Because of the state of our economy right now and knowing the results of many polls taken these days, this question is going to split people down party lines (generally). Therefore, to be fair, I think it's most important to ask this question only to people who supported Barack Obama in the last election. He was elected on the elements of "hope" and "change." Did this hope come to fruition? Did this change actually happen? If the answers to those questions are "yes," from an original Obama supporter, then yes, Obama has done a good job. If the answers to those questions are "no," from an original Obama supporter, then no, Obama has not done a good job. From the democratic perspective, one must admit that Obama has stayed true to his goal of social justice through big government. Even if the system prevented him from achieving any real social justice, Obama bravely made the attempt. Is this enough to achieve reelection? We shall see, ...
Obama came into office with a monstrous financial and economic disaster in place. He also entered the scene when the plummeting economy met unprecedented rises in medical problems and costs, especially among the poor sectors. While companies do fail, like Borders Book Stores, other companies find creative ways to continue and still other companies find creative niches in the depressed (and depressing) economic milieu. While joblessness deepens, some find new avenues for employment and the hope of prosperity. Most importantly, there was not a wholesale collapse of the United States financial markets--a real possibility that led to strange midnight deals and extreme changes in financial policy like lending by the Fed to more kinds of financial institutions. Has Obama done a good job? The whole picture is not in yet, so any judgement is premature.
I think he has done quite well considering the fact that he inherited such a mess of economic and foreign problems. I think he did well to avert a banking collapse a la 1930, and averted another Depression. I think he has scaled back our involvement in Iraq as promised, even while successfully hunting down Osama bin Laden (his idea to refocus on the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader, something the previous President had all but abandoned) and essentially dismantling al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan through targeted strikes and raids.
I am disappointed in him on other fronts, such as the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison camp, which he promised on the first day of his administration. But the health care reform he helped to pass was both genuine and significant reform, the firts of its kind in over 40 years. It's still a bit early, but I think history will judge him quite favorably given the circumstances of his term.
I think the president has done a poor job. In my opinion, he has sold out future generations due to the ridiculous amount of spending he has added increasing our national debt astronomically. I disagree with his policies regarding Israel. I believe he should have held fast to his promise about pulling out the military from the Middle East. Basically, it is so sad that there aren't any promising candidates to run for the office of President, next election.
I always remember a film starring Michael Douglas about drugs, which I can't remember the name of right now. However, when Michael Douglas is promoted to his former boss's position, his boss tells him a very helpful story. A man who is given his boss's position is told by his boss that he has written two letters that are in sealed envelopes for him. When the first crisis of his leadership occurs, he opens the first one, which blames all the problems on the former boss. When the second crisis of leadership occurs, he opens the second, which contains the command: Write two letters.
What I am trying to say is that I do think Obama inherited a terrible situation that was nothing to do with him, but this is an argument that can only be taken so far. I really hope he gets back in so that we can see if he can deliver on the promises he has made or whether they are just empty rhetoric.
In my opinion, the Obama presidency has been something of a disappointment. This may not completely be his fault, but he has not done many of the things that people would have hoped he would have done.
For me, personally, my main complaint is that the Obamacare reforms did not do what needed to be done. Mainly, I think that the reforms have not (and will not) do enough to contain costs. I think that the rise in health care costs is one of the most dangerous things that is happening to our country today. Similarly, the lack of seriousness in the government's pursuit of entitlement reform is very disappointing.
So, I think that Obama has not been strong enough in pushing for real changes that would be important for our country.
I think that you will get many different answers to this question. The final answer to this would be delivered in the upcoming Presidential Election in 2012. Certainly, those who support the President will point to the fact that the economic crisis he inherited was of massive proportions and it would unrealistic to suggest that a crisis of this magnitude could be "fixed" in three years. At the same time, supporters of the President would have to point to the health care bill passed, something of historic proportions, that no other President had been able to pass. Finally, I think that the reaffirmed commitment to Afghanistan and the killing of Osama Bin Laden would highlight the supporters' cause in defense of the President.
I think that opponents of the President could point to similar items. There has not been much in way of improvement in the housing market, as well as other sectors of the economy. The midterm elections in which the Republicans were dealt decisive victories indicated that the American public might be ready for a change, along with an unclear focus regarding Libya might be areas where critics of the President would strike. In the end, I am not sure there is a right answer, but one that can be answered through the will of the voters in 2012.