White House

President Obama, here's how you build a legacy

File- Jan. 9, 2015: President Obama speaking about the France newspaper attack.

File- Jan. 9, 2015: President Obama speaking about the France newspaper attack.  ( AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Two years from now, the country will be on the verge of inaugurating the 45th president of the United States. The presidency of Barack Obama will be over, and to the joy and relief of many Americans, there will be a new beginning. To quote President Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan “Hope and Change” will be the order of the day. 

Certainly “change” will come with the new occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The certainty of who that man or woman will be two years from now is unknown. It will depend on who can survive the already begun long campaign that will easily be the most expensive in history.

Mr. Obama, you have the greatest political tin ear I've ever seen in a president.

Immediately after the oath of Office is taken at noon on January 20th, 2017 on the West Portal of the Capitol, the pictures on the walls of the White House and the personal artifacts of Barack Obama and his family will be removed. 

Mr. Obama, you have the greatest political tin ear I've ever seen in a president.

The legacy left behind and the permanent White House staff will stay on awaiting the new leader of the free world. 

“Hope” is always in the minds of Americans along with good will for any new president. Much of that good will and almost all of the “hope,” that this president could or would be different,  is gone.

With a little more than half of the president’s second term remaining, judgments have been made and speculation is rampant that the White House decisions are now being made is to define that legacy. 

His expected veto decision on the Keystone pipeline is to appease the environmentalists. 

His executive orders allowing millions of illegals to stay in the country rather than be deported is also viewed as a pandering to the fastest growing voting group. 

His alteration by executive order creating changes in his health care law have enraged members of Congress that have the real power to change laws. 

His attempt to close Guantanamo prison over the objections of Congress is another critical debate.But the biggest and most long lasting mistake maybe his withdrawal of ground troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan. And one he has not yet made may be more severe and dangerous to world peace -- his headlong rush toward an attempt to get a nuclear deal with Iran. A deal that, in spite of all the reassurances from Secretary of State John Kerry, will enable Iran to make nuclear weapons.

The mainstream media is feeding into this legacy debate. One of the latest examples, The New York magazine cover story of January 11, called the “Obama History Project.” 

The magazine asked 53 historians to weigh in on Barack Obama’s legacy and how they think he will be measured 20 years from now. 

Historians play a vital role in measuring presidents. Usually their histories are written decades after the fact when they can go back and review documents and gather facts and see the results of presidential actions from afar and in a cold dissected view. 

Historians have certainly altered the view of many former presidents and have actually restored the reputations of a few. Harry Truman being a perfect example. A man greatly respected today, Truman left office with a tattered reputation, was very unpopular with the public, and could not possibly been reelected when he left office in 1952. Today, he is ranked among the top 10 presidents by most presidential scholars. 

A review of Eisenhower is going on now and his marks are high. Lyndon Johnson and George Herbert Walker Bush are getting favorable reviews by the historians after being out of office for decades.

I am a partisan Republican who has worked in the administrations of three presidents and served two tours of duty at the highest level of Ronald Reagan’s White House. 

As an American and as the father of a young college-aged daughter, I don’t want any president to fail. I want this country to be led by the very best people we can find. 

It isn’t always so. Every president, or people on his staff are looking out for his legacy. But the boss I worked for, President Reagan, operated under a different theory. 

One day we were returning from a trip out somewhere in the country. We were flying aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, across Washington, after leaving Air Force One at Andrews Air Base. 

The president was very tired and as we landed on the South Lawn, he looked up at pictures of his ranch displayed on the walls of the chopper.  He said, pointing to the ranch pictures, "I wish we were landing there!”  

Not knowing what to say to the leader of the free world who obviously didn’t want to go back to work. I said, “Mr. President, it will all be worthwhile. History will be very kind to you someday." 

He chuckled and said right back. “Ed, I don’t care about history. I am going to be dead and gone and they will distort it anyways. What I care about is those great young people we saw out there today and making sure they have the same opportunities we all had.” 

He turned to his closest friend, also sitting there, Senator Paul Laxalt (R.-Nev.). He said Paul’s father was a Basque immigrant sheepherder and his mother a hotel cook. 

He turned to me and said:  “Your dad was shipyard worker and my own father was a travelling shoe salesman. We are all here because this great country gave us opportunities. We have to make sure that’s what we leave behind and those kids out there get those same opportunities. Now let’s get back in there and go to work!” 

Ronald Reagan loved this country and was proud to be the leader of the greatest group of people in the world. 

President Obama, that’s how you build a legacy!

President Obama's life story is one of inspiration. To come from a broken home, abandoned by his father as an infant, to be raised by grandparents from the Midwest and to achieve, as a black man, the highest office in the land is inspirational. Unfortunately, he has not been an inspirational president.

Mr. Obama, let me speak to you directly. Right now your legacy is that your party suffered historic losses across the country at every level in 2014. 

Your health care plan will cost enormous sums above your estimates and even those who didn’t have health insurance and now do, can’t get health care. 

The Dodd-Frank bill has cost American business billions of dollars and thousands of lawyers are working around the clock to deal with the implementation of it. 

You pulled our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan before the job was done. And your lack of strength as a leader has made the strongest nation in the world look weak and vulnerable. 

You have the greatest political tin ear I've ever seen in a president. Someone should have told you to take your place at the front of the line with other world leaders in Sunday's million person march in Paris, against worldwide terrorism. Or you should have known yourself. Yes, Mr. President, they are terrorists and they hate everything we stand for.

You want a legacy? Work with the Congress the American people chose and get something done!

Edward J. Rollins is a Fox News contributor. He is a former assistant to President Reagan and he managed his reelection campaign. He is a senior presidential fellow at Hofstra University and a member of the Political Consultants Hall of Fame. He is a strategist for Great America PAC, an independant group that is supporting Donald Trump for president. 

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