One year ago America was dancing in the streets (at least some were), knowing that we had made history. A person of color had broken a glass ceiling, and had taken the highest office in the land. Of course, he took office inheriting two wars and a financial crisis of significant proportions. He also had some major programs he wanted to enact -- including health care reform (which at the time was very popular) He came in to office with a promise to change things in Washington. Of course, we all know that this is easier to say than to do.
I think we all wonder, did he know things would be this difficult? Would "No Drama Obama" (as he was known on the campaign trail) remain unflappable in the White House? What kind of President would he be? Would he be the Socialist that the opposition painted him to be? Or would he take a centrist position?
In his inauguration speech he called for America to join together, but it became quickly clear that the opposition party would have nothing to do with that -- nor for that matter many in his own party.
So, here we are, a year later, slowly climbing out of the financial crisis, the stock market up but job growth remaining low. The war in one country is winding down, but the war effort in the other is increasing, and there's that once popular and historic health care reform proposal just a congressional set of votes away from passage (or so we thought). Yes, last night, on the eve of the President's anniversary, the voters of Massachusetts put health care reform and other Democratic priorities in jeopardy. That's not because the GOP now have a majority in Congress -- far from it. No, they simply broke the Democrats filibuster proof majority. And since they have vowed to bring down the President, no matter what, they want to make sure that no vote gets taken. But all is not lost. There are ways of getting around this log jam. The GOP will cry foul and say that any such action will flout the votes of the people of Massachusetts, as if the voters of one state have the final say, and a state that has near universal health care due to the actions of former GOP governor Mitt Romney. But, as far as I can tell, at least until January 2011, the Democrats have control of Congress.
So, one year later, the glow may have dimmed a bit, but hey that's politics. It happens. President Bush had an approval rating over 75% after 9-11. But that didn't last. Politics is fickle. But right now maybe we need to put politics aside and get some things done for the nation and the world.