The maximum two terms as President for Barack Obama will be over in a few days, and only now are the citizens of the USA realizing what he has done for the country. Yes, he has made some errors along the way, but what politician hasn’t? I watched the Farewell Address he made on January 10th and also Joe Biden’s speech, and both were honest and open in what they had learned and how their terms in office had changed them, as well as what they had achieved.
I didn’t know much about Biden, as a Vice-President usually has no role or power except what the President chooses to confer. Obama was wise in delegating power, as Biden, a veteran of Congress knew everyone and how things worked on the Hill. The partnership was a good one, in terms of President and Vice-Presidents at least. In history there have been many Vice-Presidents that faded into the background and who were ignored by the President. One assumes that a running mate is someone that the President likes, but is in fact chosen because they can bring in votes that the candidate may lack. It’s purely tactical and the fact that Obama and Biden got on so well with a bromance only served to help the nation.
Obama always had a tough job with Congress determined to undermine him, just because they could. I was living in the US when there was a government shut down, and I didn’t really understand why or how it happened at the time. It didn’t affect me that much, but the state parks were closed and that meant there were no public restrooms for the tourists, or anywhere for them to seek information. I knew a few people who struggled with money and loss of pay, and people wondered how could Obama do this? It wasn’t his doing but a Republican controlled Congress. Few people still understand that and blame him.
Having listened to Biden’s farewell address when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I wonder if he would have been a better candidate than Hillary Clinton? Although he had run before and dropped out; without a doubt his commitment to public service was evident. I do feel that the recent death of his son would have affected his campaign, and battling against a former colleague would have divided the party even further.
I’m still astonished at people that cannot recognize the stability the Obama/Biden administration has achieved. Perhaps Americans need a sharp reminder of how things used to be during the Great Depression or the Slavery era? People suffered, but worked together to overcome the struggles, and it was the poor that suffered and not the rich who were in power. It seems history is determined to force a replay. I read today on Quora a Republican who fought against the ACA (also known as Obamacare), who concluded it had saved him money on his premiums and given him a higher level of medical cover, but still didn’t want to admit it was a good idea. I’m not sure how you can’t say something is good when you benefit? It’s this blind reluctance to accept that ideas that one opposes can actually be better?
As the inauguration of the new President looms, it has been announced that Bill and Hillary Clinton will attend as a courtesy. I’m sure that must be hard for both of them, but it signifies that they know what is expected of them regardless. Many in Congress are boycotting the ceremony, and one must wonder if it is a time to celebrate or to be on guard? I wonder what all those Hillary haters are thinking now—the ones who refused to vote for her and who either stayed at home or who made a non-vote for an independent? As Obama said, they had the power to elect the next President, but they chose ego or ignorance over a safe and sensible option. I know too that many will read this and say wait and see, but it was hard to watch the cabinet nominees at their confirmation hearings lie to Congress (you could see it in their face and stuttering of answers), and the world is worried and with good cause. We watch while Americans have chosen to take a risk with someone who is ill equipped to govern—how can those who don’t understand the needs of the masses truly work for them or govern?
It will take a while to analyze the effect of the Obama administration, but he did a good job in tidying up the mess his predecessor made and didn’t hold it against him either. If one looked to Obama’s weaknesses it was that he should have campaigned earlier and harder for Clinton. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Sanders, but in reality his policies would have cost more money and with a Republican controlled Congress, all those policies would have been shoved under a carpet and stomped on. Americans like to hold onto their money and give out as little as possible, in that respect Trump is a real American. Somehow, I don’t think people are going to want to invest in the US or even want to go and live there now, let alone visit. America seems a dark place, full of despair, hate, and anger and hardly united. Who on earth would want to live there now if it’s governed by a tyrant or demagogue*? Trump may have appealed to the masses as Sanders did, but the reality of what can happen is very different. A wise saying is that you never know what you had until it’s gone, and I feel many Americans will be quietly thinking this in the foreseeable future.
*Definition of demagogue
- 1: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power