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A case for four more Obama years; despite the despair
From: Ghana l Myjoyonline.com l Joseph Opoku Gakpo          Published On: November 6, 2012, 10:45 GMT
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A case for four more Obama years; despite the despair

President Obama is seeking re-election in a tough election

Any presidential election in the United States of America is always a big thing all across the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are residing within any of the 50 states of the USA, or in some small village within the African Union, you stand to be affected by the decision taken in that election. Being the world’s most powerful country economically and militarily, Planet Earth catches cold when the folks in the USA cough, hence it is not surprising the huge level of interest that the US elections are generating even outside that country.

I would want to begin by first proudly touting my bias for US President Barack Obama, and mentioning that if I had a vote in the Tuesday November 6 elections, I would have cast it for the Democratic Party. But I don’t have that vote by virtue of the fact that I am a proud Ghanaian.

Over the last few months, Obama fans like me have watched with utmost apprehension, as the president’s lead in opinion polls slip down the valley, while his Republican rival’s campaign gains an ever growing momentum. If anyone had told me earlier this year when the race for the Republican Standard bearer slot was heating up, that Mitt Romney would give the president such a good run for his money by the time we hit the home stretch lane of the 2008 elections, I would have called that person a false prophet.

How so swiftly everything has changed since the vast excitement that drove the Democratic Party’s campaign during the 2008 elections. Mr. Obama came to power in 2008 on the back of a historic landslide election victory; riding on the promise of a radical change for a better day, sandwiched between a huge loaf of hope.

At a time when fixing a weakened economy was the biggest thing on the minds of most Americans, candidate Obama was promising to lift America out of its deepest financial crisis in a century, to pull the breaks on the decline of the American economy and resurrect it from a biting depression, to bring to an end the mass shipping of American jobs overseas, and to deliver new good paying jobs to the American people.

That was not all. Candidate Obama was also promising to re-ignite the flame for the pursuit of the American dream, construct a coalition for progress that would sweep across both pro Democratic and Republican States, renew America’s diplomacy, heal the nation and repair the world. Mr. Obama was promising Americans and the world a full bouquet of a better tomorrow, and Americans at a point in time thought he was about to construct a new Heaven on earth by the time his four year contract expires.

But four years down the line, too many folks have been disappointed. All that the administration has succeeded in offering is a lot of despair; with a promised economic recovery too slow in coming, more than five trillion dollars in new debt, rate of unemployment still high, a lot of confusion reddened “tie and unwind” economic and regulatory reforms, and solutions proving to be very unequal to the challenges the nation face.

We have all had issues with the sort of leadership that Barack Obama has offered America over the last four years, and how his administration has performed since 7 January 2009, but I think there is no better person to lead America into the next four years than him.

In the words of Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan: “by themselves, the failures of one administration are not a mandate for a new administration. A challenger must stand on his own merits. They must be ready and worthy to serve in the office of president.” And I don’t think Mitt Romney and the far right inclined folks who have now hijacked the Republican Party (including his vice presidential candidate himself and the Tea Party folks) are ready to lead America. They would endanger America and the world at large if given the opportunity. They appear overly fixated in their thinking.

Look at the posturing of Mitt Romney on foreign policy issues concerning countries like Iran, Israel, Russia and China. He is promising Vladmir Puttin of Russia “less flexibility and more backbone,” virtually warning of another Cold War between the East and the West when he is president. With his strong stance against Iran, in the unlikely event that he becomes Commander-in-Chief, I think his posturing may up encouraging Israel to intervene militarily in Iran’s nuclear development programme, which would end up worsening the stability of the entire Middle East which won’t be good enough for the world.

His criticisms of the Obama Administration’s cut in military spending and the pledge to increase military expenditure would mean an amplified American military strength, which would have to be put to use across the world, and that may end up encouraging even more ill intended American military interventions in countries across the world. Even though I think some of those Romney threats are empty, if given the opportunity to lead, I think his foreign policies may end up closing the entry of the rays of the sun onto planet Earth and threaten the future of the world.

Now, let’s settle from high up the skies beneath the moon onto the soils of Chicago and Massachusetts and Wisconsin, and attempt a reflection on where to place the cards when the clock dawns for the November 6 referendum on President Obama’s four year tenure of office.

Would unemployment in America have been buried under the Pacific Ocean by now had Mr. Obama not been president over the last four years? No. Would every young person needing a job in America today have found one if Mr. Obama was not the Chief Executive Officer of the United States? I have my doubt. Would America have fully resurrected from the economic depression and fixed the financial crisis by now if John McCain was the man in charge? I don’t think so. Would America’s budget deficit have been any lesser than it is today in the light of all the wrongly inclined economic policies being touted by the Republicans if the Democratic Party had lost the 2008 elections? It would have been more. Would all American families have had enough money to pay for their mortgage, pay for the education of their children, be able to afford quality healthcare, and have any more decent pensions if Mr. Obama was not president? I sincerely have my doubts.

But there are a few things that we all know would not have been the same had Mr. Obama lost the 2008 elections. Maybe the war in Iraq involving combat American troops would not have come to an end by now. Maybe Israel would have by now attacked Iran militarily as a Republican administration would have shown them signals that a military intervention in the Iranian nuclear programme deadlock was the only way to go. The reform of the American health care system would not have happened. Maybe, the depression would have further weakened the American economy to the levels of Greece and Spain by now.

That is why I think no American who voted for Mr. Obama should be regretting that decision; they should continue to hold their heads high up and be ready to repeat it, firm in their minds that what the president has done over the last four years is to put America on a long road back to recovery. We all know Mr. Obama may not have been the most effective and competent president that America has seen in its over 200 year democratic history. But I profoundly disagree with the attempt to portray him as one of the worst Presidents America has seen in its recent history.

He came to power during very difficult times for the nation, at a time when thousands of jobs were being lost monthly and the nation’s Gross Domestic Product was on the shrink. He may not have achieved much during his first term of office, but does he deserve four more yes? A big yes I would say, because the Republicans have no new ideas to create a better America, and they would worsen the difficulties America faces if given the opportunity to lead. May God bless Barack Obama, and may God bless the United States of America.

By Joseph Opoku Gakpo
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

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