If you told me one year ago that President Barack Obama’s first year in office would mostly consist of multiple guest spots on late night shows and a Nobel Peace Prize, I would have laughed. After all, how could the 44th President of the United States, who promised a plethora of solutions ever since his induction, accomplish such a small amount?
Obama’s campaign bark has proved to have very little presidential bite.
To be fair, most presidents have had rocky starts themselves: along with Obama, both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton faced abysmal ratings after their first years and then would go on to be considered highly successful in the rest of their terms. The difference, however, lies in Obama’s campaign tactics one year ago.
Everyone remembers the key words of 2009: “hope,” “change” and a series of coined words to motivate voters. The only problem is that after the turn of the decade, there’s not much we can claim has changed, and in turn there has been a decrease in hope.
Going back as early as the first few days of being in office, Obama began several attempts at true strides towards change. After only two days as president, Obama signed an executive order to shut down the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison within the year, convincing many progress was on its way. Yet as of today, the prison still remains up and running.
The Healthcare bill, pioneered by Obama to bring about strong reform of the current system employed in the United States, has faced a rough year. Strong opposition from the right, along with various Tea Party activist demonstrations throughout the past summer has decreased popularity in the bill. As of now, the bill has become simply a bill of compromises between the far right, the far left, and everyone in between. Now with the Democrats slowly losing majority, it seems that reform won’t be arriving any time soon.
Besides the president’s attempts at altering the policies of the previous eight years with George W. Bush, it is what the president hasn’t changed that has caused some alarm amongst loyal supporters. Continuing warrantless surveillance and refusing to release information on past detainees has led to confusion as well as disappointment.
Judging by year one, it’s hard to be optimistic about the next three. While I do believe there is plenty of time left, I do also believe Obama may have doomed himself with strong promises and weak or no follow-through.