53 historians on Obama’s Legacy.
One thing the article leaves out that may shape the perception: barring disaster, Obama will have years afterwards to shape his legacy and build on his accomplishments outside the Presidency. In that sense, Obama is unusual. Most Presidents are elected in their mid-50’s (Shrub was 54), and as a result at the end of their term(s), they take on a life of retirement-golfing, giving speeches, and taking it easy. And retirement has been hard for most Presidents in my lifetime. Eisenhower golfed but was very ill, Kennedy never lived to see one, LBJ was ill and despondent. Nixon resigned in bitterness, Reagan was senile, Daddy Bush simply retired. It’s been the Democrats Clinton and Carter who have had even close to a decent retirement. Carter earned a Nobel Prize due to his humanitarian work, Clinton has his Foundation and Hillary.
Obama will be in a better situation. Having served a full eight years, he will have no regrets regarding his accomplishments. He’s leaving on his own terms, popular and still mostly healthy and young.
Parts left out of his legacy: ending the Southern Strategy. He won twice without the South. He’s created a space for needed social progress by his cautious approach to the minimum wage, pot. His appointments that have been incredibly diverse, creating a younger generation of potential national leaders. His support of gay rights and so forth.
What do you think Obama’s legacy will be?