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Tell The Nation: Obama at One | The Nation

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Tell The Nation: Obama at One

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Highs and Lows of a Nobel Prize

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Lowest moment: accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.
Highest moment: winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Without a doubt, in my mind, the Nobel Prize event is both his highest and lowest moment. It's high because it shows how much faith or perhaps desperation the world has for a potentially strong leader like Obama. Winning was a culmination of at least his foreign policy rhetoric, positively marking his one year of presidency. However, the fact he accepted a prize symbolic of humankind's most formal aspiration of peace, and that much of the world went along with it, is a very low point during his time in office and for all of us.

Joe Sabet, 28
Garden Grove, CA

A Smile and Stiletto

The high point was his election and inauguration and his seeming willingness to try to extend the New Deal and Great Society. Knowing full well our history, I still shudder with profound emotion upon thinking of that election night and the gathering in Chicago (I'm a middle-aged white guy, by the way). My major disappointments are two: the capitulation to the bankers, the hiring of Geithner and Summers (although great credit must be given to the hiring of Elizabeth Warren), and turning a deaf ear to the likes of Paul Krugman and Stiglitz. I was astounded that Obama did not see that we needed (and need now) an FDR-style works program. I was and am astounded that Obama put his complete faith in Reaganomics and nothing in Keynesian economics. This is gonna bite him hard and may well make him a mediocre one-term president.

Second, and in regards to healthcare, the "Tea Party," etc., his timidity to call people out; his lack of fight; his lack of passion (when people are dying); his innate diplomatic impulses to immediately compromise and concede. I didn't expect this or see it prior. I am still somewhat understanding because I suspect his handlers--one in particular--have been busy playing politics (Clinton era) and not encouraging true leadership.

Someone said recently that FDR carried a smile and a stiletto in his pocket---Obama needs to go beyond the love affair with his smile (which is fantastic) and learn how to use that stiletto--he has to learn how to kill; because his opposition knows and does it as easily as first morning's breath over a cup of coffee.

John Lawrence, 55
Key Largo, FL

Won't Get Fooled Again

The high points of Obama's first year in office was the fact that he won the election, that the nation once again had reason to hope, that change was possible. I should have known better. That's what a charismatic public speaker can do. Damn! Hoodwinked again!

In his first year in office our semi-black corporate shill of a president has been just a continuation of Wall Street business as usual. Even more spending on militarism, habeas corpus denial, healthcare in an even worse quagmire. At every step he's played the hand of corporate America. And the military-industrial complex marches on under a new banner. I'm sorry I wasted my vote on Obama, and now you must excuse me, for reverse peristalsis is setting in. I won't be fooled again.

John R. Hall

Obama Brings Some Relief

I hit a high point every time the media covers President Obama, negative and positive. The eight years preceding last year I could hardly read or watch without feeling deeply embarrassed (and worried!) for the United States--in regards to terrorism, economics, baseball, substance abuse, education, etc. I essentially breathe a sigh of relief every time President Obama is brought up as a topic of interest. Because no matter what our president's critics say, they can't accuse him of being illogical, unintelligent or poorly spoken.

I suppose my biggest regret is that the Republican Party has so rallied itself around opposing President Obama that they have alienated a man who has more closely aligned himself with professed Republican policy interests than with his own Democratic party. Then again, of course the people, the independents and the pundits cry for a moderate candidate to unite Congress, only to cry louder to protest said moderate candidate after they elect him!

Natalie Morris

Nice Swing, but No Follow-Through

President Obama's high point is his well-crafted speeches. The president's low point is his follow-through. From the start it seems that those who would ignore him knew that they could get away with it. Nut-and-yahoo refused to stop new settlements at the request of the president but was more than pleased that the US vetoed the UN resolution calling Israel guilty of some war crimes in the Gaza invasion almost immediately thereafter. This was the start. Since then everybody realized that Obama may be "disappointed" in them, but that would be the extent of his reaction. Oh, and by the way, he is still talking about a bipartisan solution to our problems.

Norman Buchanan

A Failed Promise

The high point? That's easy: his election. Such promise, such potential, such hope. I felt proud to be a citizen. It appeared as if we had irretrievably rounded the corner of racial biases, as if we finally had someone in the White House who reflected our progressive dreams.

The low point? That's a little tougher because there's so many of them. It started with his appointment of Summers and Geithner and the bank bailout. But I was willing to give him the benefit of doubt. Maybe it was better to put the foxes in charge of the chickens. Maybe he knew something I didn't. Then he escalated the war in Afghanistan and my confidence was seriously shaken. And all the while he failed to lead the healthcare effort, despite his campaign promises. By the time Lieberman, Nelson and their ilk had dictated their terms on a pliant Senate, I had lost all faith in him. And lets not forget his failure to act on "don't ask, don't tell" and to bring the war criminals of the Bush years to account.

But I guess the absolute low point would be his statement two days ago that Congress should not "jam" the healthcare bill until Scott Brown was seated. That takes real gall! The Democrats control two branches but legislating in accord with the majority of the voting public is considered "jamming." He is either delusional or just another paid front man. I'm done with him and his stooges. He'll be a one-term president, and good riddance. Let's hope a real populist rises from the ashes of Obama's failed promise.

Stefan Athanasiadis, 57
Milan, IN

We Want a Pitcher, Not a Glass of Water

No question, Obama's first year has been a disappointment. Not because of the economy; nobody could have fixed that right away. But because he doesn't stand up for what he believes. Instead of taking a lead on everything from the ineffective way or "war on terrorism" is being waged to the drive for real healthcare reform, he has either kept the status quo ante or hid behind Congress. As we used to chant in Little League, we want a pitcher not a glass of water. Obama seems barely even to be a glass, with no water in sight.

Tom Hutton

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