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Volume VI, Issue I

February 7, 2011

JHU POLITIK THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TWEETED

ISSUE I, 2/7/11 Also in this Week’s Edition:

NATIONAL THE FATE OF THE UNION

By Randy Bell, ‘13 -Page 3 INTRODUCING: JAY CARNEY

By Alex Clearfield, ‘14 -Page 4

OPINION EGYPT: WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING

By Ari Schaffer, ‘14

(Moises Saman/ New York Times)

hen the Mubarak government began to see signs of massive unrest in the streets of Cairo it took a drastic measure: the Egyptian government turned off the Internet. On the morning of January 28th, 80% of Egyptians woke up to find that they no longer had Internet access. The blackout triggered a 90% plunge in Egyptian data traffic. “In a fundamental sense,” explained Jim Cowie, the chief technology officer at Rensys, “it’s as if you rewrote the map and they are no longer a country.” Egypt’s government does not have an on/off switch for the Internet. To shutdown the Internet, the Egyptian regime forced Internet service providers (ISPs) to halt connections. Essentially, the government used its

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AN INSECURE FUTURE IN DAVOS By Eric Feinberg, ‘12 -Page 7

by Cary Glynn ‘13 Staff Writer

W

-Page 5

REGAINGING “OMENTUM”

military power to compel the four major service providers, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Link Egypt, and Etisalat Misr, to take the IP addresses of all users offline. Recently interviewed by Katie Couric, Bill Gates said that, “it's not that hard to shut the Internet down if you have military power where you can tell people that's what's going to happen.” By forcing ISPs to shutdown their networks, the government was able to stop Egyptians from being able to access the Internet. Vodafone/Raya, for example, claimed that it cooperated because the government has the legal power to compel them to alter their routers. In a mere matter of minutes, 14 million people were deprived of their Internet access. No informa-

By Neil O’Donnell, ‘13 -Page 8

JOHNS HOPKINS’s Only WeeklyPublished Political Magazine

tion could get in or out of Egypt via the Web. While a few isolated activists managed to secure dial-up connections, the vast majority of Egyptians were left unconnected. Internationally, some groups have tried to help Egyptians access the Internet. The group of hackers known as Anonymous, who previously attacked websites they believed impeded Wikileaks, has attacked Egyptian government websites and infrastructure. Google and Twitter teamed up to create a way (Continued on Page 2) www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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February 7, 2011

The POLITIK EDITOR-In-Chief

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief

Joshua Ayal

Harry Black

Sam Lichtenstein

Staff Writers

Executive Editors

Randy Bell Alex Clearfield Rachel Cohen Rohit Dasgupta Eric Feinberg Becca Fishbein Conor Foley Cary Glynn Benjamin Goldberg Paul Grossinger Dan Hochman Jordan Kalms Anna Kochut Hilary Matfess Daniel Roettger

Managing Editor

Will Denton Morgan Hitzig Hannah Holliday

Matt Varvaro PRODUCTION MANAGERS

Casey Navin Neil O’Donnell Faculty Advisor

Steven R. David JHU POLITIK is a student-run political publication. Please note that the opinions expressed within JHU POLITIK are those solely of the author. Please sign up for our e-mail list on our website, www.JHUPOLITIK.com

INTERNATIONAL REPORT (Continued from Page 1) for Egyptians to call-in tweets, instead of posting them online or through text messages. Additionally, Internet users around the world have provided their own IP addresses as cloaks for Egyptian users. For autocratic regimes, limiting Internet access has become the norm. China is notorious for blocking antigovernment websites through it so-called “Great Firewall.” During the protests regarding the recent Iranian election, the government severely reduced Internet access. In Myanmar, the military junta had some success cutting off bloggers’ Internet connections. “It’s almost become de rigueur during events like this – elections or political demonstrations – to tamper with the Internet,” Professor Ronald Deibert, director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, said. The breadth of Egypt’s efforts to block the Internet, however, is unprecedented. Egypt’s government seemingly sought to limit the degree to which the protestors could communicate, organize, and disseminate information to Egyptians and the rest of the world. Instead, many analysts argue, the government has actually inadvertently fomented rebellion, stoked the anger of the protestors, and turned all Internet users against the establishment. A government that censors the entire Internet seems scared and defensive, and that only intensifies the hopes of the country’s rebellious citizens. “The government has made a big mistake taking away the option at people’s fingertips,” said

