Where’s All That “Change,” President Obama?

Our country has had the luck of having some great leaders, uh, lead us, presidential or otherwise. Today’s a day to commemorate, respect and analyze the past and future actions of our country’s leaders. So let’s all raise a glass and pour one out for the current big man on campus, Barack Obama.

And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s put the beer down and really take a look at our fearless leader.

Unlike the seemingly general population, I am not an Obama fan. Let me rephrase that: I am not a political Obama fan.

[DISCLAIMER: these are my opinions. I’m a headstrong, non-poli sci major who’s just as entitled to my way of thinking as everybody else is, so hear me out. Before you begin your siege on my political thinking, give me a chance to do some explaining.]

Like any other American, there are some major issues that I place a higher value on than others. Though I didn’t vote for Obama in the election, I did happen to agree with him on two of my most important personal issues: stem cell research and investing in infrastructure. My younger sister has had type 1 diabetes for the past 12 years. Growing up with my (then) six-year-old sister having to constantly worry about her health and poke herself with needles has certainly made an impact on me. When I grew up and learned that there was a way for her to live a happier, more hassle free life, educating myself and advocating for this research became very important to my family and myself.

When President Obama pledged to lift the ban on research and allow more funding for it, I was simply ecstatic.

Similarly,  I think the infrastructure of our country is one of the most basic components to our success, hence the civil engineering degree I’m currently pursuing. When he pledged billions of dollars toward creating jobs in the field (yay!) I was, again, thrilled. This money and those jobs created would someday lead to my future career success, so I was naturally in full support of what he had to say. He promised 2.5 million jobs. How could anyone, especially in this economy, not get behind that?

But what’s come of it all now?

As far as stem cell research, he’s made some baby steps in what could be one of the biggest scientific fields of the future with the potential to save countless lives year in and year out. He lifted the ban on the research, yet hasn’t put any money toward it. And that’s….it. What has he done about infrastructure? And all those jobs? And the unemployment rate?

Maybe I’m misreading all the signs (stock market, housing market, job market…), but it seems Obama hasn’t fulfilled any of his promises to America. To his credit, Obama has tackled a very important issue, making major progress in integrating “gays” into the army with no questions asked. But that’s the biggest change we’ve seen.

Where’s all that so-called “change we can believe in”?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to hate on our president; I think he’d be a great guy to grab a beer with. Maybe we could even have a doggie play date or grab Michelle and hit up JCrew. But as far as leading this country and fixing the system he deemed to be broken, well, President Obama is definitely falling short.

President Obama is definitely Presidential material –  he’s got charisma and an uncanny ability to captivate audiences, he is a brilliant and well educated, he’s overcome many difficulties in his life and he’s worked very hard to get to where he is now. I do believe he can bring some change to our country and get us all to rally behind him, I’m just hoping the next three years are more progressive than his first.



  1. brandy2424 says:

    Where did all the promises go Mr.Obama? Just when the American people thought a new era and an age of progress is about to beginning they are slapped at the face and forced to wake up on a illusion set by Obama and his promises.

  2. chelsea says:

    "People are upset Obama hasn't solved all the problems yet. C'mon, he's only been in office one year…the man went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." – Wanda Sykes

    Give him some time! He's only been in office a year; he can't fix everything right away. If, at the end of his first term, things are still the exact same, then we can talk.

    The man has already singlehandedly changed the entire world's opinion on the United States–when have you ever seen people from countries around the world celebrating a US presidential election?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why not skip the "stem cell" phase entirely? Research says it's possible:

  4. Ryan says:

    Chelsea, that celebration took place over a year ago. Are you sure that the opinions are so positive now? And furthermore, why should we care more about what foreigners think than what voters think? The American President should serve the interests of US citizens first.

    And Meg, do you really consider integrating gays into the military as a 'very important issue'? How about bringing home my brother from Afghanistan, who gets shot at on a regular basis?

  5. Naomi says:

    i knew i was opening a can of worms by reading this because i get INFURIATED when this topic is brought up. Chelsea, i COMPLETELY agree with you. it seems as though whatever this man does is wrong.

