Some of President Obama’s goals were not fulfilled or went awry.
Obama inherited a mess and stabilized the economy and the jobless rate. Some economists said 30 percent fewer jobs were created than would have been in a healthy economy, and many were lower-paying service positions.
On Jan. 22, 2009, Obama issued an executive order calling for the closure of the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. He did reduce the population and transferred 19 detainees just last month. As of this week, it’s still open.
The Affordable Care Act broadened health coverage, but 2017 premiums soared and some insurers dropped out. Before Election Day, polls showed that most Americans wanted changes and Democrat Hillary Clinton was promising to “fix” it.
Some 2016 voters said they were turned off by his handling of race issues and defense of Black Lives Matter. After Trayvon Martin’s 2012 death, Obama said the teen could have been his son, seen by some as an effort to influence the subsequent case.
Critics said Obama’s rejection of a forceful U.S. role in Syria’s civil war prolonged it and contributed to more deaths and a refugee crisis. In 2012 he vowed action if Syria crossed a “red line” and used chemical weapons; he later changed his mind.
Conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are ramping up, not ending. U.S. advisers and special operations troops are trickling back into Iraq. Obama pledged to have 5,500 troops in Afghanistan by the end of his term but upped that number to 8,400.
Obama called the six-nation 2015 deal that curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief an investment in peace. But Republican critics say Iran remains a terror sponsor. Donald Trump vowed to dismantle the pact.
Obama promised a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In 2013 senators proposed an overhaul of immigration laws that included such a path. House GOP leaders refused to schedule a vote and it stalled.
Obama leaves office with a job approval rating topping 50 percent, but an average of December polls found that almost 57 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. Just 31 percent said it’s moving in the right direction.