Illinois Senator Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States and the first African American President on January 20th, 2009 after his charismatic style, eloquent public speeches, and message of change helped him win the November 2008 election.
Barack Obama and running mate Joe Biden also benefited from a strong grass roots political organization and public backlash against some of the perceived mistakes of the previous Bush administration.
President Obama has inherited wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, an economic slump and a variety of simmering domestic issues. In February of 2009, President Obama signed into law a $787 billion dollar stimulus package targeted at kick-starting the economy. Early in his presidency he has sought to overturn some of George W Bush's more controversial decisions, more specifically related to the ban on stem cell research and the existence of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
You'll find both Obama's supporters and detractors blogging about our 44th president at sites like Bartcop and Radioactive Liberty.
See, I think it’s over for John McCain. Why do I say that? Just look at the media coverage of this election. The media usually sees fit to let Obama make his case directly to the American people via extended video byte. Surrounded by smiling and adoring devotees, using his best ministerial prose, voice booming, challenging, awake, bright eyed, vibrant, he sounds like he’s already president. If the media even mentions McCain in contrast, they usually quote him. His words come across as out of touch or weak, and maybe even cringe-worthy. In the rare cases where there is a video of McCain speaking for himself, it’s even less impressive. McCain is going to flub at least one word, and you almost wonder whether he filmed the video himself in his basement, in front of a green curtain.
It’s not just media bias, although the rampant ageism that the media seems to engage in is an atrocious and disgraceful spectacle. John McCain is running a horrendously terrible campaign. His recent gaffe on the Czech Republic is just another in a long string of cases in point. His comments about not knowing much about the economy or the Internet add to the idea that McCain is a stodgy, old fuddy duddy – and these are comments being made by McCain himself. The “average Joe” theme may have worked a few years ago, but after eight years of Bush, being an average Joe is political suicide. Further proof that the end is near for McCain, we never hear him talk about his views, he only talks about why Barack Obama’s views are wrong. This election will not be a referendum on Barack Obama.
This election is over. I will pull the lever in November in support of the GOP but it will be a half hearted vote. Too bad I couldn’t agree with Obama’s platform because I’d love to be one of the people voting for the first black president. I guess I will have to go on with the rest of my life being one of “those people.”
And the election of Obama isn’t going to be some nightmare scenario. I really don’t think a President Obama would be as bad as some suggest. And I’m not talking about his recent jump to the center either. He simply won’t be able to mess things up as bad as people think, just like, despite the impassioned pleas by the “Bush Deranged Left” to the contrary, Bush didn’t mess things up too much either. What’s that you say? What about the Iraq war and the economy and Katrina and the endless string of wrong track polling? I’m trying to be fair about what an Obama presidency will look like, so I’d as you to be fair about the reality of Bush’s impacts as well.
Sure, we are in a hot war in Iraq. Taking out Saddam was a presidential objective since 1998, a policy started by Bill Clinton, carried out by George W Bush. We’re taking off our hindsight glasses now and speaking with honesty about the situation – Saddam was a bad guy and taking him out wasn’t a partisan issue until the left got disgusted with Bush. Was the case to go to war badly made? Yes. Was the war effort executed poorly? Yes. At least until 2007. Given 4000 deaths, was it worth it? No. But the underlying idea of liberating Iraq was a good one. That the execution stunk doesn’t change that and the fact that the situation is now getting better should matter. Leaving now won’t bring those 4000 plus Americans back from the dead, but leaving will make their sacrifice pointless. We should progress accordingly. Credit is due to Bush, and especially McCain, for not just staying the course, but putting General Petraeus in charge, and pushing for a change in strategy with the surge. That the change in strategy may allow us to make something out of the mess in Iraq is no small thing.
In terms of the economy, we are going through a rough economic cycle right now. This is a natural part of our economic system (recently 1960-1, 1969-70, 1973-75, 1980-82, 1990-91, 2001, and now 2008) and is not indicative of an underlying problem with the economy that needs to be “fixed.” The truth is that our economy IS fundamentally sound, but that doesn’t change the reality of the current economic downturn either. Our current situation is in some ways the result of the low interest rate policies of Alan Greenspan – whom Clinton enthusiastically reappointed term after term. Likewise high energy prices, and the impacts of that on the rest of the economy are also the result of short-sighted environmentalism that is generally supported by the left. Would our economic situation have been any different if Gore won Florida back in 2000? Taxes would be higher, but the big picture would mostly be the same.
I won’t dwell too much on Katrina, because it is obvious to most folks that the president doesn’t control the weather. Sure, he took 4 days to even go to New Orleans. I find it hard to believe the Secret Service would have let him go any sooner, considering that up till that point, the whole effort was about getting people OUT of New Orleans. Under the hysterics of a Bush Deranged left, it sounds like a legal case for negligence but the reality is that Katrina was just a terrible tragedy, and as a country we simply do not prepare for such things very well. The notion that someone has to die for the safety measures to be taken has always been true no matter who was sitting in the Oval Office. President Obama won’t be able to keep Mother Nature from sending Category 5 hurricanes in our direction. Should such a hurricane once again hit a city that is 6 feet below sea level, don’t expect a miracle from the U.S. Government then either, no matter who is in command.
Presidents can help pass laws that give or restrict certain freedoms, or raise or lower taxes that might slightly help or hurt the overall economy. Aside from the well trodden hot button soft issues of the 2nd Amendment, abortion rights and gay rights, the government cannot change the basic tenets of our existence, they cannot easily change the bill of rights, they cannot fix or break the economy (except perhaps with protectionism). Technically it is difficult to change these things and politically even more difficult. Although we like to believe in a higher power, and although that idea serves us well in terms of hyperbole and exciting presidential elections, the President is not god.
Likewise, President Obama won’t be the salvation that many on the Left expect him to be, nor the destructive, socialistic force that the Right fears. By his own comments, Obama won’t roll back free trade. Ironically, thanks to the changes in direction forwarded by George W Bush and John McCain, Obama won’t be able to irresponsibly exit Iraq. Politically, Obama won’t be able to raise taxes as much as he claimed during the primary. And it won’t be practical for Obama to materially change the way we execute the War on Terror, although the recent Supreme Court decision in Boumedine will make it harder for him to do so.
Hillary supporters and Republicans who hate McCain take note: President Obama won’t be out in four years. Obama will make his missteps, and he won’t please large swaths of the populace. But so what? George Bush did the same thing and got re-elected. Historically the incumbent, especially in national politics, is heavily favored in a follow-up election. Obama isn’t Carter. Given the timing of the current recession, and the progress made in Iraq, the next President will be able to claim near instant success in both areas, largely due to favorable timing and (this is the height of irony) staying the course.
Getting into the territory that does concern me most, Obama will usher in a new wave of liberal Democratic power in our halls of government. With the same party controlling both houses of congress for at least some of this time, Obama will be able to appoint his way to a strong left majority in the Supreme Court. Leaving a Reagan-like legacy in his wake, Obama will set the stage for his VP to take over, potentially extending Democratic control of the White House for the next 16 years. All the while, pushing through programs that mean higher government burdens on tax paying Americans, who are a smaller and smaller minority anyway. And more regulations, safeguards and other basics of the Democratic platform. And our military will be smaller and less well funded and less well prepared for a crisis. Meanwhile, Americans will get used to more Government involvement in their lives, they will expect it and the dependency will grow. The inevitable march towards more aspects of socialism in our lives will continue.
The election of Obama won’t be change we can believe in, or the apocalypse. It will just be at least eight years of having Democrats in power and all the realities that come along with that.