Monday, February 8, 2010

Obama’s Agenda for Change in a Limbo

January 25, 2010
Dallas, Texas

Obama’s Agenda for Change in a Limbo
By Saeed Qureshi

With two stunning setbacks happening in quick succession, president Obama’s ambitious and ground breaking “Agenda for Change” appears to be put in the reverse gear. The loss of Massachusetts Senate seat that the democrats had virtually monopolized for 47 years is the first lethal blow that deprives the Obama administration from smooth and unhindered passage of his Health Care Reform Plan bill in the Senate. Obama has virtually placed his entire stake in the dossier of health care program that primarily has remained a losing venture for several decades.

Even President Clinton and his illustrious wife Hillary Clinton, then first lady and now the secretary of state, miserably failed in their maneuvers to get their health care program get though and overcome even the first hurdles. That bill tipped as “Clinton Health Care Plan”, contained far reaching proposals that would have required the employers to provide health coverage to their employees through individual health maintenance organizations. The plan was bitterly opposed by its opponents, to the extent that she became the target of ridicule and innuendoes. The plan was defeated in both the House and the Senate, and was abandoned in September 1994. That bill died its death because of stiff resistance at every step from the special interest groups notably by the cut throat gubernatorial insurance and pharmaceutical companies that would sell America but not allow a more humane, cosmopolitan and charitable health insurance coverage to prevail.

Obama in his exuberance and self entertaining bubbling confidence started his marathon race and crossed all the preliminary hurdles in the way of his health care bill. But he was not aware that the “Achilles Heel” was yet to come. The “Achilles Heel” was the single senate vote that was almost in the pocket of the Democrat party. Late Ted Kennedy was the most loved and esteemed politician in his constituency. He was rather a father figure not only for the state of Massachusetts but for the whole American nation also.

For his unstinted meritorious services and also being a scion of the Kennedy clan whose illustrious president J.F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas in 1963, he held the Senate seat till his death. While a particular hidden group might be hostile to Kennedy family, the goodwill and trust that Kennedy family has earned for itself is a luminous part of the American society.

So the irreparable, grievous and hard to believe loss of this most coveted seat is like a bolt from the blue and Ted Kennedy must be turning so distressingly in his grave as to how his legacy has been frittered away. One may decree that his death was a bit early or extremely untimely. But nature’s scheme and divine designs are prefixed and the human interests good or bad fall out of these immutable paradigms.
The second dispiriting development for Obama administration is the U. S. Supreme court’s 5-4 split ruling on January 21 allowing direct corporate spending in elections for or against the candidates. The latest ruling which has been interpreted variously, strikes down the so called “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act”, (BCRA) that prohibited businesses from financing issue ads. The Supreme Court has justified its decision by denoting that it was granting corporations the same free speech rights as individuals.
This decision flies directly in the face of Obama’s’ philosophy and endeavors to curb the special interest groups that get their interests served and protected by lavishly financing the electioneering campaigns of their favorite candidates. President Obama issued a statement on his web site condemning the Supreme Court decision and calling it the “most devastating thing that could happen to the public interest.” The general reaction or impression is that this decision would open a field day for powerful interests with money to corrupt the political system.
All the decisions that relate to the foreign policy issues or domestic turf, Obama’s tone has been conciliatory and mild. Perhaps in a bid to forge national unity and mindful of the fact that he belonged to the minority race, he didn’t go out to the way to force his decisions with domination and authority. Most of his close aides have been the strong supporters and votaries of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. They might not be totally in unison at heart with the decisions of president Obama to wind up the overseas military operations that served the special businesses such as arms producing factories, the security agencies such as backwater and those engaged in supply and logistic support.
So president Obama is up against a formidable challenge which looked feeble and dormant when he took over the presidency of the United States. There are strong chauvinistic lobbies in America that would not like to close Guantanamo concentration camp and restore the constitutional propriety of America by transferring the cases of the inmates to the civilian courts. The economic abyss in which America is sunk half due to foreign wars has taken it own toll on the Obama’s agenda for change.
By Agenda for change, the less privileged Americans understood that there would be a massive economic recovery with the creation of jobs. Obama administration’s more onus and focus on the external front and less on domestic festering problems has been the underlying cause for the defeat in Massachusetts. There is also a growing disenchantment among the rest of the population as to how the economic woes of the citizens are going to be healed. The bailout and stimulus packages are right measures but these didn’t make any swinging difference in the lives of the sufferers of the economic meltdown.
The ambivalence that has remained hung over several of Obama’s decisions makes his agenda for change a slow process. The first year of his presidency is over and yet barring a slight improvement in economy and sending of more troops to Afghanistan there is no other feather of achievement that could be tagged to his hat of achievements. The outreach to the Muslim world with which he wanted to revive relations based on mutual respect and common interest is still in doldrums. The Palestinian festering sore is still bleeding. No one knows what progress was made by his special representative for the Middle East on resolving the decades’ old dispute between Israel and Palestinians.
His personal charisma, eloquence and sincerity would dim as the time passes because the charm of personality or iconic appeal is ephemeral. In the wake and face of hard realties even the most mesmeric personages and ideal heroes tune into ordinary individuals. Rather the reaction of the people at large is more pungent against the role models than the ordinary, run off the mill leaders.
President Obama and his retina of advisors must see the changing course of the political wind and discern the gradually dismaying mood of the people. It’s time for an aggressive and fast track decision making focused on lessening America’s overseas military engagements, and forcefully catching the ravaging bull of the economy by horns.
The Republicans are certainly in a sanguine format as is demonstrated in winning the Massachusetts seat. They are prying for more that are yet to be contested. If Obama doesn’t make a difference and throw up ground breaking decisions that benefit the American people and this wonderful country, there is a slim chance that a black or a semi black person can assume the American presidency again. For that matter, the democrats, despite their pious and earnest intentions may not stage a comeback in power so soon.
Comments are welcome at
To unsubscribe write us at

No comments:

Post a Comment