Professor Mohammed el-Nawawy of the communications department at Queens University of Charlotte. “They’re taking their frustration to the streets.” Some experts have even asserted that Internet access can dampen political unrest because people spend their time tweeting from their keyboards instead of marching in the streets. Professor Diebert posited that the Egyptian government might have had an ulterior motive. “[After the blackout] what you’re left with are few spotty satellite connections which then really put a spotlight on those who may be the ringleaders of the protest,” he asserted. “There's a kind of surveillance angle to this.” There has been a largely unnoticed ironic undertone to Egypt’s Internet blackout. Many accuse a recently introduced bill in Congress of giving American presidents the authority to do exactly what Mubarak did. As most American politicians condemned Egyptian censorship, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee chairman Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010” (S. 348). Opponents claim that the bill gives the president authority to shutdown the Internet during emergencies. When confronted with criticism the Senators stated: "we would never sign on to legislation that authorized (Continued on Page 3)

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INTERNATIONAL REPORT / NATIONAL REPORT (Continued from Page 2) the President, or anyone else, to shut down the Internet. Emergency or not, the exercise of such broad authority would be an affront to our Constitution.” It remains to be seen what effect the Egyptian internet shutdown will have on Egypt’s political future, let alone America’s. s

The Fate of the Union by Randy Bell, ‘13 Staff Writer

(Pete Souza)

On January 25th, President Barack Obama delivered his second State of the Union, a speech noted for taking place in the shadow of January's tragic shooting in Arizona and a new call for civil discourse in Washington, which the Commander-in-Chief seemed to argue for with a sense of urgency. In years past, spectators of the State of the Union have gotten first row seats to a sort of circus: a sea of legislators divided according to color – red or blue – and each half would rise when prompted by political rhetoric favoring its platform. It reminds one of Moses parting the Red Sea as the Jews fled from Egypt. This year, however, was different. In the wake of the Tucson shooting, sworn political enemies swallowed their pride and mixed among one another in the spirit of bipartisanship, even leaving a seat open for Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is still recovering from the attempt on her life. President Obama took to the stage with a different face behind him and to the left. Congressman John Boehner, now the new Speaker of the House after replacing Nancy Pelosi when Republicans took back control of the House in November, sat alongside Vice

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President Joe Biden, a sign of the political pendulum swinging back in the Republicans' favor. Because of the balancing scale of power in the legislative branch and a more cooperative political climate, President Obama and the newly integrated Congress understood the need to focus on the issues, rather than making this year's State of the Union a political pep rally. As an example of the president’s new openness, when talking about energy policy he said, "some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen." With open ears and softened hearts, members of the 112th Congress, Cabinet members, and civilians alike listened to the President's speech, which he said he had been working on since the midterm elections in November. Obama's main concern was with the economy, a serious issue for many Americans as the unemployment rate lingers at nearly ten percent. In the past, Obama focused his efforts on policies the government made to adjust the economy for the better, such as supporting the TARP program passed under the Bush administration in 2008, passing the stimulus bill in 2009, and enforcing many new safeguards to protect the American people from hidden fees, penalties, and actions that could cause another financial crisis. This time, Obama focused on what we as a community can do together to deal with the floundering economy and return to our previous glory. At the crux of Obama's message was a reminder that playing the role of underdog and coming out victorious was in this country's DNA. He cited the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950's and 1960's, where the Soviets beat the Americans into launching Sputnik, the first man-made object sent into orbit. Instead of falling behind, the United States was able to beat the Soviets to the moon and show the true potential of American spirit and ingenuity. "This is our generation's Sputnik moment", said Obama. "Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people." Obama stressed the importance of where this innovation and work ethic begins: in the home and the schools. He reminded us of how the United States is slipping be(Continued on Page 4) www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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NATIONAL REPORT (Continued from Page 3) hind other countries in fields like math and science and how we value winning the Super Bowl over winning the science fair. To solve our economic woes and crippling debt, the president argued that investment in knowledge will be key to returning to former glory by mentioning that "cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you'll feel the impact." President Obama also reminded Americans of the difficult truth that the climbing debt would require necessary cuts, and announced plans for a five-year freeze on domestic spending to save $400 billion, getting rid of billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies, banning earmarks, and ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%. Showing further signs of reaching a hand across the aisle, Obama said he would be willing to work with Republicans in reforming the health care bill passed last year. Obama touched on a variety of issues, from the Arizona shooting to unemployment and the debt, to investing in education and replacing No Child Left Behind. He covered illegal immigration, our commitment to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, and the beginning of troop withdrawal in July to contending with nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. One topic of interest that was not mentioned was gun control. Although President Obama says that he is committed to addressing the issue of high capacity magazines and other contributing factors to the Tuscon shooting, New York Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy says Obama has a lot on his plate and that gun control could have been put on the back burner for the speech. While even prominent Republics like George Bush and Dick Cheney advocate betters forms of gun control, their proposals often conflict with the ideas of many on the political left. While the inside word out of Washington is that the president will begin to promote a national conversation about guns, no one is sure of when or how. Perhaps the only certainty is that it will be a difficult task for a president who has lost his majority in the House to convince Americans – and one of the country’s most powerful lobbies, the National Rifle Association – that his eventual proposals should be enacted. Get ready for some hardball politics. s

