Sunday, January 17, 2010
Obama's Political Future Still in the Balance
One year on, how well has he done? Not too badly, by our reckoning. In his first 12 months in office Mr Obama has overseen the stabilising of the economy, is on the point of bringing affordable health care to virtually every American citizen, has ended the era of torture, is robustly prosecuting the war in Afghanistan while gradually disengaging from Iraq; and perhaps more precious than any of these, he has cleared away much of the cloud of hatred and fear through which so much of the world saw the United States during George Bush’s presidency.
But the caveats are formidable as Michael Crowley argues in today's Observer. If Scott Brown wins the Senate seat vacated by Edward Kennedy this coming Tuesday, even that 'affordable health care' achievement will be in great jeopardy; given trhe late Senator's life-long campaigning on this issue such an outcome would be a cruel irony. But the fact is Obama's honeymoon did not last long. Democrats- always less disciplined than the Republicans - have been moaning about the extent to which Obama has compromised and watered down his health reforms to win acceptance; they are not too pleased either about his ramping up the Afghanistan conflict with 30,000 more troops. His satisfaction ratings have plummetted from 67 in May to the present 49 points now.
An evitably the rightwing media have delivered an onslaught on the new black president which one cannot imagine being directed at a white Democrat in the White House. Rush Limbaugh and his fellow persecutors on the radio wave-bands have shown they have no shame when it comes to finding sticks with which to beat their president. Limbaugh has even suggested Obama is exploiting the Haitian earthquake for his own political ends, that it was 'made to order' for the president to 'burnish his credibility' with both light skinned and black skinned African Americans'.
Crazed fundamentalist Pat Robertson even went so far as to say that back in the 19th century, the Haitian people:
"got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, OK it's a deal."
The key thing to get right, assuming Martha Coakley wins Massachusetts on Tuesday, is the economy. If unemployment edges down from 10% voters might begin to appreciate the rare quality of their politically pragmatic and astute president. He took a gamble on a massive bali-out of the banks and a substantial Keynesian stimulus to the economy. If it works te project will remain intact and have a good chance of making a real difference if it fails, he'll ose control of Congress and might end up a lame duck president. Which would be a tragedy.
What a ridiculous thing to write. Have you taken leave of your senses?
Sooo busy looking after number one, as you put it, that they provide the largest sum of bloc aid to Haiti.
Now put down the pen you rabid lefty.
But then again thats not really important is it.
I was waiting for you to make a triumphalist gloat; the fact that millions will remain uncovered by health care makes not a jot of difference to you.
Obama's plan is bad for them and the American people seem to know it. Let's not cry over it now.
I definitely okayed your comment so I have no idea what happpened to it and when I wnet back and clicked on it again it came up as 'already moderated'.
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