Barack Obama has been President of the United States of America for a whole year now. 365 days.
Remember this time last year? The inaugural address. The inspired scenes. Massive crowds. Words warm enough to break the chill of a Washington January day. That last one is perhaps poetic licence, but work with me here - President Obama's inauguration was a big deal. His election was "change you can believe in". Whenever he asked if he could do something the response was "Yes we can".
So, one year and one Nobel peace prize later, what has President Obama actually achieved?
- He set a deadline for the closure of Guantanamo Bay (Jan 2010) then admits that it won't close then.
- The US are still fighting wars in Iraq (despite Obama formally announcing a withdrawal) and increasing troops in Afghanistan... and still losing support.
- He has passed some healthcare reform through Congress... but the two bills in the House and Senate respectively are vastly different and may not find common enough ground to make the difference Obama's healthcare package was supposed to. Especially in the Senate.
- He has presided over an economy that saw a 9 month rise in unemployment in the US from 7.6% to 9.8% (Jan-Sept 2009).
- He promised (again) to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in the US military, but sets no timeline or deadline.
- He's lost a Senate race in Massachusetts (well, he didn't, his party did) costing an opportunity to pass healthcare reform.
Of course I'm maybe being slightly harsh here. He has also reversed the Bush decision on stem-cell research, signed a stimulus package, helped out banks and car industry and, erm, got a dog for his kids. I'm sure there is more. Actually, I'm not sure... but there must be. Any Americans I've pissed off with this post should feel free to give me a list of achievements...
Maybe I'm just a born cynic, but I don't think its unfair to have expected more from the first year of his presidency. Or was the "change you can believe in" merely a symbolic change?
A change is gonna come, but it might be a long time coming...