#5 – Obama’s Week

It looks like Obama is going to end his presidency on a high note.

“More than a few columnists believed that Obama was now resigned to small victories, at best. But pause to think of what has happened, the scale of recent events.”

From the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage and Obamacare, to him singing at Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s funeral and getting candid with Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, this week has been huge.

“On Thursday, the Supreme Court (despite an apocalyptic dissent about “pure applesauce” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery” by Justice Scalia) put an end to years of court cases and congressional attacks against the Affordable Care Act, which means that millions of Americans will no longer live in a state of perpetual anxiety about health costs.”

Obama’s reaction to the news were snapped by a White House photographer. Check them out here.

“Meanwhile, throughout the South, governors and legislatures are beginning to lower the racist banner of the Confederate flag. Cruelty on a horrific scale—slaughter committed in the name of racism and its symbols—has made all talk about the valuable “heritage” of such symbols absurd to all but a very few. The endlessly revived “conversation about race” shows signs of turning into something more serious—a debate about institutional racism, and about inequities in the criminal-justice system, in incarceration, in employment, in education. The more Obama leads on this, the more he sheds his tendency toward caution—his deep concern that he will alienate as many as he inspires—the better. The eulogy in Charleston, where he spoke as freely, and as emotionally, as he ever has about race during his Presidency, is a sign, I think—I hope—that he is prepared, between now and his last day in office, to seize the opportunity.

Finally, in recent months Obama has also, through executive action, made solid gains on immigration, wage discrimination, climate change, and foreign-policy issues, including an opening, after more than a half century of Cold War and embargo, to Cuba. These accomplishments—and potential accomplishments, like a rigorous, well-regulated nuclear arrangement with Iran—will help shape the coming election. In no small measure, Obama, and what he has achieved, will determine the parameters of the debate.”

As his time in office comes to a close and Americans look toward 2016, Obama will have to think about what his legacy is going to be. We think these 10 days in June will be a crucial part of that legacy. We await more candid conversations, more personal history and more dialogue like we heard on the WTF podcast, where President Obama sounded a bit like a second semester senior. It would seem the more he’s himself, unedited and less worried about popular opinion the more popular he will become.

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