Has Obama Done More Than Any Other President in Their First Year?

There have been plenty of painful missed opportunities, but as first years go, this isn't bad.

President Obama's detractors on the right believe the president has racked up some accomplishments, all of them awful. The more widespread impression among news outlets and many who voted for the president is that Obama hasn't accomplished much at all.

Slate's Jacob Weisberg has a contrarian piece this weekend, arguing that the opposite is actually true. If health care reform is completed by mid-January, Weisberg argues, the president will deliver a State of the Union address in a couple of months "having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency."

We are so submerged in the details of [the health care] debate -- whether the bill will include a "public option," limit coverage for abortion, or tax Botox -- that it's easy to lose sight of the magnitude of the impending change. For the federal government to take responsibility for health coverage will be a transformation of the American social contract and the single biggest change in government's role since the New Deal. If Obama governs for four or eight years and accomplishes nothing else, he may be judged the most consequential domestic president since LBJ. He will also undermine the view that Ronald Reagan permanently reversed a 50-year tide of American liberalism.


Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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