This Wednesday marks the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010. Together with a companion bill passed a week later, the law represented the biggest reform to the American health care system since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
Its anniversary, then, serves as a crucial reminder that, 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.
You can celebrate or bemoan these accomplishments. Liberals hail them as moves toward a social democratic welfare state and a foreign policy more skeptical of military intervention; conservatives critique Obama's efforts to expand regulation and the government's reach, and accuse him of abdicating America's role as world hegemon.
But no one can deny that the changes Obama has wrought are enormous in scale.
The article goes on to lay out the President's many accomplishments in some detail, and of course does not fail to mention his missteps, but overall it is the portrait of a President who, while he didn't accomplish everything that we wanted, accomplished far more than we had any right to expect.
And now seeing the folks battling to take his place, especially on the GOP side, one is made painfully aware of what we are losing in 2017, and how underappreciated we was while doing so much on our behalf.