Even if Barack Obama was just another in the long line of white males who have been elected to the presidency, this would still be an historic moment in the United States. Thereâ€™s a political sea change happening that, if played right, could herald a new progressive era; an era where instead of â€œgoing backâ€ to an ideal of small government of the 19th century, we will see an active government that uses innovations from the private sector in novel and pragmatic ways to address the mess Bush left.
The sweeping changes enacted by Bush since his presidency began will have to be quickly undone so the United States can repair deep rifts with our allies, address the economic catastrophe weâ€™re currently mired in, and defuse tense political situations in the Middle East, the Gulf, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (just to name a few).Â Add to that all the small, medium and large political battles that will be fought daily, weekly and monthly, and itâ€™s clear the number of hurdles Obama must overcome to be an effective leader are jaw-dropping in scope. But he spent two years telling us that he wanted the job, and, well, the majority of voters gave it to him — and gave it to him enthusiastically.
During my years of political socialization, the high level of cynicism toward government and politicians has been a constant that I didnâ€™t think would ever change in my lifetime.Â However, during this election the exigencies of our economic and political condition were such that a good deal of that cynicism transformed into genuine hope. Never have I witnessed the energy, elation, and enthusiasm of voters as they worked and worked and worked to help get Obama elected president. And unlike Bill Clinton who, it seemed, promised voters anything and everythingÂ — only to break their hearts over and over — Barack Obama comes across as a guy whose realism and understanding of the political processes are such that the phrase â€œthe art of the possibleâ€ may aptly describe the guiding philosophy of his administration.
Time will indeed tell if the progressive pragmatism of Obama will be a reality. My views of his candidacy, his campaign, and his ultimate election to the highest office of the land are, for those who regularly read my writing, well known.Â Â However, Iâ€™d like to start an open thread on what you think are the most pressing problems the Obama Administration needs to address — and the realistic outcome you would like to see.
Iâ€™ll meet you in the comments section!