It has been a difficult year for U.S. President Barack Obama. His popularity is at its lowest level since he entered the White House. Polarization in U.S. politics has intensified during 2013; Obama’s year was marked by bitter political controversies, increasing debt and widespread doubts about his policies and promises.
The United States government was paralyzed for several weeks this year, unable to reach agreement on the national budget and debt ceiling. Although a consensus was eventually reached, significant damage to the government’s mandate had already been done.
The revelations of ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden also hit Obama, and the U.S. government in general, hard. They not only revealed the vulnerability of U.S. espionage, but also provoked widespread scandal about its scale: spying on foreign leaders (from Germany to Brazil) and scrutinizing telephone conversations and emails from all over the world.
Obama’s promised reforms to immigration law also remain in doubt, as another year passes without any agreement being reached to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., including hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans.
Finally, the policy popularly known as “Obamacare” descended into fiasco, in the face of widespread public opposition to the president’s proposed health care reforms.