The biggest special characteristic of America’s democratic government is that the presidential election becomes overwhelmingly the No. 1 priority. The president’s term is four years and before each president begins his first term in the White House, he has already spent two years busily campaigning for office. After spending only two peaceful years in the White House, he must again throw himself into the next presidential race. Obama is now in this situation.
In 2009, not long after taking office, Obama said in an interview with ABC that he would rather be a one-term president than just be mediocre. He is no longer talking like this. Instead, all his words and actions point to the opposite: He is giving up his ideals for the sake of his political career.
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a few days ago that over the next 16 months, he will be commenting on the U.S. presidential election “under protest” because he thinks the Republican and Democratic parties’ contenders do not grasp the main subject of this presidential election: “how to avert national decline.”
At present, whether from the angle of international prestige or domestic development, the U.S. is declining — there’s no doubt about it. But this downhill path did not start with Obama’s administration. Experts have observed that, over the last 30 years, there has been a downward trend in the income of the average worker. The gulf between Wall Street and “Main Street” has continuously been widening. When Obama was on the campaign trail, he sharply pointed out that America was being ruled by “special interest groups,” and promised he would bring reform, leading the masses in their loud chant of, “Yes, we can!” After taking office, however, he has continued Bush’s Wall Street “rescue” policies and even expanded them.
During the campaign, Obama often said the U.S. belonged to all Americans and that there was no “Democratic America” or “Republican America.” Yet in the initial stages of his presidency, when he was determined to put into effect the health care reform advocated by the Democrats, he did not receive a single Republican vote. Many Republican representatives publicly asserted that they voted against it not because they were judging the policy on its own merits, but instead because they wanted to keep Obama from having a chance at a second term. Obama vigorously and hastily got the “Healthcare Reform Act” passed, and Republicans claim it is “damaging to the public interest,” giving it a bad reputation. During the 2010 Congressional elections, even Democrats avoided talking about it. Since then, Obama has made big changes in both his domestic and foreign affairs policies, especially in his decision to use force in Libya. He has simply become the reincarnation of George W. Bush.
In reality, the battle for the job of next year’s president is already fiercely underway. People called Bush’s policy “ABC” (“Anything but Clinton”). Now Obama is covertly continuing many of Bush’s policies, and yet the Republicans’ policies are “Anything but Obama.” Politicians who are concerned with America’s decline seem to be few and far between. Presently, Obama’s political enemies are concentrating their firepower on striking him down and stealing away his job. Obama himself has made protecting his livelihood a top priority, and he will not think about anything that does not directly relate to keeping his job. This is the special trait of America’s “two-party” democracy. One has to ask, who in the U.S. is still thinking of the national economy and the people’s livelihood?
The author, Tan Zhong, is an Indian-Chinese scholar who resides in the U.S.
Translated By Lisa Ferguson
20 June 2011
Edited by Janie Boschma
China – Xinhua – Original Article (Chinese)