Many U.S. watchers have written off Barack Obama’s chances for re-election, and they could be right. No sitting president with his current low rating has ever gone on to win a second term in office. But then again, no sitting president in a similar position has faced challengers of such low quality as in the current Republican lineup.
I wonder how many people outside of America know the name of even one of the Republican presidential hopefuls. By contrast, I’m sure the whole world knew who Barack Obama was long before he became the president.
An acquaintance put it this way: “Talk about a bunch of nobodies. Maybe the Republicans should get Sarah Palin back in the running. At least everybody knew who she was. And mediocre as she turned out to be, she’d be an improvement on that lot.”
As for Obama, the perception seems to be that he has achieved nothing positive as America’s president. I imagine some people will have changed their minds after listening to his State of the Union Address last night.
In his own inimitable style, Obama pumped us up with some great rah-rah stuff, but he also spoke to many of the basic issues that concern Americans most, ticking off facts and figures that cast his stewardship of the country in a better light than is generally supposed.
He pointed to positive things that have happened since he took over, among them the defeat of the Taliban (which a New York Times fact check found to be correct only in some respects); the bailout of General Motors which enabled it to recover and reclaim its title as the world’s top automaker in 2011; the upsurge in exports, currently at about $180 billion a month compared to $140 billion a month two years ago, and at this rate set to double by 2015; and the fact that in the last 22 months businesses have created more than three million jobs, the most since 2005.
Not bad, considering the state Bush left the country in.