Editorial

If Mr Obama fails...

Thursday, November 08, 2012    

Print this page Email A Friend!


THE economy, unemployment, the federal deficit, dissatisfaction with government, and health care are the top five issues facing the United States, according to Gall-Up polls, as President Barack Obama embarks on a second term as president.

If he can deal successfully with all or most of these issues, he will ensure his legacy; not merely as the historic first Black American president, but as one who left Americans better off than when he entered the White House.

We are under no illusion that he will have a difficult time ahead because, as Tuesday night's election results show, the United States are anything but united on many of the critical issues.

Admittedly, we're among those who heartily welcome Mr Obama's election in 2008, when he, as the transformational candidate, represented the hope of the times and the aspirations of all those who wished to see America lead us to a world of peace and prosperity, and put behind us the perception among the family of nations that the US was a bully whose dictates must not be questioned.

True, that he was dealt a heavy hand when he was forced to start out with the worst recession in recent memory, against the background of a country fighting two wars and racking up a multi-trillion dollar deficit.

And towards the end of his first four-year term, we saw signs that America was digging itself out of that deep hole in which they had found themselves in 2008. Jobs were coming slowly coming back, the auto industry was looking promising, the housing market began to bubble, the money saved from the Iraq war that Mr Obama ended was finding its way back into the economy, among several important indicators.

But many of the president's promises remained unfilled, losing him a significant chunk of the support that propelled him to the White House in 2008. In fact, the national vote in Tuesday's polls shows a severely divided electorate, even if he won a nice majority of the electoral college votes.

If Mr Obama is to make any headway, he will first have to bridge this steep divide which largely pits the majority, if dwindling, white population virtually against the growing ethnic minorities of Blacks, Latinos and Asians. This task is clearly not an easy one. The Republicans, who still control the House, demonstrated an unwillingness to compromise, especially in the last two years, thus compounding the problems caused by a weak economy.

Then there is the so-called "fiscal cliff" — a package of huge tax hikes and spending cuts —scheduled to take effect in the new year if the parties cannot come to a compromise. Ominously, on the stock market, the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted within minutes after the opening bell on news of the poll results.

But the president, unshackled by the need to look to an election four years time, and with a slightly increased Senate majority, has enough clout and political capital which he can leverage in the pursuit of national unity. He cannot fail. He must not fail!

For their part, the Republicans need to do some serious stocktaking. There is no point believing that their House majority means that they must have their way at all times. In addition, they have to re-look the complexion of their party, as it is clear that it is not attracting the minority groups which are growing in prominence and insisting on getting their place in the sun.

The Grand Old Party (GOP) is looking decidedly old and decidedly less grand.

ADVERTISEMENT

POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Do you think chikungunya cases are being under reported by the Health Ministry?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT