President Obama campaigned as a centrist, promising to unite both the Democrats and the Republicans in Washington on issues that affect the nation. His rhetoric, vision, campaign style and definitely his age attracted people from all walks of life to vote for him. The Euphoria across the country was electrifying, as the world watched in amazement the political scenes unfolding in the USA. It was a historic moment, owing to the fact that, for the first time, an African American is being elected president of the US, and leader of the world.
However, two years into his presidency, president Obama failed to live to the expectation of many. It was at a time when the economy was on a spiral downfall, as unemployment climbed swiftly. Many hoped for a ‘messiah like’ president to immediately lift them from the economic flood that swept the lifestyles of the majority, especially middle class families. He instead focused all his efforts on pushing the healthcare law through the Democratic controlled congress, against the wishes of many Republicans, and independents. His strategy angered many Republicans and especially the independents that the political environment saw the birth of a poisonous political environment that eventually culminated in the shootings in Arizona. It does not mean that negative rhetoric was absent before Obama presidency, but His presidency saw it worsening to levels not experienced before. His performance ratings dropped dramatically, that the thought of Obama being a one – term president seemed so real.
Irrespective of the difficulties of his first two years as president, his performance rating has climbed, following his successes towards the end of the 111th congress, that is, the lame duck sessions. He was able to move from his political stand on extending taxes for the rich, by striking a deal with the Republicans, to extend tax cuts for everyone. He also saw the repeal of DADT military policy on gay and lesbian military personnel. In addition to his political gains, he also shuffled staff after resignation of some of his close white house staff. All this achievements came after he suffered a shellacking in the November 2010 elections, where his party lost control of the house. His political gains saw his approval rating climb. His political tone changed that the Republicans slowly changed their perception of his presidency, and tended to agree with his policy changes. In his state of the Union address, President Obama called for a spending freeze, and civility among politicians. He called for the two parties to extend their bipartisan seating arrangements to working together for a common good. The speech encouraged and raised hopes of recovery among many Americans, who are slowly moving back to supporting his policies. His central political move seems to give him an edge as the elections draws nearer. His centralist rhetoric, if maintained will eventually earn his a second term, irrespective of who the republicans choose as a presidential nominee.