News

US Economy Likely to Determine Obama's 2010 Agenda

President Barack Obama visiting a U.S. factory
President Barack Obama visiting a U.S. factory

Multimedia

Kent Klein

As his first year in office nears an end, U.S. President Barack Obama is gearing up for his second.  The nation's economy, the war in Afghanistan and November's congressional elections may determine whether the president is able to advance his agenda. 

President Obama spent much of 2009 trying to heal a sick economy and promoting his administration's economic recovery plan.  And with many seats in Congress up for election in November 2010, Nathan Gonzales, the political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, believes the president will spend much of the coming year the same way.

Nathan Gonzales
Nathan Gonzales



"The worst thing that could happen for the president and the Democrats is for the economy to continue to deteriorate and they get blamed for it," said Nathan Gonzales. "If both those things happen, it could be catastrophic results on election day."

Recent economic reports show that the American economy is starting to recover.  But the unemployment rate has also topped double digits for the first time in 26 years.

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie says many Americans blame Mr. Obama for the high jobless rate.

"And they will see President Obama's higher taxes, more spending, more debt, more government intervention in our economy, in the banks, in the auto industry, in health care and in energy as largely responsible for that lack of job creation," said Ed Gillespie.

Mr. Obama has not actually raised taxes. And his supporters say he has prevented further job losses. Robert Borosage is co-director of the Campaign For America's Future.

"What you have got is a president who has tried to do big things that are important to the country," said Robert Borosage. "And you have got an economy that his recovery plan has kept from being much worse and that will be growing."

Turning the tide in the Afghanistan war will likely be another major priority for President Obama in 2010.  Violence in Afghanistan is mounting, U.S. public support for the war is slipping and lawmakers in Mr. Obama's own party have criticized his plan to send tens of thousands more troops.  Political editor Nathan Gonzales says with Congressional elections looming in November, Mr. Obama is under pressure to show results. 

"President Obama needs to show that he has a plan for Iraq and Afghanistan, that he is implementing it, and that it is working," he said.

Former Republican chairman Ed Gillespie agrees that the president faces a difficult situation in Afghanistan.

"When you are president of the United States, they do not send you the easy decisions; they send you the hard decisions," he said. "By the time a decision gets to your desk, it is a hard decision.  And I think President Obama has seen now the difference between running for the presidency and serving in the presidency."

Besides Afghanistan and the economy, Mr. Obama also has other domestic concerns to consider - immigration policy, climate change legislation, and creating jobs in the clean energy industry.

Nathan Gonzales sees the election campaign getting in the way of the president's major initiatives.

"Going into 2010, it is going to be more difficult to get controversial legislation done, because Democrats in the House and in the Senate are looking at their own re-elections," said Gonzales.

Many of Mr. Obama's initiatives, such as health care reform, will not begin to show results until well after the November elections.  David Frum, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says Americans are losing patience.

"None of us know what is going to happen in 2010, and maybe this will all pay off in the future," said David Frum. "But it sure ain't [is not] paying off now."

Yet Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America's Future says voters will understand that Mr. Obama is working in their best interests.

"I think if the president keeps fighting for reforms that are clearly about where the country needs to go, he will benefit and Democrats will benefit," he said.

The results of the November Congressional elections, and the fate of Mr. Obama's presidency, may once again hinge on his powers of persuasion.
 

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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs