Obama Recast and Refocused to Recapture Direction and Legacy

by Paul I. Adujie

I do not want President Obama to fail; I have a stake in Mr. Obama’s success. Besides, Republican policies don’t interest me! However, I am increasingly worried at Mr. Obama’s prospects.

It bears restating the bare facts, President Obama inherited three major wars. Two foreign wars, and a domestic one. A war in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. And of course the civil war like domestic situation in American, which arose as a result of the financial meltdown and the economic debacle which ensued in the aftermath of the financial market meltdown.

President Obama and the Democrats committed egregious errors in the first twelve months upon receiving a landslide victory and a resounding electoral mandate in the general elections of November 2008. But so inexplicably, President Obama and the Democrats have been splendidly uninterested and unwillingly to state the facts as they are. The facts of how Republicans got America into two foreign wars and ruined the American economy by driving it too close to the precipice and disaster. Are Democrats are self-destruct?

First, President Obama and the Democrats seemingly called a unilateral truce with the Republicans who were repudiated at the polls by the American voting electorate. Republicans who were by now, political orphans, upon being repudiated, displaced and dislocated from power by American voters, Republicans, were quite unlike the giddy and ambivalent Democrats who had just come in from the cold after eight years without occupying the White House.

It was clear to all that defeat for the Republicans was deserved, what with three wars? Afghanistan, Iraq and the deeply troubled American economy as a consequences of the most cavalier regimen of deregulation foisted upon America and fostered by the Republicans? But, Republicans do have clear-eyed killer instincts, quite unlike Democrats.

Secondly, President Obama’s fixation on bipartisanship ignores what he himself knows to be true and self evident, which is that, everyday is an election day, at least, this is how the Republicans see politics. The Republicans are similar to hungry, and wounded lions who have already tasted blood in Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Republicans know the fight and seem always ready for the fight. Democrats fight and seem to quickly lose focus and seemingly become ambivalent and disarrayed.. Republicans understand the rules of fight or flight, the Democrats are distracted by the polemical gymnastics of fights and flights; the Democrats often gets sucker-punched as a result of these self-inflicted inattention or distractions.

During the summer of 2009, Democrats were busily emphasizing their own credentials as confused Democrats, Blue-Dog Democrats and Pink-Dog Democrats and Confused-Dog Democrats, and while the Democrats persisted in their ambivalence regarding own label, whether to be liberal or not to be, the Republicans pounced and seized the narrative and snatched the narrative from the Democrats.

President Obama was making efforts mightily on behalf of the electorate, without explaining such efforts and Republicans adept at commanding American narratives, swooped on the Democrats and won elections in Virginia, New Jersey, New York and most recently, in Massachusetts. Republicans extremists and fringe groups, Tea Party, warts and all, unleashed armies of rabble rousers, which corralled and coordinated public anger over spirally rate of unemployment rates which was over 10.2 percent nationally and actually worse in some localities, and much worse in the African American communities for instance. And in the end, what the American public knew about the Health Care Reform was what the Republicans wanted them to know and told them, such as the Death Panel nonsense etc.

Economic dislocations were exacerbated by mortgage foreclosure and high rate of unemployment, the Republicans which in fact used all manners of obfuscations and delays to derail President Obama and the Democrats engineered palliatives, managed to have emerged smelling like fresh flowers, after exploiting American public displeasure regarding foreign wars and domestic economic debacles.

All through the summer of 2009, President Obama appeared to have left his attempt at Health Care Reform on auto pilot, perhaps motivated by his unflinching belief in the fable also known as bipartisanship, to which the Republicans are not subscribers. And so, President Obama and Democrats in the US Congress who seemed confused all through the preceding twelve months, as to whether they like bearing the appellation and label of liberal poster child of American politics.

In all of this, Obama is beginning to look like David Dinkins and Jimmy Carter, a one term former mayor of New York City and president of the United States respectively, both, Democrats and fine gentlemen, were perceived by Americans as indecisive. Recently, President Obama was quoted in the press to have said that he would prefer to be an effective one term president than an ineffective two term president. President Obama may have squandered his electoral mandate during the first year, it remains to be seen whether he can recapture, recast, refocus his presidential legacy and place in history, but suffice to say, that the first year have been mismanaged and that the Republicans snatched the isolated victories in isolated off year elections, which could be a harbinger for President Obama’s legacy, mired one term or two, as president of the United States

On the foreign policy front, President Obama the candidate is not identical with Obama the chief executive and daily manager of America’s affairs. His policy regarding pullout from Iraq is uncertain, and on the matter of troop surge in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama became the war president who argued in favor of just wars. His American policy toward African nations remain inarticulate and unarticulated. And I am on record as expressing utter displeasure over his speeches to parliament in Ghana and to NAACP in New York City in July 2009. In the Ghana speech, he came across as an American president of Jewish heritage who visits Israel on his way to Auschwitz and Dachau, who says to Jews in Tel Aviv that the Holocaust was no big deal and in any case, it is time to get over it!

