Are mass delusions possible? I didn’t use to think so, but every now and then I’m reminded of the fact that there are thousands of people who think Barack Obama wasn’t just a good president, but a great president, who magically fixed the economy and went two full terms without a single scandal. On Sunday, countless liberals took to Twitter, declaring #ObamaDayJune14th, that it’s #ObamaAppreciationDay and that Obama was #BestPresidentEver.
Why? Because June 14 is President Trump’s birthday! How clever! And these trending hashtags accompanied thousands of unironic tweets expressing nostalgia for the Obama years and appreciation for Obama, their lord and savior. What exactly are they nostalgic for? Beats me. Here are 14 reasons that the left’s nostalgia is ridiculous.
14. There was unprecedented corruption
By my count, there were at least 30 significant Obama administration scandals. That has to be a record, doesn’t it? I mean, Nixon had Watergate, Clinton had Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, and a slew of other alleged affairs. Donald Trump has a tan line and sometimes more ice cream than other people. But 30+ scandals under Obama eclipses those. From trying to sell his Senate seat to using government agencies to target his political enemies, to giving ransom money to a terror state, to even spying on the opponent of his heir apparent to the White House, Obama turned corruption into an art form.
Perhaps this should have been expected, given his Chicago roots, but really, the magnitude of his corruption was certainly underestimated by most of us, and remains totally ignored by the left, which insists his term was scandal-free.
13. Student loan debt skyrocketed
Obama was elected twice with the help of young people, and he rewarded them for their support with massive student loan debt. Five years into his presidency student loan debt skyrocketed 463 percent. Much, much faster than it had under Bush–about 500 percent faster. Obama ingeniously had the federal government take over student loans and the results were simply astounding. Under Obama, college students found themselves graduating with more debt in a job market that lacked jobs.
12. Gas prices were ridiculously high
The national average gas price has yet to reach $3/gallon under Trump, but under Obama, we had gas prices between $3.50 and $4 per gallon for three years straight! Seriously, who doesn’t miss those times where it cost an arm and a leg to fill up your gas tank? I certainly don’t.
Meanwhile, that green economy he promised never materialized, and his wasting of taxpayer dollars to fund green energy companies become a huge scandal after more than fifty clean energy companies backed by the Obama administration went bankrupt or found themselves in major financial trouble. The most well-known example of one of these companies that went belly-up was Solyndra. Solyndra received more than a half-billion-dollar loan despite the fact the Department of Energy (DOE) knew it was on the verge of bankruptcy.
11. Health care costs skyrocketed
Even if you liked your health plan or your doctor you couldn’t keep them, but at least health care got more expensive. The Affordable Care Act could not have been more inaccurately named. Thanks to Obamacare we saw insurance premiums skyrocket and deductibles go through the roof, as coverage got worse. If you didn’t want to pay for insurance, no problem! You just had to pay a fine for not wanting this amazing new health insurance!
10. There was record poverty on his watch
Democrats look back on the Obama years as some sort of 8-year stint of utopia complete with peace and prosperity. Except it wasn’t. Instead, Obama broke a 50-year record on poverty—and not in a good way. Poverty reached historic highs (not lows) during the Obama years. In fact, we had three consecutive years of the poverty level standing at 15 percent, and Obama left office with more people on food stamps than there were when he took office. Food stamp usage also reached a record 47 million people while Obama was in office.
9. He literally spied on the media
The media loved Obama, but Obama didn’t love them back. In fact, Obama abused the Espionage Act to target reporters and their sources. Less than six months into Obama’s second term we learned that his Justice Department secretly obtained two months of phone records of AP reporters and editors. One consequence of this Obama administration spying was that longtime sources stopped talking to the Associated Press and other news organizations.
Obama’s Justice Department also secretly obtained then-Fox News reporter James Rosen’s phone records, tracked his movements, and read his emails while investigating possible leaks of classified information to Rosen for an article on North Korea’s nuclear program. Rosen was also threatened with jail time when the Obama Justice Department labeled him a “co-conspirator” with one of his sources who was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for leaking the information to Rosen.
Another journalist, James Risen of the New York Times, was similarly treated as a co-conspirator with a government source indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act. Risen was subpoenaed and originally compelled to testify against one of his sources.
8. He literally spied on millions of Americans
Fans of the book 1984 got a real treat during the Obama years. Potential terror suspects may not have been under the eye of the federal government, but everyday citizens were. The NSA surveillance program experienced exponential growth on Obama’s watch, altering surveillance methods away from terror suspects and toward mass surveillance.
According to the ACLU, there was a 64 percent growth in electronic spying by the United States government during Obama’s first term. The Obama administration argued in federal court in 2012 that the public has no “reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding their cell phone location data and that the government can obtain these records without a warrant. Further blemishing Obama’s record on civil liberties, his administration green-lighted a giant government database of information on millions of citizens who weren’t even suspected of terrorism or any crime at all.
The Obama administration argued that “without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know whom Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.” Even that wasn’t enough. After Obama left office we found out his NSA was conducting illegal searches on Americans for years in defiance of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The ACLU called these searches some of the most serious Fourth Amendment abuses ever documented.
7. He started an illegal war in Libya
Democrats often tried to paint the War in Iraq as an illegal war, despite the fact that Congress approved of it, and used that as a basis for calling for George W. Bush’s impeachment. But, when Obama didn’t even go to Congress to start a war in Libya, you didn’t hear any such calls. Even if you forget the disaster that became of Obama’s war in Libya, what seems to be forgotten is that we never should have been there in the first place.
