11.02.09

More Credit Deserved

Obama hasn’t put an end to the partisan vitriol, but he should get more recognition for preventing our financial system from going off a cliff.

A year ago, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and AIG, my wife took some money out of our bank account and went around town buying CDs at a variety of other banks. Even very calm and sensible people (she was a corporate lawyer) thought that our whole financial system might be headed off a cliff.

Obama has also gotten health-care reform, one of our most important national needs, past the 50-yard line. That’s huge.

President Obama’s biggest achievement is that he and Tim Geithner and Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke helped prevent that. They deserve more credit. Obama has also gotten health-care reform, one of our most important national needs, past the 50-yard line. That’s huge.

More Daily Beast contributors on Obama’s election anniversaryWhat he has not been able to do is leach the partisan poison from our political discourse. That’s not, I believe, due to his policies but to problems he’s having getting his message out over the amplified cacophony on the political fringes.

Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, D.C., and was previously chairman and CEO of CNN and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe (April 2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).