Barack Obama was the candidate of change; Mr. “Yes We Can;” the one who was going to change the way Washington, D.C, functioned and alter politics as we know it.
When President Obama was elected in 2008, those thoughts were at the forefront of the minds of most Americans, giving liberals hope and conservatives ulcers.
But that wasn’t what happened.
Sure, Obama came through on some of his promises. He passed universal health care, watered-down and convoluted as it was. On Dec. 18, 2011, he pushed for the removal American soldiers from Iraq. He loosely supported the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Under his watch, Osama Bin Laden was killed, which was something no one expected. And there are plenty of other objectives he supported and achieved, but let’s be real — a lot of people were expecting more.
Even though politicians often make promises they can’t and don’t keep, the vigor and passion behind Obama separated him from the pack. Call me unreasonable, but when Obama ran on a platform of change and hope, people expected change and hope. They didn’t expect a president who compromises his values and signs a bill that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens (NDAA). Or a president who gives in to his opponents and doesn’t increase taxes for people who can afford it; or one who doesn’t follow through with his promises to lower ozone emissions. And especially not a president who promises — and then miserably fails — to reform the Wall Street regulation system and punish the reckless and greedy executives mainly responsible for our economic collapse.
But all of that is about to change.
Should Obama win re-election this November, we will see a very different president than we did over the past four years.
No longer worried about re-election, we will see an Obama who isn’t afraid to state his opinion and make enemies and who will make decisions that don’t cater to what his political opponents want, an Obama who isn’t going to back down at the first sign of conflict and will fight strongly for the path down which he believes our country should be traveling.
The biggest way I see Obama 2.0 using and/or abusing his power as commander-in-chief (depending on which party you support) is the “bully pulpit.” For those unfamiliar with the term, the “bully pulpit” is a term coined by Theodore Roosevelt that defines any platform of influence and clout.
Obama 2.0 will use this position of authority to bring the issues he feels are important to the forefront of the national spectrum until change is implemented. Issues like energy independence, tax reform, making higher education a real option for every American, funding for organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and gay rights.
He is already gearing up for this, calling for the end of tax subsidies for big oil, a crucial step toward energy independence.
And if you don’t want to take it from me, this is what Obama said during a conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Whether these are changes you want to see will depend on your political preferences, but don’t be fooled by Obama’s weak first term. If he wins re-election, Obama 2.0 is going to be a very different leader.
Change is coming, whether you like it or not.
Reach opinion columnist Nathan Taft at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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