.

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