Obama facing slim reelection odds
President Barack Obama’s approval rating has taken a hit over the past week.
According to a Rasmussen poll released Monday, Obama’s total approval rating was at 45 percent, compared to a 54 percent rating of total disapproval.
Presidents are judged by history, and history tells either the story of a commander-in-chief’s greatness or of their mediocrity.
The grade a president receives for his work is never fixed, but is rather always in flux. Long-term effects are sometimes not obvious until decades after a president leaves office.
For Obama, accomplishments such as health care reform, an increase in rights for gays, a more transparent government and a resolution to the Iraq War would be things sure to earn him a second term.
Achievement of all of these is likely impossible, so hopefully he achieves at least one of them.
But a president’s most important job, more so than the aforementioned tasks, is to overcome partisanship and to unify the American government in order to obtain progress.
Unity was among the pillars of Obama’s platform when he was campaigning for the presidency, and the most important thing he has yet to accomplish is erasing the barrier between Republicans and Democrats.
The stalled progress has not been due to bad proposals, dithering or lack of effort on anyone’s part, but from fighting what until now has been a never-ending uphill battle.
On the campaign trail, Obama would say that he knew the challenges of the presidency, and that he would rather serve as the nation’s leader when times are tough.
The job has certainly been as hard as he could have ever expected, but conditions could be much worse.
In a Jan. 25 interview on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, Obama talked about his focus of being greater in the short-term instead of average with longevity.
“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” Obama said.
His focus is in the right place; he’s thinking hard about right now and not re-election in 2012. The American people are his ticket to another four years.
Obama still has two years to show every American that he can rise to the occasion, deliver on his promises and accept the blame if he can’t.
The struggles he has encountered are ones that are not impossible to deal with.
Two wars, a national debt in the trillions, a wrecked economy and a broken health care system were things Obama inherited.
It is Obama’s failure to find ways of erasing partisan politics that have been his ultimate struggle.
From the day he took office, Republicans were tasked with destroying Obama’s hopes at a second term. So far, their efforts have proven effective, as his approval rating shows.
But the Republican and Independent parties better have a plan for 2012. If they do not have new ideas to solve America’s current crises, they will have a tougher time defeating the incumbent administration when polling time comes around.
If the Republican Party continues its game plan of destroying Obama’s presidency and halting progress, it will face an impossible uphill battle in the elections.
Obama will need all of the hope that he campaigned with if he is to have a second term, and with it the potential title of a great president.
That recognition will not come from one term, no matter how much progress could.
Andrew Taylor is an economics senior and may be contacted at [email protected]