Midterm Election: Obama effect

Nayeem Hossain

Nayeem Hossain

Last night was a mixed bag for me. I’m happy that I won’t have to say Carly Fiorina is my state senator and Meg Whitman is our state’s Governor. Both are ex-CEOs of silicon Valley success. Fiorina’s legacy is laying of 30,000 employees from HP and shipping those jobs overseas, taking hundred million in golden parachute deals. Meg Whitman was the CEO of E-bay, made insider deals and was so desperate for the job that spent 140 million of her own “kitty” pocket money in media campaign. She spent these money in a state where unemployment is 15% and the state has a debt of 17 billion dollars. But I’m sad to see the rise of the Republican propaganda machine triumph elsewhere. With highest number of House of Representative seats turn over since 1948 Democrats are now settling with 186 (projected around 193, still counting going on in some districts) and Republicans with 239 (projected 242). In senate Democrats lost the momentum but still has around 52 seats with two independents voting with the caucus and Republicans are now roaring with 46 (two seats still undecided). Overall a comprehensive victory for Republicans. But only on paper. According to a New York Times survey done before the election Republicans are still least favored party between the two. But still this monumental victory was a message to the Obama Administration that people expected more action then legislation from them. I think people expected way too much from him.

Today President Obama gave a speech in a press conference and admitted that the results were a reflection of voters frustration and as the executive head he takes responsibility for that. This is something new. In 2006 when exactly the opposite happened and the bandwagon of people’s mandate swung to the Democrats, Bush called the result a “misunderstood triumph” (whatever that meant!) and bashed people. I looked at Obama today and thought, there’s no place for a philosopher in politics. When he came to power he had all sorts of momentum behind him. Even centrist Republicans voted for him. But everyone probably thought he’s the Santa, who’ll bring Christmas all year round and people can go back to the same ignorant behavior that took the economy down. Also I think candidate Obama had no idea how complex the President Obama’s role will be. He had “tree hugging” liberals on the left, who started complaining from Day One, that he’s not liberal enough. And he had “tree cutting” conservatives who called him the closest America ever got to Stalin or Hitler (seriously, there was a billboard showing these three together). No matter what he did, was not good enough for either sides.

It took one president to double the deficit that all his predecessor presidents left behind, that genius was Bush. Obama inherited it, and now it’s his fault that the deficit is still not under control. The voters agreed. It took a deregulated investment market to create one financial bubble after the other and take the stock market to 14000 points and bring a catastrophic collapse, Obama inherited that and Republicans complained we don’t have those golden days. Voters agreed. Students are drowned in debt before going to the job market and found most manufacturing jobs are outsourced and corporations are near to bankruptcy. Obama inherited that, Republicans said unemployment rate is at 9.5%!!! Voters agreed. A vice president said he’s not liable to answer to the President nor to Congress because the office of VP is not clearly an executive or legislative branch, Republicans Called Joe Biden as a partisan loose cannon (Tea Party Candidate Sarah O’Donald). Voters almost agreed (she lost!). A country with the lowest acceptance rating among international community was Obama’s inheritance. He declared Guantanamo Bay will be closed by 2011, stopped active combat missions in Iraq, the first time in a long long time forced Israel to the negotiation table, instead of just bombing allowed even Iran to help in development of Afghanistan, changed the foreign policies upside down and Republicans called him a Muslim President who’s taking the country to Socialist-Sharia-Terrorist triumph country. Believe me, a lot of voters agreed!!

What voters didn’t agree was with a legislation that covered 30 million average Americans who didn’t have health insurance. A legislation that stated credit card companies can’t just drown you to debt by rising your interest rates when ever they want. Brought the first education bill in thirty years, took over the ailing motor industry of Detroit and saved millions of jobs. Among them GM (which Republicans called Government Motors in election ads) are hiring for the first time in decades. Stock market went up to 11000 points, gave tax breaks to small businesses for hiring employees, and providing health care, new machineries can be written off right away. All together 18 legislations were passed. All these were too little done for Americans.

They just looked at their pocket and said well I used to have 100 dollars (which they didn’t earn, probably was a credit card!) and I don’t have it. Jobs are not there and I don’t care that my debt will not go up, I want to blame this government. 62% of all voters, according to the exit polls of CNN, economy was the main issue. People wanted quick fix. Provide jobs, was the call but forgot private sector is not hiring and Government can’t force to do in a free economy. Frank Roosevelt spent millions of dollars by hiring people to built damns, highways, national parks. That kept the money market flow. Well now it’s kinda complex. “Shovel-ready projects” were what Obama thought will mobiles these huge unemployed workforce. But when he got into office there weren’t any projects that government can mobilize. Problem is the administration didn’t play the most important game in politics, because they thought they are in Washington to “Change” things. They didn’t play the blame game.

