The American Presidential Campaign intensifies daily and will soon hit full throttle. The terror of this election differs markedly from its immediate processor. In 2008, then Senator Obama rode into the While House a symbol of change and democratic revival against the vested interests that had turned governance into a turbid, labyrinthine thing that only plutocrats could navigate. His opponent was an idiosyncratic septuagenarian whose disdain for Obama was so intense that the man’s campaign wafted with a pugilistic aggression suggestive of temperamental imbalance. Candidate Obama’s most effective tactic was the counterattack. Every time his opponents tried to smear him as some radical alien fifth columnist, he adritly positioned himself as sound, mature and intelligent. The more successfully he rebuffed their attacks, the more outlandish their subsequent attacks grew. After a while, enough of the public senses that his opponent, not Obama, had slipped of the rails and lost his way. Candidate Obama was able to portray himself as a fusion of President Lincoln, perhaps the nation’s greatest statesman and the highly popular uncontroversial black entertainer, Will Smith. Even with this highly efficient, astute campaigning. Obama found himself locked in a close race. But for the timely invention of the worst economic crisis in 70 years and the public’s aversion to the Republicans’ bumbling of the crisis, thee outcome of that election might have been different.
This year, reality has shorn President Obama’s armor of its knight luster, most Americans see him as just another political. Although more talented and intelligent than most of the brood, he is no longer considered in a noble and distinct class by himself. Some of the diminution was inevitable campaigning is easier than governance. However, much of the reduction was the leadership style that was geared more toward opportunistic, tactical compromise than toward the actualization of strategic vision. His emergency fiscal stimulus policies staved the onset of economic depression in 2009. However, these were half measures, wholly insufficient to bring the type of economic revival the voter expected, especially from one who promised epochal change in the 2008 election, Obama struck the pose of a progressive. Once in office, his policies veered rightward. His increasingly conservative, pro-austerity economic polices made him a moderate Republican in Democrat’s clothing. His attempt to command the middle of the road made him vulnerable to strike from both sides.
First, he was insufficient assertive and innovative regarding economic policy. Because of this opaque stewardship, the recovering was unable to withstand external shocks. By not acting strongly enough to spur economy growth at home, Obama unwittingly took the strategic risk of hinging the well-being of the American economy on decisions taken in Brussels, Berlin, London, Madrid and Athens. By instinctively walking the path of cautions political compromise, he opened himself to a much larger strategic gamble where political decisions beyond his control and taken in other lands might determine his political fate. The American economy is slowing at the worst time and the strongest headwords are coming from a European Union mired in recession. President Obama came to victory in 2008 because of the economic crises. As irony might have it, the same boat that brought him to victory’s harbor might take him back out to sea.
President Obama knew his skin colour would talent everyone’s political calculations; public reaction to his achievements and failures, his attributes and flaws; would be different than with other politicians. Sadly, he and his mostly quasi-liberal, white and advisors erred in determining how that different would manifest. They thought it wise to play a “cautions don’t lose, don’t alienate anyone” game, optimistically believing in his ability to woe those who dislike him. He cynically and somewhat arrogantly took for granted his support base-blacks, other minorities, youth and liberals. Thinking these groups had no other alternative but stick with him, Obama felt he could hold them at arm’s length without suffering much political fall-out. For most of his term, President Obama behaved like the talented but anxious freshman actor dedicating his best lines to sway critics who had already panned him. This meant he also turned his back to those who supported his ascent to the leading role. Not until the approach of these elections would President Obama realize gravity of the mistake in playing to his enemies instead of trying to firmly establish a new national electoral coalition by strengthening his natural support bases.
By Brian Browne
Jan 18, 2016 0
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