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A Legacy Of Failure

- January 10, 2017

While Obama Tries To Spin His Presidency In A "Farewell Address," His Real Legacy Is One Of Failed Policies At Home And Abroad


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Two-thirds of Americans believe Obama failed to keep the promises he made while running for office.
  • Obama's economic record is one of lackluster GDP growth, a near-doubling of the national debt, and a weakening of the middle class.
  • ObamaCare, his "signature" legislative accomplishment, has been a "fiasco," leaving Americans with rising premiums and deductibles, fewer options, and more than $350 billion in new taxes on the middle class.
  • Obama's foreign policy has left the world in chaos, with radical Islamic terrorism resurgent, Syria a humanitarian disaster, Libya a safe haven for terrorists, Iran and North Korea on the path to being nuclear powers, and the U.S. - Israeli relationship at an historic low.
  • Despite campaigning on unifying the nation, Obama leaves the country "more divided and rancorous," with 72 percent of Americans saying the country is either more divided or no more united than it was in 2009.
  • On top of saddling Democrats with indefensible policies, Obama has presided over "the destruction" of his party, with more than 1,100 elected Democrats nationwide being ousted on his watch.

Tonight, Obama Will Travel To Chicago To Deliver A "Farewell Address." "U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver a farewell address on Jan. 10 to reflect on his time in office and say thank you to his supporters, he said in an email statement released on Monday. Obama, noting that the first president of the United States, George Washington, had penned a farewell address in 1796, said he would deliver his speech in his hometown of Chicago." (Jeff Mason, "Obama To Deliver Farewell Address In Chicago On January 10," Reuters , 1/4/17)

AMERICANS BELIEVE THAT OBAMA "FAILED" TO KEEP HIS PROMISES, LEAVING HIM WITH THE LOWEST AVERAGE APPROVAL RATING OF ANY PRESIDENT SINCE JIMMY CARTER

According To A Post-Election Poll From The Associated Press And The NORC Center For Public Affairs Research, 66 Percent Of Americans Say That Obama "Failed" To Keep "The Promises He Made While Running For President." ( The Associated Press and NORC Center For Public Affairs Research , 1,017 A, MoE 3.7, 12/14-19/16)

According To Gallup, Obama Has Had An Average Approval Rating Over The Course Of His Administration Of 48 Percent. ("Presidential Approval Ratings - Barack Obama," Gallup , Accessed 1/10/17)

  • Obama's 48 Percent Average Approval Rating Is The Lowest For A President Since Jimmy Carter, Coming In Below Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, And George W. Bush. ("Presidential Approval Ratings - Gallup Historical Statistics And Trends," Gallup , Accessed 1/10/17)

THE OBAMA ECONOMY IS ONE OF ANEMIC GROWTH, RISING DEBT, AND A SHRINKING MIDDLE CLASS

Obama Is On Pace To Be The First President Since Herbert Hoover To Preside Over An Economy That Did Not Have A Single Year Of 3 Percent Or Better Growth. "Annual figures on GDP growth goes back to 1929, and often is used to back up the same talking point on conservative media outlets that Obama has not had a full calendar year of aggregate GDP growth of at least 3 percent. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data shows Herbert Hoover, who was inaugurated in March 1929 and left office in March 1933, was the last president to have this distinction. Hoover presided over an economy mired in the Great Depression that shrank during his term. Every president since then has seen at least one calendar year with annual GDP growth of at least 3 percent or higher. The best average growth in a single calendar year under Obama is 2.6 percent in 2015, and never 3 percent or more. No president has experienced that since Hoover." (Joshua Gillin, "Trump's Claim About Weak Economic Growth Under President Obama Doesn't Tell The Full Story," PolitiFact , 10/31/16)

