Love him or hate him, Barack Obama is one of the most consequential presidents in American history — and that he will be a particularly towering figure in the history of American progressivism.
He signed into law a comprehensive national health insurance bill, a goal that had eluded progressive presidents for a century. He got surprisingly tough reforms to Wall Street passed as well, not to mention a stimulus package that both blunted the recession and transformed education and energy policy.
He’s put in place the toughest climate rules in American history and signed a major international climate accord. He opened the US to Cuba for the first time in more than half a century, and reached a peaceful settlement to the nuclear standoff with Iran.
For many centuries, the epitome of African American achievement has been to become the first black president. We once talked about it like it was the impossible dream, or the ultimate sign that we have arrived. Well, Barack Obama didn’t just talk about the dream, he went out and turned it into a reality.