Candidate Obama and Democrats did amazing PR campaign. They pointed out the mistakes and he told them he had ideas to fix it. People listened. When they went to Washington instead of being a fixer, he became a philosopher. I remember in a town hall meeting before the health care reform someone had a placard saying “President Obama, not Professor Obama”. The ideas were great, but the lessons were ill-timed and people lost patience. The Democrats didn’t blame the Republicans enough for their mistakes and left the field wide open for the rightists shout from Birth Certificate, to religious faith, to socializing government control, to alien invasion!! The left wasn’t helpful either. Everyone had their own agendas and thought that’s the most important agenda of all. When their point was not taken, Obama became a centrist and a “betrayer”.

The administration didn’t identify peoples’ psychology either. They thought, people will be patient and resilient and will change habits. Also they wanted to achieve the most difficult legislation when the momentum was high. The time and effort the administration wasted on health care brought immense pressure on House preventatives whose constituencies had no job and foreclosed neighborhoods. They paid the price in this election by loosing seats in blue collar Democrat states like Illinois and Pennsylvania. When they needed support to make people understand the financial benefits to their people they didn’t have Obama. Also the House voted for the most comprehensive bill for environmental reform which was a bipartisan move. Obama administration didn’t push for it in Senate, instead went for health care. Many conservative Democrats and some liberal Republicans felt betrayed and many paid the price for that vote too. The good jobs were not publicized and the negative bashing was left unchallenged. Result a rising Tea Party movement, that has now two Senators and fifteen House Reps. Oh! did I mention Ten Governorship also changed hand from Dems to Repubs!!

This is not the first time that a massive change in mid-term election happened as a mandate to the President as I mentioned before in a blog. But the problem is, this is the most partisan political scenario that many political Pundits says since WWII. That can’t be good news for Obama! The House Democrats would think twice to back him now, and liberal Republicans have ultra Rightist Tea Party Movers with a candidate ready. How many legislation would pass in the next two years will be a monumental job for the Obama Administration. Already the incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner and Tea Party Senator Rand Paul has vowed to repel Obama legislations.

Immigration is going to be a huge issue. Obama talked about a “Dream Act” which will allow children who grew over here, went to school but are still undocumented because their of their parent status will have a chance to get documented. That can go to sleep. Cap and Trade was held, now it’ll be interesting to see what this Congress will do on Environment issue. Alternative energy is a sector where many white collar and blue collar jobs could be created. That looks like a far fetched idea.

The next two years Obama should listen to one Bangla song “Akla Cholo re”! 🙂

The next two years Obama should listen to one Bangla song "Akla Cholo re"! 🙂

3 Responses to “Midterm Election: Obama effect”

  1. Sally Hill

    Yes, shame on Meg Whitman for spending 140 million IN the state where she campaigned. IN a state with huge unemployment and debt. I can see how anyone would be really upset about someone spending that kind of money in a depressed state such as CA. Wise up….I’m not saying she should have won (I don’t live in CA) but surely her hefty spending helped countless businesses and individuals, yet you seem to hold that against her. Could that type of reasoning be what is ailing CA in the first place????

    People expected way too much of Obama because Obama himself promised and mislead the people way too much. He allowed himself to be a blank slate that people who voted for him (I did not) projected their own ideas and expectations upon him – the worst part of that was HE ALLOWED IT TO OCCUR. He very well knew what was happening as he started trying to reign in all those big expectations the night of and the days following his victory. Obama has no one but himself (and his handlers) to blame for his abject failure. He set himself up to fail from the campaign going forward. There was simply no way he could deliver on everything he promised. NONE. And he is completely 100% at fault. I’m sure he wishes he could blame Bush, but even a far leftist probably wouldn’t even buy it.

    Going forward in your article, I don’t understand most of what you are saying. You think he inherited all these problems under Bush, and while Bush certainly was POTUS for the previous 8 years (and not a very good one at that) you failed to even mention, let alone hint, that during the last two years of the failed Bush administration who was in charge of Congress – BOTH HOUSES….the democrats. In case you are unaware the President alone cannot deregulate or make policy. Congress must submit bills and legislation for the President to either sign or veto. Bush is no saint, but the Dems certainly had an equally heavy hand in the economic collapse. To make a distinction between the parties is a grave mistake. Neither party is working for you the individual…they are both corrupt and are working for themselves and their special interests. We The People should be their special interests, but we are not. You seem to think this holds true only for the Republicans – wise up.

    Your article is confusing at best. I really have no idea where you actually stand on issues. Obama is a failure of his own doings…without any help from the Republicans. All the legislation he passed the last two years were fraught with corruption and backdoor deals which sent the bulk of the money to special interest groups rather than actually funding the initiatives he put forth which is why his stimulus bill didn’t put anyone to work or help the economy recover. His narcissism got in the way of common sense – he thought I’ll endorse this idea and it will fix everything just because of who I am and how great the American people think I am. What hooey! All the legislation that has been discussed and planned for the next two years are fraught with the same issues….in addition to just being bad for the economy and America as a whole. They won’t be passed because he simply won’t have the votes any longer, but if they were to pass, they would have the same disastrous result as the first two years of legislation.

