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Why is Obama losing popularity in the US?

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by ByaseL, Aug 10, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    By Kevin O'Connor

    President Obama’s popularity is falling in America. This is not due to one single issue, whether it be Iraq, healthcare reform or the recession. While skin colour is an important factor in American politics, the African blood in Obama’s veins, let alone his father’s polygamy, have no relevance whatsoever to his job approval rating going down in opinion polls.

    So why is Obama less popular in August 2009 America than in January 2009? The fundamental reason is described by political analysts as “the swing of the pendulum”.
    What does this mean? In genuine democracies, a government and/or leader will generally begin office when they are popular, sometimes hugely popular. After all, this is why they were elected.
    Inevitably, their popularity will begin to fall, just as a pendulum (as on an old type of big clock) will swing back downwards from its high point.


    Some of the world’s most well-known democratically elected leaders have fallen victim of the “swing of the pendulum”. In Britain, after 11 years in power, many things caught up with Margaret Thatcher in 1990, including the pendulum. However, it was not the electorate, but her own party – realising that it would not win another election under her leadership – that removed Thatcher as Prime Minister.

    In my hugely highly humble opinion, the most outstanding British government, certainly peace time government, of the 20th Century, was not Margaret Thatcher’s, but the Labour Government (1945-51) that came to power as the Second World War drew to a close. In a war-torn country desiring social change, it not only unexpectedly defeated Winston Churchill in the 1945 General Election, but won by a stunningly huge majority.

    Despite the country’s economy having been ravaged by war, with loans being paid back to the Americans plus many other negative factors such as the particularly freezing winter of 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s government did indeed introduce many great social reforms, the most outstanding of which was the UK’s famous National Health Service.

    But by 1950, the pendulum had swung. The General Election returned the Labour Government to power with only a tiny majority – so small that there had to be another election in 1951, which was won by the Conservatives, with Winston Churchill returning as Prime Minister.
    Pendulums swing upwards as well as downwards in politics, and democratic leaders can become popular again after a period of unpopularity.

    The “swing of the pendulum” principle can be applied in some shape or form to many areas of life e.g. football teams, sexual partners, bars, supermarkets, TV & radio stations etc., whether they be in Uganda, the US, or the UK.

    As regards President Obama, my gut feeling is that he is so charismatic, articulate and outstanding that after losing popularity he will regain it. And, just as for the UK’s 1945 Labour Government, it will be health reform that will be especially challenging.
    But as Harold Wilson put it, “a week is a long time in politics”. So, none of us can be sure which way the pendulum will swing for Obama.