"When Obama passed the Recovery Act, a bigger stimulus than the New Deal, the infrastructure spending, the investments in clean energy manufacturing, and the Making Work Pay tax cuts were for working people.
- When we passed the ACA, that was aimed straight at working people—white working people, black working people, Hispanic, Asian, and tribal—and Republicans are now finally having to face up to that fact. Not just the 20+ million who got coverage, but the ~150 million with preexisting conditions and the vast majority of Americans who get their coverage through work who were always at risk of getting screwed by some insurance company loophole. It was for people like my parents who are self-employed and could never afford real insurance for our family while I was growing up.
- When we passed the CFPB, that was for working people who were getting screwed every which way by predatory financial industries.
- When Obama executed the auto bailout, despite shudder-inducing unpopularity at the time, a million working people kept their livelihoods.
- When Obama ended the Bush tax cuts for millionaires, even as he extended working class tax cuts like the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the new American Opportunity Tax Credit, that was for working people.
- When we repealed DADT, and helped make marriage equality a reality, that was for working people who wanted to live free of discrimination in a loving relationship or serving their country.
- When we implemented DACA, that was for working people who just wanted to come out of the shadows and contribute to this country in the light of day.
- When Obama signed the law to reduce crack/cocaine sentencing discrepancies, and pushed the sentencing commission for reform, and made a cause out of his presidential commutation power, and pushed to "ban the box" on employment forms, that was for working people who wanted to make a living for themselves and their families, and not have their lives destroyed by some drug offense for which a wealthy kid might have gotten a slap on the wrist.
- When the president brought more than 90 percent of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, stayed out of a full-blown ground war quagmire in Syria despite constant criticism, and used diplomacy to block Iran’s nuclear program and avoid another war, that was for the working people who make up America’s military—white working people, black working people, Hispanic, Asian, and tribal—who want to serve their country and get an education they might not otherwise be able to afford, and who are treated like cannon fodder by Washington’s war "hawks."
- When Obama took on toxic pollution on things like mercury and countless other rules, that was for working people, who are the ones who bear the brunt of that toxicity, saving tens of thousands from sickness and death.
- Setting aside the fact that climate change will destroy the planet that working people work on, he has also pushed against widespread skepticism, constant political criticism, and even mockery, to make clean energy a source of manufacturing jobs for working people for decades ahead, and there is now widespread agreement that the clean energy revolution has begun—and can’t be reversed.
- When Obama took major executive actions and pushed to make fair pay and paid leave central to the political debate, to recognize them as economic issues and not solely gender equality issues, that was, obviously, about working people.
- Executive actions on overtime pay, payday lenders, crooked retirement brokers: working people.
- And when Obama pushed for the American Jobs Act, for immigration reform, for universal background checks, for universal pre-K and free community college and for minimum wage increases, and was blocked by Republicans, that was all for working people.
Obama wasn’t perfect; with any president you can find shortcomings, and more people that could have or should have been helped; we owe it to those people to learn lessons and do better in the future. But I honestly believe he will be remembered as one of our greatest presidents, precisely because fighting for working people is literally what got him (and his staff) out of bed in the morning, what made him love and cherish the job up to the very last day. And the Democratic Party, which buckled down and sacrificed huge numbers of its members for the sake of insuring tens of millions of people, and which in vast majority stood strong to stop war in Iran, has been a party I can believe in as a vehicle for change, for all its warts. "