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Change we can believe in – but can we?

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I’ve started reading a book which contains Barack Obama’s basic manifesto as well as a collection of the speeches he made during the election campaign.

Along with most people I think the 2008 election campaign and its result was the most riveting and uplifting event of the year. We were witness to an unprecedented event in modern politics and for the most part were carried away by the cult of Obama and all that went with it. It was uplifting to see the American people make a choice that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. So much of the coverage around the time of Obama’s election commented on the race issue despite the fact that Obama steered away from it for the duration of the campaign.

Now that the dust has settled and he is getting on with the business of choosing those who will work with him I find it slightly worrying to read his manifesto. So much of what he is determined to do is is rooting in changing and solving the economic woes of the United States. He makes promises, offers solutions and issues statements which seem to suggest he has the answer to America’s financial crisis.

It is acknowledged that Obama is a political rookie. His campaign was run with genius and the failure of the previous administration certainly helped his cause. The sudden collapse of the economic system in September greatly put the ball in his court. Obama now has 4 years to make an impression as a bonafide political leader. If his promises are anything to go by, he will have a huge job convincing both the American people and the international community that yes, he can do it.

My worry is that, unlike Blair in the UK and Ahern in Ireland, he comes to power at a time of unprecedented financial uncertainty. His job will be to pick up the pieces after years of poor decisions. If the goals he outlines in his manifesto are simply unattainable in his first 4 years we could be looking at an Obama presidency which is considered a failure. How tragic would it be if this inspirational and promising leader was to suffer because of Bush’s legacy.

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