President Barrack H. Obama: Presidentially Unprecidented

by Tunde Ali

The presidency of Attorney Barrack H. Obama has put further credence to the aphorism that the wisdom of Solomon has nothing to do with the age of Methuselah. Obama who at different times has repeatedly stated that it is only in the United States of America that his history and achievements are possible. Coming from a lower middle class background that was characterized by single mother, absentee father, reliance on Public Aid assistance, and racially divisive society; rising to stardom is inextricably fierce.

Mr. Obama’s background evidently lacked the political dexterity of the likes of The Kennedy, The Clintons and The Bush ; but his accomplishments merely in the first One Hundred Days in office put him shoulder -to-shoulder with the aforementioned political juggernauts. Barrack Obama now a house hold and the most popular name in the world, meant different things to different people. To some, before and during the Presidential primaries, he was a tall, skinny guy with an unpronounceable names. Some call him names such as Obama, Osama, Orama, Yomama etc, The right wing conservatives labeled him Socialist, other regarded him as a pretentive Muslim, his political opponents see him as “untested and dangerously inexperienced”. John McCain referred to him as “That One” during one of the presidential debates. I once heard Michelle referred to her husband as “the guy Obama” while playing with some children during one of her visits to a Day Care Center in Washington, DC. But most Americans see Obama as an “Agent of Change” and an incorruptible Washington insider that is appropriate to lead America into the 21st Century. Oh, there is this group of people who defined President Obama with the letters of his name. To them Obama meant:

O: Originally
B: Born in
A: Africa to
M: Manage
A: America.

Whichever school of nomenclature you belongs, The overlapping paradigm about this man of men (President Obama) is that he is simply UNIQUE. The circumstances of his birth was unique, the family to which he was born into was unique, his growth and and childhood experience was unique, his choice of undergraduate school and his activities therein were unique, the circumstances that brought him and his wife together were unique, the decision to ignore a fat salary job in a Wall Street environment for a Community meager salary paying job was definitely unique. His decision and courage to contest public office in spite of the political dynasty of his opponents, his unpopular and funny names is nothing short of uniqueness. His campaign grand style, enthusiastic messages and unalloyed commitments of his supporters are unique. His fund-raising ability is unique, his ability to unperturbedly tolerate and accommodate insults, insolence and contemptuousness is unbelievably unique, his defeat of the political maverick (John McCain) at the poll, to say the least was outstandingly unique, his ascendancy to the office of the United States President as the first African-American and the occupation of the White House (originally built with the labour of his forefathers) as the official land lord is historically unique.

Propelled into office by the change driven Americans who are tired of the political and governmental misadventure of the Bush regime, President Obama understood the urgency and curiosity with which the Americans are anticipating changes in all facet of life. Change that will put immediate end to policies of grandiose insanity but install a regime with flair for accountability, human dignity, and transparency. January 20, 2009 Barrack H. Obama was sworn into office as the 44th U.S. President. He inherited a legacy of torture, impunity, unlawful detentions, collapsing economy, protracted wars, mistrust in the international communities including erstwhile U.S. Allies. Poor international image that was orchestrated by the arrogance of the immediate past administration etc. Undiscouraged by the inherited problems, he identified the opportunities in the difficulties and moved swiftly into action. He had during the election campaign argued that the President of the United States must be multi-task oriented. Therefore the president set fort and began to tackle multiple problems at the same time; the likes of which is rare in the history of American Presidents. Assisted by the coalition of different distinguished egg-heads, the president confronted the economy problem via the provision of the Economic Stimulus Package that eventually led to the initiation and passage of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With this legislation about $787 billion was pumped into the Economy for revitalization, reinvigoration and sustainability. Government was able to addressed the problem of liquidity ratio, credit crunch, restored faith and confidence in the U.S. Banking and Stock Markets.

On housing the president introduced Foreclosure Prevention Package that helped about 9 Million home owners to either secure better mortgage terms, refinance and or prevent outright foreclosure. Moratorium was placed on foreclosure while restructuring supports for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack on housing industry. Additional $10 Billion was voted to expand affordable housing.

With the Health Care, President Obama through executive prerogative extended the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIPS) to additional 5 Million uncovered children, while he continues to explore bipartisan approach to carve out health policy that will address the needs of another 40 – 50 Million Americans who are living without insurance coverage. He lifted ban on Federally Funded Stem Cell to channel a scientific road map to a lasting solution for all the monstrous diseases that threatens life expectancy.

Education, States and school districts were provided with $53.6 Billion to prevent lay off, $25 Billion was provided to support the education of at-risk and Special needs children, $1.1 Billion was voted to Early Head Start and another $1 Billion for Head Start thereby availing services for additional 120,000 infants and children over two years. College education was made more affordable by increasing the associated grants.