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Introducing: Jay Carney by Alex Clearfield, ‘14 Staff Writer

On January 27, Jay Carney, a former journalist and current Director of Communications for Vice President Joe Biden, was named as the replacement for outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs will leave the post later this month. Carney was the chief of Time magazine’s Washington Bureau from 2005-2008 until becoming part of Biden’s staff. Carney, who was not a member of President Obama’s close group of advisors, is the second consecutive major White House appointment of someone from outside the inner sanctum, following the appointment of Chief of Staff William Daley, the former Mayor of Chicago. The choice of Carney is seen by many as another move to the center by Obama, whose party lost its majority in the House after November’s midterm elections. After a productive lame duck session – marked by the Democratic victory of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the passage of the New START treaty – the new 112th Congress has taken a much different tack. The House of Representatives has already passed a repeal of the health care reform law. Although blocked in the Senate, the repeal was more of a symbolic gesture than a realistic one, and was meant to send a message to the president that the voters have repudiated his policies. Outgoing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has been associated with Obama since his Senate campaign in 2004, and enjoys the same level of access that senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and former senior advisor David Axelrod have enjoyed. However, Gibbs has not often been the (Continued on Page 5) www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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NATIONAL REPORT / OPINION (Continued from Page 4) most popular with the press, and has had no issue taking a combative tone to defend the administration’s policies. Gibbs will continue to be associated with Obama in a yet to be determined capacity. Carney is coming into the job from a much different position. A journalist by trade, Carney covered American politics for most of his career, including the 2008 presidential race. His move to behind the podium, while uncommon for White House Press Secretaries, is not unprecedented; former George W. Bush Press Secretary Tony Snow was a former journalist. Carney will endure a trial by fire, having to deal with the press regarding the ongoing situation in Egypt. For the most part, the press had been impatient with Gibbs’ handling of questions regarding the situation, but Gibbs has said that he does not want to “dip [his] toe into the pool of generalization.” It is expected that Carney will take a “friendlier”(AP) approach than Gibbs, which seemingly goes hand-in-hand with the White House’s recent moderation. President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 25th included some traditionally conservative pledges, such as a proposal to ban earmarks, freeze domestic spending for five years, and lower the corporate tax rate. The overall theme of the State of the Union address was one of sustaining competitiveness in the global marketplace, a relatively apolitical motif. Things such as the swift rise of the Tea Party and the midterm election results point to a desire for more conservative government. Democrats hoped Obama would be akin to a modern-day Franklin Roosevelt, getting legislation passed with the flick of a wrist. However, Roosevelt and the Democrats enjoyed unprecedented majorities, at one point outnumbering Republicans 34488 in the House. Obama entered with a large House majority and a nearly filibuster-proof Senate majority. The president was lucky to get some legislation, such as the health care bill, passed, considering that Republicans did all in their power to block debate on many bills. Now, with a Democratic Senate and Republican House, Obama has had to meet the Republicans halfway, if not more. The relationship an administration enjoys with the press goes a long way toward determining how the White House will be covered, and in what tone the White House frames events. Robert Gibbs has defended the administration like a guard dog, which has turned off some in the press. Carney is less combative, and hopefully for the White House will be effective at both communicating the administration’s messages and co-

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operating with the press. With Obama’s approval ratings at around 50%, the White House will need all the help it can garner from the press leading up to the 2012 election. s

Egypt: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Ari Schaffer Staff Writer

(Miguel Medina/ AFP)

