ABOVE PHOTO: Michael I. Days
Author Michael Days talks candidly about why he wrote the book.
By Monica Peters
What will be Obama’s legacy?
This is an interesting question as Obama’s two terms as President is nearing its end.
Looking back some may praise President Barack Obama’s accomplishments during his two terms. Some will look at his accomplishments as not being meaningful or enough.
Pulitzer prize winning editor Michael I. Days, takes a partisan look in his book, published by the Hatchette Book group, ‘Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished as President’.
“I argue he was a transformative President,” says Days.
“Was he a perfect President? No, but whose perfect?” continued Days.
“Given what he had to deal with battling Congress, I think he did an amazing job.”
When a publisher approached Days’s wife to run by him the idea of writing a book about President Obama–he turned it down.
“I told them, look I really don’t have time given what my life is right now.”
After some persuasion, he changed his mind.
It took Days nearly six months to finish the book. While Days did not interview Obama for the book, The White House does have a copy.
“Here’s what really drove me: I wrote the book for people who backed [President Obama], who supported him…and for a lot of folks in our own community who said he did nothing, did nothing for Black folks.”
Days acknowledges that even being a journalist, sometimes you think you know everything about the President—but you don’t.
While researching for the book, Days was enlightened and also unaware of President Obama’s major commitment to clean energy in the US and abroad.
“In terms of coming up with the plans [overseas] for other kinds of energy, particularly wind and solar energy, I thought that was huge,” says Days.
Other highlights of President Obama’s accomplishments to name a few are: the economy–the fact that country didn’t go into depression, he saved the auto industry, extended unemployment and the Affordable Care Act.
Days points out what Obama inherited when officially taking office in 2009 in terms of the economy and saving the country from sinking into depression.
“We were in really bad shape. Some people may say, well he didn’t really fix the economy.”
“I say well, you know what? Let’s go back to 1929-1932 how horrible things were, how many people were unemployed, how many people lost their homes, how many people lost their jobs.”
“It’s not a great economy for Black folk but it’s not something new.”
Days also feels that President Obama doesn’t receive proper credit for saving the American auto industry from collapse.
“I don’t think people know what it really meant for him [Obama] to save GM, to save Chrysler and how many thousands of jobs were involved in that,” referring to his bailout of the auto industry.
When asking Days, his opinion if he feels some of the backlash President Obama receives is due to his ethnicity, he says: “there’s still a significant percentage of Americans that can not understand how he got to the White House.”
Days also went on to say he commended Obama for his civility when facing hostility from Congress.
A quote in Days’s book from Obama’s 2009 Congress speech on healthcare sums it up.
“I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility and gridlock with progress. I still believe when can do great things and that here and now we will meet history’s test. Because, that is who we are. That is our calling. That is our character.”
‘Obama’s Legacy: What He Accomplished as President’ can be purchased at bookstores nationwide and retailers online. For more information visit www.hachettebookgroup.com.
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