Race to the White House – Obama vs. TEA ‘maniacs’

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The race to the 2012 election has begun early and it may prove to be difficult for president Obama due to the far-right TEA party candidates and their loyal followers. With Obama’s new American Jobs Act, the result could go either way.

With Barack Obama’s ‘weekly addresses’ becoming ever the more popular, especially since this August of this year when he admitted to focussing on encouraging bipartisanship, a more mature idea which would bypass the TEA party candidates we see lined up before us. Obama’s vision of bipartisanship stems from the growth of the economy, the creation of jobs to the economic situation in Europe. Ultimately the focus is to rebuild the economy that has, over the years slipped away from the middle class; as Obama rightfully insisted “We’ve got to put politics aside to get things done”. Clearly, there is a vision of an America “for the people”, demonstrating that America should once again be dynamic, up and running and not bogged down by the horrific recession. Rebuilding the USA is the main goal with new jobs being created, outlined in Obama’s new ‘American Jobs Act’.

The American Jobs Act is created of ideas supported by both Republicans and Democrats which has been anticipated to pass through Congress quick however far right Republicans have made it more difficult. As aforementioned, there is a projection of a ‘growing America’ which is all about the growth of small businesses with immediate incentives for these small businesses, simply putting people back to work, rebuilding America, rebuilding schools, bridges and tunnels that need repairing – a dream for future teachers and engineers of the United States. Unemployment is very high so clearly, this is something that needs to be on top of Obama’s ‘to-do list’. In addition, Obama pledges to expend the payroll cut, cutting workers payroll taxes in half within the next year.

A small university in Richmond, Virginia had the privilege of the President visiting them, although notably this could be to do with the fact it is a known key state for his re-election chances. It just so happens that Richmond, Virginia is the home district of Eric Cantor, the House Majority leader; essentially a Republican rival, however Obama embraces this rivalry as shown in his interest for and inspiration to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s seminal work ‘Team of Rivals’ (the genius of Lincoln’s Presidency outlining that he (like Obama) placed his political rivals in his cabinet). Cantor is seen to be one of the Presidents fiercest Republican antagonists in Congress, especially on budget and economic matters. Interestingly, Cantor returned home speaking about Republican alternatives to Obama’s package. It appears that the game is on.

Central to Obama’s plan are tax cuts. Sarcastically, he plead to Republican’s not to break their no-new-taxes-ever pledge by refusing to extend the cut in payroll taxes. This tax cut would put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of people who are working. It appeared that the entire summer was spent fussing about the deficit, thus something needed to be sorted out.

Obama’s progress as a President can be viewed upon as being heroic and to some extent living up to the American dream but another stance can be taken, namely that of the TEA party “Obama is a socialist” ‘clan’. There has been a lot of focus recently on these extreme right wingers, particularly with the election coming close and of course Nick Broomfield’s documentary on the queen of all things TEA, Sarah Palin ‘You betcha’. Her spitfire personality and thousands of loyal followers have made her extremely media savvy and although it is not clear whether or not she is standing for presidency, she certainly has given some popularity to Bachmann, Perry, Romney et al. It appears that there is an indefinite battle between the Republican candidates standing for Presidency with Bachmann’s ‘nobama’ stance being risen high amongst the American right wing giving Obama less hope than he had in 2008. Fortunately, Obama’s submission on the American Jobs Act has definitely restored the faith in some of his wavering supporters. It is important to many Americans to reduce the jobless rate and so this plan has reached a lot of bipartisan support – Obama’s intentions exactly! The projections of this plan are to add two percentage points to economic growth in 2012 thus adding 1.9 million jobs and cutting the nations unemployment rate by a full percentage point. Obama does although have competition with former governor of Massachusetts and presid

ential running candidate Mitt Romney whom has embraced a healthcare programme in Massachusetts similar to the one Obama pushed years later.

