Next week, President Obama will appear before Congress to deliver the annual State of the Union address.
Obama’s high-powered campaign, with record-breaking financial support, was a showcase of precision, a well-scripted message that hit the sensitive concerns of voters. He blamed the country’s domestic and foreign troubles on the Bush administration and made “change” the central theme of his program.
Time and time again, he called for “change,” and at one rally shortly before the election, he told his audience he and they were only five days away from being able to “fundamentally change” this country.
Whether due to his constant call for change, the massive funds he had to power his campaign, his ability to communicate and deliver his message, a poorly funded campaign by his opponent John McCain, the dislike of the George W. Bush years, the anger of Democrats who thought Bush had stolen the election from Al Gore, the complacency or malperformance of Republican officeholders or other reasons — or a combination of all the above — Obama moved into office with tremendously high expectations.
The nation’s major media had given him a green light almost from the beginning. He could say almost anything, make any charge, and not have it checked for accuracy. The general public seemed mesmerized by his well-scripted speeches mostly delivered with the help of almost invisible teleprompters. He called for redistribution of wealth and made promise after promise, and the public bought it all, hook, line and sinker.
He was sworn into office just about a year ago, on Jan. 21, 2009, in front of a record crowd stretching from the Capitol steps to the Washington Monument.
Although Republicans didn’t like to lose, it’s safe to say that on Inauguration Day, most Americans hoped Obama would be a good president. He had promised that he would work with all members of Congress in a bipartisan manner, that his administration would be known for its openness and transparency and that it would be a clean government, free of lobbyists and open to the ideas and thoughts of all.
He was going to have American troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and restore Uncle Sam’s prestige throughout the world.
That was a year ago. It sounded good and the public bought into it.
But now, a year later, most of Obama’s promises and pledges have fallen flat. The only constant is that he remains determined to transform the country, transform it into a country of his liking, in many ways, trying to change a country that has enjoyed a proud and glorious history over the past 220 years, a country that is the envy of millions of those living in other parts of the world.
His stimulus bills have placed this country at a record level of debt, and his plan to hold unemployment to 8 percent has been shattered. There has been no “transparency” in his administration and his promise to let the public and Congress — and C-Span — know every detail of his health plan proved to be false. He appointed “czars” to run major businesses bypassing any hearings or confirmation process, and he pledged to have the Guantanamo Bay detention facility closed by this week. His health care plan, which consumed a significant amount of time this past year, has fallen apart. Lobbyists not only remain very active in their efforts, but he has several former lobbyists high in his administrative team.
The government has taken over private companies such as General Motors and Chrysler and has entered the banking and housing business, and there is no question that he wants the government to play an even greater role in the everyday lives of all Americans. He is determined to redistribute the wealth in the United States, and he intends to change tax laws, although many of the changes will make it even more difficult to lower the unemployment numbers.
There’s no question that he will deliver an eloquent State of the Union speech. He will display his usual positive, if not arrogant, manner when telling those in Congress his take on the state of the nation, but he, those in Congress and a good percentage of his television audience all know he is going to have to start all over in his efforts to fundamentally change this country.
His efforts to date have been intense, but those in Congress, even the large Democratic majorities in both houses, and the public have not bought into his dreams of “change.” They are opposed to the socialization of this country.
Next week, will the country see the same Obama as they have witnessed over his past year in office? Will he try to soften or disguise his intentions? Will he realize he must moderate or change his “changes”? Or will he be as positive and cock-sure as he was during his campaign and first year in the White House?
Has he learned any lesson this past year, or is he committed to trying to run this country in the same manner as the Chicago politics that perhaps shaped his early political training and beliefs?
As was the case a year ago, most Americans still want Obama to be a good president, as the country and its citizens will benefit. However, a year later they have far more reservations about the “changes” Obama may want as they now know just how extensive and damaging Obama’s “fundamental” changes would be for the country.