Obama defends legacy

Nestor MataNEW YORK
Just nine months in office, President Barack Obama and his White House advisers or, as they are called, “czars,” are already defending his presidential “legacy.”

While jetting across the country on a fund campaign for Democratic candidates in the coming 2010 mid-term elections, Obama is also doing in his speeches “a line-item defense” of his record in office, so far.
He is doing this because of political criticism of his record of health care, climate change, reforming immigration laws, the war in Afghanistan, battered economy, and other issues. He had promised to do all these during his campaign for the presidency.

Even his media cheerleaders in print and broadcast media, who had sky-high hopes for him, are now feeling a great let-down. Other liberal pundits say it’s not Obama’s fault, but the system’s.

On the other hand, conservative commentators say Obama’s all talk and not much action. As one put it bluntly, the President “seems to have traded in his position as our economy’s commander-in-chief for a different role: pundit-in-chief. He and his top advisers are suddenly very big on urging, advocating, recommending, strongly suggesting, and cajoling!”

What’s happening? The answer may be found in the fact that Obama’s expectations were not tempered by reality. To put it another way, Obama’s “Yes-We-Can” idealism run smack into the “No-We-Can’t” culture in Washington!

The best explanation though may be found in Gallup’s interesting survey information that the view on the right is that the country isn’t buying what President Obama is selling.

This new poll, according to Jennifer Rubin of Commentary magazine, noted that “conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009.”

Here are pertinent excerpts from the Gallup survey: “Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009… Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal…”

“This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008 when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group. What is more, independent voters are titling Right …”
“This raises a few serious issues for the White House and the Congress.

“First, as the Democratic-controlled government is racing to the Left, the country is moving Right.
“The latter may well be a backlash against the very policies pushed by the Obama team, and against those policies’ consequences (e.g. more debt, bigger government).

“And the decline in the approval rating of both the President and the Congress may well reflect the public’s aversion to their liberal agenda.

“Second, lawmakers can read the polls too, and at some point those who have been buffaloed into voting for liberal measures (e.g. cap-and-trade) for the sale of party unity will resist further entreaties to cast votes at odds with the voters’ tilt.

“Third, the notion that the country’s political center was shifted and reset in 2008 apparent was just wishful thinking.”

One can see now why POTUS Obama, his White House czars and sympathetic pundits in media are breathlessly defending his “legacy” or policy changes that are happening under his watch.
As noted earlier, he has been under fire on nearly every policy front and from members of every political stripe, ranging from liberal and conservative Republicans and Democrats. And he is also getting hit for being slow on gay rights issues.

Oh yes, even the independents that supported him during his campaign for the presidency are now back on the fence.

The POTUS appears to be taking the brickbats calmly. In his fundraising speeches from San Francisco to New York, he defends his governing style and continues to voice his hopes and dreams. “Governing is tough because there are conflicting interests” and “…things take time. Our problems won’t be solved overnight, especially problems that grew over the course of decades.”

And today, his election year mantra “Yes, we can” has been transformed by several thousand supporters here in New York into a chant “Grab a mop” to clean up the mess Republicans left!

Anyway, as they say in politics, be it here or in the Philippines, history will eventually judge whoever is in power, kindly or otherwise. In Obama’s case, history will judge him over the long haul. He has, after all, over three years to go before his first term ends.

If President Obama succeeds in fulfilling his promises and carrying out his policies and programs of government, then a second term may very well await him in 2016.

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