Annual Economic Growth During Obama's "Recovery" Has Averaged 2.1 Percent, Making It The "Slowest" Recovery Since World War II. "The U.S. economic expansion will celebrate its seventh birthday next month, making it the fourth longest recovery since World War II. But it has also been the slowest, averaging modest annual growth of 2.1 percent." (Martin Crutsinger, "US Economy Showing Signs Of Life After Slow Start To Year," The Associated Press , 5/27/16)

Fewer Americans Are Working, And Those Who Are See Wage Growth Well Below What Is To Be Expected In A Healthy Economy

The Labor Force Participation Rate Of 62.7 Percent Is At A Level Last Seen In February 1978. ( Bureau Of Labor Statistics , Accessed 1/6/17)

The Real Unemployment Rate, Including Those That Are Working Part-Time Due To Economic Reasons, Was 9.2 Percent In December. ( Bureau Of Labor Statistics , Accessed 1/6/17)

Since Obama Took Office, The Nation Has Lost 286,000 Manufacturing Jobs. ( Bureau Of Labor Statistics , Accessed 1/6/17)

Annual Wage Growth Under Obama Has Averaged Close To 2 Percent, Below The 3.5 Percent That Would Be Expected In A "More Robust Economy." "Yet for most of the recovery since the Great Recession, wages have struggled, growing closer to 2 percent. In a more robust economy, pay gains are typically close to 3.5 percent a year." (Cchristopher S. Rugaber, "8 Ways The US Job Market Has Evolved Over Obama's 8 Years," The Associated Press , 1/6/17)

On Obama's Watch, The National Debt Has Nearly Doubled

Under The Obama Administration, The National Debt Has Nearly Doubled, Increasing By 88 Percent Or A Total Of $9.32 Trillion. ("Daily History Of The Debt," U.S. Department Of Treasury , Accessed 1/9/17)

  • Under Obama, The National Debt Has Increased To $19.948 Trillion As Of January 5, 2017, Up From $10.627 Trillion On January 20, 2009. ("Daily History Of The Debt," U.S. Department Of Treasury , Accessed 1/9/17)

In Fiscal Year 2016, Obama's Final Full Fiscal Year In Office, The Federal Deficit Was $587 Billion. "The U.S. budget deficit widened to $587 billion for the fiscal year 2016 on slower-than-expected revenues and higher spending for programs including Social Security and Medicare, the Treasury Department said on Friday. The 2016 deficit increased to 3.2 percent of gross domestic product." (Lindsay Dunsmuir, "U.S. Fiscal Year Budget Deficit Widens To $587 Billion," Reuters , 10/14/16)

The Result Of Obama's Economic Policies: A Shrinking Middle-Class

A December 2015 Pew Study Found That For The First Time In Four Decades, The Middle Class Is No Longer The Majority. "After more than four decades of serving as the nation's economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data." ("The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground," Pew Research Center , 12/9/15)

A December 2016 Gallup Survey Found That 58 Percent Of U.S. Adults Identify As Either Middle-Class Or Upper Middle-Class, Down From 63 Percent Of Those Polled In 2008. (Frank Newport, "Americans' Identification As Middle Class Edges Back Up," Gallup , 12/15/16)

AS HE LEAVES OFFICE, HIS NAMESAKE OBAMACARE IS COLLAPSING

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby: "Obamacare Has Been A Fiasco." "But Obamacare has been a fiasco. At least 27 million Americans are still without health insurance, and many of those who are newly insured have simply been added to the Medicaid rolls. Far from reducing costs, Obamacare sent premiums and deductibles skyrocketing. Insurance companies, having suffered billions of dollars in losses on the Obamacare exchanges, have pulled out from many of them, leaving consumers in much of the country with few or no options. And the administration, it transpired, knew all along that millions of Americans would lose their medical plans once the law took effect. The deception was so egregious that in December 2013, PolitiFact dubbed 'If you like your health plan, you can keep it' as its 'Lie of the Year.'" (Jeff Jacoby, Opinion, "At Home And Abroad, Obama's Trail OF Disasters," The Boston Globe , 1/8/17)

