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Obama Isn’t Leading — What Happens If He Fails? [View All]

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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-13-10 06:25 AM
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Obama Isn’t Leading — What Happens If He Fails?
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Obama Isn’t Leading — What Happens If He Fails?
der Standard, Austria
By Hans Rauscher
Translated By Ron Argentati
10 December 2010
Edited by Jessica Boesl

Once again, Obama had a bad week. Two of the projects in which he had invested a good deal of his prestige failed: the attempt to get rid of the immensely damaging Bush-era tax breaks for the super-wealthy and his settling for the laughably short Israeli settlement-building moratorium in the West Bank. Both were devastating policy failures, and both were brought on by Obama himself. That, plus his understanding of what it means to be president of the United States.

Measured against what he promised the world and what they expected from him, his first two years in charge have been marked by a string of disappointments and defeats. He did manage the financial crisis and nationalized the American automobile industry. But unemployment is higher than ever before, and there seems to be no plan to reduce the structural deficits in the U.S. economy. Obama will be judged by the platform on which he campaigned. He promised change in American politics that would also change the world. But there has been little change, and hope has practically run out.

Worst of all, however, is the growing suspicion that he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a president capable of shaking things up. He doesn’t fight. He doesn’t explain. He doesn’t lead. He allows himself to be led — by rabid right-wing Republicans, by Benjamin Netanyahu, by the North Koreans, by the Chinese, by the Iranians. The tone now set by leading liberal columnists in the media has become almost disrespectful. Paul Krugman: “He could do uplift — but could he fight? So far the answer has been no.” Timothy Egan: “What may have lulled Obama into his thoughtful stupor was the historic magnitude of his election. Yet being the first black president is not an idea. Hope is not a theme. Change We Can Believe In is not a governing principle.” Frank Rich brings in the concept of the “Stockholm Syndrome” where hostages begin identifying with their captors. Obama attempts to include the Republicans in all his major initiatives, but they consider him a black who has no business in the White House and are dedicated only to his destruction. And Obama sacrifices principle after principle to them: real health care reform, meaningful reforms on Wall Street and appropriate taxes for the super-wealthy.

He doesn’t have unanimous support for his initiatives in Congress in all cases, but — and here’s the paradox of Obama the “Great Communicator” — he neglects to get public support for his projects that would put opposition politicians under pressure. Paul Krugman again: “There were no catchy slogans, no clear statements of principle; the administration's political messaging was not so much ineffective as invisible.”

And it won’t improve, which begs the question of what happens if Obama fails. The hope for a somehow “different” and more civilized global policy fails with him. The United States would experience the continuation of accelerated economic and political decline. A few America-haters might think that’s just super. Well, then, rejoice in China.
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