No, he couldn’t

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No final word in politics. The most seemingly certain of realities are in a flux. Only two years ago, the incumbent President of the US was sworn into office after perhaps the most impressive election campaign in that countrys history. His popularity was unprecedented. Even though his predecessor George W Bush was extremely unpopular, the 08 election was not a referendum against the Bush but one in favour of Obama. The conservatives were nigh completely decimated and the GOP faced one of the greatest existential crises in its history, so much so that doves amongst the Democrats started expressing fear and were going around saying that a viable Republican party was necessary for having a strong Democratic party. How quickly has all that changed. The Republicans routed the Democrats in the mid-term elections for the House of Representatives and sliced away a considerable bit of their control of the Senate. In fact, even if the Democrats have barely retained the majority in the upper house, peculiarities of the US constitution make a majority of less than 60 seats more of a tool for blocking legislation than anything else. All this was expected since much before the elections. In fact, the Democrats did not do as badly as was initially being expected.

There are several reasons for the dismal performance. First of all, Obama promised a little more than he could deliver and also pandered too much to the middle-ground, thus alienating his own voters. Secondly, since the economy has not been resurrected, despite the higher taxation, the Tea Party effect has taken root, with their libertarian grounding increasingly more at home with the GOP.

The third, most distressing aspect, one which might come to haunt us here in Pakistan, is the belief that he is not tough enough on Muslim countries in the War on Terror. As a President eyeing re-election in two years time, he might want to play to the gallery here, possibly resulting in, some fear, the beginning of limited ground operations in Pakistan by US troops. And maybe some intransigence in Afghanistan and adventurism in other parts of the Middle East. Heres to hoping sanity prevails.