In my opinion, this is the moral equivalent of Mr. Obama’s off hand comments about the effects of slavery and colonialism on African development. His moving-right-along cavalier attitude regarding the historical horrors and brutalities directed at Africans and peoples of African descent, were most probably a delicately deft political calculation to please or placate conservatives at the expense at the rest of us. This is similar to Mr. Obama’s adamant insistence or belief that his attackers are not motivated by racism, even after President Jimmy Carter and others agreed with the rest of us, upon analyzing the tenor and tempo American national conversation regarding Obama. Mr. Obama seem to subscribe to the fluke which is also called post racial America, just as he similarly persists in pursuing a nonexistent bipartisanship with the Republicans who are set to dismantle his policies and presidency, one policy, and one election at a time. President Obama must avoid coming across as over-produced and too delicately balanced in his policy pursuits, as he stands the risk of being perceived as a feckless fake Republican-Democrat hybrid. I think it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who once said, paraphrased, those who do not have the gravitas to stand for worthy causes tend to fall for worth than useless things.

Furthermore, Mr. Obama’s foreign policy appears grounded or predicated on dialogue and multilateralism, and this, of course is a breathe of fresh, when contrasted against his predecessor’s arrogance and unilateralism. President Obama as candidate, was criticized by his opponents as appearing to be a champion of appeasement, and therefore a weakling. This was because of his stated desire to dialogue with Iran, North Korea and other real and imagined ene

mies of the United States. I find quite out of sync with Mr. Obama pronouncement and practice, the fact that he has no policy on Nigeria beyond the current infantile snub and slap, in which he denied Nigeria the “reward” of a stop-over “visit” for a few hours in July 2009, an act widely interpreted as a snub, and his recent placement of Nigeria on a terrorism watch list, which again, is widely seen as a slap and muscling attempt directed at Nigeria. These two acts are only capable of eliciting frowns, discomforts and even antagonism, not partnership and cooperation. Nigeria has always had a very friendly and cordial diplomatic ties with the United States, despite Nigeria’s internal or domestic wrangling and challenges. And on the matter of terrorism, Mutallab’s father is my best defense, he reported his son the Americans and he exemplifies the excellent character and integrity in the majority of Nigerians, 150 million strong. Regarding Nigeria therefore, Mr. Obama will need a shift of the paradigm, from snub-slap, to dialogue and engagement.

There is no doubt that President Obama’s presidential legacy, will for the most part, be shaped by domestic policies, and I have very strong feelings that the outcomes will be determined by his fruitless efforts at bipartisanship. President Obama seem ensconced and entrenched in his starry-eyed bipartisan utopian dreams, while Republicans and other political opponents of President Obama readies for the next election and fight for supremacy in American politics. President Obama and the Democrats will be better served to hold the feet to the fire of Republicans Party, the party of NO, and let the public see the Republicans for what they are. Similarly, President Obama also need to remind himself and his own party members, the Democrats, that they were elected to pursue policies for which the Democrats are known and loved. Bipartisanship is desirable, but in the current American political environment, it is rather a utopian wish and it amounts to a unilateral truce and self-limitation on the part of the Democrats, who are still shrill-shouting themselves hoarse about the necessity of bipartisanship with Republicans who are only interested in the next, and the next, and the next electoral victories

Bipartisanship as an idea remains an aspiration to what ought to be quite distinct from what is. Republicans have all through the first year of the Obama presidency, mounted solid opposition, locked step and very disciplined, even in their minority capacity. This fact seem to manage to escape the Democrats.

President Obama and the Democrats were elected in repudiation of Republican conservative policies, but, the Democrats are acting as though, they are confused as to what political and economic policies they represent.

President Obama and his Democrats must stand up and fight, and this means pursuing liberal economic, social and political policies for which they were preferred over the Republicans. President Obama’s Health Care Reform was not vigorously explained to the American electorate by the president and the Democrats, even so, it had 56 percent public approval, but subsequent to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, the Health Care Reform Bill received a 66 percent public approval rating, according to a CBS News poll, only barely a few hours after President Obama gave the speech or address to the US Congress.

This increase in public approval through understanding, is clearly illustrative and demonstrates how the president and his party dropped the ball in the public explaining department. President Obama and the Democrats inherent the worst economy since the Great Depression, and then the galloping trillion dollar public expenditure in deficit spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and then the stimulus package, necessitated by the damage wrought upon America by wrongheaded policies unfurled by the Republicans during their preceding eight years reign at American economic and political policy helms.

I am unable to understand why President Obama and the Democrats seem to think that they will be demeaning themselves, if they reminded the American electorate how we got where we are, while explaining as well, steps which the Democrats are taking to remedy these situations, and further, the derailing impediments, obstacles which Republicans are stacking against the Democrats, who are doing the heavy lifting and clearing the Augean Stable and undertaking the Herculean tasks cleaning up after the Republicans.

It should be, it ought to be very clear that the Democrats are engaged in doing the difficult job of cleaning up after the Republican induced public policy hurricanes, and who is better to do this explaining than President Obama and his Democratic Party, the inheritors of the gargantuan losses and mismanagement of the Republican years? Perhaps it is not too late for President Obama to explain, recast, recapture and refocus Democratic Party policy thrusts which takes cognizance of the electorate.

President Obama still has time to recast, recapture and gain momentum and refocus on what will be his presidential legacy, as a one term president, but preferably, my president for next seven years. There is so much stake in his outcome for the rest of the world, and me.

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