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This isn’t the Obama we knew

This isn’t the Obama we knew

Barack Obama may win his way to the Oval Office a second time. Now winning is his only agenda, so is his rival Mitt Romney’s. Both appeared in their debates like roosters in a ring, ready to go for the kill.

In their first debate at Denver, Obama looked tired, lacking in spirit. Romney fired past him with his best performance till date. The media prodded Obama for his spiritless approach.

In the second and third debates Obama appeared like a prize fighter, and laid Mitt Romney flat. He said the Romney who debated on the stage was different from the one who was talking for the rich earlier.

But the Obama we met four years ago was a different person, not like the one who made sounds but no sense in the debates. He is now a huge disappointment to the people who trusted him. Remember his first campaign four years ago?

During his first run, Obama tried tricks that sounded different from the charlatanism of Bill Clinton and Bush—who preceded Obama as presidents. Those days Obama appeared like America’s man of destiny.

He invoked Martin Luther King, the charismatic leader of African-American Civil Rights movement. And he quoted Gandhiji and Abraham Lincoln in his campaign speeches. It is reported he always walked around with Ralph Ellison’s classic Invisible Man. The novel summed up black people’s suffering in the US.

Unlike other presidents, who were once oil company presidents or advisers to multinational companies, Obama was raised in a poor neighbourhood, and read novels as a young man, and wrote poems while in college. He wanted to be a writer. And he didn’t like a Wall Street job that involved money dealing and machinations.

Obama sounded very genuine, and seemed to want to set things right. A nation that had long ceased to have any political ideology or international policy other than war and exploitation of rest of the world got a new voice.

The man descended from nowhere. His lanky stride, reflective mien, booming macho voice, piercing questions, and the calm and serene smile gave American worries a hope; the worries about mounting debt, layoffs, and blotched healthcare. And the ordinary Americans really felt a change on the way. He criticised Bush’s atrocities, and wanted to present America as a land that promotes “justice and peace”.

Obama started to have fans across the world. His book Audacity of Hope was shipped to all corners of the world. A good read, the book projected him as a man of thought.

In the book you find him attending meetings in distant villages and listening to grannies. Yes, he listened, and quoted their worries on the stage, thus easily connecting himself to the masses. That worked well. Or that was the way he was then.

He was widely accepted by American writers, artists, and thinkers. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey joined his campaign rallies. Many found him the right choice to clear the mess created by Bush in the US and the rest of the world. His campaign rallies spilled out of stadiums to the streets.

His approach was a lot different from Bush’s war cry to the world, after the September 11 attack, “Are you with us or not”; and still more different from Bill Clinton’s saucy scandal days at the Oval Office.

In those days he roared to the crowd, “we need change’. After four years in office, he is stripped of all his aura and charisma, and reduced to a big mouthed politician. Now he wants another term in the office, but for what—to change?

America is in real economic peril, job cuts are huge, poverty is spiralling up, his foreign policy is no better than that of Bush; just look at those that die every day in drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama can’t clear the mess, nor can Mitt Romney, who is worse. They are just politicians who run for power, and cry hoarse for the poor.

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