One of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations rated President Barack Obama’s tenure and administration as excellent — their second-highest rating.
The National Urban League (NUL) issued on Monday, Jan. 9 its first presidential scorecard, hearkening back to Ronald Reagan’s “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”
“Throughout our history, the National Urban League has taken seriously our responsibility to hold the President of the United States accountable to the needs of urban America and communities of color,” said NUL President Marc H. Morial. “The National Urban League has regarded the first African-American Presidency with special significance, not simply because of its trailblazing status, but also because of the unique conditions under which President Barack Obama took office and served his two terms.
“He inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and was faced with Congressional opposition unprecedented in its intensity and sinister nature,” Morial said. “Is the nation better off than it was eight years ago? And is Black America better off than it was eight years ago? The answer to both questions is, unequivocally, yes.”
The organization used a scorecard to evaluate the Obama administration’s successes and shortcomings in education, health, housing, economic development and civil rights.
After factoring in accomplishments, outright failures, and the conditions under which he served, the NUL has given the Obama administration an overall rating of “excellent.”
“President Obama’s tenure as a whole had shortcomings due to some notable missed opportunities and outright failures, such as the economic development of urban centers, gun violence and the foreclosure rate and bank closure rate in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods,” Morial said.
Some of the marked failures and missed opportunities included lack of economic development in urban centers, non-appointment of an African-American to the Supreme Court, addressing urban gun violence, roll out of the Affordable Care Act and rate of foreclosures in communities of color.
The NUL said that during Obama’s presidency, the economy has added 15 million new jobs, and the jobless rate has dropped from 7.6 percent to 4.7 percent — and from 12.7 percent to 7.8 percent for African-Americans. The high school graduation rate for African-Americans has increased from 66.1 percent to 85 percent.
More than 16 million Americans who were uninsured now have health care coverage, with the uninsured rate for African-Americans cut by more than half.
“Barack Obama’s passion and steady hand made a huge difference in charting a progressive course and positively impacted the lives of ordinary Americans,” Morial said. “Black Americans felt both the pride of his accomplishments and the pain when it was clear his opponents sought to diminish a great American. I am confident the long arc of history will judge him favorably.”