David Remnick’s magisterial biography of the President outlines that Obama’s calmness and collectedness are derived from his ambitions to be unlike his father — volatile, unpredictable, and absent. Senator Richard J. Durbin, one of Obama’s many mentors and substitute paterfamilias said he was “stentorian, professorial, self-serious — a cake with no leavening” and that he can “change styles without relinquishing his genuineness.”
With an election only 10 months away, Obama’s stiffest challenge to date will be getting re-elected. This upcoming November 2012 election will either vindicate the president, or admonish him as a failure. Summarized herein is why I think Obama has the Republicans licked:
Obama can claim multiple successes in foreign policy. Among them are committing the US and Russia to a nuclear disarmament Start treaty and to an inspection regime; the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Col. Qaddafi; the enacting of serious cuts to the defense budget; a withdrawal from Iraq; and a drawdown in Afghanistan. He has also established America as a permanent presence in Asia via the East Asia Summit.
The stimulus was actually successful! This according to not just the Congressional Budget Office but also is the genuine consensus among honest economists. Added to this, Obama’s emergency rescue of General Motors has propelled it back to being a number 1 carmaker worldwide. Official reports also confirm that Obama can take credit for 2.1 million jobs being created since he took office.
In choosing Romney, the Republicans have neutralized themselves in the one area where they could steal votes away from Obama: the health care debate. This is true in at least two different ways.
Firstly, Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 is successful in some areas while being resoundingly ineffectual in others. And precisely where it fails are the areas that Romney is least likely to point out. For example, Obama care will extend coverage to 32 million hitherto uninsured Americans by 2019. Yet 23 million Americans will still be alienated by the same time. In other words, the legislation only helps half of those in need. Similarly, to gain the necessary support to pass the bill into life, Obama had to discard the pieces of legislation that contain the cost of pharmaceuticals. Obama, moreover, is favoured by the Pharmaceutical companies, just ahead of Mitt Romney. All of this means that the monopoly interests of Big Pharma is hardly an area Romney will attack Obama on.
In addition, if Mitt Romney wins, he will have a hard time criticizing Obama’s health plan considering that it was most of the people that worked on Romney’s health care reform were the consultants for Obama’s policy.
What to expect:
The Republicans, as evidenced by the Florida primary, will have to really court the Latino vote, which was one of the key pillars of Obama’s 2008 strategy. Republicans will attack Obama over his conciliatory (relative to Congress, that is) policy toward Iran and their nukes. Yet this strategy will only make a rod for the Republican’s back insofar as the heated rhetoric of Iran may actually provoke a response from the Iranian regime. Be careful what you wish for, GOP.