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Monday, March 27, 2023

Barack Obama: Decisions boomerang

President in the doghouse


Why Barack Obama is fast losing the faith of Americans
SAYAN GHOSH | Issue Dated: June 30, 2013, New Delhi
Tags : Barack Obama | Iraq War | Cold War | US Gun control measures | Geirge Bush |

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” was one of the trademark Obama promises on being a different animal in the corridors of Capitol Hill. He had been a socialist, a peace lover, sympathetic to the cause of Palestine, terminating the war in Iraq – and that’s being different. And a rising applause of appreciation he received too from the American electorate to crown him once more to the most coveted throne in the world with a thumping victory in last presidential election.

However, things have been going awry in recent times for US President Barack Obama. The personal data collection overdrive, which entails tapping phone calls and social media sites, has met with a response that is loaded with angst and outrage of the Americans. Obama's nosing around with the activities of journalists is being perceived to be in direct conflict with what America has stood for through out its history and particularly during the Cold War, i.e. freedom of the press and the people at large. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting of conservative groups like the ‘Tea Party’, which has sought tax-exempt status from the federal government, has come to be seen as unnecessary harassment. Also, there is a deep resentment as well as apprehension among Americans that the country’s population will swell by 30 million within the next decade and a half because of the amnesty that Obama has planned for foreign workers. The gun control measures that he promised, too,  have ruffled quite a few feathers – and without large public support looks destined to die.

And lastly, the US President’s tax cuts promises that were envisioned as a major drift from the Bush era tax structure (drawing down the rate to 28% and setting the property tax rate at 45% for property valued more than $3.5 million) is all but fated to sink into oblivion.

There are also accusations from various quarters that President Obama is fast losing the faith of American people and is looked upon with suspicion and incredulity. The catalyst fomenting this new perception has been his failure to reverse the trend of secrecy, which was started by former president George Bush and his lieutenant Dick Cheney. The culture of secrecy has in fact aggravated during Obama’s time as is evident by the rapid increase in FOIA lawsuits that challenges federal government’s withholding. The number of FOIA suits in 2011 increased by a gigantic 111% at State Department, 50% at Justice Department,  43% at CIA, 22% at Defense Department, and 15% at Home Security. No doubt that the recent decisions have only added to Obama's faltering public image and unless his administration takes urgent damage control measures, his legacy of being a different leader and a game changer in America's polity would come a cropper.   

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017