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Thread: Obama's issues yet to match earlier presidents'

  1. #1
    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    Oct 2005

    Default Obama's issues yet to match earlier presidents'

    Obama's issues yet to match earlier presidents'
    Scholars say Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman faced greater challenges in office
    AP Diplomatic Writer
    The Associated Press
    updated 11:25 a.m. PT, Mon., June 8, 2009

    WASHINGTON - It felt, the new president told reporters the day after he took office, "like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on me."

    President Barack Obama's lament about the financial, international and domestic crises bearing down on him? Wrong time, wrong president.

    The speaker was Harry S. Truman, telling White House reporters in 1945 about the overwhelming and lonesome responsibility confronting a new president. His remarks said it all.

    He had succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt after FDR's death that year and immediately faced monumental decisions: how to end World War II; whether to order the atomic bombing of Japan, which would save American lives but kill tens of thousands of Japanese civilians; and how to build a peaceful world, including feeding the same German nation that had caused so much of the world's misery.

    Immense challenges have confronted Obama, too, early in his presidency.

    The economic meltdown was tough enough by itself. But there's no time to catch his breath; too many other matters require his attention.

    Guantanamo detainees. Health care. North Korea's nuclear program. Iran's nuclear program. The Israelis and the Palestinians.

    "This fellow was dealt an incredibly difficult hand, both foreign and domestic," said Stephen P. Hess, senior follow at the Brookings Institution. "But maybe if you compare him to Lincoln or to FDR, it is not such a mountain to climb."

    History shows that other presidents have taken on bigger challenges, according to Hess and other presidential scholars.

    "On the scale of being confronted with truly major problems on taking office, I think I would have to put it in the top 10 percent," Hess said. "Lincoln took over on the verge of a civil war that was going to divide the country. Americans were slaughtering Americans. Roosevelt faced the worst depression the United States ever had."

    Roosevelt did not have a big foreign policy problem early on, said Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

    Obama's economic test has been severe. Banks teetered, homes foreclosed, stocks plunged and millions lost their jobs. But for Roosevelt, the economy literally collapsed.

    Kennedy and Cuba
    Troubles at the outset of a presidency also roiled the incoming administration of a president often compared with Obama, John F. Kennedy.

    Taking office in 1961, Kennedy inherited a bungled plan to train and support Cuban exiles to invade their homeland. The plan was aimed at inspiring Cubans to rise against Communist leader Fidel Castro, who was drawing on support from the Soviet Union.

    The Bay of Pigs invasion and much of what followed, including an air attack of CIA planes from Nicaragua, ended as a colossal failure. The invasion was crushed. Kennedy was embarrassed.

    But his administration did not cease economic and other operations against Cuba. This led up to the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.

    "We were at the brink of nuclear war. I don't think we are at the brink of war with the North Koreans," said G. Calvin Mackenzie, professor of government at Colby College.

    A brighter future?
    So perhaps it's best for now to call Obama's trials daunting, but not overwhelming.

    The financial markets and home starts are showing signs of life. North Korea is the foreign conundrum of the moment. But even Iran and Cuba, which seemed equally intransigent in recent years, have shown small signs they may be willing to come out of their diplomatic shells.

    Is there daylight ahead for the new president?

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    URL: Obama's issues yet to match earlier presidents' - White House-

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  2. #2
    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Dec 2005


    None of the other presidents followed a Dubya administration.

  3. #3
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Wherever my kids are


    I sure as hell hope this is the extent of the issues that Obama has to face, and that we turn out to have a really boring, relaxing 4 or 8 years.

    There is a famous curse that goes "May you live in interesting times." No thanks.

  4. #4
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Obama's got a lot on his plate, but other presidents have had to deal with far worse and got through it.

    Quote Originally Posted by lurkur View Post
    None of the other presidents followed a Dubya administration.
    And, hopefully, no other president will ever have to follow a Dubya-like president.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Nov 2007


    Dude, he hasn't even been in office for 6 months yet. These posturing articles are just ridiculous.

  6. #6
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    ^^Agreed. Also, I think two wars and a global financial crisis are enough to keep him busy for awhile. And those are just two of the biggies.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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