Expectations for Barack Obama
Previously published on December 5, 2008
In the last hour of November 4th, Barack Obama proclaimed, "change has come," yet quickly moved to dampen expectations for immediate success as he acknowledged his win in the 2008 Presidential Election. After a night of celebration, the long awaited victory quickly turned into the daunting task of preparing for a transfer of power and the immediate need to develop policy capable of addressing the economic failure.
While Obama was quick to remind the world George W. Bush was still President, he did move to show Americans his economic and transition teams were preparing policy options to address the many devastating issues facing the Nation. Change has yet to be realized, but Americans can expect their concerns and views will be addressed by the next President.
Through his acceptance speech, the new President refreshingly declared he was taking office to serve all Americans, whether Obama supporters or not. In doing so, he signaled he would not be a politician looking for the approval of voters, special interests, or consumers, but rather, a leader prepared to address the interests of all US citizens.
Well known for his ability to put aside his views and simply listen, Obama represents a rare breed of political leaders. There are few Americans throughout this Nation who would completely and entirely accept the new President's views; however, his attitude toward open political discussion signals he is someone who will consider the perspectives of those against his policies.
During the long election cycle, opponents consistently attacked Obama as the most liberal member of Congress. Albeit his voting record would suggest as such, he has offered rational explanations for many of the more radical charges against his record while voting against a President with such a negative impact on the Country, demonstrates his considerations of issues to be fairly thorough as often the Bush administration assigned positive titles to force approval of terrible, short-sighted legislation.
For those who see Obama's record as troubling, consider his willingness to gather advice from both sides of the aisle when developing policy, even on the campaign trail, while providing well thought-out reasoning for his stances. A leader who is willing to discuss issues and make his position transparent, without taking on a hardliner stance that casually rejects the concerns of others, is someone prepared to address the interests of everyone.
For decades, Americans have learned to view campaign promises as a formality merely representing a facade for a personal agenda. To say the least, Americans are skeptical; however, Barack Obama is faced with a barrage of critical issues in all areas, so there is little room for him to push an agenda beyond the one presented during the 2008 Presidential Campaign despite a strong Democratic majority.
Obama must rally Americans together in order to successfully address the most critical issues facing the Country, so splitting hairs in his first term over minor issues in an agenda would be a foolish maneuver. Furthermore, his immediate move to prepare for his role as President will quickly reveal his character and capacity. Like it or not, the next President's accomplishments will be centered on the failures of George W. Bush and, almost assuredly, will not move beyond the issues of the 2008 Campaign.
Furthermore, the greatest threats to the Obama Administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress are too high of expectations. In the next four years, US leaders and citizens will not be able to fully restore America's greatness; however, if Barack Obama's first term ends with a stable economy, improved national security, a strengthening military, and improved international relations, change will continue. In short, success for Democrats will come if Americans can truthfully say they are better off four years from now.
Americans cannot rightfully expect the Country to be free of its baggage, but we must expect our leaders to keep pushing for healthy policies. Individuals may not support every policy or decision made by Obama or Congress, but we can expect these leaders to address the concerns and interests of all US
citizens instead of hoping the Bush Administrations hands-off government approach will trickle success down to the general population.
Expectations for Obama are high for many while others nervously wait to discover whether Republican concerns will be vindicated or not. In looking at the new President, it is important to understand not every major issue will be completely resolved in his first term while not every person's views on every issue will be fulfilled.
On the other hand, Obama's willingness to build bipartisan policy and ability to listen should give all Americans pause to recognize the Country will have a leader who tries to address the concerns of the many instead of his own base. Although this is a simple quality, it is something government has lacked for too many years while a democracy cannot properly function without it. The one expectation Americans can honestly have for their Forty-Fourth President is that he will try to address the interests of all Americans.