One-Term Obama?

A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans think that Obama will only serve one term. This shouldn’t be surprising. Obama’s two biggest accomplishments during his first term were 1) giving billions of dollars to the banks, and 2) escalating the war in Afghanistan, two moves that were both unpopular. He made no real effort to win over voters. His stimulus plan was too timid to have much real effect, and he completely mishandled the issue of health care reform, dropping it in the lap of Congress, who, of course, made a complete hash of it. Obama is starting to look like Jimmy Carter, who wreaked his own presidency to advance the neoliberal project.

The second year of his presidency doesn’t look any more promising. He has announced government loans for building more nuclear reactors. (How about loans for rebuilding New Orleans? At least the Big Easy isn’t radioactive.) He also wants to “reform” Social Security and Medicare. These are two moves that are sure to be unpopular. That second term is looking more elusive every day.

Obama has created a bipartisan commission to review government entitlements. This is a coy move. No doubt Obama is hoping to deflect public criticism by being able to say that he is only carrying out the recommendations of a bipartisan commission (note that magic word, “bipartisan”). Unfortunately, the Republicans are not fully co-operating, much to Obama’s annoyance. Obama’s proposal for a deficit-reduction commission created by Congress was shot down by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans.

Why wouldn’t the Republicans want to do this? Bear in mind, a large chunk of the Republicans’ voter base is composed of elderly voters. You may recall that George W. Bush wanted to trash Social Security, but he had to drop the idea after his fellow Republicans got cold feet. The G.O.P. wants to get rid of entitlements, but they want the Democrats to be the ones who take the heat for it. (An exception here is the certifiably insane Michelle Bachmann, who is waging a campaign against Social Security. No doubt, she believes that Obama’s goal is to herd us all into re-education camps, where we will be forced to collect Social Security checks and receive medical treatment paid for by Medicare. Truly, an Orwellian nightmare.) I have a sinking feeling that Obama may end up doing just what the Republicans want him to do.

Good-bye, second term.

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5 Responses to “One-Term Obama?”

  1. brandy1602 Says:

    I hope that Obama will never run on the next election, but if he does it would be a big joke. After seeing how he runs things he is not an effective president.

  2. The Spanish Prisoner Says:

    Being an ineffective president has never stopped anyone from running for re-election.

  3. Renegade Eye Says:

    When Obama pleads for bipartisanship, he comes off wimpy to all.

    The GOP knows social programs, once started, are hard to get rid of.

    Obama isn’t inspiring votes for Democrats, but the GOP isn’t growing in support either. I support a labor party.

  4. friendlylefty Says:

    Good article.

    This was all rather predictable, wasn’t it? His first move as President was to assemble a Grand Coalition style government, with involvement from Republicans and key appointees of the Bush administration. The aim of this was to attempt to politically unite the ruling class in order to resolve the impact of the recession by launching attacks on the working class, elements of which were crucial to getting him elected.

    To say that he has disappointed his base is an understatement. This will fuel apathy towards political engagement amongst the marginalised sections of US society. At the same time, Obama is unable to resolve the real underlying causes of US malaise: that it is an imperial power in irreversible decline.

  5. The Spanish Prisoner Says:

    Renegade Eye,

    A labor party would be a step in the right direction, but it would require the support of the labor unions, who are so far unwilling to abandon the Democrats.

    Friendly Left,

    I think you are right. Obama’s failures indicate a deep crisis within the system.

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