On Domestic Agenda, President Obama’s administration continues to restore the trust and confidence of the American people to the government and the financial system. He declared his government support and determination to do all that is required to restore and rebuild the economy and its associated fabrics. The president in his drive for new energy that is environmental friendly, initiated $2.4 Billion Competitive Grant program to help spark the manufacture of batteries and parts to run electric cars, to upgrade factories and hire more workers. Also, President Obama invested $400 Million in electric car production and infrastructures, he approved $7,500 tax credit to encourage Americans to buy them. This is part of the President’s effort to popularize alternative energy system and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Auto industries, notably Chrysler, Ford and General Motor were also provided with financial support to sustain productivity and remain competitive. Regulations to guide the operations of the Wall Street were being considered to prevent future regression into financial fiasco.

Foreign policy. On assumption of office, President Obama articulated a radical change in his Foreign policy agenda. To him constructive engagement, collaboration and negotiations with U.S. Allies will form integral part of his administration as opposed to imposition of United States values and terms. The President, having learnt from the mistakes of his predecessor, resolved to seek international partners to collaborate on common problems. He disabused the misconceptions of the Islamic world about the notion that the United States of America is at war with Islam. He however reiterated his commitments to fight terrorism to extinction; and to ensure peace and security of a world devoid nuclear weapons. The change in policy includes partial

lifting of embargo (finance and traveling) on Cuba Immigrants who would now be able to remit more money to their loved ones or visit Cuba freely. Furthermore with the policy of constructive engagement, President Obama opened-up to other nations that are classified as “axis of evil” and others whose relationship with the United States has been “murky” in the last eight years . This is a demonstration of humility and an opportunity for a new beginning. It is not a sign of weakness as ignorantly posited by some pundits. After all, if you prostrate to obtain something from a midget, when you stand up you will be taller than him. It is important to know that a country’s might is not determined solely on the basis of its, economic power or military invincibility, rather it is contingent on the country’s ability to tolerate other nations short comings, accommodate divergent views yet be able to negotiate his convictions to acceptance.

As a Constitutional Lawyer, Obama tirelessly stressed his believe in the Rule of Law. He condemned all forms of arbitrariness. Little did one wonder then that upon accession of office, Mr. president gave a directive to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. He argued that continuous existence of the camp negates his convictions and violates the fundamental principles which anchors American greatness.

Lily Ledbeth Fair Pay Restriction Act was passed into law in the first 100 Days. This is a law that eases restrictions for people wanting to sue over pay discrimination. This law removes requirement that employees file their lawsuit within 180 days of receiving their first unfair paycheck. Another effort at ensuring equality, fairness and justice which previous regimes had consciencelessly ignored or carelessly avoided.

It is an acceptable corollary that communications fathom relationship. If you chase people away from the public where debate is open, you will drive them into the hidden where rebellion is born. President Obama as a good communicator, a strength which his political opponents and pundits alike initially trivialized. He recognized this strength and has been using same to advantage, either to articulate the policies of his administration or to constructively engage people who disagree with his political-philosophy. This open approach account in part for his popularity and acceptability. His rating remains favorably high. To date, he is well loved and supported by majority Americans. That is not to say that there are no disgruntled and disillusioned political opponents and media pundits who refused to see the good work of Mr. President. Their perception is parochially rooted in a progressively fading political ideology that has lost its potency and relevance. Their mediocrity and insensitiveness is not worthy of my time, therefore I will leave them to history. However, this is not to suggest that the first 100 Days in office did not have its problems or mistakes; however, the shortcomings are minimal and a reminder of the fact that President Obama is a regular mortal, therefore susceptible to fallibility.

President Obama’s first 100 Days in office is now history, his achievements within the period are clear indications that he has good understanding of the business of government. So far his regime has brought succor to the populace, restored trust and confidence of the people in the government and its efforts to stabilize the economy and improve the standard of living. He began a new agenda that is packaged to rebrand America not as the “Sheriff of the World”, but as a Formidable Partner seeking to collaborate with like minded international partners on common problems. Like President Franklin Roosevelt who revamped the U.S. economy after the first depression, and President Williams Jefferson Clinton who turned the inherited massive national debt from the first President George Bush into a trillion dollar surplus within eight years of his remarkable administration, President Obama’s achievements in his first 100 Days in office, in spite of his inherited gargantuan problems is unprecedented especially when you compare his administration with different predecessors over the same period. However, moving at the same pace, he would have no problem winning reelection, and at the end of his second term, he would have significantly changed the aspect of the American life that was detrimental to their collective existence, helped the Democrat to retain the White House, and repositioned America back to its hitherto enviable position in the globe.

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