COVER STORY: by Peter WestmoreNews Weekly
Election outcome will weaken Obama
, November 13, 2010
As News Weekly goes to press, Americans are voting in elections which will give the Republicans control of one or both houses of the US Congress, effectively imposing a veto on Obama's domestic agenda and making him a lame-duck President for the second half of his current term.
Unless Obama can pull the rabbit out of a hat, it seems likely that the resurgent Republicans will comfortably capture control of the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats are up for election, and increase their numbers in the Senate which the Democrats currently control by 59 votes to 41.
Opinion polls have shown a strong shift towards the Republicans, but without compulsory voting there is always a battle to get people to the polls.
In contrast to the 2008 election, when the Democrats basked in the reflected glory of a presidential candidate perceived as being a political cleanskin, this year the momentum has shifted to the Republicans galvanised by Obama's political failures.
In one sense, Obama is a victim of his own propaganda. He strode to victory in 2008 against the demoralised Republicans on a wave of public enthusiasm for the first African-American to be elected President, and on the promise of rescuing the United States from the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s.
Instead, his economic program has been little more than a continuation of the pump-priming of the Bush Administration, pushing the government deeper into debt, while US industries continue to decline, environmental policies have pushed up the price of power and fuel, and the housing market has continued to fall, leaving tens of millions of Americans owing more on their houses than they are worth.
Official unemployment is over nine per cent, and under-employment (which includes the unemployed, those who want full-time work but are working part-time, and those discouraged from seeking a job) is much higher.
Obama promised to pull the troops out of Iraq, a deeply unpopular war which President Bush had effectively won by 2009 when he left office, but has massively increased the US military commitment to Afghanistan from 30,000 troops to about 100,000, to prop up the notoriously corrupt government of President Hamid Karzai.
This year, both President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have publicly called on Karzai to deal with the problem of endemic corruption in Afghanistan which has made the military task of defeating the Taliban insurgents much more difficult.
President Karzai shocked his allies when he recently admitted receiving millions of dollars in secret cash payments from the Iranian regime, which is America's greatest enemy in the Middle East.
Iran is not in the business of subsidising its religious rivals - Karzai is a Sunni Muslim - without a generous quid pro quo, and Iran's sole objective in the Middle East is to get rid of the Americans.
American voters are appalled that American soldiers' lives have been lost in defending a man who has not only turned a blind eye to corruption, but has actually admitted to receiving bribes from the country which has bankrolled Shi'ite terrorism in many parts of the world.
When US officials criticised his statement, Karzai curtly declared that he didn't need the Americans!
The response of the Obama Administration has been to slap Karzai on the wrist with a feather, while American troops' lives continue to be lost due largely to explosive devices embedded in roadsides or street markets, where the aim is to cause as much bloodshed and killing of either Afghans or Americans as possible.
Further, there is deep disquiet among Americans about the rise of totalitarian China as a global political, economic and military power. The response of the Obama Administration has been a complacent acquiescence in China's growing power in the world.
Americans who believed that Obama would fulfil his election pledge, "Yes we can", in place of the tired Bush Administration, have been sadly disillusioned.
On the other side of the fence, the Republicans have been energised by a range of organisations which oppose Obama's agenda.
These include the Tea Party, a Republican ginger-group which has mobilised large numbers of Americans opposed to Obama's pro-UN foreign policy and government-supervised health care plan; pro-family organisations dismayed by his funding for UN abortion programs under the mantra of "reproductive health" and "population control"; opponents of big government bail-outs of Wall Street; and disenchanted workers and manufacturing businesses bankrupted by low-cost imports from China.
Negation may be sufficient to win the Republicans control of the US House of Representatives, but they have yet to formulate an alternative program to bring the Afghan war to an end, address the erosion of American power in the world, and pull the United States out of the deepest financial trough since World War II.