Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Dose of Humble Pie

He believed Washington alone could mandate change to solve the problems of the United States and its citizens. He believed one political party alone could dictate that change, whether the American people wanted it or not. He believed he and his party were the voice of the American people. Now that the opposition has taken control of the House of Representatives, and achieved major gains in the Senate, how does that crow taste Mr. President?

With Republican gains in Congress, the agenda of President Obama and the Democratic party ostensibly has been demolished. The American people sent a clear referendum on the direction of the country, with a message that progress promised – by both Obama and soon-to-be former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – has not been forthcoming. Mainly, because there has been no progress or even the hint of such. A multi-billion dollar, taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street, bankrupting public coffers in favor of the very instigators to the economic downturn? A GDP growth rate at a dismal 2%, ranking the largest economy in the world barely 15th – tied with Pakistan – in terms of growth? And the most telling, an unemployment rate hovering over nine percent – peaking at 10.1% in October 2009 – for the last 17 months, the second worse period since 1982? Compare that to 6.3% in June 2003, the highest ever reached during the much-maligned Bush era.

Faced with the political shift, Obama immediately danced the Potomac two-step in an attempt to portray himself as a centrist. A leader willing to compromise in the crafting of policy and legislation – a concept rebuffed during the first half of his term. Yet, by all appearances, he is still failing to understand the disconnect among voters. The lesson of the mid-term is not that his administration has not done enough; rather, that the American people do not approve of what has been done so far. Espousing a more moderate stance in defeat is hardly convincing that, overnight, he truly has turned humbly to the center for setting an agreeably bipartisan agenda, rather than just for his own political survival.

©2010 Steve Sagarra

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