The End of the Obama Era

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

In the first years of Barack Obama’s presidency, it often seemed as if he would never escape the shadow of his predecessor. Toiling under the weight of a world-historical recession, and saddled with two overseas wars, the Obama administration was torn between cleaning up the last administration’s mess and making its own mark. Obama was criticized constantly for forging ahead with health care reform and a plan to fight climate change while the country was still struggling to slough off the migrainous effects of the recession. (He won reelection in 2012 with an unemployment rate of nearly 8 percent.) By the end of his two terms, however, he had cobbled together a distinct legacy that, on the domestic side anyway,