When you share your bed with an elephant what ostensibly matters most is if (when?) it rolls over. Roughly ten days out from the November 2nd mid-term elections in the United-States, Americans appear to be coming to grips with their nation's massive financial shortfall.
America it seems is fed-up with Federal Government spending particularly since there's no apparent end in sight to their nation's staggering employment melt-down now entering a third year. The frustration down south of the 49th parallel appears ready to boil over into a bruising election for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party forces.
At its current monstrous $1.3 Trillion, America's annual deficit has spiralled out of control and threatens to unravel the very foundation of the world's free market economy which the United States has dominated for the last century. With their national debt now about to top $14 Trillion - $40,000 for every man, woman and child in America - And, in a clear indictment of their national spending sickness: Americans will abandon the Democratic Party controlled Congress for a hard right turn to the Republicans. For additional good measure, it is all but certain they will also shave-off several Senate seats away from the Democrats.
More than four years ago, from the very start of his bid for the Presidency, Mr. Obama campaigned on a platform goal of reducing the country's deficit. Subsequently faced with a banking collapse, mortgage meltdowns, and mounting unemployment, on taking office the President's administration felt obligated to keep spending to save the American economy. Mr. Obama recently described that as the most frustrating part of his presidency.
As it is, North Americans live in an age of exaggerated expectations. Mr. Obama more guilty than most perhaps with creating overstated anticipation that he could wrestle down the gargantuan malaise which afflicts his country through the latter half of the century's first decade. During a preceding decade of growth and healthy economic indicators, When Bill Clinton left the Presidency in 2000, the budget surplus was $236-Billion, the highest in U.S. history. But Mr. Clinton only succeeded in setting a national course to successive years of surplus in his second 4 year Presidential mandate. When reduced to a lowest common denominator, Because the American Constitution limits the Presidency to 8 years; it is only when (and if) a President is re-elected to a second mandate that his administration is effectively freed to take hard, difficult, effective, and some times unpopular decisions without the risk of imminent defeat. It seems that lame-duck President's (as they are called) have their advantages.
If he plans on running again in 2012, (no one doubts he will) that is a luxury Mr. Obama does not yet have, and the neo-conservative movement is making it abundantly clear that it will stop him from putting any additional emphasis on fiscal discipline in Washington. As a Professor of Government at American University, James Thurber, put it to the Associated Press on the weekend - "It's going to be very hard (for him) to find common ground" - While Mr. Obama and his Republican opponents share the same goal of reducing the American debt and creating jobs, they disagree fundamentally on their approach. All of which leads many observers to believe that Mr. Obama may bend and reshape his post-election presidency in the hope of improved chances at a second term in 2012.
Of course, unfortunately there is a downside to diluting one's convictions: It aggravates society's loss of much of the nobility that used to be the hallmark of public service and politics.