In the last six years, Obama has demonstrated that he is a great orator but a lousy president.
The Obama era has come to an end. I am certain that the president is counting down the hours he has left to sleep in the White House. Indeed, I think if it were possible for him to resign, he would probably think about doing so. These are the features of the current global crisis: the loss of leadership, a lack of role models and the ability to consume political and social messages and discourse.
The results of the recent midterm elections are a defeat not only of Obama, but also of the means of — not — understanding politics. He did not realize that in 2008, he was chosen not only for being the candidate of hope, but also as the man who was expected to correct the deviations that had placed the world at the edge of a precipice.
The two wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — derived and inherited from the 11-S, put Barack Obama in a very difficult position. On two occasions, Latinos and women provided him with victory. In the recent elections, it was not that these two groups changed their minds, but rather, that there have been some curious choices made. For example, there had never been 100 female legislators in the House of Representatives before. But despite those quirks, the overwhelming reality is this: Obama has not been able to achieve one political agreement. He is a great orator but a lousy president. The day he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, while in his work and in his salary, there were two outstanding disputes left to resolve, we should have discovered the inconsistencies between his speeches and his political action.
There was only one way for Obama to come to power after the serious moral degradation during the build up to the crisis — military, political and economic — to face, accept and govern with a forcefulness he was not brave enough to apply. The bankers, who were responsible for the financial crisis and other events that eventually led to the Democratic leader coming to the Oval Office, went unpunished.
Clearly, there is an economic recovery which, in part, is due to his policies; but so are the lack of firmness and confusion of the government in Washington, which has caused large segments of the population to lose faith in a vote for him or the Democrats.
For Latin America, a process is also opening because anyone who wants to replace Obama should understand that the moment has arrived, on another basis, to open dialogue with the Americas. There will be no U.S. domestic policy without the reshaping of foreign policy. Example: What position will the United States adopt with regard to Mexico? What sort of relationship will it have with Brazil? Or what about Central America, the Caribbean, and all those countries, which over the years have been watching the fear, insensitivity and U.S. domestic problems that have mercilessly punished not only illegal immigrants, but also those who have papers living in the empire of the North?
Basically, those Obama has forgotten are essential to determining the presidential elections of 2016. The worst thing that can be said of Obama in relation to Latin America is that he has not been any better than the Republican Party under George W. Bush, who left the subcontinent to its own fate. Like his predecessor, in recent years, the Democratic president has tried to deal with the world, leaving Latin America in the shadows, something that will not be possible for his replacement. Just as Obama has twice been able to sit in the Oval Office thanks to the Latino vote, in order to make a deal, a contract or a new agreement, the next occupant of the White House must have an immigration policy that provides the solution for such an accumulation of human tragedies.
It is not true that the popular tea party has been the most terrible opponent of all time. In recent history, there were leaders like Roosevelt who also had a fierce Republican opposition; not only did he manage to win several elections, but he was able to govern. It is also important to remember the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich, leader of the House of Representatives, became Bill Clinton’s tormenter for four years as a result of the scandal sparked by the Lewinsky affair. Therefore, the tea party is not much worse than previous examples.
The issue is that Obama understands political formulations, but he has never wanted to learn what to do to keep his promises. After six years in power, he has not managed to develop the art of the possible, which is what politics is all about.
With peace negotiations under way in Colombia, the profound restructuring of politics in Brazil, the problem of impunity that has reared its awful head in Mexico and the situation of violence in Central America, or the isolation of a part of South America — with the exception of Peru — the U.S. will need to start a conversation, with new and different assumptions, those which everyone hoped would have been Obama’s strategy in his relations with Latin America. However, that did not happen, and the Spanish-speaking Americans were not even given the chance to discover a new dawn, as outlined for Muslims in his famous speech at the University of Cairo.
Now, it is important to know who will follow his path, but it is even more important to find out how, and to record in the book of history, the first president born of YouTube, the hero of change throughout social networks, has seen his term in office disappear into a sunset, which is, above all, communicational. Strangely, the great communicator remains silent.