STUDENT SHADOW PRESIDENT UPDATE
President Barack Obama now knows who his GOP opponent will be. The president expects stiff opposition from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. President Obama made history by becoming the first standing president to support same-sex marriage. Obama made this declaration in time for his reelection campaign. Some observers expect that Obama's support of same-sex marriage will win him huge support with gay and lesbian voters at the polls, while Obama will lose support from the African American church, which was pivotal in getting African Americans out to the polls in Obama's historic 2008 campaign.
While presenting himself as a man of Christian faith four years ago, Obama said that, in his opinion, marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. Questions on the subject of same-sex marriage over the next two years would draw a presidential response that his opinion about same-sex marriage was "evolving." An interesting spin on Obama's "evolution" on the subject of same-sex marriage centers on publicized accounts of discussions involving him and his wife and daughters regarding some of their daughters' friends having parents who are gay or lesbian. According to reports, Obama's evolution on the subject had a great deal to do with thoughts that his daughters expressed about the subject of gay marriage. Many who have criticized Obama's leadership may point to this as another indicator of the president's weak leadership and decision-making skills.
Barack Obama has come under scrutiny over the past four years for his apparent disconnection from issues impacting the African American community, such as unemployment. In April, Obama drew criticism for dismal African American presence on his campaign staff. In a photo of his staff at his Chicago headquarters, one could observe that only two of his staff members are African American, prompting concern from his own administration relative to violations of equal-employment-opportunity laws.
Many in the African American community may not support Obama at the polls based upon record levels of unemployment. As I mentioned in my column in the March edition of this newsletter, Obama's "stop whining" admonition to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), in the face of criticisms aimed at him for his "perceived" disconnect from the African American unemployment issues, angered many veteran African American politicians. Based upon simple analysis, one can see that Obama stands to have less African American voter support at the polls. Whether the increase in support from gays will offset the possible loss of support from African Americans will be determined by pollsters on Election Day.
Obama's lackluster performance with the economy can no longer be handled by blaming George W. Bush. According to a CNBC interview at the end of May, Romney pointed out that the Obama administration has had nearly four years to turn the economy around, but its policies have not worked. In fact, Romney insists that the Obama administration's policies have been, in large part, responsible for the economy not recovering. Romney insists: "Their policies have not worked, and in many respects their policies have made it harder for the economy to recover. I think [that] that's one of the reasons why people are looking for a new direction."
Voters may reflect this same type of thinking at the polls as this economy still appears to have ground to a halt. In the month of May, only 69,000 jobs were created, according to reports from the U. S. Department of Labor. These mediocre numbers sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 275 points. Bad news such as this does not come at a good time for the president, because these are the months during which voter opinion on the economy is formed heading into the November election. President Obama insists that new jobs are being created, just not fast enough. At this rate, his time may run out.
Obama supporters point to "political gridlock" and the failure of Congress to cooperatively work with him in passing his policies when he is criticized for the miserable state of the economy. In the beginning of his tenure, this argument made sense, but it may be wearing thin as the election approaches. Obama loyalists insist that Republican control over the House of Representatives for the last year and a half is the cause of stagnation despite the president's proposals about how to accomplish economic recovery. Obama called for more federal spending on public-works and construction projects projected to create 51,000 jobs. Congress did not approve the spending.
Obama and his supporters believe that their strongest hold card in his bid for reelection will come in the area of military and terrorism policy, where his loyalists have attempted to present the president as "tough" and "gritty." He can hail the assassinations of Osama bin Laden, Muammar Khaddafy, and key al-Qaeda operatives. He has been called the "drone warrior," yet he has been criticized for a lack of action against the regime in Syria for mass killings against civilians. Charles Krauthammer, a columnist in the New York Daily News and the Washington Post, reported in early June that President Obama has baseball cards, on which are printed the names and bios of suspected terrorists, that he shuffles to determine who shall be the target of drone strikes. According to the report, the decision about whether to proceed with these drone strikes is totally up to President Obama.
Dr. Matthew Anderson
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