The president people love to hate - for better or worse

The president people love to hate - for better or worse

Obama has aroused conflicting emotions in the US

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President Barack Obama delivers his third annual Back-to-School speech in Washington, DC, on September 28.
President Barack Obama delivers his third annual Back-to-School speech in Washington, DC, on September 28.
Photo: AFP
Barack Obama is a controversial president. His image is like clay: it can be manipulated and shaped - to a certain extent.

It was the same with his predecessor, George W. Bush.

He, too, faced relentless mockery and abuse. In his case, he was often mocked as a less-than intelligent person who was manipulated by his underlings.

Obama's image has created polar opposites. His supporters have seen him as a prophet of change, while his critics have painted him as a destructive force hell-bent on taxing people who work hard to provide for the jobless.

So which one is he? Is he the underperforming socialist the Republicans say he is, or is he a beacon of hope and change, as his supporters would have us believe?

In his body language, Obama exudes confidence. Even his political opponents admit that he is a great speaker. The contents of his speeches are always analysed.

There, too, public opinion is divided on the president. One camp sees him as an impatient and immature leader who lacks experience.

Obama has made changes to America. The debate is raging whether those changes have been for the better or worse.

Obama has accomplished a lot in less than three years in office. His achievements include a treaty that seeks to reduce the world's arsenal of nuclear weapons and moves to bolster the rights of terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

The US President has shown he is capable of adopting his policies to be in line with realities.

America's soaring debt crisis is one such case. This crisis is the result of vast overspending by the US government, which has led to massive budget deficits.

Recently, even the credit rating of the US was downgraded.

All this has been a self-inflicted wound by US policymakers over the years. Some people blame Obama for this crisis, but the problems started well before he came to office.

In fact, rising debts go as far back as Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s. Reagan is a Republican hero, yet his administration was not as fiscally responsible as many people would have us believe.

Obama needs to work on his negative image in order to gain wider acceptance from the US public. He must also work hard to bring about further changes.

Ultimately, however, the American public must understand that not even a president can do everything alone. He needs people's support.

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