Mr. Obama came to office four years ago all but consumed by what he inherited: two wars and an economy in free fall. He then confronted an exhausting series of crises and political problems at home and abroad: budget showdowns, a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Middle East turmoil, the rise of the Tea Party movement.
Through it all, he chose to wage additional battles of choice, most notably his successful push to overhaul the health insurance system. But not until this point, with the economy gradually mending, one war over and another winding down, with Osama bin Laden dead and the Democratic Party drawing strength from the nation’s changing demographics, has he had the opportunity to master his own presidency.
The beginning of President Obama’s second term is an opportune time to look back on his presidency. I have mentioned several times on this blog how disappointed I was about how he seemingly abandoned his rhetoric of the 2008 campaign trail once he got into office. I will admit here that much of that criticism was unwarranted.
This president probably faced more crisis upon entering office than any president of the last 100+ years. Not only did he have to face an economic crisis due to failed policies of his predecessor but he was also bridled with two haphazardly entered wars. Sometimes when you are in the middle of something it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Looking back it is amazing how well he did these things and then managed to get a meager form of universal healthcare passed a very obstructionist Republican party.
His inauguration speech yesterday was probably the most passionate speech I have ever heard. It revealed to me the Barak Obama I knew in 2008. He has not lost the progressive visions he espoused four years ago. They simply had to take a back burner to the very pressing disasters Mr. Bush left in the Oval Office when he quickly escaped into his cocoon of private life. Now that President Obama is unfettered by a continuous re-election campaign and has faced the reality of an ultra partisan congress he is free to promote the policies we need going forward into the 21st century. How much of the policies he will be able to accomplish only time will tell.
Yes, President Obama has some work cut out for him to reign in our current deficit problems but like his predecessor who was faced with the same circumstances about eighty years ago he will manage that quite well as our economy continues to improve and we wind down two wars.
I will spend some time in the coming weeks dissecting the president’s second term agenda. I will do what I can to help him wherever I can.
Congratulations President Obama for your re-election. Now get to work on the things you talked about yesterday.