Friday, January 15, 2010

The Political Decline of President Barack Obama

The election in Massachusetts to replace Senator Edward M. Kennedy may turn out to be not as close as advertised. But it does highlight the political decline of President Barack Obama, only one year into his term. The Republican candidate, Scott Brown, is an inexperienced State Senator virtually unknown in Massachusetts and the nation only a few months ago, just like Obama was when he began thinking about running for president.

Obama is a gifted politician and he knows it. In his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” he wrote, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views. As such, I am bound to disappoint some, if not all of them.”

Right now, he is disappointing all of them. Let us count the ways

Obama has failed in his courtship of the Republicans despite his appointments of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, two Bush Republicans running the most important sectors of our government. Obama’s concessions to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, his bailouts of the nation's banks and auto companies have not gained him a single GOP vote in Congress.

The progressives/liberals in the Democratic Party are disillusioned by the priority given to saving the big banks, the failure to control corporate bonuses in bailed out companies, the military surge in Afghanistan, the compromises in health care reform, the failure to close the notorious prison at Guantanamo, etc.

The independents are also slipping away from Obama. Their perceptions are dominated by his inability to solve problems, his predilection for talk over action, the lack of a serious plan to reduce unemployment, a seemingly endless series of wars without resolution, and above all the failure to get things done in Washington. The bewildering complexities of health-care reform and the long period of indecision on the Afghanistan War have caused a decline of confidence in Obama and his administration.

In this political crisis, Obama has significant loyalists: African-Americans, Latinos, liberals still hopeful. And many Americans are personally bound to Obama by his personal attractiveness, his remarkable powers of oratory, his intellectual capacity, and the symbolism of his election as a break through for racial equality. His charming personality, attractive appearance, and likability, all help to keep him afloat in this political storm. But we chose a new and gloriously different president out of hope for serious change. And he hasn't delivered that - yet.


jmsjoin said...

Hi Jerome
Obama has failed at everything because Republicans have succeeded! I am disgusted that Steele wrote a book on how to defeat his agenda.

I refuse to believe they can make a living at making America fail and then brag about it.

Both party's are taking this vote seriously! I just saw Giulliani and I got an automated from Obama who I understand will be here Sunday.

I already voted and I think Teddy's seat will remain in our hands when all is said and done but we will soon know. This is for Teddy not just Obama's agenda!

Andre said...

Is President Obama’s political prowess declining? (Part 1)

The popularity and political acumen of President Obama is being tested and second guessed constantly. That is the nature of the position. The astute thinker that he is has me believing that he is “setting the stage” for his big moves. He took on Health Care first and is likely only to make a small dent in the political arena. He is content with a small dent “for now.” He set the course for what he would do in Afghanistan when he was campaigning. He addressed it by establishing that in 2011, he will begin withdrawal of the troops. Obama had no choice with the bank debacle. The global economy was at stake. The following is based on the premis that he is stabilizing the worst elements, pushing slightly for a few difficult changes, and speaking out for some major changes. What he does next in each area is where the biggest test will be!

President Obama could not have solved every problem in his first year of office. He is being pulled and tugged in every direction. He has to take steps that will position himself to confront the main basis for change for each issue when the time is right. Optimism was expressed by Robert Kuttner on Bill Moyers Journal, December 18th, 2009. Moyers introduced Kuttner as “an economist who helped create and now co-edits the progressive magazine THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, and the author of the book OBAMA'S CHALLENGE, among others. While discussing Obama and the bank bailout, Kuttner stated, “I think this guy is nothing if not a work in progress. He's nothing if not a learner. And I think there is a chance.” “… I think there's a possibility that by the fall of 2010, …you could see him change course.” “This is a guy who is a very smart, complicated man. And I think don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin. I don't want to totally give up. (See Transcript at link or in attached word document: or Video:

What world factors will influence Obama? What world factors will help him?

Moyers conducted interviews on the Journal in December ’09 and January ’10, that support the theory that leaders in each social or political issue are reaching out to the public for their support – a people movement to influence the legislature and enable Obama. On December 11th, Moyers focused on the bank bailouts and peace in two discussions, with Heather Booth and George Goehl, and Howard Zinn, respectively. Both segments promoted empowering the people.

Andre said...

Part 2

On Bill Moyers Journal, January 8th, 2010, David Corn, a reporter with Mother Jones magazine , stating his own thoughts of what he would say if he were President of the US said, “And I can only do this with your help" – referring to the people. Bill Moyers said that would excite him and wanted to know what he could do to help.

Here-in lies the key to change. The people have to have an avenue to be able to participate. The President needs the people. He cannot do it alone. However, everyone is putting all their eggs in one basket. It is natural for the people to expect change and for the President to be the one to do it. It will not work. Bill Moyers has been showing that each problem area is finally recognizing this and attempting to mobilize a “people movement” for their own issue. Will the people arise proactively enough to create a tipping point? What will inspire the people other than a crisis or disaster?

Where is there a “Spark” to create a unified PEOPLE MOVEMENT? When the people come together, Obama will make a difference. What will bring the people together? Bill Moyers’ most recent program, January 15th, alluded to the unifying element, the Children.

There is a global initiative planned to create World-Wide unity based on working together for the welfare of the Children. See . The plan is based on the adults illustrating an example of NONVIOLENCE for the children now, the children of the future, and as a metaphor for change.

Bill Moyers interviewed Greg Mortenson, January 15th, 2010. Mortenson said, about his work in Afghanistan, “… what most women tell me are just two simple things. They say, "We don't want our babies to die, and we want our children to go to school." And of anything that really drives me, those are the two things that really keep me on because I think we need to listen to those women. What they want most of all is, you know, what any mother around the world wants. And you don't want your baby to die or your child and you want your children to go to school. So that's pretty much what drives me on.”

If people work for a common cause, they can create change. The common cause is the children. The stimulus for unity could be the caretaker of the children – The Women! For the past six months, Bill Moyers Journal has profoundly discussed the issues and is sending a message to the world that the people are the answer. Are the women the conduit?

If Obama would have confronted each problem “head-on,” he surely would have not succeeded and he definitely would have his lost political ability to create change. There is a “DOOR OPEN” for the people to unify while Obama is President. Will people unify “For the Children?” Could it be as simple as the women mobilizing - as representatives of peace - as the stimulus for unity for all people? If people do unify, Obama will then have the political high ground to implement major change in policies.

Jerome wrote “we chose a new and gloriously different president out of hope for serious change. And he hasn't delivered that - yet.” He still can if the PEOPLE UNIFY!

Andre Sheldon
Director, Facilitator
Global Strategy of Nonviolence, For the Children


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