Friday, July 16, 2010
It has been more than 18 months since Barack Obama became the president of the United States and it has been more than three years that the American people have been listening to him. His books, and the books about him, which aim to tell who he really is, have sold millions. He is probably the most recognizable person across the world by now. Yet his identity, doctrine and management style are still being discussed fiercely by many political observers.
Obama started his presidency, in one of the worse periods of United States history, bandaged with a historic economic recession and two wars to handle. He tried a decisive bipartisan spirit to reach out to the GOP in the first year while trying to pass the health care overhaul.
The effects of the health care reform that was passed earlier in the year will not be seen for about a couple of more years, and nobody is in a position to predict whether Obama will be still in Washington as president to see his biggest victory’s real life effects. Though, now many charge the Obama administration for tying itself with the health care overhaul whole first year but missing to understand the severity of the unemployment problem and failing to confront the phenomenon as quickly and head on as the matter required. One of the reasons of this miscalculation, without a doubt, believing the hundreds of millions of stimulus money would have taken care of the job problem.
It appears from the latest polls this week that the stimulus spending clearly failed to meet the expectations of the American people, in light of the “jobless recovery,” and washed off Obama’s popularity to reach its lowest points, since he came to the office.
According to this week’s CBS survey, only 25 percent of the American people believed that the economy is improving, and six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president.
The whole White House team has been on the road for weeks and months to talk about positive outcomes of its economic management to the American people, who have five different candidates for every job that is available in the market now. The White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did a presentation on Tuesday in the White House Press Room on the effectiveness of the stimulus money that was spent so far with charts and numbers, though in the same CBS poll, it shows that only 23 percent American voters think the stimulus spending has helped the economy.
Mr. Obama won another significant victory on Thursday and passed the sweeping finance overhaul, despite his tumbling ratings, with the support of three northeastern Republican Senators. The tension between the business community and the White House has been high for the last few weeks especially over the financial regulation bill which is expected to rewrite of rules that touch every corner of finance, from ATM cards to Wall Street traders, as the biggest expansion of government power over banking and markets since the Depression, the Wall Street Journal noted.
Some of the leading actors of the American business community were loudly accusing the Obama administration for it has creating uncertainty in the financial markets with bringing 2,300 pages of this new bill, and an unhealthy environment for private sector to thrive, hire or invest.
During the latest row over the financial regulation package, the economists are clearly divided along the ideological lines while discussing the regulations as well as the whole Keynesian model that has been applied by the Obama Administration so far. The economic team of the current administration, from the beginning, hoped to reach recovery and sustainable growth with help of the federal government’s hiring and spending then pass this running engine slowly to the private sector to continue on.
After 18 months, enough jobs have not been created, and the private sector did not step up to the plate. Following these discouraging signs, now the economic numbers indicate that there might be a long and vicious circle in which the private sector drags on investing and creating new jobs. While the Bush tax cuts are about to expire, the low GDP growth seems to be the reality for the foreseeable future. For a while, many economists started to voice the danger of a double dip: expecting a second leg of the economic recession looming. Another camp of economists, who do not believe the double dip, nevertheless they too don’t shy away to predict a long lost decade ahead.
The Conservatives of America argue for more tax cuts, want the government to start taking precautions for the colossal and growing budget deficit now, and stop all these financial regulation “nonsense.” The opposition once more was defeated in the last battle this week, when the financial regulation bill was passed by 60 to 39.
There are only a couple of months left for the midterm elections and Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary, predicted last Sunday that the House of Representatives may go to the Republicans. He seemed as if he was voicing a wish of the administration. The Obama administration clearly worries about the 2012 elections even from now, and wishes loudly to loose at least one wing of the Congress, so it can have an opposition to blame for a whole set of mesmerizing promises that will have not been delivered by 2012. Previous two term presidents of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton also had crashing first midterm elections in 1982 and 1994, respectively, but bounced back later on to clinch the second term crown. And both of those presidents did not have the majorities in the both Houses, by the time they went to their next presidential elections. Political masterminds of the current administration, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff to the President, and Mr. David Axelrod, the chief political adviser, are clearly trying to author their 2012 election strategies to win it for once more. Otherwise, however the proven geniuses these strategists are, they will be remembered as political architects of a one term president.
Obama has won another legislative war, and John Boehner, the Republican House Minority leader who has a serious chance for being the next Speaker of the House following the November elections, already called for a repeal, possibly with support of the business community following the November elections.
Summer has been extraordinarily hot in Washington, so have the summer politics of pre-midterm elections.