We have just passed the midway elections and the next campaign for president is about to get into gear. So, where are we at this point? Obama stormed into office on a campaign driven by euphoria and hope under the slogan “Yes We Can!”. So, could he?
Well, the results from the midterm elections certainly speak the language of disillusion and lost hopes. The democrats suffered one of their worst defeats since World War II and long gone were the millions of enthusiastic grassroots, the complete control of the media headlines and the glorification of mysterious democrat spindoctors and geniuses pulling home floodwaves of votes to the party.
So, what happened to the euphoria? Well, the answer seems to be hidden largely in the lack of action, rather than in wrongdoings or scandals. Obama came into office as a visionaire and reformer, but has largely acted as an administator. Lets take a few examples:
Guantanamo. Obama promised it would be closed down more or less as soon as he took office, but he has failed to do so. Its still there, the legal status of the camp and its prisoners of war is still a messy blur to say the least. Might be a minor issue to some, but it has important symbolic value.
Healthcare. He tried but largely failed to make a fundamental reform of the healthcare system. The intentions were there but in the end the results looked more like status quo than revolution when words were to be transformed into working political majorities and actual change.
The economy. Obama said he had a plan to create jobs, get the wheels moving, strengthen the dollar and limit the deficits. Now, the deficits are spinning out of control, the plans to create jobs seem to have withered in the wind as fancy slogans with little positive effect for people on the street. The dollar, well its not exactly at its prime and never will be until the deficits are sorted. Basically, the standard of living for ordinary people havent improved and the macro economical developments still look closer to disastrous than to worrying. So, where is the change, this is in fact a repeat of the terrible economical mess left behind by George W. Bush – Obama promising to change it for the better, but little or nothing has happened.
Foreign policy. Obama wanted a new agenda abroad, and God knows he is a more respected world leader worldwide than George W. Bush, not that the opposite would be possible. But, the bottomline still is that Obama a managing 2 wars started by the former president, he hasnt managed to bring them to any form of peaceful end, he hasnt clamped down on the lies justifying the wars, he hasnt defeated terrorism by diplomacy or reconciled america with friendly forces in the middle east, he hasnt taken anyone to justice for the warcrimes committed and the list is endless. Why would he you might ask? Well, for now – he has nothing but friendly speeches and cheering crowds in Europe to show, no results and no actual change in the state of international matters.
And so, the list of things that hasnt happened could continue but its barely necessary. The fact of the matter is that “Yes we can” seems to have meant “Yes, we can largely avoid making more of a mess than George W. Bush” or “Yes, we can administer status quo from here”. The words still flow freely and elegantly – but the real change is hard to find. Thats what demotivates the grassroots and opens the gates of opportunity for movements such as The Tea Party – and Obama has largely created The Tea Party himself or at least the foundation for their reach and strength by failing to deliver on key policy issues that could have carried his wave of euphoria onwards.