By Alberto Pupo
So today on Martin Luther King’s Birthday, begins the final four years of the Obama Presidency. After all the inaugural day hoopla dies, down, the poetry readings, celebration and the buzz regarding the Michelle Obama’s videotaped disdain of John Boehner and the Corporate Money being used for the Inauguration the reality will become official tomorrow, it is back to work. A president which Republicans had vowed to eliminate since day one. A president who was “destined” to follow Jimmy Carter into thew list of ineffectual and hapless leaders, January 21, 2012 there he still stands. What path will Obama take this final four years? The final term of a two term president is the legacy builder. In a country were its people have an odd tendency to get what happened yesterday, and declare five years ago to be “history” these four year will be ultimately what Obama will be remembered for. This is the moment. This is the moment where the legacy writes itself into history books, how will this president become known in the eyes of history?
Obama’s final term is here and now reality sets in. Already things are bound to heat with a battle over the meme of the deficit. The battle lines continued to be drawn in the sand regarding debt. Ultimately this President will have to ultimately have to stand. This president will have to decided where his priorities will be and with who will he side over the fight to preserve our Nation’s safety net. Now that the fiscal cliff has been somewhat resolved when it comes to taxes the next war will feature the debt ceiling as well as the so called entitlement (Medicare and Social Security). Medicare and Social Security regardless of Conservative clarion calls to “privatize” and give the future security of the American people over to Wall St. and those parasitic “money managers”; countinues to be successful program which every day provide not only for those who are sick and retired, but also provide compensation or care to those with disabilities who have been paying into the system but have fallen upon some unfortunate incident (ie Social Security Disability). Privatization of Medicare and Social Security will only serve to enrich a small interest group who wishes to increase the financial bottom line by also serving older and sick individuals and throwing them from the world of safe and guaranteed health care and pensions into the wild west world of private health care and the Stock Market. It is in this “War of Entitlements” that the president has the chance to write for himself a positive legacy as a man who stood for the poor and middle class of our Nation.
However there is a certain darkness that potentially clouds President Obama’s legacy. In several important issues the president has unfortunately proven to be a paradox. For example the inauguration festivities themselves have been actually provided by Corporate Cash donations, which were not accepted back in 2009. This sort of outlook smacks of making a deal with the devil and has drawn the ire of many Progressives one notable voice on this issue is Russ Feingold who feels that giving in to Corporate Donations only serves to strengthen The Citizens United Ruling. The President and his advisors have tires to play it off as a need to “level the playing field”, but sadly in doing this a paradox is created especially coming from a man who in 2010 criticized the Citizens United Decision. These next four years would provide Obama a chance to hold true to his original criticism but it does not bode well that for the inauguration exceptions have been made in accepting Corporate cash.
The other dark cloud which can potentially damage his legacy and reputation is President Obama’s love for Drone warfare. In what is ostensibly a good faith effort to streamline the military the President has embraced the Drone program. Already for 2013 Drone strikes in Pakistan are on the rise as troops are expected to be drawn away from Afghanistan it seems in their place mechanized tools of destruction will be sent instead. Ostensibly this is a way to cut in the military fighting force but we all know what tends to pave the “Road to Hell”. Drones are often mistaken and targeting leaves much to be desired for a example a study done in late 2011 showed that Drone operators have high levels of stress and work erratic hours. The unfortunate thing is that these pilots will ultimately because of their conditions and state of minds may end up making mistakes which will be costly and hurt civilians. Drone warfare like the Atom Bomb is also a Pandora’s Box which can do more harm than good. Unfortunately as it stands right now because of his support for the use of Drone technology, part of Obama’s legacy will be connecting him to the escalation of Drone Warfare.
The final four years of a two term president are truly the defining ones. It is a time where the damage of a mediocre first term can be reversed. Or it is a time where there can be more damage done to the legacy of the President. Ultimately come Tuesday Morning President Obama will now be face with a whole host of choices as he must decide how he will want the American people to remember him.