A second chance at change

by Zoë Perry

I woke up this Wednesday morning feeling like it was St.Nicholas’ day. Only instead of walking straight to the door to look for treats in my boots like I always did as a child, I went straight to my computer to check on the news. To my relief and happiness, I didn’t see a picture of Romney waving into the cameras like this was just the best day of his life, but instead Obama’s victorious smile. On the other hand, I realized that I had my doubts and wasn’t as enthusiastic about the whole situation as I had thought I would be.

Even as the likeable and interesting person he is, I found myself questioning on how effective Obama could be in his second term as President since he failed to reach many of his goals during the last one. I don’t belong to the group of people who were naïve enough to believe that he would change everything in four years but still, he could have done much better. Through his campaign Obama certainly realized that he made mistakes that could have very well cost him his second term. He proved himself as a lousy bargainer, already lowering his demands before even facing the Republicans. He made Afghanistan his war. Realizing his mistakes do not go unnoticed, he also has to draw conclusions and change his strategy.

 

Obama has got his second change but the situation he finds himself in now hasn’t really changed since 2008 – at least not on the surface. The Democrats hold the majority in the Senate and the Republicans control the House of Representatives. Then again, there is a chance that there will be at least a few changes in the Republicans’ strategy to avoid a disaster like this happening again in 2016. First of all, they will have to find a way of dealing with their different factions such as the Tea Party. Through this election they also had to learn the hard way how much impact the votes of the Latinos can have, and this might make them more likely to make a deal on the topic of the country’s immigration system with the Democrats.

 

So there is at least a spark of hope that Obama will make some serious progress in his second term during. The pressure of another future election no longer exists and consequently we may see some changes in his Presidency. In the end it’s all on him and his ability to change – and nobody can say yet what he will make of his second term. He will have to be much stronger when it comes to facing the Republicans efforts in blocking his attempts on policies. Instead of trying to convince the Republicans with arguments he will have to focus on making deals. And he will have to make these deals his deals, not the Republican’s. In order not to be pushed around by the Republican Party again, he will have to be tougher and fight harder. However, one thing is certain: the next four years are going to be quite exciting.

Image courtesy of the Telegraph

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6 thoughts on “A second chance at change”

  1. He is good at least in promoting alternative sources of energy, which one would not expect from the Reps. Indirectly, it is a step to omit a new world war, not that litttle 🙂 But no high hopes and 4 more years of balancing, for sure.

  2. I’m happy with his re-election for three reasons. First, he may continue his work without any interruptions and without the fear of facing repercussions from his electorate (e.g. to take less popular measures). Secondly, he may be vital for a US–EU free trade agreement, which he chose to postpone till after the elections. Thirdly, there is a likelihood that Supreme Court justice Ginsburg (Democrats) may retire soon, which would have shifted the entire balance of the Court towards conservatism if Romney were in office. Plus, there may be a chance that one of the Republican justices retires, giving Obama the opportunity to appoint a Democratic justice to change its composition permanently, since his party also holds the necessary majority in the Senate.

    1. It’s not that I’m unhappy that Obama was reelected, he has the right goals. I just don’t think that this is enough. Yes, his failure to accomplish his goals could have had something to do with his fear of not being reelected. Then he might reach a lot more this term, and that would be great. I’m just not sure if this is the case. I fear he might not be tough enough to handle the Republican Party. Of course I’d be more than happy if he’d prove me wrong! I really like him and it would be great if the US would make some progress…

  3. I am content but not happy with the re-election as congress is still republican. America does not need another indecisive government, however the Republicans may have to think twice about holding back the house of representatives as it will not reflect well on them. However the GOP is probably going to have to make some concessions in the end as it’s radical conservatism is quickly becoming obsolete and will need to modernise if it is ever to appeal to non -Caucasian voters.

  4. Bit belated, because I’ve only just discovered this site. But I would like to make a contribution from an alternative perspective if I may. Sorry in advance for it being on the lengthy side! 🙂

    Real change and progress is unlikely for one primary reason, entirely consistent with how the last four years panned out. Obama’s administration is replete with Wall Street sympathisers (Geithner, Emanuel, Caldera, Corzine etc). It is precisely this sort of pernicious presence of private interest in government that really drives the decision-making process in Washington. I think it is greatly misleading to underestimate the impact this has upon the political agenda, for by any objective standards it surely makes a inestimably bigger difference than any of Obama’s personal attributes (his oratory skills, negotiating prowess, and ability or inability to ‘handle’ the Republicans) could ever do.

    The fact that Obama is being funded, advised, and guided by Wall Street devotees even negates the importance of the composition of Congress to a certain extent. Testament to this is the ‘Grand Bargain’ between Democrats and the GOP looming on the horizon. The important fact in this dynamic is not that the Republicans (as largely expected) will take steps to repeal their ‘radical conservatism’ by finally conceding modest tax hikes on the rich, but that what is being offered in return, cuts to social welfare, is being advocated by the leader of a supposedly liberal party! It is not certain that the Republicans will make the concession necessary for a deal to be struck, but what is certain is that Obama will try.

    There is a treacherous irony in the fact that Wall Street – through both Democratic and Republican channels – are citing the very financial crisis they created as the evidence that proves social welfare spending must be cut to prevent America falling into fiscal oblivion. It is one thing for Wall Street to be spreading ideologically motivated disinformation independently, but quite another when that message is delivered via the trojan horse that is the now centrist Democratic party.

    For as long as this remains the case, stagnation should be the least of America’s concern. Sure enough there will be progress, but this progress will be defined in terms that serve the interests of the corporate banking elite and transnational corporations, not the average American citizen, regardless of his/her political persuasion. Left-leaning governments will always be preferable to right-leaning governments from a liberal’s perspective. But when said liberals compromise on their core principles in favour of following their super-hero Obama down a route chosen for him by Wall Street, the very notion of real democratic choice is fatally undermined. Private interests have corrupted the political process to such an extent that the real winners of any US election these days are the financial industry and big business.

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