Obama knew Congress was not going to approve of military action in Libya, so instead of going to them for an official declaration of war, he went to the United Nations to get authorization to remove Muammar Gadhafi from power—bypassing Congress’s authority, and as The Washington Times put it, “dilut[ed] the sovereign power of the United States.”
Obama’s illegal war in Libya proved to be a total disaster. The killing of Gaddafi ultimately led to the destabilizing of the country, enabling ISIS to expand their territory there. Even Obama admitted his actions in Libya were a mistake—but only because of how it turned out, not because of how we got there.
6. He gave guns to drug cartels
The Obama administration sent two thousand firearms across the border to trace them to drug cartels and lost hundreds of them. That’s pretty darn bad. But it got a whole lot worse when a border agent was killed with one of those guns. In response to this revelation, the Obama administration stonewalled and obstructed the investigation into what happened.
Attorney General Eric Holder falsely claimed to not know about the operation, and Obama personally obstructed the investigation by claiming executive privilege over documents requested by Congress. Attorney General Eric Holder was also held in contempt of Congress in a bipartisan vote for obstructing the investigation.
5. He fired an inspector general to protect a sex predator
Also in 2009, Barack Obama illegally fired Gerald Walpin, the Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Walpin’s only crime was that he was investigating Obama’s friend and donor, Kevin Johnson. Johnson had misused federal grant money for AmeriCorps by funneling it to his personal nonprofit group, paying for political activity, and using it to pay hush money to underage girls he’d sexually abused. When Walpin recommended charges against Johnson, Obama, in violation of federal law, fired him. The Obama White House stonewalled Congress’s investigation into the illegal firing, and it also withheld documents. The Obama White House also deliberately misled Congress about the reasons for the firing.
For some reason, thousands of liberals are expressing appreciation for a man who literally tried to protect a sexual predator who abused underage girls.
4. He obstructed justice like it was his job
Obstruction of justice was the standard operating procedure in the Obama administration from day one. But the clearest evidence of systemic obstruction came in August 2014, when 47 of 73 inspectors general wrote an open letter to Congress informing them that the Obama administration obstructed investigations by not giving them full access to the information they need to investigate properly. Such a letter was unprecedented, and the systemic corruption and obstruction of the inspectors general would have been considered an impeachable defense for almost any other president.
That letter should have resulted in the appointment of a special counsel… but Attorney General Eric Holder, who famously called himself Obama’s wingman, wasn’t going to let that happen. Neither Holder nor Loretta Lynch, Obama’s second attorney general, ever appointed a special counsel, despite ample times where one should have been appointed.
Obama didn’t just appoint attorneys general to lead the Justice Department, he appointed protectors to keep himself from being held accountable for corruption. The lack of outrage (thanks to lack of media attention to the scandal) emboldened the Obama administration to impose new restrictions on the investigative powers of inspectors general. Can you imagine President Trump trying to get away with that today?
3. Hundreds of thousands of veterans died because of him
The Veterans Health Administration is notorious for large backlogs of benefits claims. While running for president, Obama promised to do better than his predecessor and reduce the backlog. When he took office, the backlog had been in decline, falling by nearly 100,00 during George W. Bush’s second term. Sadly, under Obama, the backlog started going back up—more than doubling during his first term, from approximately 390,000 outstanding claims to roughly 884,000 outstanding claims. The backlog increase caused the number of veterans dying while waiting to receive care to skyrocket.
Attorney General Eric Holder refused to investigate the problem. Want to know why? Because the Obama-Biden transition team had been warned about the VA using secret lists to hide the true state of the backlog, and was warned twice more in 2010 and again in 2012, but they did nothing about it, letting the problem spiral out of control. Approximately 307,000 veterans died while waiting for medical treatment from the Obama administration, and liberals don’t seem to care.
2. He presided over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression
There have been eleven recessions since World War II, each of which was followed by a recovery. Even Obama experienced an economic recovery… it just happens to be the worst one.
All jobs lost in post-World War II recessions were recovered after about twenty-five months on average. But it took seventy-seven months for employment to return to pre-recession levels, making Obama’s recovery the slowest recovery of them all—and by a wide margin.
It really does take incredible leadership to achieve so many records during your time in office, and Obama has another one that he must be very proud of. Obama is the only president in U.S. history to have never had a single year of 3.0 percent or greater annual GDP growth. The only presidents to have had lower average growth rates during their presidencies were Herbert Hoover, Andrew Johnson, and Teddy Roosevelt.
1. Unprecedented abuse of power
Amazingly, liberals still pretend the IRS didn’t improperly target conservative and tea party groups, even though Lois Lerner, the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division at the time, admitted it happened! Not only were tea party groups improperly targeted, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, but the whole scheme was orchestrated out of Washington, D.C.
There was also evidence of White House involvement. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was at the White House at least 157 times while the IRS was targeting tea party groups. Even Obama’s cabinet members didn’t visit the White House that often. Some IRS employees even claimed that Obama himself requested the crackdown on tea party groups. There was certainly ample reason to suspect coordination with the White House. The IRS was also exchanging confidential taxpayer information with the White House the year Obama and Biden were reelected.
According to a scholarly study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, suppression of the Tea Party movement by Obama’s IRS helped him get reelected.
And then there’s that whole spying on Trump thing.
There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign and justified that spying with a bogus dossier funded by the Hillary campaign. What began as a means to undermine Trump before the 2016 Election ultimately became a means to undermine his presidency. The Mueller investigation, a 22-month effort to uncover alleged Russian collusion, predictably turned up nothing.
There’s also an ongoing Inspector General investigation of the alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the DOJ and FBI, and Attorney General Barr says that some well-known people are likely going to be held accountable for what happened.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis