BY Adeyemi Oshunrinade
The Obama doctrine on ascension as the President and head of the Executive arm of government has been to bring change to America. It was his campaign slogan and the principle his administration believe in nearly four years in office. With the GOP now challenging his every move, and Romney gearing to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the question on everyone’s mind is does the Republican candidate have what it takes to beat Obama?
As the election date draws near, many voters if not all have made up their minds on who to vote for come decision time. The aim is to show how Obama’s gains are Romney’s demise come November 2012. You are likely familiar with the expression “devil you know, is better than one you don’t know;” if you know a person, you are likely able to predict his moves and know exactly what he is capable of doing or achieving. The same principle is what electorates, will take to the polls come Election Day. Nearly four years in office has allowed voters to know President Obama; on the other hand, they know little about Romney.
When President Obama came to office, the economy was at the brink of collapse; the housing market was crumbling and banks could not lend due to the credit crunch. The stock market experienced daily depreciation in value and many lost their homes to foreclosure due to mortgage default, caused by the housing bubble. There was a call by the President for Congress to act, by providing a bailout to boost the economy. After months of political war in Congress, bailout funds were released, this helped deliver the economy from a collapse and possible depression.
It is fair to say the President’s proactive moves and strategies, forced some GOP members of Congress, to support the campaign that led to final release of the bailout funds; thus, a gain for the Obama administration that is likely to be a problem for the Romney’s camp come the election.
The killing of terror mastermind and leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, did not only come as a surprise to Americans; also unique is the way it happened and the President’s role in ordering the attack. While it can be argued his predecessor former President George Bush, laid down part of plan to kill or capture Bin Laden, President Obama will go down in history as the leader that brought justice to Bin Laden in Abbottabad, for the atrocities committed on 9/11.
To many, the President proved himself as a leader who can protect the nation when he ordered the drone attack on Al-Awlaki and other terror operatives who have been killed since he took office. This among others is another gain for his administration likely to resonate to voters but indeed a problem for the GOP candidate when Americans go to cast their votes.
When President Obama came to power, immigration was a main issue on the agenda; it has dragged on for years during the Bush era and previous administration. GOP members of the House and Senate have for years expressed their dissatisfaction with any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants in the country, making the Dream Act almost impossible to achieve.
The recent partial implementation of the Dream Act was a landmark decision by the President through use of his executive power. Though, the President did not realize his goal of a complete passage of the law, the partial implementation championed by him, will allow many brought to the country as children to maintain legal status in the U.S. without fear of deportation. It is no doubt immigrant’s families will take the President’s decision to the polls in November; they are aware of Romney’s position on immigration and are convinced his policies on immigration, are far from beneficial to immigrants.
The failure of Arizona’s immigration law at the Supreme Court is yet another gain for President Obama and a problem for Romney. The President through the Justice Department, petitioned the Highest Court for the review of a law that will allow the police to stop and search people without warrant, opponents agreed the law would have led to racial profiling and unreasonable deportation; the Supreme Court’s rejection of most parts of the law, was partly due to the President’s opposition and the lawsuit filed by the Justice Department or else, Arizona would have become a police state within a democratic nation.
Healthcare was made popular during the Clinton Administration, when the then First Lady Hillary Clinton, tried but failed to champion its passage. It became one of the major issues on the agenda when President Obama came to office and the Affordable Healthcare Act, dubbed “ObamaCare,” became a political debate in Congress. When the Bill finally passed the Senate, it was attacked by the GOP spearheaded by its candidate Mitt Romney, whose healthcare plan for Massachusetts was likened to the so-called “ObamaCare.” All parts of the Affordable Healthcare Act including the section on individual mandate was attacked by the GOP; its constitutionality was challenged and brought before the Supreme Court which after months of debate, declared “ObamaCare” constitutional including the individual mandate part which also, passed judicial review based on Congress power to tax.
The passage of “ObamaCare,” was a landmark ruling and no doubt a gain for his administration and a dilemma for the Romney’s campaign as many Americans without insurance will likely remember at the polls come Election Day. Just this week, Mr. Romney indicated at a meeting organized by the NAACP, that if elected President, he would repeal “ObamaCare.” The statement was rejected by many at the meeting to show how far people will go to protect the Affordable Healthcare Plan.
When Obama took office, one of the things he promised the American people was to bring our troops home; about 4,500 soldiers lost their lives since the war began with about 33,000 wounded, it seemed the war would never end and besides the human casualties, Iraq was costing the U.S. about $8 billion a month an average of $2 billion a week. Today the soldiers are home and army families are relieved to see their loved ones come back; the U.S. has saved billions of dollars since ending the war. Therefore, whoever thinks voters will forget that in November, may have come from outer-space and out of touch.
Now, President Obama is fighting to end the Bush era tax cut extension for those earning more than $250,000 a year; In a White House statement he gave as people described as working Americans stood behind him, Obama indicated his proposal would provide the certainty of no tax increase next year for 98% Americans. Realizing Republicans seek to keep the Bush tax cut going, he said both sides agree on extending the lower rates for Middle-Class families.
Many see the President’s move to end the Bush era tax cut for the rich as justifiable. If Obama can convince the American people that a tax system which allows the rich and poor to pay same percentage in taxes, is far from progressive, he will generate enough support over his opponent. By showing that the contest is between his goal of restoring Middle-Class opportunity versus Romney’s policies that would benefit corporations and wealthy Americans, Obama will garner support irrespective of the current poll showing a close race of 47% for both candidates. So far, the GOP candidate has said he would repeal both the healthcare law and Obama’s immigration law which has been made constitutional by the Supreme Court; however, he did not tell the American people what he intends to replace it with or how he would get there.
The aforementioned are Obama’s gains and Romney’s problems en-route the White House; but nonetheless, they are not a rubber stamp. President Obama must fix the economy and create jobs as soon as possible; there are those who voted for him four years ago who have decided not to vote for neither of the candidates this time. They saw the progress he made so far but the change has not affected their lives; they are the unemployed college graduates burdened by college loans which they are now struggling to pay back without gainful employment. Though, President Obama has a great advantage over Romney, his popularity may erode if the economy is not fixed and people remain unemployed.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contest’ (2011) and ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ (2012); he is an expert in general law, foreign relations and the United Nations. Follow on Twitter @san0670
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