Premiums And Deductibles Are Skyrocketing As Choice For Consumers Is Plummeting

Obama's Own Department Of Health And Human Services (HHS) Has Said That Premiums For ObamaCare's Mid-Level Silver Plans Sold Through Healthcare.gov Are Increasing By An Average Of 25 Percent This Year, Coming On Top Of The 7.5 Percent Increase For 2016. "Premiums for mid-level ObamaCare health plans sold on the federal exchanges will see their biggest jump yet next year, another speed bump in the administration's push for enrollment in the final months of the U.S. president's term. Monthly premiums for benchmark silver-level plans are going up by an average of 25 percent in the 38 states using the federal HealthCare.gov website, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report today. Last year, premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plans went up by 7.5 percent on average across 37 states." (Zachary Tracer, "ObamaCare Benchmark Premiums To Rise 25% In Sharpest Jump Yet," Bloomberg , 10/24/16)

Deductibles For An Individual Enrolled In A Bronze Level, Or The "Lowest-Priced," ObamaCare Plans This Year "Will Average More Than $6,000." "Those cheap ObamaCare plans are getting even more expensive. Deductibles for individuals enrolled in the lowest-priced ObamaCare health plans will average more than $6,000 in 2017, the first time that threshold has been cracked in the three years that Affordable Care Act marketplaces have been in business, a new analysis finds. Families enrolled in bronze plans will have average deductibles of $12,393, according to the study by the consumer insurance comparison site HealthPocket. A deductible is the amount of money someone must personally pay out of pocket for health services before insurance covers the remaining cost." (Dan Mangan, "ObamaCare Deductibles Are On The Rise For 2017, Along With Monthly Premiums," CNBC , 10/26/16)

  • "For Families Enrolled In Bronze Plans, The Average Deductible Is Over $12,000 In 2017." ("Aging Consumers Without Subsidies Hit Hardest By 2017 ObamaCare Premium & Deductible Spikes," HealthPocket , 10/26/16)

The Department Of Health And Human Services Has Said That 21 Percent Of Americans Eligible For Coverage Through ObamaCare Only Have One Insurer To Choose From This Year. "And 21 percent of the customers shopping in the federal exchange will find only one insurance company, compared with just 2 percent for 2016." (Amy Goldsteein, "Average Premiums For Popular ACA Plans Rising 25 Percent," The Washington Post , 10/24/16)

  • According To The Kaiser Family Foundation, Potentially 2.3 Million Marketplace Enrollees This Year Will Have Just One Insurer To Choose From . "We estimate that 2.3 million marketplace enrollees, or 19% of all enrollees, could have a choice of a single insurer in 2017, which is an increase of 2 million people compared to 2016. Going into marketplace open enrollment in 2016, about 303,000 enrollees (2%) had a single insurer option." (Cynthia Cox and Ashley Semanskee, "Preliminary Data On Insurer Exits And Entrants In 2017 Affordable Care Act Marketplaces," Kaiser Family Foundation , 8/28/16)

The Price For ObamaCare: Over $1 Trillion In Tax Hikes, Including More Than $350 Billion In New Taxes On The Middle Class

Estimates From The Congressional Budget Office And The U.S. Congress' Joint Committee On Taxation Say Obamacare Contains 21 Tax Increases Totaling More Than $1 Trillion Over A Decade. "The JCT today released 'Present Law and Background Relating to the Tax-Related Provisions in the Affordable Care Act,' which contains 100 pages of details on the law's new taxes. The chart below illustrates the 21 tax increases contained within ObamaCare, a dozen of which - marked with an asterisk (*) below - target Americans earning less than $200,000 per year for singles and $250,000 per year for married couples, in clear violation of the President's pledge to avoid tax hikes on low- and middle-income taxpayers." ("ObamaCare: Trillion Dollar Tax Hike That Hurts Small Businesses," U.S. House Of Representatives Committee On Ways And Means , 3/4/13)