    I really have no clue what this man thought as he entered office….clearly he was and still is out of touch with reality. Being a superstar and thinking you are ‘the chosen one’ might give him some sort of fuzzy feeling inside, but that fuzzy feeling Obama experiences on a daily basis doesn’t put food on our tables or clothe our children.

    You touch on some good points in your article, but like Obama, you can’t see the forest for the trees. (i.e. the positives of Whitman spending money in a bad economy). Bash her for her policies that you disagree with, but to bash her for spending HER own money that she herself worked for in a near bankrupt state is ludicrous and exactly the kind of liberal thinking that has CA in the financial condition it is in today.

    P.S. He promised to close Gitmo in 1 year from his taking office – NOT 2011. He didn’t keep his promise nor will he close it by 2011. It’s there for a reason and apparently he was too out of touch to understand those reasons prior to his taking office. I’m willing to bet he now understands why it exists and that there is no way to close it, nor would it be in our best interest to close it….that’s why it is still open.

  2. nayeem hossain

    Sally,

    There’s no shame in loosing while spending. But I didn’t understand how spending her of 100 million actually helped local businesses and created job. In an election, volunteers, who do most of the work, don’t get paid and majority of the money these days are spend on TV ads. So when Meg Whitman was spending millions to buy airtime of CBS,NBC,FOX and ABC’s prime time slots, I don’t think those TV companies were pledging a part of that money to the local businesses. Besides you pointed out that those were money “earned” by her, which is true. Those money were earned by insider trading she did while in Goldman Sachs advisory board and simultaneously being in Ebay. She earned it so fair and square that a Federal Judge had to order her to pay back her compensations from Goldman Sachs, and now all those offshore account money is pouring in. If she’s so desperate to help then she should’ve started a charity or community service. That would’ve been more appreciated in our neighborhood schools, trust me. Another thing is, all in all in 2008’s presidential election we spent 2.8 Billion dollars in advertising campaigns. Now that’s combined and nationwide. If your analogy is correct then 2009 1st quarter unemployment rate should be around 5% for all the seasonal job that money would have created. And your idea of spending creates jobs sounds very much like what Obama was saying all along with his stimulus bill, isn’t it?

    This article was not to show where I stand on issues, so I’m not surprised you are confused. We all like to see either in Blue or Red colors these days. I did mention that Obama misread the psychology of the population and he himself admitted that in the press conference that being in White House comes with the default handicap of living in a bubble. But the uncooperative attitude he received the moment he took office was something he didn’t deserve. Even John McCain admitted some of the attacks that was targeted towards his 2008 opponent was unfair, and that comment was used against him in the primaries by Tea Party Movers, reminds me of a phrase “You are with us, or against us.”

    No doubt Washington Congressional System is inefficient, that was something Obama said time after time. He didn’t want to use executive orders just because of that, but had to appoint very qualified people as staffers rather then federal appointed officials just because the partisan hearing was taking for ever to appoint them.

    At any point no one in Washington or anywhere is saying what happened didn’t happen because of the Democrats miscalculation. But the way Republicans opposed him on every step, I doubt if they’d do anything in the next two years. What will the achieve? In the end, it’s you and I who’d be suffering right? The idea was to show an overview of what was suppose to be pointed out as mistakes, was pointed out as failures and things that could’ve taken the country forward didn’t because of the partisan politics. Just listen to Fox News and see how many times they call him “Mr. Obama” instead of “President Obama”, that’s highly unprofessional and to me offensive.

    About Gitmo, I clearly remember the outcry when we decided to move the prisoners in federal jail. We started a campaign as if they are going to live in our neighborhoods. We can have criminals like Timothy McVeigh, The Shoe bomber or Charlie Manson in our jails receiving “fan mails”, but a 14 year old kid detained from Afghanistan living in a maximum prison facility would be a national threat!!! I don’t like to advise people to wise up, but I think using logic might be important. At least the administration is trying to do the right thing, by giving these people a chance to stand on trial, and if they are proven guilty shoot them! I don’t care!! Besides keeping on a sovereign country’s backyard really doesn’t raise any credibility for us in anyways.

  3. Sarika

    The Republicans took the Congress and made major gains in many states not because of Obama failure but because of conservative right wing fever within the US heartland. The unending war in the middle east, declining US economy, fiscal mismanagement by the Bush government, a surging Asia, Greece, Iceland and Ireland’s inability to sustain their economies and Obama errors to some extent have all added to the midterm debacle. A decade of wrong policies cannot be blamed on a President who has been in office for just two years following the worst foreign policy blunders in history.

    Obama actually had rescued the US from its isolated position in the international arena. He also indirectly helped the US come out of the economic recession if not a major depression had Bush continued.No US president in history had been disliked so much by billions of people around the globe.

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