I wrote this post as a reply to a more liberal site that was discussing the case against Obama's presidency. I didn't get into everything with Obama but I think this post sums up how I feel about him.
I was having some discussions recently with friends and how we would grade recent presidents. I consider myself a liberal minded moderate. I have Trump currently at a C+/incomplete, W Bush at F- and Obama at D-. The major marks against Obama for me are his healthcare plan, foreign policy, and his inability to get things positive done in a lasting fashion.
His hallmark achievement was supposed to be healthcare reform. Sure it "did a lot", but nothing he really did changed healthcare costs and currently health insurance is skyrocketing. The ACA was kind of a disaster on the whole and there was no need for it to be as sloppily put together as it was. I can't think of anyone that I have talked to in healthcare that thinks it made anything better, but that's my anecdotal experience. This was supposed to be the crown jewel of his presidency and it's very hard to see it that way as time has passed.
Beyond that his foreign policy was like a mini version of W Bush. Very sloppy and killed many people with some crazy interventions, he didn't handle the Iraq exit well, and he also made the decision to stay in Afghanistan (which Trump has fully committed to as well). He really lived up to that Nobel Peace Prize didn't he? Further, his administration was responsible for spy scandals that seem to have been quietly forgotten like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spying_on_United_Nations_leaders_by_United_States_diplomats
I think his actions with Cuba while somewhat well meaning were naive and screwed up the immigration status of many Cubans here in the US when he ended the wet foot dry foot policy (an odd policy to start with). For some reason he was given a free pass on this which baffled me. With Iran his actions were also sloppy and he didn't create any sort of lasting treaty. I am certainly in favor of a detente with Iran and less friendly relations with the Saudis but Obama's actions were hasty and done in a fashion that didn't win him any favor with the Republicans. Massive backlash to that deal was guaranteed.
The border and immigration are all the rage to talk about under Trump (mainly due to Trump), but Obama was more heavy handed and more people died under Obama at the border. I've only seen critics on the far left point this out. Let's also not forget The Fast and Furious scandal. Again Obama gets a free pass on this.
With gun control Obama did absolutely nothing other than talk a big game in my eyes. I felt like he had the opportunity to push some wide sweeping reforms, but it never happened.
The economy was stable under Obama and he did a good job managing the deficit (something that Trump has completely blown up), but I wish he would have made some lasting changes to the entitlement programs to help their sustainability. Also, I don't fault Obama for this but I wish his administration would have taken bigger steps against the major banks involved in the bailout. I wish he would have helped to limit their size and dismantle them somewhat. Dodd Frank was not really that great of a bill either. If he actually broke up big banks then that would have been much more helpful than cementing them as American (effectively federally backed) institutions.
Gay rights took a big step forward under Obama which was positive.
He helped to end some abusive practices with for profit trade type schools.
He caught Osama.
I guess I'm having trouble actually finding really good policies Obama enacted that are still going strong today. Can anyone point to a few other things for me? Maybe I'm just too critical of Obama because there are almost zero critics of Obama on the left (which is where most of my friends are at politically). He's like the Reagan of the left.