News / USA

Obama Agenda Faces Stiff Opposition in 2011

President Barack Obama (file photo)
President Barack Obama (file photo)

Multimedia

Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama made progress on an ambitious agenda in 2010. But a larger and stronger contingent of Republicans in Congress will present much stiffer opposition in 2011.  

President Obama scored a number of legislative victories in 2010.

He signed into law tougher regulation of U.S. financial institutions, stronger security along the border with Mexico, and one of his top priorities of the year: sweeping reform of the way Americans pay for health care.


But as the nation's economy stagnated, so did the president's approval ratings.

And in November, voters handed opposition Republicans control of the House of Representatives, and sent Obama a message.

As a result, many analysts agree that the president will have a difficult time getting legislation passed in 2011. "And the big question the people are wondering is, 'Are we going to have two years of gridlock, or are we going to have two years of bipartisan accomplishment?,'" said Democratic Party strategist Mark Penn.

Democrats and Republicans differ about the meaning of November's election results.  

President Obama sees it as a call for the two parties to work together. "The American people did not vote for gridlock.  They didn't vote for unyielding partisanship. They're demanding cooperation and they're demanding progress," he said.

But conservative commentator Amy Holmes says the election results were a rejection of Mr. Obama's programs. "This was the biggest sweep since 1938, and voters have said that they do not want what they consider this left-wing, liberal, big-government agenda," she said.

President Obama faces a tough battle in 2011 to preserve his signature accomplishment of 2010, passage of health care reform.

Republicans want to overturn the law. And their new majority in the House, and larger minority in the Senate, could hamper the president's initiatives on climate change and immigration reform.  

"Right now I think the president has got to do two key things: move to the center, focus on the economy," said Penn

Conservative commentator Amy Holmes also says the president should move to the political center. "I think in the next two years, if President Obama does move to the center, if he does triangulate, much like Bill Clinton did, and pursue policies where there is common ground with Republicans, he can get small things done," she said.

One unannounced priority is getting the president's re-election campaign off to a successful start.

Penn helped President Bill Clinton overcome big midterm election losses in 1994 and win re-election two years later. He says Mr. Obama can do the same in 2012. "So if he could get unemployment down, if he moves to the center, he has a really solid base of supporters. A lot of people in the country like him and they want him to succeed," Penn said.

Penn, Holmes and many other political analysts agree that in politics, two years is a lifetime.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More