Obama’s challenge-A A +A
Friday, November 2, 2012
AMERICANS will go to the polls on Nov. 6 to choose between President Barack Obama and the Republican challenger Mitt Romney. While Obama seemed to have rock solid advantage at the start of the race, Romney has gained ground among conservative voters as well as those who believe he can manage better the economy. The final surveys reveal a dead heat between the two candidates.
There had to be a flashpoint that would reveal substance in character over campaign rhetoric. Superstorm Sandy provided the platform for both gentlemen. Obama took the upper hand. Not only did he have the nation’s resources at his discretion; he also demonstrated able leadership amidst crisis and despair.
Not only did he get a lot of free campaign photo ops in ground zero, he delivered the best line as well: "We have also been inspired these past few days because when disaster strikes we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times seem to melt away. There are no Democrats or Republicans in the storm-–there are just Americans."
When he was elected four years ago, Obama said in his inaugural, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
That speech brought back confidence and hope among the Americans, But then, it became “politics as usual” as the US economy continued to falter, troops remained in Afghanistan and Iraq, and China established itself as the world’s second biggest economy.
Still Obama kept a steady hand in resurrecting confidence in the economy by providing rescue lines to banks and the auto industry. He sent Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to regain shattered ties with friendly nations. He oversaw the end of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2012 in a covert operation.
Obama has matured as a politician. While his speeches of late have lost luster, he has taken advantage of the support of Bill Clinton, who remains to be a popular figure in the United States, and established links with liberal groups to counter the influence of a growing conservative Tea Party.
Then in the final days of the campaign, Superstorm Sandy allowed him to work side by side with the Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, who has impliedly endorsed Obama’s brand of leadership. Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a last minute endorsement for the president’s re-election, citing the president's leadership on climate change.
I guess, Obama still holds the trust of most Americans. His election is certain. Four years more.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 03, 2012.