Friday, November 6, 2009

Why has Obama Failed to Deliver on his "Change" Promise?

So far Barack Obama's presidency has offered none of the "change you can believe in" hype that his campaign created prior to the election. Instead, it has largely been more of the same. Obama seems content acting the celebrity president, giving feel good speeches, swatting flies on national TV, ordering Stephen Colbert to shave his head, and generally basking in the media love affair. Meanwhile the nation continues its plunge into an economic black hole.
So how come Obama a man of decent intelligence, and whose intentions are probably good, has failed so miserably to deliver on his 'change' promise?
The answer to this question lies partly (60%) in Obama's focus before the elections, and partly (40%) in his unwillingness to take on corporate interests (see video below).
Last year while campaigning, Obama bet his presidency on all the wrong issues, from which he is now finding it extremely difficult to backtrack. He made all the wrong promises because he failed to anticipate the "real" problems that his presidency would face post elections.
  1. Last fall, as the stock market was plunging and oil had corrected back to $70, Obama continued his "end the dependency on foreign oil" and "universal healthcare" slogans. He failed to understand that because of the enormity of the financial crisis and America's gigantic debt load, the economic landscape had changed. His election issues would either take a back seat in people's minds (oil prices) or were no longer economically viable (universal healthcare). So instead of focusing on how to create more jobs, cut spending and fundamentally altering America's economic path, he has wasted much of his public approval, on issues that are no longer high priority.
  2. In addition while he was against the war in Iraq, he made Afghanistan and Pakistan central to his foreign policy, calling the Afghanistan war, a war of necessity that America must fight. Now faced with a $2 trillion budget deficit and growing anti-war sentiment, he finds himself painted into a corner. If he escalates troop buildup he will almost certainly face a democratic base backlash, and if he does not the republicans will label him a wimp.
With Obama stuck in his pre-election time machine and unable/unwilling to take on corporate interests the American people are unfortunately doomed for more of the same.

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