Political professor, commentator offers 5 predictions for the New Year
Published Dec. 15, 2009
With the end of 2009 in sight, people and the media are assessing the accomplishments and burdens of Obama’s presidency to date – and for the coming year. According to Robert Watson, coordinator of the American Studies Program at Lynn University, “2009 was unique in American political history.”
“I would put 2009 just behind the first year of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson,” said Watson. “It was also a productive year in terms of symbolism and changing the tone, much like Lincoln’s first year. So many of Obama’s accomplishments have gone largely unreported by the press and unnoticed by the public.”
Although future political predictions are difficult to foresee, Watson offers five predictions (and items to consider) for 2010:
- “Palin fatigue” will set in.
- The debate over healthcare and the inability of the Democratic leadership in Congress to produce a functional and clean bill will hurt the party in the 2010-midterm elections.
- Soldiers coming home from Iraq in 2010 could help Obama, but the surge in Afghanistan could overshadow it. Afghanistan could prove to be Obama’s Vietnam, much as Iraq was Bush’s Vietnam.
- The U.S. public and press seem incapable of multi-tasking. Iraq sucked all the oxygen out of U.S. foreign policy, and now we see that healthcare is sucking all the oxygen out of the domestic agenda. There are several other big-ticket issues, including immigration reform, cap-and-trade, and so on that need to be addressed in the public eye. The White House must get Congress and the country to multi-task.
- Pakistan, Iran and Russia will prove to be more serious security and foreign policy concerns than Iraq and Afghanistan.
Watson also believes “2009 will go down in American political history." Here are three reasons why:
- 2009 set a record in terms of a lack of civility, fear-mongering, paranoia and partisan bickering.
- 2009 faced more momentous challenges than ever before, including: two wars, the largest debt, largest budget deficit, largest trade deficit, and crises in energy, education and healthcare.
- President Obama’s first year, although he did not pass any large policy initiatives, is one of the most active and productive (in terms of many small initiatives and accomplishments) in American history.