In 2012, The U.S. Congress' Joint Committee On Taxation Estimated That The Tax Increases In ObamaCare Could Amount To As Much As A $377 Billion Tax Hike On The Middle Class. "As it happens, the Joint Committee on Taxation, in response to a question from a Republican senator, last year identified the middle-class taxes in the health care law. In this 10-year period, it identified about $130 billion in taxes with direct impact on the middle class, and another $247 billion in taxes with possible indirect effects. That gets us to $377 billion." (Glenn Kessler, "Does 'ObamaCare' Have $1 Trillion In Tax Hikes, Aimed At The Middle Class," The Washington Post , 3/12/13)

OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY HAS LEFT THE WORLD IN CHAOS

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: "As Mr. Obama Leaves Office, The Gains Of The Post-Cold War Era Are Being Lost As World Disorder Spreads." (Editorial, "The Obama Legacy," The Wall Street Journal , 1/10/17)

Bloomberg View Columnist Eli Lake: "Obama's [Foreign Policy] Legacy: Conned By Iran; Impotent On Russia; Half Measures On Syria; Kick Israel In The Teeth On The Way Out." "Obama's FP legacy: conned by Iran; impotent on Russia; half measures on Syria; kick Israel in the teeth on the way out." (Eli Lake, Twitter Feed , 12/23/16)

"Radical Islamist Jihadism Is Resurgent" And There Are More Safe Havens For Terrorists "Than At Any Time In History"

New York Daily News Editorial Board: As Obama Leaves Office, "Radical Islamist Jihadism Is Resurgent,' And ISIS "Is Emboldened By A Commander-In-Chief Who Did Too Little, Too Late To Stem Its Rise." "Though Osama Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda, for a time, seemed crippled, radical Islamist jihadism is resurgent. And ISIS, a virulent offshoot of the terrorist network that attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001, is emboldened by a commander-in-chief who did too little, too late to stem its rise." (Editorial, "President Barack Obama's Legacy Faces Nasty Reality As He Leaves Office," New York Daily News , 1/8/17)

"Obama Initially Dismissed The Islamic State As A 'JV Team' That Could Be 'Managed'… " "President Obama initially dismissed the Islamic State as a 'JV team' that could be 'managed,' and more recently called ISIS a threat to the United States that must be eradicated." (Ron Fournier, "When Doves Cry," National Journal , 9/14/14)

Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper: There Currently Exist More Terrorist Safe Havens "Than At Any Time In History." "Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was also at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, estimated that violent extremists were active in about 40 countries and that there currently exist more terrorist safe havens 'than at any time in history.'" (Ryan Browne, "Top Intelligence Official: ISIS To Attempt U.S. Attacks This Year," CNN , 2/9/16)

Obama's Record In Syria Is A "Stain" On Obama's Legacy, Where His Inactions Created "A Wave Of Refugees Who Have Roiled Western Democracies"

Foreign Policy Headline: "Syria Will Stain Obama's Legacy Forever" (David Greenberg, "Syria Will Stain Obama's Legacy Forever," Foreign Policy , 12/29/16)

The Washington Post Editorial Board: By Refusing To "Enforce The 'Red Line' He Declared" In Syria, "Obama Created A Vacuum That Was Filled By Vladimir Putin And Iran's Revolutionary Guard." "Above all, Aleppo represents a meltdown of the West's moral and political will - and in particular, a collapse of U.S. leadership. By refusing to intervene against the Assad regime's atrocities, or even to enforce the 'red line' he declared on the use of chemical weapons, President Obama created a vacuum that was filled by Vladimir Putin and Iran's Revolutionary Guard." (Editorial, "The Bloodbath In Aleppo Will Haunt Humanity," The Washington Post , 12/14/16)

USA Today Editorial Board: "Nowhere" Are Obama's Failures "As Glaring As In The Middle East," Where "He Failed To Forsee The Rapid Rise" Of ISIS And "Did Little" As Syria Fell Into Civil War, "Creating A Wave Of Refugees Who Have Roiled Western Democracies." "Nowhere have his failures been as glaring as in the Middle East. His one great accomplishment was the Navy Seal raid that killed bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. After that, his record has been much more checkered. He failed to foresee the rapid rise of the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq after U.S. forces departed, then did little as neighboring Syria fell into civil war, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and creating a wave a refugees who have roiled Western democracies." (Editorial, "Obama Leaves A Complex Legacy," USA Today , 1/9/17)

Libya Has Become A "Primary Outpost" For ISIS

After Obama's Intervention In Libya, The North African Nation "Has Become A Primary Outpost For The Islamic State, Which Has Exploited The Chaos To Take Territory, Train Soldiers, And Prove Its Strength Outside Syria And Iraq." "But Libya today has deteriorated into a virtual failed state run by hundreds of private militias. Eighteen months after the initial airstrikes, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in attacks by militants on a U.S. diplomatic post and a nearby CIA site in Benghazi. The North African nation has become a primary outpost for the Islamic State, which has exploited the chaos to take territory, train soldiers and prove its strength outside Syria and Iraq." (Kevin Sullivan, "A Tough Call On Libya That Still Haunts," The Washington Post , 2/3/16)

Obama's Iran Agreement Leaves That Country With A Path To A Nuclear Weapon

Obama's Iran Nuclear Agreement "Will Leave Iran With A Sufficiently Large Nuclear Foundation To Give It The Capacity To Pursue Nuclear Weapons Down The Road Should It Choose To Do So." "The painful and inconvenient truth is that even before the agreement Iran was a nuclear weapons threshold state. The agreement will not change that reality. And it will leave Iran with a sufficiently large nuclear foundation to give it the capacity to pursue nuclear weapons down the road should it choose to do so." (Aaron David Miller, Op-Ed, "Iran's Win-Win…Win Win Win Nuke Deal," The Daily Beast , 7/20/15)

  • Obama Approved A $400 Million Cash Transfer To Iran As Part Of The Iran Nuclear Deal. "The Obama administration secretly arranged a plane delivery of $400 million in cash on the same day Iran released four American prisoners and formally implemented the nuclear deal, US officials confirmed Wednesday. President Barack Obama approved the $400 million transfer, which he had announced in January as part of the Iran nuclear deal. The money was flown into Iran on wooden pallets stacked with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies as the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement resolving claims at an international tribunal at The Hague over a failed arms deal under the time of the Shah." (Elise Labott, Nicole Gaouette and Kevin Liptak, "US Sent Plane With $400 Million In Cash To Iran," CNN , 8/4/16)

The Obama Administration Allowed Israel To Be Condemned By The U.N. Security Council

In December 2016, The U.S. Abstained On A U.N. Security Council Vote Condemning Israeli Settlement Construction, Allowing It To Pass. "The United States on Friday allowed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction to be adopted, defying extraordinary pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government in alliance with President-elect Donald Trump. The Security Council approved the resolution with 14 votes, with the US abstaining." (Stephen Collinson, David Wright, And Elist Labott," US Abstains As UN Demands End To Israeli Settlements," CNN , 12/24/16)

Obama's Legacy With Israel Has Been Defined As "Eight Years Of Tense Meetings, Awkward Public Encounters And Disagreement Over Key Issues" With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "After eight years of tense meetings, awkward public encounters and disagreement over key issues, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are aiming to leave the impression that the relationship between their nations is on an even keel, much as they found it when they both came to office in 2009." (Christi Parsons and Joshua Mitnick, "Obama's Tense Relationship With Netanyahu Colors His Legacy On Israel," The Los Angeles Times , 9/21/16)

Afghanistan Is Less Secure

Afghanistan Is Falling Into Deeper Turmoil As The Taliban Threatens Security. "Meanwhile, Afghanistan is sliding deeper into political turmoil, with Taliban insurgents threatening to seize major cities and more than 1 million people internally displaced by conflict. Many Afghans are becoming new refugees as they leave the country in their greatest numbers since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion." (Zulfiqar Ali, "Afghan Refugees In Pakistan Forced To Leave The Country In Response To Get-Tough Measures," The Los Angeles Times, 8/31/16)

  • "The Country's Security Situation Is Worsening, Despite The American Military's Increased Involvement In The Fighting." "That is just the beginning. The country's security situation is worsening, despite the American military's increased involvement in the fighting. The Taliban have seized many districts, and they threaten to take many more." (Mujib Mashal, "Afghanistan Is in Chaos. Is That What Hamid Karzai Wants?" The New York Times , 8/5/16)

North Korea Is Racing Toward A Nuclear Weapon

According To A Diplomat Who Defected From North Korea, That Country Is "Racing Ahead With Nuclear Development… At All Costs By The End Of 2017." "Political uncertainty in the United States and in South Korea could give North Korean leader Kim Jong-un 'an apt time' to develop nuclear weapons 'at all costs by the end of 2017,' a high-profile North Korean diplomat who recently defected to South Korea said Tuesday. 'Due to domestic political procedures, North Korea calculates that South Korea and the US will not be able to take physical or military actions to deter North Korea's nuclear development," Thae Yong-ho, formerly No. 2 at the North Korean Embassy in London, said in a news briefing, according to the Yonhap News Agency. Thae said Kim has no plans to give up the country's nukes even if he is offered huge sums of money, saying the leader is 'racing ahead with nuclear development after setting up a plan to develop it (nuclear weapons) at all costs by the end of 2017.'" (KJ Kwon, "North Korea 'Racing Ahead' On Nuclear Plan, Defector Says," CNN , 12/27/16)

THE UNITED STATES IS MORE "DIVIDED AND RANCOROUS" THAN WHEN OBAMA TOOK OFFICE

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Obama Leaves Behind "A More Divided And Rancorous" Country Than He Inherited." "President Obama once said that as President he aspired to be the progressive Ronald Reagan, and as he prepares to leave office he has succeeded in fundamental if ironic ways. While Reagan left behind a calmer, more optimistic country, Mr. Obama leaves a more divided and rancorous one." (Editorial, "The Obama Legacy," The Wall Street Journal , 1/10/17)

A Post-Election Poll From The Associated Press And The NORC Center For Public Affairs Research, Showed That Only 27 Percent Of Americans Said That Obama Had Made The Country "More United" As President.

Obama Is On Track To Be One Of The Most Polarizing Presidents In Recent History

Polling From The Pew Research Center Shows That Obama's Approval Ratings "Continue To Be More Politically Polarized Than Any President's Dating Back To Dwight Eisenhower." "As the campaign to elect the next president enters its final days, approval of Barack Obama's job performance is as high as it has been at any point over the past four years. Yet Obama's approval ratings, on average, continue to be more politically polarized than any president's dating back to Dwight Eisenhower." (Alec Tyson, "Obama Job Approval Higher, But Views Of Him Are Still The Most Polarized In Recent History," Pew Research Center , 10/28/16)

Gallup Polling Shows That Obama Is On Track To Be The Most Polarizing President "To Date." "So far in his presidency, there has been an average party gap of 70 points in Obama's approval ratings, which, if it continues, would be easily the highest for any president to date." (Jeffrey M. Jones, "Obama Approval Ratings Still Historically Polarized," Gallup , 2/6/15)

Race Relations Have Deteriorated Under Obama

Obama "Did Not Usher In Racial Harmony," With Polls Showing That "Both Blacks And Whites Believe Race Relations Have Deteriorated." "And his presidency did not usher in racial harmony. Rather, both blacks and whites believe race relations have deteriorated, according to polls. Mounting tensions over police shootings of African-Americans prompted protests in several cities and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement." (Sharon Cohen and Deepti Hajela, "Obama Racial Legacy: Pride, Promise, Regret And Deep Rift," The Associated Press , 1/4/17)

  • Chicago Activist Ja'Mal Green: "I Think Barack Obama Has Ignored The Black Community For Eight Years." " 'I think Barack Obama has ignored the black community for eight years, and now he's coming to take a bow in Chicago while our neighborhoods are suffering from disinvestment and soaring unemployment,' said Ja'Mal Green, who rose to Chicago prominence among a group of young activists who decried police misconduct following the release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video. 'We are seeing young black men getting gunned down at a horrific rate,' Green said, 'and he has shown no willingness to seriously address these issues.'" (Bill Ruthhart, Rick Perason, and John Byrne, "As Obama Exits Scene, Chicago Legacy Debated," Chicago Tribune , 1/7/17)

OBAMA PRESIDED OVER A SCANDAL-RIDDEN VA WITH A "CORROSIVE CULTURE," WHERE VETERANS DIED DUE TO NEGLECT AND LONG WAIT TIMES

In April 2014, The VA's Backlog Scandal Broke In Which At Least 40 Veterans Were Found To Have Died Due To Neglect And Lengthy Delays At The VA. "At least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments to see a doctor at the phoenix veterans affairs health care system, CNN reports. The patients were on a secret list designed to hide lengthy delays from VA officials in Washington, according to a recently retired VA doctor and several high-level sources." (Michael Pearson, "The VA's Troubled History," CNN , 5/30/14)

  • A June 2014 VA Audit Showed The Scandal Was Worse Than Originally Thought Affecting At Least 110,000 Veterans Spanning Nationwide. "Nationwide, there are roughly 57,436 Veterans who are waiting to be scheduled for care and another 63,869 who over the past ten years have enrolled in our healthcare system and have not been seen for an appointment." ( Access Audit System Wide Review, Department Of Veterans Affairs , 6/14)

A June 2014 White House Report Found The VA Had A "Corrosive Culture" Under The Obama Administration. "A corrosive culture has led to personnel problems across the Department that are seriously impacting morale and, by extension, the timeliness of healthcare. The problems inherent within an agency with an extensive field structure are exacerbated by poor management and communication structures, distrust between some VA employees and management, a history of retaliation toward employees raising issues, and a lack of accountability across all grade levels." (Rob Nabors, "Issues Impacting Access To Timely Care At VA Medical Facilities," Public Summary Of Rob Nabors' VA Report Request By President Obama , 6/27/14)

A 2016 Inspectors General Report Found That Some VA Supervisors Were Coercing Their Employees To Fraudulently Scam The System. "VA employees reported to investigators that they sometimes engaged in misleading scheduling at the behest of their supervisors." (Will Weissert, "Internal VA Report Finds Misleading Wait Time Data In Texas," The Associated Press , 3/10/16)

  • "Despite Calls From The White House For The Department To Be 'Restructured And Reformed,' Two Years Later Problems Remain." "The problems at Northport come two years after whistle-blowers revealed widespread dysfunction and corruption at a V.A. hospital in Phoenix, where it was reported that veterans were dying while waiting for care. It soon emerged that there were systemic problems at medical centers operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs around the country. Despite calls from the White House for the department to be 'restructured and reformed,' two years later problems remain and the topic has become fodder for the presidential campaign. At Northport, the failure to properly maintain the operating room facilities may be the least of the issues that the congressional committee will take on." (Kristina Rebelo And Marc Santora, "Deaths, Fraud Allegations And An Inquiry Into A Long Island V.A. Hospital," The New York Times , 9/19/16)

OBAMA HAS LEFT HIS OWN PARTY IN SHAMBLES

Obama's Parting Gift To His Party: Unprecedented Republican Control

RealClearPolitics' Sean Trende And David Byler: After The 2016 Elections, "The GOP Is In The Strongest Position It Has Been Since 1928." "In 2014, we put together an index to measure the electoral strength of the parties. Rather than focusing on the presidency, we broke partisan control into five categories: presidential, Senate, House, governorships, and state legislatures. We have updated our index using the mostly complete data for the 2016 elections and can conclude that the GOP is in the strongest position it has been since 1928. In many sub-categories, it is near an all-time high." (Sean Trende & David Byler, "Republican Party The Strongest It's Been In 80 Years," RealClearPolitics , 11/17/16)

The Huffington Post 's Senior Politics Editor Sam Stein: Obama Has Presided Over "The Destruction Of The Democratic Party," Leaving It "In A Much Worse Position." MSNBC'S WILLIE GEIST: "The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board is writing this morning, 'Coach Obama says his team's big loss wasn't his fault,' about this back and forth, writing 'in the post-election annals of 'woulda, coulda, shoulda,' it will be hard to topo departing President Barack Obama's boast that he would have defeated Donald Trump 'if I had run again,'…though Mr. Obama is fond of sports analogies, one he seems not to have noticed is that most coaches after a Super Bowl loss don't blame it on their own quarterback, the diabolical opposition, or the media. His advice to Democrats now is 'not thinking that somehow just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times Editorial Board will win the day. The serious thought inside Mr. Obama's late hit is whether progressive ideas need revision, or merely need to be recycled with a different messenger, like him. We doubt all Democrats will lbe as enthusiastic about running again on the economic and foreign-policy record of 2009-2016.' The argument here, Sam Stein, from President Obama, it's not really about my legacy, its not about my policies, it was about the candidate who lost the election, Hillary Clinton." THE HUFFINGTON POST'S SAM STEIN: "Yeah, I mean, this was as much a dig against Clinton as it was against Trump from President Obama. And you know, to a certain extent, you have to say, okay, the Democrats are maybe over analyzing their loss a tiny bit, because they did end up with 2.8 million more votes for their candidate, it was 80,000 votes in three states that really cost her. But then on the other hand, you look at the destruction of the Democratic Party under Barack Obama's leadership, and you have to wonder, you know, what was the political - what were the electoral benefits that he gave to the party? He leaves them in a much worse position. He -- the states are decimated, they've lost control of the House and Senate. The Governorships are decimated. So, yeah, maybe he -- he is obviously a gifted candidate. He didn't won -- he didn't won election twice by substantial margins, but, you know, his legacy as a politician is a bit muddied by all that." (MSNBC's "Morning Joe," 12/28/16)

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"The Top Candidates" In The Race To Chair The Democrat National Committee Are Running Their Campaigns "As A Repudiation" Of Obama's "Political Legacy," Sending A Message That He Has "Left The Party In A Weakened State." "The top candidates to lead the Democratic National Committee are positioning their campaigns as a repudiation of what they see as the political legacy of President Barack Obama. Though they rarely mention the president by name or address his policies, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison have sent a clear message that Mr. Obama has left the party in a weakened state." (Reid Epstein, "Candidates For DNC Top Job: Obama Failed Us," The Wall Street Journal , 12/22/16)

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby: "As A Political Leader, Obama Has Been A Disaster For His Party," With Roughly 1,100 Elected Democrats Nationwide Being "Ousted" On His Watch. "As a political leader, Obama has been a disaster for his party. Since his inauguration in 2009, roughly 1,100 elected Democrats nationwide have been ousted by Republicans. Democrats lost their majorities in the US House and Senate. They now hold just 18 of the 50 governorships, and only 31 of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers. After eight years under Obama, the GOP is stronger than at any time since the 1920s, and the outgoing president's party is in tatters." (Jeff Jacoby, Opinion, "At Home And Abroad, Obama's Trail OF Disasters," The Boston Globe , 1/8/17)


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