President Obama’s term in office is almost over, and his enemies on the right are taking a last shot at him in a final attempt to sell everyone on the idea that he has been one of the worst presidents in history. One of those enemies, a guy named John Hawkins who runs the site Right Wing News, wrote an op-ed for Townhall in which he highlights Obama’s five biggest failures. Of course, he got it all wrong.
Here are the facts.
1. Nearly Doubling The National Debt
Hawkins starts with a favorite of the right — Obama has sunk the country under crippling levels of debt, unprecedented in history. And he points to an article on Politifact which supports his claim. But in classic right-wing fashion, he doesn’t share everything the article says with his readers. Here’s the part Hawkins left out:
The January 2009 estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the debt would be around $9 trillion today. So Obama could — at most — be assigned the blame for adding an additional $4.5 trillion to the debt, and that’s only if you absolve Congress (which has been controlled by Republicans for most of his tenure) of any responsibility, and if you blame Obama for all of the long-lasting effects of the recession that he inherited…
When [George W.] Bush came into office on Jan. 20, 2001, the gross federal debt stood at $5.73 trillion. At the end of Bush’s term eight years later, the debt had risen to $10.63 trillion — an increase on Bush’s watch of $4.9 trillion. That’s not quite equal to what his 42 presidential predecessors accumulated, but it’s 86 percent of the way there.
That increase under Bush is a little smaller than the expected increase during Obama’s full tenure — 89 percent — but it’s not off by much.
2. Unleashing The Genie From The Nuclear Weapons Bottle In The Middle East
Hawkins, like most of his friends on the right, sees the Iran nuclear deal as a bad thing. Offering no proof to back up his claims, he says,
Obama’s Iran Deal marks the beginning of a nuclear arms race in an area largely run by religious fanatics and anti-American dictators. The chances of a nuclear war or even more importantly, a nuke going off on American soil, have increased astronomically because of Obama’s foolishness.
But virtually everyone outside the right-wing bubble agrees that the Iran deal was a good thing. Even Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the deal was good for Israel. In a September 2015 editorial, writer Uzi Eilam wrote:
The preface to the agreement contains a commitment that is the cornerstone of the deal: ‘Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.’ The agreement, with all its detailed provisions and annexes, is meant to ensure that this commitment is kept.
That opinion is backed by many, including former general and Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell told NBC’s Meet the Press in 2015 that the Iran agreement was “a pretty good deal.”
RELATED: Watch Trevor Noah Shut Down Human Outrage Machine Tomi Lahren On Every Talking Point She Spouts (VIDEO)
3. Facilitating Illegal Immigration
Here’s what Hawkins has to say about Obama and immigration:
The Obama Administration’s practice of actually encouraging illegal immigration was a new low in our nation’s history. Obama illegally tried to give millions of illegal aliens the ability to stay here without fear of deportation; states and localities that enforced immigration law were harassed by the DOJ; he blocked the border patrol from doing its job and increased the number of refugees being imported. By doing so, Obama destroyed the rule of law, created a protected criminal class and imported poverty into the country because he thought it would benefit him politically even if it hurt the country in the process.
According to an August report from ABC News, some immigration groups refer to President Obama as the “deporter in chief.” Here’s the graphic ABC tweeted to promote their story:
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 29, 2016
Claiming that the Obama administration “encouraged” illegal immigration makes absolutely no sense in light of those numbers. Why would he encourage illegal immigration just to send them home again? I suppose someone who lives inside the right-wing bubble may think the president let people come in illegally so he could have them caught and sent back, which would inflate the number of deportations. But again, if you’re outside the right-wing universe, that’s a pretty nonsensical argument.
4. Encouraging Racial Polarization
Hawkins accuses Obama of using racial division to aid him politically and says he encouraged “hatred of police” as well as ignored “race riots.” He also says the president “did nothing to slow down the incessant cries of ‘racism’ from his supporters that greeted every disagreement with Obama’s policies.”
Let’s go to the scorecard.
President Obama spoke out against violence directed at police on any number of occasions — the right just refused to hear it. After five Dallas police officers were shot, the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, William Johnson, criticized Obama, saying on Fox News that the president had not spoken out in support of police or condemned violence against them. Politifact rated that statement “Pants On Fire.”
As for the charge that Obama supporters continually cried “racism” when someone disagreed with the president’s policies, I’m just going to leave these here.
5. Losing A War We Had Already Won In Iraq
Again, Hawkins’ memory fails him. He blames Obama for pulling out of Iraq, leaving a vacuum which has since been filled by ISIS. He refers to a 2014 story from The Washington Times which claims the generals wanted the president to leave a residual force of 23,000 in the country. But again he leaves out some pertinent information.
The Status Of Forces Agreement which was negotiated by the Bush administration called for U.S. troops to be out of the country by the end of 2011. Not only did the Iraqi government want us gone, most Americans supported the withdrawal as well. Republicans wanted Obama to pressure Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to allow a residual force of American troops to remain behind. But one sticking point was that the State Department insisted that any troops would have to be granted immunity from Iraqi law. That condition was unacceptable to the Iraqi government. Another sticking point was that most Iraqi citizens, many of whom blamed American troops for civilian deaths, also wanted our troops out.
Blaming Obama for what happened in Iraq is utter nonsense. Perhaps he could have pushed harder to keep a residual force in the country, but there was no guarantee the Iraqis would have agreed to it. In fact, all indications were that the proposal would have been rejected out of hand. We went in and broke Iraq, but the bottom line, after all, is that it is their country, not ours. If they say “leave,” we are obligated to do so.
John Hawkins may hate Obama forever for those five things, which is his right. But if he lives long enough he may have to accept the fact that historians will reject everything he says about Barack Obama being regarded as one of the worst presidents. In fact, historians are likely to be very kind to President Obama. I hope Mr. Hawkins lives to hear their evaluations, and I hope those evaluations haunt him until his dying day.