2013 was a very good year for President Barack Obama because he withdrew from negotiating with dogged ideologues and learned to govern without a functioning Congress. GOP filibuster obstruction in the Senate made for a very short honeymoon in 2008 - even though Obama was responsible for pulling us out of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Americans are congenitally impatient. An uphill battle became a frustrating siege by the GOP's "Fortress of No." Nonetheless, Obama has made advances on critical fronts in domestic, economic and diplomatic governance.

Domestically, the main elements of Obamacare rolled quietly into place. Lost - to the initial website problems and endless media stories about people losing their previous (lousy) insurance - was the fact that most were offered new policies, while others could obtain - on the exchanges- better insurance at lower cost. The net benefit? Improved insurance coverage and a deceleration in rising health care costs. Also, gay rights have been recognized and respected. And finally, due to the Senate's partial rollback of filibusters, Obama has been able to staff many more courts and federal agencies.

Economically, the heavily maligned investment and banking reforms are working. Obama held firm on effective regulations, despite Wall Street's intransigence. We have a functioning Consumer Protection Agency. Investors are chortling about their stock portfolios. The unemployment rate has declined and Americans are now, more than ever, aware of the true roadblock - corporate greed.

Diplomatically, Obama has succeeded in facing down the "Bring on Armageddon!" hawks in Middle East policy and made historic progress toward lasting peace. He kept his promises to wind down in Afghanistan, kept us out of the Syrian quagmire and has opened the door to meaningful negotiations with Iran.

Today, we can look forward to continuing progress. There is an appetite on both sides of the aisle to undo the abusive War on Terror legislation. There is also a stronger, bipartisan movement for serious immigration reform. Finally, as awareness of the grotesque income inequality dawns on Americans, we are poised to wrest control of our government from the 1 percent and make this country work for all of us.


Lois Fornander is a Colorado native and retired public high school teacher. Upon retirement in 2003, she became active in local political campaigns.

Traxler's response:

Well, it appears Lois Fornander drank the Kool-Aid.

Food stamp recipients - up 46 percent; poverty-stricken Americans - up 23 percent; health insurance costs - up 17 percent; 92 million Americans are unemployed; over 6 million have just quit the workforce.

The kicker? Our national debt - up more than 55 percent during his tenure as president alone. Can you imagine what that means? Any economic recovery we see is just for looks. What future is there for your children under President Obama?

President Richard Nixon - impeached for bugging two buildings; President Obama - actively bugging all of us, right now.

One wonders whether Fornander lives in the same country every other American lives in.