A Razor Sharp Look at The Ups and Downs of The Obama Years
Hutchinson notes, "The instant that he tossed his hat in the presidential rink in February 2007, the triple mantra was that he could be the first black to be president. This would be convincing proof that America had finally kicked its race syndrome. And he could cement a governing White House legacy that could be a shining model for future generations to emulate.
"This triple mantra was repeated ad infinitum. It was right and wrong about the racial implication of his election."
Obama's White House win, says Hutchinson, was about far more than attaining the historic first of being the first African-American to win the presidency. He had to prove that a freshly minted US Senator, relatively new on the national political scene, and with untested administrative skills, could withstand the volcanic pressures and opposition that he'd face.
To make it work, and be that shining model of success, he had to cling closely to the centrist blueprint former President Bill Clinton laid out for Democrats in the 1990s to win elections and to govern after they won office.
He walked the narrowest of tightropes in this balancing act. Every step of the way he faced a GOP that made it clear its primary goal was to make him a one-term president, and failing that, cripple his presidency by blocking his proposed initiatives and legislation.
The issues and problems were towering: a monumental fiscal crisis, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Guantanamo prison, gun related massacres, gun control, a health care crisis, the war on terrorism, climate control, police violence, civil rights, abortion, immigration reform, same-sex marriage, and the Clinton email scandals. These issues sparked fierce battles and opposition from the GOP as well as progressives, and even some Latino and African-American advocacy groups and a myriad of other competing interest groups.
The Obama Legacy is a full-throated assessment of the big-ticket issues that marked his years in office and presents as well selections from his signature speeches. It places the Obama White House squarely in the context of what he hoped to achieve in the Oval Office and what he, as other American presidents, wants to be remembered for.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson