The Barack Obama juggernaut swept into office in 2008 under the banner of change and unity, two rallying cries that reinvigorated the blasé and jaded section of the electorate. He was armed with a war chest of the likes never seen before, accompanied by an army of politically outspoken glitterati and aided ultimately, by a waning George W. Bush, his predecessor.
It would be unfair though to solely credit Obama’s ascension to the highest office in the land to merely external factors. Obama is exceptionally intelligent, articulate and possesses an old-school, hands-on approach to politics that harkens back to the days of Strom Thurmond, or even, the more contemporary Rudy Giuliani – albeit with infinitely more panache.
However, as the euphoria of his victory began to steadily die down, the 51-year old has had to deal with a growing number of issues that have taken the shine of his presidency. Questions about his controversial Affordable Care Act, the stagnant national unemployment rate, his perceived big-government approach, the Birther accusations (which many felt carried unpleasant racial undertones), allegations of ties with radical socialist elements, and more recently, the debt ceiling battle in the Capitol, have seen his stock plummet.
His supporters, nevertheless, claim that most of the issues that are weighing him down were inherited from the previous administration, and Obama is merely cleaning up the mess; two unpaid wars, the worst economic depression in 80 years, a broken national health care system, the battered international reputation of the United States, and a horrific job market crash, were just some of the issues he had to contend with.
They are quick to highlight his success in hunting down Osama bin Laden, his job-creation numbers (which have already overtaken the Bush administration’s eight-year tally), the recovery of the Detroit automotive industry as a result of his bailout plan, the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, the effective military approach in aiding three successful African revolution – all proof of President Obama’s effective policies.
However, the biggest question among his detractors is whether President Obama is capable of charting his own course and holding the country to it. His concessionary approach is gradually being interpreted as a symbol of his indecisiveness and lack of conviction - which under the present socio-economic conditions and the Republican-dominated Congress, is threatening to consign the nation into a rudderless second term of his presidency. Furthermore, the more liberal section of his support base is increasingly dismayed by his apparent shift to the center, which is seen by many as a capitulation in the face of a sustained conservative onslaught. There are growing calls for him to stand his ground and to fight for the cause of the people that elected him.