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Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Obama's Middle Road is Fatal


"More and more of his once ardent supporters are turning away from Barack Obama. They no longer recognize the man who once inspired them. And why should they support someone barely distinguishable from a moderate Republican - whether the issue is one of environmental and energy policy, tax legislation or how to deal with Wall Street?"


By Andreas Geldner



Translated By Stephanie Martin


September 9, 2011


Germany - Frankfurter Rundschau - Original Article (Germany)

President Obama addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress to talk about putting Americans back to work. Few believe he'll get his program passed intact.


NEW MEDIA ANIMATION [TAIWAN]: Reaction to Obama's big jobs speech, Sept. 9, 00:01:10RealVideo

Just looking at his opponents should dispel any worries Barack Obama may have about being re-elected in 2012. Texas Governor Rick Perry and inexperienced Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are frightening voters with their archconservative ideology. Candidate number three, Mormon Mitt Romney, has no distinguishing characteristics. And former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is coyly refusing to say whether or not she'll be running. However, if this week's poll numbers carry through to Election Day, the results for the president will be worse than ever before.


Today, Obama must use his long-awaited speech on the state of the economy to launch a counterattack. For the man in the White House, it is high time for a change in direction. The recent unemployment figures are disastrous. The prospect of an economic recovery in time for next year's election dwindles with each passing day. In desperation, the U.S. president now wants to announce another economic stimulus package. Obama wants to pump an additional $300 to $400 billion into the economy before the election. He would like to extend existing cuts in Social Security contributions. In addition, he plans more funding for infrastructure projects - and emergency aid for the states could help lessen the impact of state budget cuts.


But many of his proposals aren't worth the paper they're printed on. The Republicans will block any new expenditures. Only tax cuts - considered by economists to be particularly costly while at the same time, being the least effective policy measures - stand a chance of passing. Just a few weeks ago during the U.S. debt ceiling debate, there was talk of nothing but savings. During that debate, it seemed that Obama struggled to keep up when Republicans introduced the keyword “savings.” And now he's again talking about spending money. There is no clear sense of direction. Since he took office, Obama has been lurching from crisis to crisis - a task which admittedly, could overwhelm even the most talented politician. But Obama is not just a victim of circumstance. The man whose eloquence was once praised has lost his political message.   




Sydsvenskan, Sweden: After September 11, We 'Lost What We Wanted to Defend'    

Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan: Japan and World Need U.S. to Recover from 9-11    

Die Welt, Germany: To be Ashamed of One's Identity is also Terrorism    

Huanqiu, China: Anniversary of 9-11 Shows Lack of American Solidarity    

RTBF, Belgium: September 11 and the Value of Having Defined Enemies    

Folha, Brazil: 'Two Septembers' that Changed the World  

Global Times, China: In Post-9/11 America, Anger Overwhelmed Self-Reflection    

Iraq of Tomorrow: After 9-11, Iraq was Punished for America's Mistakes  
Estadao, Brazil: To Shorten Crisis, U.S. and E.U. Should Look to Latin America
Sol, Portugal: Buffet's Righteous 'Slap in to Face' to America's Super-Rich
Gazeta, Russia: A World Without Captain America
China Daily, China: Time for China to Use its 'Financial Weapon' on America
Global Times, China: China Should Link Taiwan Arms Sales to U.S. Debt
China Post, Taiwan: What are the Americans Actually Selling Taiwan?'
Taipei Times, Taiwan: We Taiwanese 'Must Risk Our Lives' for Freedom

Taiwan News: Inadequate U.S. Arms Deal Shows Failure of Taiwan President

Global Times, China: U.S. Arms Sale to Taiwan 'Not Necessarily Bad'

Die Tageszeitung, Germany: Taiwan Arms Sales a Gut Check for U.S.

Rceczpospolita, Poland: China Feels Her Oats at America's Expense

China Daily, China: U.S. Weapons Sale to Taiwan will 'Sour Ties'

Taiwan News, Taiwan: Taiwan Leader Welcomes American Weapons Deal
Magyar Nemzet, Hungary: Bachmann: Will 'One-Eyed Monarch Lead the Blind'?
Hispanidad, Spain: How Spain Can Build its Own 'Tea Party': Copy Sarah Palin
El País, Spain : Tea Party 'Endangers Health' of American Democracy
ABC, Spain: The Misguided Demonization of the 'Tea Party' Movement
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany: 'Radical' Republicans Threaten America with Ruin
Le Monde, France: Charting the Tortured Path of the Tea Party
Le Temps, Switzerland: America's 'Cry of Agony' Through the Tea Party
Romanian Libera, Romania: Tea Party Activists Reflect U.S. Checks and Balances
Excelsior, Mexico: Paradox: The Tea Party is 'Determined to Help Obama'
Le Figaro, France: The Tea Party: An 'American Fever' that Will Soon Pass
El Universal, Mexico: The Tea Party and Immigration: Obama's Ace in the Hole
Tageblatt, Luxembourg: Prepare for 'Tea Time' in America
Upsala Nya Tidning, Sweden:
U.S. Should Choose Patriotism Over Party Tactics
Cotidianul, Romania: The Tea Party and the Workings of American Democracy

FTD, Germany: Why Obama Shouldn't Listen to the Tea Party
La Jornada, Mexico: Glenn Beck and the New U.S.-Right: 'Like a Horror Movie'

Die Zeit, Germany: The Head-Spinning Rate of Change in American Politics

Folha, Brazil: Obama: An American Anomaly?


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The U.S. president has been trying to govern a polarized country from the center. Instead of fighting, he has continued to offer Republicans new compromises in the hope of being viewed as a “reconciler” who stands above partisan politics. Instead of directly attacking the obstructionists in the opposition ranks, Obama speaks vaguely about the “failure of Washington.” One has to give the U.S. president credit for the fact that he made no promises beforehand. But hardly anyone remembers The Audacity of Hope, the book published during the early phase of his candidacy. Several hundred pages are filled with a series of soft-focus phrases, neither provocative nor inspiring to anyone, about middle road beyond party differences. Later on, the campaign merely papered over this rhetoric of hope. But as a bridge builder, the president has now failed.


More and more of his once ardent supporters are turning away from Barack Obama. They no longer recognize the man who once inspired them. And why should they support someone barely distinguishable from a moderate Republican - whether the issue is one of environmental and energy policy, tax legislation or how to deal with Wall Street? He wasn't even able to assert himself when it came to enforcing his preferred date for a speech before both Houses of Congress. The president was coolly rebuffed by Republican House Speaker John Boehner.


But in the U.S., expectations for presidential speeches are low. Almost no one believes that appearing before Congress will give the president the popularity boost he so urgently needs. According to columnist Maureen O'Dowd, who is usually an Obama sympathizer, Obama has too much faith in the power of his words: He thinks, “that he can come down from the mountain, read from a teleprompter, cast a magic spell with his words, and climb back up the mountain.”


Time isn't on Obama's side. At this point in his first term during the 1990s, Democratic President Bill Clinton, who had also been subjected to a heavy political battering, was already on the road to recovery. But so far, Barack Obama appears to lack not only Clinton's tactical cleverness for forging political compromise, but also his ability to satisfy the emotional needs of voters. During a crisis, people don't want to be reminded of lukewarm political reasoning, but prefer backbone, fighting spirit and assertiveness. Even a large stimulus package won't be enough to convincingly demonstrate such qualities. 



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Sept 11, 5:58pm]

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