    Ryan do u think he wants your brother over there? clearly there is a reason as to why the troops have not come home. maybe we should be upset at why they were even brought over there in the first place. And we should definitely care about what foreigners think because America isnt the only country in the world. that is my main issue with most Americans. We do not own the world or are the only superpower. and as i do recall, it was definitely foreigners who flew planes in to several American sites.

    And to Meg, Obama is doing the best he can with an uncooperative Congress. He can only propose things and if Congress shoots it down thats the end. So if you want to complain about what Obama hasnt done, write a letter to your Rep. or Senator asking them why they aren't ready for the positive change that Obama has promised. He cannot do a single thing without Congress sooooooooo if they vote no, then it reflects poorly on the President.

    And as far as the "biggest change" he has done, watch the Nova(PBS) episode on how Obama's bailout saved America's economy from being that of some random 3rd world country.

    Wow that was a lot lol.

    -Naomi, a headstrong Political Science Major :)

  6. Casey says:

    Thank you for writing this! I'm not saying he can't make that "change" happen in the next three years, but judging on his first I doubt he will. I predicted this would be a wasted 4 years, and so far 1 down, three to go.

  7. T says:

    I adore Obama, I went to his rallies, I made sure young people registered to vote, and I voted for him myself.

    With that said, I'm a little disappointed, not only in him, but in all Democrats that are holding office currently.

    I'm sick of them bending backwards to accommodate the Republicans. When would they do this for the Democrats? If the Republicans wanted to get something passed, they would spend less time talking about it and more getting it done. I don't agree with their stance on issues, but the way they can get what they want accomplished is admirable.

    Hopefully he can get at least some of the things he promised done. I completely understand he has a mess to clean up, which took more years to get here than he's been in office, but still..

  8. Brianna says:

    I completely agree with Naomi and Chelsea. When certain members of Congress won't cooperate in an attempt to make themselves look better (no matter how much it affects their constituents in the end), it's hard to get any thing done. Not to mention, the change you talk about was not going to happen overnight.

  9. !!!!!! says:

    Maybe Obama could get more things done if the Republicans in Congress would stop causing this political stalemate and allow things to get passed with out a super majority for the Democrats. I understand not voting for something you don't believe in but present new ideas and stop acting for the next election.

  10. Tamara says:

    As a foreign person, I do believe Obama changed somehow the image we have of the US in other countries; coming from a developing country (for those of you who don't know, that's just a euphemism for "poor country"), USA's images and actions have a huge repercussion on us, socially and economically, probably more than on stronger countries.

    I also agree with the people that say it's been too short a time to judge. However, I would have liked to see the troups out of Afganisthan by now (I believe there are no longer men in Irak, right? Correct me if I'm wrong). Not because I care about the soldiers (forgive me, but the american army is joined voluntaryly: the boys there chose to go to war), but because is an imperialistic war where thousands of innocent people have been (and probably are being) murdered in the name of oil. That's my opinion, and that it's shared by every left wing person at least outside America. That doesn't mean you have to share it.

    So…there are goods and bads. But the world is definitely better off with a democrat than with a freakin war maker sexist homophobic conservative president (too many adjectives, I should have just put "republican").

  11. someguy says:

    Obama sucks so far. Hasn't done anything in the best interest of the people, and those who think he has (or will) are fooling themselves. It's a selfish gov't and they want OUR money to fund THEIR power.

  12. Meg says:

    I would like to point out that there has been a lot of namecalling on this page, directed especially at republicans. My sweet democrats, why not try and deal with your problems instead of just calling the other side names? If we actually worked together to fix this country maybe we could achieve something.

  13. C says:

    True facts, Tamara.

    "But the world is definitely better off with a democrat than with a freakin war maker sexist homophobic conservative president"

  14. Ryan says:

    Naomi, you're absolutely correct. The US has enemies. It always will. My question to you is: should we really care about what they think about us instead of thinking about the conditions in our own country first? The opinions of foreigners are not irrelevant, but they cannot be considered a priority.

