It's already ten months into President Obama's second term and plenty of tragedies, natural disasters, scandals and stagnate initiatives have all captured the attention of the country and kept the president on his toes. Despite his successes, the president hasn't been able to catch much of a break recently. The political landscape has devolved even further into high school-style cliques and infighting to the extent that there isn't much else going on of substance in Washington. Obama's hair may be going gray faster than expected, but he keeps a smile on his face and sticks to his message.
Criticism lately has come not just from the right, but from Obama's own party and from prominent African Americans. With frustrations high and solutions still a bit unclear, we should expect the pressure to become intensified in the coming months. However, it is crystal clear to me that there are unrealistic expectations of the president. But what choice does Obama really have? To not compromise would be to blatantly ignore the voices of many in a country divided without a clear majority on almost every issue. On the flip side, when it comes to the absurd scenario that was the debt ceiling crisis, to compromise would have been tantamount to negotiating with terrorists.
With everyone taking shots at the president, I feel that it's my responsibility to have this back, and the easiest way for me to accomplish this is to is to point out the wonderful job that he is doing. Here is a look at how he has performed on two key areas during the first three quarters of 2013:
Healthcare. While most of the hard work on healthcare was done during his first term, the president is making all the right moves as the biggest piece of Obamacare - insurance options for over 45 million uninsured Americans is finally being implemented. The group Organizing for Action spent upwards of $1 million in the summer months to taut the benefits of the new programs and educate the public on when they could start shopping for subsidized private insurance, which was as of Oct. 1. With so much negativity and confusion surrounding health care reform in the past, get ready to see the many positives of this sweeping legislation during the final quarter of 2013.
Immigration. The president has acknowledged that the immigration process in the U.S. is flawed. Rather than "ship back" the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., he has proposed reform that would grant these and future immigrants a path to citizenship. Though the President's landmark DREAM Act failed, applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program average over 3,000 every day. It is not a permanent solution, but protects these illegal immigrants from any action in the next two years. For many months, the President has allowed the nearly 900-page immigration reform bill to be handled by a bipartisan group consisting of eight senators, in early June he put himself back into the spotlight and passionately spoke on the need for the bill to pass. For it to gain the public support it needs, and in turn the Congressional pressure, the President needs to put himself completely behind the initiative and continue to speak publicly on its necessity.
Despite his aforementioned successes, and political clout, President Obama remains willing to compromise, he continues to keep a smile on his face, and he sticks to his message. When even this is seen as a weakness, what exactly is a man to do? A lot of people seem to think they own Barack Obama right now, and when they don't get the reaction they want from pulling his strings they call him a puppet to somebody else.
The president has a whole lot of work to do and a great many needs to tend to, but the impression across the board is that people believe the president should work for them and them alone. Obama keeps a smile on his face and sticks to his message. "The vision that brought us together in 2008 is undiminished in me."
These past ten months have seen many moments of strength for the President. He hasn't come out as strong in his second term as his supporters would have liked to see, but he is setting the groundwork for a potentially groundbreaking couple of years. That's why people like myself, continue to have his back.