Published 8:33 am Thursday, November 6, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign for the White House was all about change.
Well, that campaign has changed who will live in the White House come Jan. 20, 2009. Obama’s election in itself does not guarantee change. Obama’s election provides him opportunities to make changes. It provides him an opportunity to turn campaign promises into common-sense strategies that will bring about positive changes.
Obama’s election will provide the nation’s first black president four years to make good on his promises of change. Obama cannot make all the changes he wants to make without some help. That help must come from Congress. That help must come from his cabinet. That help must come from his advisors. That help must come from every American.
Obama asked for that help during his victory speech Tuesday night in Chicago. He should get that help — when the change he seeks is what’s best for America.
The president-elect knows that not everyone will agree with his strategies and policies. Obama realizes that on some issues he will face opposition, even from within his own party.
If Obama does that, he will be providing a sort of leadership that has not been seen coming from the White House in recent years.
Obama promises change. That change will not come without first meeting challenges. And there are plenty of challenges for Obama and his administration to overcome.
Obama will inherit a national budget deficit that some economists believe could hit a trillion dollars for the first time in history. President Bush’s failed economic policies helped bring about such a deficit, but it will be Obama who faces the tough task of finding the right solution to reducing, perhaps eliminating, the deficit.
Increasing budget deficits pose problems to Obama’s spending plans and tax relief for middle-class families. Those budget deficits will continue to grow in an economy that reduces tax revenues and increases spending on bailouts and programs to fight the recession.
Obama has vowed to begin a program with the goal of reducing the nation’s dependence on oil. He wants to spend $15 billion a year for the next 10 years on alternative energy such as solar and wind and more energy-efficient cars and buildings.
The challenge is getting Congress to go along with that program. Obama’s program is tied to Congress addressing global warming by putting a price on greenhouse gases, a prospect that faces many obstacles, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Obama also vows to remove all American combat forces from Iraq within 16 months and send more combat personnel to Afghanistan. He also promises to provide better care for wounded troops and veterans.
The challenge Obama faces is to provide the resources necessary to battle the rising insurgency in Afghanistan without giving up the advances made in fighting insurgents in Iraq and reducing the length of rest periods sorely needed for battle-weary military personnel.
There’s no question Obama as the next American president has much work to do to keep his promises and carry out his policies. During his victory speech, he made it clear he will need the help of the American people to make the changes required to improve this nation.
Can Americans provide the assistance?
Yes, we can.