On the day of President Obama’s first anniversary in Office, the Democratic Party’s defeat in the senatorial elections in Massachusetts has been the final bitter drop to a rather complicated year.
Obama has had a rather full year with a rather favourable start due to his popularity as candidate, President-elect and during the first half of 2009. Three main issues have weighed heavily on White House decisions in this twelve months sin taking oath as America’s 44th President and first Afro-American to preside the world’s most powerful nation.
A change in Bush’s Iraq policy was probably the issue that best met with citizenry approval. This included the closure of the Guantanamo installations, a promise that has yet to be fulfilled. However, the international warfront did not end with the announcement of an orderly troop from Iraq. The anti-terrorist campaign in Afghanistan was likewise inherited from the Bush Administration. If new Iraq policy seemed acceptable, new troops for Afghanistan have met both with political and citizen objections.
Obama’s decision to reinforce American troops in Afghanistan clash with its effects on the U.S. budget precisely at a time when not only Republican politicians question such expenditure but also meet criticism from some Democrats. True to say, the Obama Administration has had to dump public funds to save the American car industry and salvage the country’s largest banks. Such financial effort has further strained U.S. reserves and added to the overburdened public expenditures.
To top it all, Obama’s promised health reform is another burden to the already overloaded public deficit. Resistance to said bill has already provoked tensions within the Democratic Party and has been the Republicans’ main issue brought up against the White House in 2009. The degraded version passed by Congress is up for the Senate vote just when the bitter defeat for the Massachusetts senatorial post has grabbed the Democrat’s majority in the Upper House.
What awaits President Obama in his second year in Office? With the honeymoon over, the White House advisors must drain their minds to come up with creative solutions to the dark clouds up ahead.
Fernando Fuster-Fabra, Madrid