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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Barack Obama gets it

The US mid-term election is now behind us. Like Bill Clinton and George Bush, Barack Obama has lost control of the House of Representatives. For Clinton it was the Gingrich Revolution. George Bush lost against the tide of the anti-war campaign from the left. And for Obama, Grizzly Mama and the Tea Party Revolution delivered a formidable resurgence of GOP.

In a press conference at the White House, Obama was truly outstanding. He admitted that some election nights are “exhilarating” and others are “humbling”. As the GOP leaders and pundits would put it, the American people have sent Barack Obama an unequivocal message. And I think Barack Obama unlike George Bush in 2006, get it.

Barack Obama understands that the number one issues for most voters is the economy, and the president takes responsibility for the failure to “repair” (whatever that means) America’s economic fortunes. Obama also understands the people’s frustration (especially the GOP) with too much government. He understands that there are provisions in the Obama Care that are burdensome to small business.

Obama also understands that America succeeds if its businesses succeed. He has promised to hit the “re-set button” with American businesses, and one would hope with Wall Street too.

On the deficit, Barack Obama is keen to seek bipartisan approaches to rein in the federal deficit and debt. However, Obama is mindful that the GOP and all the other entities might not “come to the table with an open mind”. On this the president hope for a serious conversation. Lets see what happens regarding the Bush tax cuts, especially in a GOP controlled House of Representatives.

Over the next year, I think we will see Obama as more pragmatic, centrist deal-maker. To this Obama I was drawn, right from his first convention speech in 2004 to his book The Audacity of Hope to. We will see a more reflective and engaged but less cerebral Obama over the next eighteen months.

Obama understands that he must extricate himself from the “bubble” of the White House. But he also understands that the burden of his executive brief can be numbing.

The outcome of the mid-term elections is overwhelming and there is no doubt that the Grizzly Mama has bite. But the president has a real chance to re-make himself in the image of Barack Obama, and yes he can.

Because Barack Obama gets it, he is still the man to beat in 2012.

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