Elected to end the war in Iraq, he finds himself deep in a metastasizing war against Al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and, perhaps, elsewhere. Elected to bring America out of a recession, he now has to deal with our dwindling role in a global economy dominated by the BRICs and by the rapidly growing, smaller "frontier" countries.
And now: Haiti.
Elected in part out of revulsion at the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, Obama now finds himself confronting an even more devastating and complex humanitarian crisis...
More after the bump...
Katrina cost George W. Bush what little standing he had among moderates in his own party in part because the shocking images of suffering in New Orleans were so racially imbalanced.
Now the Obama administration's competence and compassion will be tested in a similar racial context—and with a much worse infrastructure. Obama and his aides understand all of this. The president was out early today with a strong statement about American efforts to deal with the aftermath of the devastating Haitian earthquake.
Excuse me? Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman is comparing Katrina to Haiti and implying that this is President Barack Obama's first disaster during his administration. Where has Fineman been the last 11 months?
First off Mr. Fineman, after all these years you still don't 'get it' about Karina and why most folks were upset with former President George W. Bush for the way he responded to that disaster. It wasn't just because most people involved were black, it was mainly because of the way he and his administration simply ignored the disaster and went about their daily lives -- ignoring what was going on in their OWN NATION, to their OWN FELLOW AMERICANS -- that is -- until the media pushed them into real action.
Secondly Mr. Fineman, while the Haiti disaster may be the worst (in cost of lives) during the past year, it is by far not the only one President Obama has faced.
Let's take a gander at what disasters the President and his administration has faced in just 11 months.
The first being the economic disaster that he did not get elected to solve. He was elected for the most part for his stance on Iraq and to bring change to Washington and the world if possible. If you look back sir, you will see that it was only after the election did most Americans find out just how bad our economy was.
Along with the economic disaster, his administration faced the Wall Street mess and possible bankruptcies by historical large companies.
Meanwhile, we find out that the so called victory we'd been told we had in Afghanistan is really not true -- in fact it was the opposite. Afghanistan was on the brink of failure. The President and his crew took immediate action and continue to do so.
What about the national emergency going on over in Iran during their failed election cycle? I would call that a near disaster as well.
Most recently the Obama administration faced the near disaster of the plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit over the Christmas holiday.
Now, for natural disasters, remember the American Samoa Tsunami in September? How about the Philippines storms in October, the disaster in December in Kansas and Alabama. Not to mention the near disaster we faced with the H1N1 virus.
No Mr. Fineman, this is not "a test" of President Obama's reactions to disasters. It's just one more terrible disaster that he and his administration will likely handle with the same deeply thought out reaction as the previous ones.
President Obama and his administration are ON THE JOB sir --- always have been. Historians are already saying he's out done all other presidents in that regard during his first year in office.