It was an event that invoked strong emotions of different kinds the world over. It had seemed impossible for a long time yet finally it had happened. It gave renewed hope to so many all over the world for different reasons. Many said “Yes we can” for various reasons. Barack Hussein Obama the son of an African immigrant had taken oath of the office of President . The first non-white American President and with a ‘funny’ name to add to it.
I remember dismissing his chances, with a chuckle, in the primaries. By the end of the elections I had spent so much of my time glued to the tv to watch the unfolding of this historic occasion. So much was expected of Obama, not only in America but the world over.
Obama became President amid one the worst financial crises in recent times. The global financial crisis of 2007-2009, largely attributed to the subprime mortgages, had swept all over the world plunging the financial markets into turmoil. All the theories of decoupling had been tested and now proven to be a farfetched fallacy. The world was connected!
Excessive leveraging had created a debt bubble. Securitisation in the “casino banking” era had resulted in creation of financial instruments which no one understood. The wholesale credit markets had frozen and resulted in a global recession which many feared would lead to a depression. Western governments began many measures of trying to stimulate their economies. They tried almost everything save for dropping money from helicopters.
This was the world economy when Obama took over and demand had been sapped , everyone was in fear. On the foreign policy front, America was arguably the most hated nation in the world largely because of the policies of “ Its either you are with us or you are against us” of George Walker Bush. Post 9/11, the world had changed and threats of terrorism always real and present.
Domestic-wise, immigration and health care were some of the thorny issues to be tackled. Fast forward to now, a few months before the mid-terms which the Democrats are thought to be awaiting a heavy defeat. Obama having signed his very controversial Health care reform bill into law, amid strong resistance. Job numbers still low and talks of a double dip recession gaining momentum.
Was this a poisoned chalice? Was Obama destined to fail? It is even more worrying that his poll numbers now suggest there is a strong possibility he could go down as one of the most unpopular Presidents of all time. “Yes we can!” was his catch phrase as he whipped America into euphoria during his campaign. Can he ? I am not at all suggesting that all things were just against him… Obama has made some PR blunders of his own.;notably the row of the police with the prominent black Harvard professor . Michelle Obama holidaying with her taxpayer paid entourage in Spain,at a time when America was adopting austerity measures and everyone cutting back.
Time will tell…