By Dwij Rogbeer
“Yes we can”, four years ago that speech resonated through the USA when that new Democrat candidate presented himself for the successor of the up till then Republican White House of George W. Bush. He was charismatic; charming some would say, and of course, he was a visionary. Indeed he promised a major health care reform and the end of war in Iraq, amongst others.
Being black didn’t seem to hinder him; it served instead to promote him. Fall 2011, election results were announced… Barack Obama had won against Mc Cain by a large margin. The 44th leader of the free world was black. The visionary had won against the Republican Conservatives. Four years later, Obama was still preferred to Romney despite what I would call ‘changes in his personality’ having taken place. Indeed, Obama is no longer that visionary who marked history at the time of first election. He had shown his limits against Romney on the first presidential debate. He was no longer that charismatic being that he was at the time of his first election.
Romney, on the other hand, was much more prepared. His provisions for the American economy dealt with unemployment, the various persons he cited disrupted his image as a capitalist (though to a really small extent). Romney was out for encouraging small businesses. What really impressed me about Romney was his ability to quote not only the exact words but the feelings too. “Will my son get a job after, worthy of his qualifications,” he said quoting a lady he told he had met in one of his rallies.
Obama was certainly different ; he had evolved. Having the country in his hands made him more mature. He understood the impacts on his decisions, more important, even if he was not that being who would call for a change; he was gifted with something that Romney lacked: he had that power to convince the voters that he held the key to their happiness.
Indeed Obama showed them that he had the solution for the evils that Americans feared. His previous mandate was served as a validation exercise. Leader of Al Qaeda Ben Laden is now under the oceans, drone attacks over Tripoli which proved to be a major help to the rebel faction for the freedom of Libya without direct American involvement was well taken, not to mention that he kept up Obamacare even though he had not managed to obtain the three-quarters required vote of the Senate. The retreat of Americans troops in Iraq played in his favour too.
The country even faced the economic crisis under his guidance. Yes America is better now economically, not perfectly well but still going onwell enough. As Joe Biden said : « You want to know whether we’re better off? I’ve got a little bumper sticker for you: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive! Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive! » This kind of statement put Obama in better light.
Obama fulfilled partly what he had promised in his first campaign. A second mandate would surely be promising towards greater achievement. Obama has started being compared with Ronald Reagan, who is now regarded as one of the best leaders of free America.
To be at the head of a country one has to be a political shark, or rather an expert in strategies. Politics in my opinion can be compared to chess. Every move is planned, considering weaknesses and strengths of the opponent. Obama knew that the Republican values would not cater for marriage of the same sex, so he took that step to endorse it. Not only he would bring on gay’s support to his campaign but would again bring in gay’s money. And he was right, Romney strongly opposed gay marriage; a marital union should only be between a man and a woman, Romney said. Being too conservative does not help much nowadays. Values and morals are not enforced on someone; they are rather learnt voluntarily.
My last point would be that Romney was a worthy opponent. Indeed even in the US, religion is still very much bred in politics. 16% of the voters cared about Romney being a Mormon missionary and as if it was not enough, Romney was hindered by his past, by his achievements rather. Romney was that capitalist who made profit on the back of the middle class. He was the guy accustomed to Rolexes and Rolls Royce. How could he even understand the plight of the middle classes? He struggled nevertheless and managed an honorable score, despite his controversial speech on China and his international politics. In comparison, Romney is that true-hearted American who forgets to evolve at a time of globalization. He didn’t have bad intentions, just obsolete ones.
Coming back to Obama, what should be expected in that mandate is still unknown to us. But the guy is not stupid; he’ll know how to handle every situation like he always does, whether internationally or locally, might it concern economics or social security. He proved in one mandate that he has been elected rightfully and he extended that to imply that the American people will benefit from that second mandate of his. Congratulations Mr the President.
* Published in print edition on 30 November 2012