It is often said that “A week is a long time in politics”. However, in the case of current US President Barack Obama, it seems like two years, which was the short time it took for him to lose so much public support.
The Mid-term elections had given Obama a huge smack in the mouth. His colleagues in the Democratic party lost control of the House of Representatives and were within an ace of losing the Senate. “No, he can’t!” one reporter cynically commented.
This is a sad day for Obama, because he had been elected President at a time when the US economy was heading for a tailspin, and tried to get bipartisan support for his policies, including his much criticised healthcare plans, as well as aiming to get the economy moving. However, lots of bad news, particularly on unemployment, had given him very little room for manoeuvre. But ultimately, it was his failure to put his message across to the people had given his opponents in the Republican party the chance to attack him.
One feature of these Mid-terms is the rise of the so-called Tea Party movement. Most of them were republicans who opposed Obama and the government. Despite getting a lot of coverage in the media, they failed to get any significant support. The numbers of votes for them didn’t tip the balance towards the Republicans doing well, rather, it was Democratic supporters who failed to turn out to support Obama in his time of need.
How does it affect us here in the UK? It shouldn’t be much. I bet Prime Minister David Cameron may be pleased of the situation, and increases the chance of greeting a Republican president in 2012, but it is just that.
Meanwhile, Obama faces the awful prospect of spending the last two years of his presidency fighting both the Republicans and those in the Democrats who opposed him in the first place (Step forward Hillary Clinton), as well as the external battles which lie ahead. If he’s not careful, he could be history in 2012.