    And Tamara, it seems that you are here in the US enjoying the security and opportunities that many citizens of your home country do not have the opportunity to enjoy. Those freedoms exist because people are willing to die to protect them. The least you can do is show some respect for their sacrifices.

    In addition, your statements are based off of incorrect information. There are currently many troops in Iraq. Furthermore, many innocent people die in every war: it's horrible, and should be avoided at all costs.

  15. Ryan says:

    Tamara, thanks for the response. If you've only visited the US briefly, how do you know about this stuff? It sounds like you know what the world media thinks about Republicans, not what Republicans think. Many Republicans hated Bush.

    Regarding foreign policy, I totally agree that there were ulterior motives for invading Iraq, most likely relating to the economic stability of the region, as well as Iraq's proximity to Iran.

    Is it really so difficult to imagine that a country will go to extraordinary lengths to protect its interests (for energy or otherwise)? I'm not saying it's right or justified (I never called the war justified in my posts above), but it IS logical.

    PS I've been to Argentina three times. Some of my soccer teammates in high school were from there. I studied Spanish for 10 years, so I know more than most Americans about the desaparecidos and everything else. I never said America was nice or altruistic or justified. American foreign policy is constructed to protect America, NOT to make the world a better place. This is an unfortunate statement, but the history books I should read (as you say) confirm this.

  16. Tamara says:

    I agree with this entire post. About knowing what republicans and democrats are about, well, I read about the parties and the politicians; if the republican party's actions and the republican politicians fail to represent their partisans, well, then I know nothing about that. So let's just agree that I was talking about that: what I can read and hear from here.

    Also, it is nice to see some self criticism in a North American citizen! If you've talken to argentinian people, you probably know that we're practically ashamed of our country's politics. While that might not be the right attitude, some americans (again: what I see in journalism, blogs, TV, movies, pop culture in general) seem to have the opposite flaw: be proud no matter what, even if you have to lie to yourelf for that. USA's foreign policy has been and continues to be tremendously destructive on other countries, that are as well corrupt and ran practically by the mob, but still: it's nice to see the people in your country are not being completely fooled, or at least not all of you.

  17. Casey says:

    Tamara, all those laws which you say try to keep women in their place or whatever have just as much impact on men as they do women. Laws affect everyone, not just certain genders. I hate how everything is made into a feminist issue. I mean come on girls, the world doesn't revolve around us.

  18. nerdygirlatw says:

    Casey don't you think that you are responding as an American who may or may not take their civil liberties for granted? I know I can be guilty of it sometimes…

  19. Timothy says:

    After a year in office, Mr. Obama still isn't ready to be President. He is a disgrace to the office an our nation.

    For those who believe the world respects him, and the country, ought to YouTube "Obama Russian handshake." That video drips with respect for America.

    Mr. Obama would do well to return to college and take Business 101. Small businesses don't borrow to hire employees. Small businesses borrow to purchases capital. Employees are hired to utilize the capital.

    Mr. Obama ought to return to Harvard and brush up on the law as he completely disregarded fact in favor of attempting to embarrass the Supreme Court during the State of the Union.

    Mr. Obama should slow down on the environmental rhetoric. I'm shocked anyone thinks it is a good idea to impose new, wide ranging costs on business during the deepest recession in a generation.

  20. NIcole says:

    He is the fad, and a year ago he was the cool thing to vote for and be a fan of. I think he seems like a cool guy, but our nation needs jobs and we somebody to figure out how to get it done.

  21. Tamara says:

    Funny you say it, Ryan, I’m not. I’ve only been to the USA on holidays. I live, work and study in Argentina, my home country (that is why I ask you all to excuse my mistakes, this is not my mother language). US’s governments supported the dictators in my country and all around South America back in the 70s, so that thing about “defending liberties”…I’ll only say the US hasn’t been at all consistent about that. Also, my country is in a permanent crisis partly because of the huge illegitimate debt (contracted by non democratic governments, agains, supported by the USA) we have to pay…to the USA! So I might not be informed about some facts (and I thank the information you gave me, I didn’t know for sure and I stated it), but you might as well check up a history book.

    Again, I wasn’t really sure about the Irak thing, thanks for the information; I read American media, but definitely not as much as you all do (or should do). Too bad there are still troops there. I agree with you about wars being all horrible and should be avoided at all costs…that is why I do not understand how you can justify a war in the name of “liberty” or whatever. That is just one way to tell the story; talking about the economic motives behind this war, that’s the dark side. But no less true. I have nothing to thank anyone fighting the war, and I believe neither do you. I do pity the soldiers in some way, still: I know many people join the army because they don’t have many better options (no money to study, no jobs) and many other are brainwashed to give their lives for this so-called cause. Those people actually do deserve my pity.

    Finally, about the name calling: I didn’t call you names. I didn’t say stupid, or narrow minded, or anything like that. I said sexist, because many republicans feel there is “a place” for women in life, and are against birth control, abortion, divorce laws and many other stuff that let women take control of their bodies and lives (instead of men controlling them). I said homophobic, because many republicans actually think being homosexual is a disease and shouldn’t be allowed or supported. I said conservative…even republicans call themselves that! So that was meant as an attack, but by no means a disrespectful attack.

    Sorry about the long post, I’m very opinionated about politics!

  22. Casey says:

    The reason Obama won the election in the first place was because he was promising to get elected and fix all of our problems. That was his promise, that he was going to bring "change". His first couple months in office people were upset because he hadn't done anything and everyone said "it's only been a couple months, you have to give him time!" Which I agree, a couple months isn't enough time, but it's been a year and we still haven't seen any of the changes that he promised. Time goes by pretty fast, every minute counts. Four years really isn't a long time. In his fourth year are you all going to be saying, "It's only been four years, give him some time!"? By that point it's too late, and we've already lost 1 year.

    The fact is, America voted for a very inexperienced man to fix the enormous crisis we're in because of some empty promises and over-glorification. What did Obama do before being elected that gave him ANY credibility? Nothing! He didn't even hold a senate seat for a year. So why everyone puts their full faith in him I will never understand.

    Oh and when OUR country is in shambles, what the rest of the world thinks about us should NOT be our top priority. We have to fix ourselves first before we start worrying about everyone else. Woo Hoo! every other country loves Obama! Maybe it's because they realize America finally fucked itself up the ass.

  23. jooobs says:

    inexperience has nothing to do with being a whore for Wall Street or the healthcare corporations, casey

    he's just a very charismatic corporate democrat

  24. Tamara says:

    Just a word, Casey.

    First: campaing promises are always that, campaign promises. Every president promises things that are practically impossible or at least out of his absolute control. For example, the recession: in an economic crisis, the forces and events evolved are multiple, and many of them aer bigger that the president. Remember, we live in a globalized world, with global economies, where the state and the presidents have lost lots of power to the corporations and economic agents. So what I'm trying to say: fixing the economy is not just about wanting it or making an effort. Is it OK to make promises that is not entirely up to you to keep? Ethically, not; but that's just what a campaign is about. Obama didn't make the rules.

    Secondly, you live in a two party's country (unlike me: in every election there are at least 15 or 20 candidates, much more than I can even remember!): that means you don't vote for the best president, you vote for the less bad. Also, with to big parties with so much history (again: in my country, you have old parties, new parties, parties that last no longer than a particular election, etc), I'm sure some people vote for the party and not for the man. If I voted in the USA, I would always vote for the democrat candidat, for ideological reasons, even if I had no hopes on the candidat. So the thing "we voted and unexperienced man because he promised change", I'm not so sure: most people actually realize what a campaign promise is, and know it's, in the best case, exagerated, and in the wort, simply false.

    About the last thing: don't be so sure. This is a world wide crisis, and being in good relationships with other countries is important for the economy. Trust me: coming from someone who has (sadly) seen lots of recessions in her short 20 years of life.

  25. t says:

    Easy enough for you to say Tamara, you don't live in the US. A huge percentage of obamas following were first time voters: meaning a vast majority of them likely knew very little about elections, or election promises. This is America and like another poster said above, obama was the cool thing to vote for and be a fan of, in this country its all about the media and doing what's cool, not what's good or right.