Obama vs. TEA ‘maniacs- Some of the Candidates on the right wing:

It is sensible to start off with Michelle Bachmann, the far right former representative from Minnesota who claims Obama may have ‘Anti- American views’ and so condemns Democrats. She is very much against big government, tax increases, the healthcare law and excess government spending. She has popularity with the TEA party as she is the founder of a TEA party caucus in congress and it is this which potentially could be a threat to Obama if the TEA party was to rise up and Obama’s plans to decrease in popularity. Socially she is very Conservative and arguably she may be attracting too little support (perhaps due to her Anti-Obama stance in comparison to the bipartisan approach obama is putting forward successfully).

The Texan former governor (notably the longest serving governor of Texas – succeeding none other than George W Bush) Rick Perry appears very popular with the TEA party and social Conservatives – clearly an instant top-tier candidate. Perry wishes to amalgamate an equal measure of inspiring economic growth and preserving social values. Although quite successful in putting his values forward, he in seen to be unpopular with the GOP establishment. It is not long since a certain Texan governor spent eight years in the White House so this could appear a challenge.

Another former governor (although this time, of Massachusetts, the ‘liberal’ northwest, not Texas, within the ‘bible belt’) Mitt Romney is seen to be a top GOP candidate within the media. As a businessman, he is certainly the most qualified contender (a good jump start) although his campaign in 2008 proved unsuccessful. His downfall (although not intended) is his mormon faith to which others are skeptical of. Since his time as governor, he has been seen to increasingly lean to the right since his time as governor. It is however concerning for a lot of Conservatives that he holds a moderate stance on gay rights and abortion rights.

The former House Speaker (which gives him such an advantage) Newt Gingrich is also standing for Presidency however he appears hampered due to his campaign manager and half a dozen senior advisors resigned in June over disagreements on the campaign. Newt is definitely seen as being a strong contender as he stayed in the race. He captured lots of attention, especially when he campaigned in Hawaii. Gingrich is a Georgia native and very much a ‘one man industry’ with a lot of creativity and a great thinker too. Seeing as he is a TEA favourite, the TEA movement is definitely growing bigger with many thinking that Obama (unfortunate as it may be) might be a one term President. As Gingrich is very much at the zenith of influence in Conservative Washington, this puts him very much on a pedestal. Gingrich does however face challenges such as his confrontation with President Clinton over the Budget which led to a government shutdown in 1995 and ethics battles led to his resignation as speaker in 1998.

Ultimately, Obama faces a lot of competition in Washington. With his American Jobs Act (although many supporting it) facing a lot of Republican opposition (perhaps it is their natural instinct to do so), it may prove difficult but with previous seminal legislation that has allowed the President to be viewed upon so highly, anything is possible which is what we saw first time round with the election of the first African American President.


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I'm Alison and I'm 19 years old. I study Politics and International Relations at Southampton University. I'm interested in politics and current affairs. In my spare time, I like seeing my friends, playing sport and having a good time.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    As a huge Obama fan I have to say your analysis is rather flawed. People like Obama but they do not like his handling of the economy (I would dispute the economic situation is not his fault).

    Many American’s do not like what Barack has accomplished. Evidence is the New York Special Election the Dems lost – a vastly Jewish district that they lost convincingly.

    I really like his healthcare reform, his investment in infrastructure and his general approach to politics.

    But with Romney leading him amongst independents (who were crucial to his election) and the vast army of people willing to donate time and small amounts of money being very reluctant to do so again – Mr Obama has a huge task ahead of him.

  2. avatar

    President Obama has a long history of bipartianship while serving as a Senator. For anyone who would like an interesting read about how the Obama campaign and the 2008 election, they should read the “Audacity to Win” by David Plouffe, who was his campaign manager at the time. The book details what values the campaign based itself on and how they won. Although it is clear the strategy for 2012 will be different, the value of “people power” and Obama’s appeal to independents due to his centrist, pragmatic grounding will be continuations of that campaign.

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