Here we are exactly 16 months after Barack Obama became President, and it has certainly been a very active, busy, complicated one year and four months! There has been much turmoil and conflict, but a lot has been accomplished nevertheless!
Six months from now, after the midterm Congressional elections, the Presidential campaign will begin, with numerous Republicans announcing their candidacy in the last month of 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Anyone waiting longer to announce will have no realistic chance to be the GOP nominee for President in 2012.
Barack Obama will hold off announcing, but he will be ready to campaign on the record he has accomplished. The question is, so far, how is he doing?
In the most difficult times for any President domestically since Franklin D. Roosevelt, a neutral analysis (if that is truly possible), would show that Obama has led an activist government to match that of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society as a “progressive” era! Those two, and Ronald Reagan’s shift to conservatism in the 1980s, stand out as the most significant changes in American life in the past century, and Obama has a real opportunity to match the influence and the generational effect that Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan had in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1980s!
Obama was able to achieve an Economic Stimulus bill in the first month, followed by a long battle for Health Care reform, and now he is on the verge of major financial reform, with the passage by both houses of the Wall Street regulation legislation, which still needs reconciliation between the House and Senate bills, which will, hopefully be accomplished in the next month or so. All of these major pieces of legislation to revive the American economy, and promote necessary reform and regulation, have been passed with very few Republicans in support, and only those from the Northeastern part of the nation, a regrettable situation!
Obama has also brought about initiatives in science,technology and education, all designed to promote economic growth. He has also brought about new ideas in social reform and in foreign policy, a lot of it still in process.
Obama is trying to promote action against inequality, while working against discrimination, and for environmental reforms, and dealing with the need for diversity in energy supplies for the long term.
As the NY Times reports, this period matches three periods of extensive change since the Great Depression. The years of Truman and Eisenhower saw the GI educational bill, housing subsidies, the beginnings of health insurance offered by employers, and the interstate highway system. The years of Johnson and Richard Nixon saw civil rights laws, Medicare, Medicaid and environmental regulation laws. The Reagan years witnessed tax cuts, less regulation, and promotion of economic competition and expansion.
The ultimate effect of Obama will be determined by how much more is accomplished in the first term; the success of his accomplishments; and whether he serves two full terms instead of one.
There is no question about the historic significance of Barack Obama so far, and his imprint on America is likely to be greater as time goes on, despite the bitter, nasty attacks of the right wing propagandists! The more he is attacked, it seems as if he is more emboldened, in the same way that Franklin D. Roosevelt was inspired by his critics on the fringes of American politics in the 1930s! And all these years later, somehow, the fringe movements are a footnote in history, and FDR is seen as having had a massive impact! In the same way, Barack Obama is going down that path!