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Monday, September 13, 2010

Obama-presidential moorings

These days Obama hardly resembles the leader who was elected President against all odds; nevertheless, the biggest factor that contributed to his being elected was a catastrophic predecessor. But since then again against all hype and hope Obama has spectacularly lost his way just eighteen months into his presidency. Though it may be ironical it starts to look that history might be cruelly repeating itself. The year was 1976 and Jimmy Carter from being Jimmy who was catapulted into the White House as the country was looking for a salvage from dark saga of the Watergate scandal and wanted to leave behind the ignominy of Vietnam war and its after affect on the American society. Painfully the Carter Presidency never took off and it soundly wound up at the end of one term to make way for the incorrigible Ronald Reagan who not only carried entire right behind him but also bound independents and substantial democrats to himself throughout his two-term Presidency. Is it happening all over again? Does Obama increasingly start looking like Jimmy Carter? To the horror of many the answer at the moment would be undeniably in an affirmative. Ironically, the Obama Presidency started immediately upon being elected and much before being inaugurated. The economy was floundering and George W. Bush on a cue from equally inglorious Republican President Hoover was performing an act of masterful inactivity. It was during those days when President-elect Obama appeared on the scene along with economists like Paul Volker, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and many others to reassure the country and world; he was equally instrumental getting stimulus packages through the congress. Nevertheless the corporate greed coupled with disastrous logic practiced by the predecessor had pushed economy into much deeper abyss than perceived. The abyss stared hard at common people while the corporate capitalists even made profit out of the turmoil. Somewhere along the way Obama lost the sight of the fact that in the eventual reckoning of success it is the 'stupid economy' that after all matters and in those dire times Obama should not only have put his diligence into economy but at the same given it a high visibility to assure the independent voters who in the first place elected him. Obama's grandiose dream of building consensus a la Lincoln was doomed from the start. Abraham Lincoln did not live in an age of sound-bites and did not have a rabid talk show host loudly wishing him failure on the day of his inauguration. Though, Lincoln did reach Washington for inauguration in a disguise to dodge a rumored assassin. Nevertheless, while seeking consensus Lincoln did not shirk from hard decisions otherwise Obama wouldn't be President today. Any astute politician must have known that after Rush Limbaugh's diktat no Republican would dare to support any Obama initiative and that should have sent him full throttle towards attaining his agenda in first two years with Democrats in control of the Congress. But that was not to be. He did as Jimmy Carter did though not exactly in the same manner. He squandered. We might never know the reason and will have to wait for historians to tell us. But squandered, he did. He had all right thinking people wishing him to be successful and advising him strategies to put economy up front. The cliché silver lining in the dark cloud has never been truer than now. Though it is very probable that Republicans in November will take control of either one or the both houses in Congress and will start reveling in dirty investigations all over again but that might at the same provide Obama an outside chance to prove his fighting character all over again. The scenario is grim to imagine; as Paul Krugman wrote that the spectacle of government shutdown during prosperous Clinton years may not be as amusing in these hard times. On a brighter note Obama can still be re-elected in 2012 only if grizzly moose hunting Sarah Palin manages to attain Republican nomination to join the immortal club of Barry Goldwater and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

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