Expectations of those who flocked to Washington and tuned into television around the country for the Inauguration of President Barack Obama are so high, they are bound to be disappointed by the Obama Administration.
Expectations were similarly high for George W. Bush to be transformative in 2000. He worked with Democrats as Governor of Texas so many thought a new spirit of bipartisanship was coming. The Bush Administration squandered opportunities to reach out to Democrats in Congress and were buffeted by events at home and abroad. They failed to privatize parts of Social Security instead of pushing for immigration reform. Then the unexpected events of Hurricane Katrina, the attacks on 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq completely changed the nature of the Bush Administration. They came to Washington to change it and ended up being changed by Washington.
Events are also against the Obama Administration, which is largely peopled by Clinton retreads. Congressional Democrats have priorities which will outlast Obama. Republicans could find their footing again as the party of ideas. If the Obama Administration becomes incremental in its approach to policy, it dashes hopes by supporters for sweeping change.
The Great Depression started with a Wall Street panic worsened by raising taxes and barriers to imports. President Obama and Congressional Democrats could make things worse. On the other hand, federal deficits undermine the ability for President Obama to deliver on expensive promises. Democrats are in a box and risk alienating supporters. Hostility of Obama and Congressional liberals to life and gun rights means that voters for which these are important will be more motivated in the next election.
During the campaign, Joe Biden was criticized for saying that the new President would be tested by a manufactured crisis and that it would not be clear that President Obama was right. “Gird your loins,” he said, sounding less like a candidate for Vice President than an eccentric uncle. It is a dangerous world; maybe a rogue nation will exert power over a neighboring democracy or there will be an attack on American soil. Obama will close Camp Gitmo in a year and take 16 months to remove combat troops from Iraq. They are in danger of figuratively hanging the “Mission Accomplished” sign on an aircraft carrier.
Liberal voters hated George W. Bush, but the continuation of Bush policies at home and abroad by President Barack Obama could result in him becoming Barack Obushma.