  26. Tamara says:

    Although I know it, I tend to forget voting is not cumpolsory in the States. But voting is about image and the media all around the world! Not just in America. People should know better: you're a developed country, with very low rates of analphabetism and high rates of college graduates (at least comparing to the under developed world). If you even bother to vote, you should bother to think for yourself.

  27. I would argue that Obama is more hawkish than Bush, especially when it comes down to his Foreign Policy. He uses different language, but fails to act according to it.

    See the short comment I've written about it on my blog:

  28. JR says:

    This is the 2nd article I am reading on Obama today, what a coincidence! The 1st one is about his glorious victory against McCain,… … & now I see his progress in this article… time's change huh. Guess, he's not delivered what he promised!

  29. David Sinatra Felton says:

    To the new generations of the world today take care of yours elders and remeber. and the world is a big place. it's okay if someone is different. who know's who else you'll meet.

  30. Diego says:

    For me, these are the biggest things Obama has done thus far, and we're literally less than 24 hours away from the greatest expansion of health care in the country's history to over 30 million uninsured Americans.

    Right from the beginning, he hit the ground running with domestic policy. The Lily Ledbetter Act helps women in challenging their employers who offer unequal pay based on gender discrimination. Google and learn about Lily's life struggled to get paid just like her male colleagues and you'd be inspired and wonder why this hadn't been passed sooner!

    But, the reason it was even needed is because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was becoming more conservative with Bush appointees Alito and Roberts. So, Obama's next major decision was to appoint a hispanic woman onto the bench. And unlike some of Clinton's appointments, she wasn't halfway in the grave either.

    He's proposed new EPA regulations on emissions that will help to save our planet.

    And for you college kids… you won't be able to make the same mistakes practically every single American has made over the past 20 years with credit cards. His new law radically changes the rules with credit card regulations, and their ability to screw over people who don't know any better (i.e., 18 year olds who get gah gah over the idea of "free" money). That alone will help families maintain fiscal stability in a huge way.

    I think people have discussed the foreign policy and the Recovery Act ad nauseum so I won't go there. But, he has done quite a bit, in my opinion.

  31. David Sinatra Felton says:

    As a veteran i am very prouder than i have ever been. I hope the new generation learn to respect each other. i still hear the hate of the next man because of race. so to our new generation we have to stop. The safety of America depends on it.

  32. Canadian your gonna says:

    On the surface it sounds like there are some smart ppl on this topic. But reading on I see that not one of you even has your eyes open. It matters not who the man behind the desk is when the man on the phone is the one calling the shots. The only reason there are two parties anymore at all is to keep you devided. The last free president of your great conuntry was Kennedy. May he rest in peace. He was killed because he opposed those who threaten your freedoms. So much of what you love is at stake and still you sleep. But trust me the Internet is a powerful tool when not used for searching celebrity sex tapes and mily Cyrus crotch shots.

    poli-sci chick ask your professors who made trillions when the towers came down.

    CIvil engineer ask your professors how many steel framed concrete buildings have ever been brought down by fire and how many more have survived a direct hit by a plane. Shit Mexico built a building that burnt for 12 days and still stood. Mexico!

  33. Canadian your gonna says:

    About the economy. Obama can't fix it because the federal reserve created it and the federal reserve is neither federal nor have any reserves. (Look it up) it is a private international corporation looking out for the interests of itself only. Right now that means squeezing the life blood out of America and selling it to china. Your biggest debtor and most fearsome collector. The fed was signed in back in 1913 followed shortly by income tax and social security. Woodrow willson appologized shortly after saying he feared he made a grave mistake and signed your beloved country over to the very tyrants we'd escaped back in England. (look it up) since then a year hasn't gone by where your not sending innocent young men and woman around the world to kill other innocent young men women and children in the interest of said tyrants. Ask yourselves This, a world bank (the IMF) should be looking out for the interests of the would shouldn't they? So why is it they're always funding both sides of the war?

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