[QODLink]
Inside Story: US 2012
Obama's great divide
With his policies being called into question by some in his own party, is Obama taking his political base for granted?
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2012 14:11

Barack Obama, the US president, can hardly campaign on being the candidate of change this time around, but as his term comes to a close, he still appears to be honing his campaign message as he seeks re-election.

It is not just Republicans making the case that Obama needs to be challenged on his record - even some within his own party seem unconvinced by what they have seen during his first term.

Many on the left say the president appears too weak, too friendly and has positioned himself too far towards the Republicans - becoming a caricature of his predecessors, one too eager to give in to their demands.

One critic has branded his presidential style as being the perfect party follower as opposed to the perfect leader - courting Wall Street and large corporations when he should be limiting their influence on the White House's agenda.


On issues ranging from his healthcare bill to Israel and the still-operational Guantanamo Bay, Obama has been accused of not standing his ground.

He has been challenged for fulfilling his election promise in pulling troops out of Afghanistan, his critics insisting that "the war against the Taliban is unfinished and the pull out gave the enemy the upper hand".

And all the candidates say Obama has not been vocal enough in his support for Israel. Mitt Romney has gone so far as to say he has "thrown Israel under a bus".

And having been elected amidst a melting economy, he has also been criticised for not being tough enough on Wall Street, with former financial executives continuing to play key roles in his cabinet.

Last year there were calls for him to face a primary challenger of his own - not to unseat Obama as candidate but to re-energise the Democratic Party, and ensure, if re-elected, the president knows he cannot simply return to business as usual.

So, after a bruising Republican primary season, there is a fierce debate underway about what the party stands for - but after a less than stellar run in the White House, should the Democrats not be asking the same question?

Joining Inside Story US 2012 to discuss the road to the White House are: Brendan Daly, the one-time communications director for former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi; Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun Times and from New York, John R MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's Magazine.


In a speech this past December, Obama channelled a former Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, to explain, what he says, is his fiscal thinking:

"Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free licence to take whatever you can from whomever you can. He understood the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest.

"And so he busted up monopolies, forcing those companies to compete for consumers with better services and better prices. And today, they still must. He fought to make sure businesses couldn't profit by exploiting children or selling food or medicine that wasn't safe. And today, they still can't."

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list