It will likely be impossible for Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, to live up to the expectations of his adoring supporters.
First of all, a lot of them are quite young and even the ones who aren’t probably do not have much of a grasp of history. There is an arc to the popularity of leaders.
Following the drawn out agony of the Watergate scandal, Jimmy Carter went from being a fresh new face in the White House to a President who was seen as overwhelmed by the job as he lectured people to turn down their thermostats. He was pathetically inadequate when American diplomats in Iran were taken hostage in 1979. His post-White House outspoken sympathy for Islamic terrorists should be a warning to Obama to avoid any advice he offers.
The myth that has grown up around John F. Kennedy is largely due to his having been assassinated before he did much in office. In some ways, the young people who saw themselves and their future in him resemble those who are heavily invested in Barack Obama. Kennedy campaigned against Richard M. Nixon and there were widespread rumors that Kennedy’s pals in Chicago had helped steal the election for him. As Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun.
I doubt that Obama has any more of a grasp of the current national and worldwide financial crisis than Congress. He has, to his credit, surrounded himself by people who presumably can find a way for America to return to prosperity.
Obama will likely spread money around just like Franklin D. Roosevelt did, funding all manner of projects to stimulate the economy. It didn’t work for FDR and it is not likely to work for Obama. Only the business community and entrepreneurs riding the next wave of innovation will save the economy, but only if their taxes are reduced along with the web of regulation that strangles both risk-taking and success in the cradle.
Large corporations, however, have a harder time shifting gears and a lot of them are looking overseas to reduce their risk, reduce their costs of operation, and get away from a federal government that cannot pass laws fast enough to reduce their profit margins.
The expectations will likely be undermined by the short attention span of the young. By mid-2009 there will be a growing volume of voices asking why the recession is still hanging on, why new jobs in the private sector aren’t being created, and why did I have to move back in with my parents? The pain will be widespread and will not go away in a year.
Obama is a big government kind of guy. With his leftist philosophy, he will want to retain and expand federal power, but he will discover that the unrest out in the States far from Washington, D.C. will be magnified as the recession continues and could reach explosive dimensions if the nation is allowed to slide into a depression. I hope he finds the formula to avoid that.
His problems won’t just be domestic either. Enemies of the United States will see opportunities to further undermine its economy and even launch attacks. The southern border with Mexico could turn into a battleground as troops face off with narco-armies, well armed and busy fighting with everyone for territory. That fence between us and Mexico is going to look like a very good idea, but Obama is an open borders kind of guy. His popularity will begin to plummet if he sticks to that bad idea.
Finally, there are early signs that Americans, including the mainstream media, are at a tipping point with regard to whether global warming is real or a hoax. As a candidate who emphasized his green credentials, this is an issue that could swallow up his administration in controversy and disputation if more and more green restrictions conflict with American lifestyles and preferences. We’ve already learned that ethanol is a boondoggle and a farce. Let’s hope he avoids wasting millions on solar and wind energy when we need a new electrical grid and many more coal-fired and nuclear plants.
Any effort to ban gun ownership will run into an army of Americans who think it is their Constitutional right and they will be right about that. His proposal of a Homeland Security force similar to the U.S. military will rightly be seen by a lot of people as a private militia intended to install him in office for life. It is a spectacularly bad idea.
There are a variety of scenarios that represent traps for the new, young President, but how adroitly he addresses the economy will be Job One or else he will be sent packing in four years.
Instead of hating him from the moment he takes the oath as I have heard some say, we would be better off granting him some time to master the office and, most importantly, Congress.
The greatest obstacle to any success he might achieve will be his own political party, currently led by two of the greatest dunces to ever hold public office.