At this point the Obama presidency could go either way — he can either become one of the greatest presidents this country has ever known, or go down as an exciting experiment that went bad. It’s all up to how he handles the expectations of Independents.
The biggest problem that Obama currently faces is becoming a victim of his own effectiveness. During the campaign he raised the nation’s expectations so high that just being a good president won’t do. He promised a change that we can believe in, which led many of us to believe that he intended to trash the way business is done in Washington, but that promise seems to be totally inconsistent with what seems to be his irrepressible desire to hold hands and sing Kum By Ya with the very Republican leaders from which we wanted a change.
This has fueled the growing suspicion by many that both parties are beholding to the same cabal of power, and only feign differing philosophies of governance. That suspicion lies very close to the surface for many Independents - after all, that’s why they’re Independents in the first place.
And President Obama hasn’t helped himself in that regard. For a man who is ordinarily so politically astute, even before he became president he did a curious flip-flop on the FISA issue. According to Greenchange.org, on October 24, 2007, Bill Burton of the Obama campaign indicated, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." But by June 20, 2008, Obama issued a statement reversing his position, indicating that our national security needs were more important than his objections.
That deeply disappointed many Independents, since a citizen’s right to sue a telecommunications company for invading his or her privacy in violation of the law has nothing to do with national security. Those are the very constitutional rights that we’re trying to keep secure. But while many Independents have kept that in mind, at least Obama had the integrity to take that stand prior to our making the decision on whether or not to vote for him.
But then once he was elected President, Obama made another curious statement with regard to the alleged criminal activities and war crimes committed by the Bush administration. In spite of the fact that there are strong allegations and prima facie evidence of torture, and some of the most unconscionable violations of the Geneva Convention since the Nuremberg trials, President Obama stated that he wanted to move the nation forward, and not look back.