I know not what historians will say, but it strikes me that Barack Obama's greatest achievement and contribution to the general welfare -- of not only America but the world – was to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House (as president, that is – vs. as former “co-president”).
“Huh?”, you might say? “How so?” Well, think about it. Back in 2008 (how soon we forget) Hillary was the “inevitable” Democratic nominee, and thus the inevitable winner. All it would take was pointing out George W. Bush and his cronies' crimes and offenses (of which there were many, let's admit) and she would be made president by general acclaim; she wouldn't even have to campaign. In fact, there wouldn't even have to be an election! That's how much of a “shoo-in” she was.
But then along came this Obama character out of left field (pun intended). He cut in line in front of her, and she and her cronies were, well, dumbstruck and paralyzed. How could they possibly object to a charismatic black man running for president on their party's ticket? It was, for many of them, a dream come true; it was just unfortunate timing is all. So... well, to put it bluntly, “black” trumped “woman”. One aggrieved minority beat another to the punch. Of the two victim groups that were all primed to shout “it's our turn”, one wound up shouting and the other wound up biting its knuckles.
Needless to say, in 2012 it would have been the height of folly for Hillary, or any other Democrat, to challenge Obama. On what basis? After all, he had won the Nobel Peace Prize the day he took office, or thereabouts... he had healed racial strife in America... and he had ended George W. Bush's unjust wars. Oh, and he had saved the economy, and thus America and the free world. (This all really happened, didn't it? I mean, they all said so, and who am I to argue?) So he was a hard act to follow and no one chose to try.
Then along comes 2016, and it really, truly, and finally was Hillary's turn. They promised her all of that and more back in 2008 if she would just cool it and take the State Department as a consolation prize (a nice move on Obama's part, by the way – how much damage could she do, and even if she did any, it would all happen overseas, and who cares about all those ragheads anyway?). And besides, the Republicans were in manifest disarray, and apparently well on their way to nominating some tacky TV personality and thus insuring their demise as a party. But what Hillary's people didn't count on was the Obama Legacy – not the one he claims but the real one -- you know, the one that included rule by executive order, elitism, snobbery, waging war against Christians (and on traditional/family values), open contempt for the white working class (and for whites and the middle class in general), endless griping about “talk radio” and Rush Limbaugh, harassing his opponents with the help of the IRS, foreign policy catastrophes, ObamaCare (a new high in totalitarianism)... and the list went on.
And no, I'm not talking about Hillary's blunders as a candidate, the plot against poor old Bernie Sanders, Benghazi, e-mails, Anthony Weiner, tarmac pow-wows, etc.. Those were annoyances, for certain, but I think she could have survived those just as she survived all of the scandals prior to 1992 and during her husband's administration. What she could not survive was Obama, and his administration, and his attitudes, which people had good reason to believe would simply be extended another four (or eight) years by Hillary.
(My theory was that Hillary's first term would be Obama's third term in domestic policy, but George W. Bush's third term in foreign policy – the worse of all possible worlds, in other words.)
(But – you might say – wouldn't her first term more likely have been Bill Clinton's third term? After all, she was “co-president” then. No, and here's why. Bill Clinton is not a theorist, and he's not an ideologue, Sure, he mouthed the usual Democratic/collectivist/socialist talking points all along the way, but the reality was that all he ever wanted in life was to be president, and once he became president, he basically ran out of ideas (at least of the governmental kind). Between that and a fortunate “vacation from history” during his term in office, he was able to more or less coast. Hillary, on the other hand, is a true believer – in herself above all, but also in all of the bedrock liberal notions that have accumulated over the years in spite of all contradictory evidence and experience. So she would have governed more in the Obama mode – or, if you like, even the FDR mode, but with much less justification.) (“If it ain't broke, don't fix it” was said by no liberal, ever.)
So, I say again, Obama deserves this much credit, at least. He did indeed save America, but not in the way he claims. And for this I believe he deserves our gratitude. Or, at least... OK, if he gives back that Nobel Peace Prize we'll call it even.