Leaders around the world watch with bated breath as the turmoil unfolds throughout the Middle East. What began with a small flame in Tunisia has erupted into protests and anti-government demonstrations in Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Algeria and Sudan. Countries thought to be hotbeds of corruption and entrenched tyrannies are showing promise and, despite their violent progression most evident in Egypt, resounding with the faint ring of democracy. However, as glossy-eyed Westerners watch demonstrations throughout the Middle East hoping they will answer true democracy’s call, the strong support for some of the ousted dictators and the looming threat of Islamic extremism dim the horizon. Westernstyle democracy will remain just a dream and a hope for all, whether it is for the people of these countries who just want rights and freedoms, or for those of the U.S. and the Europe who simply hope for peace. The revolutions got off to a good start, though. Granted, they were precipitated by a desperate Tunisian setting himself on fire, which can only be a bad omen, but the movements progressed strongly, albeit quickly, after that. Before long, protesters flooded the streets of Tunisia challenging the long rule of President Ben Ali. (Continued on Page 6) www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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OPINION (Continued from Page 5) The violence escalated and the death toll began to rise. As the protests continued and intensified, the army began to patrol the streets, but to no avail. Within a month of the first self-emollition, President Ben Ali had fled the country, the Lebanese government had fallen apart, and unrest had grown in the nearby countries of Algeria and Jordan over rising food prices. Then, just as Tunisia became engulfed in prison riots and shootings, Egypt retook its position as the leader of Middle East, and had some rioting of its own. The revolutions that had begun with hope for a brighter future, with young college graduates fighting for a better life, had devolved into chaos. It is understandable that there would be violence during this most crucial period of transition for the hopeful nations of Tunisia and Egypt. Those who espouse “democratic peace theory”, which suggests that democracies nearly never go to war with each other, argue that the transition to democracy is usually filled with violence and aggression. The American Revolution was first and foremost a war for independence and France’s first jump toward democracy featured the Reign of Terror. Yet, those who have been reading the news for the last half century, or at least since September 11, 2001, know that violence from the Middle East tends to take a different form. There is one particular strain that has spelled disaster for democracies around the world, impeded the peace process over and over again, and stricken fear in the hearts of all forward-looking nations of the world: Islamic extremism. While the Muslim Brotherhood, by far Egypt’s largest Islamist opposition group, is deliberately remaining quiet throughout the protests, the fear that it is waiting just beyond the shadows has plagued Egypt’s revolutions since day one. In fact, throughout his presidency, President Mubarak of Egypt has repeatedly used the presence of it and other extremist groups to expand his power. Citing the threat of extremism as justification for his actions, Mubarak has put down protests and almost entirely stifled dissent. However, with Mubarak seemingly one protest away from expulsion from the country, there is a strong possibility that Egypt’s only other organized political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, will take power. If that happens, then subtle ring of democracy will, in all likelihood, disappear from the Middle East. An extremist government in Egypt will just bring more of the same corruption and suppression that Syria and Iran offer. It will slowly but surely undo all of the progress Egypt has made in its development toward freedom and

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democracy. It will block up the paths that Egypt has paved toward international cooperation, effectively closing them off for the foreseeable future. If the Muslim Brotherhood takes control, all hope will be lost. Egypt will no doubt retain its position as a leader of the Middle East and bring Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen down with it. Lebanon has already fallen to Hezbollah and Jordan is slowly folding to its own branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The prospects do not look good. Another factor to consider is the scarcity of democracy in Muslim countries. As of now, few Islamic states can be called democratic and an even smaller number have shed the extremism often tied to Islamic governments. Turkey alone stands as a strong secular democracy in the Middle East but it is turning away from its long history of secularism and embracing the more radical cultures of its neighbors. Some argue that this separation between the Arab nations and the democracies of the West is inevitable, democracy being contradictory to the ideals and values of the Muslim peoples. With this in mind, transition to a successful democracy in any Muslim nation is impossible, regardless of the conditions or apparent calls for reform. Like the Islam Revolution of 1979, these revolutions too will give rise to extremist theocracies, not the democracy the people call for. Fortunately, the fight is not yet lost. Spots of sun glimmer on the horizon throughout the Middle East. Nobel Prize-winner and political moderate Mohammed ElBaradei has emerged as a strong political figure in Egypt, winning the support of both democrats and Islamist anti-government leaders. Sudan is on the verge of ending its decades-long civil wars that have cost the lives of more than two million people. The Muslim Brotherhood, which progressives across the world dread most, has joined its democratic friends and demanded free and fair elections. Although the lights of hope are only faint glimmers in the distance and the calls for total freedom seem like little more than whispers, they are still present. And if there is anything that these revolutions have taught us, it is that one flame can start a revolution. In the grand scheme of things though, there are little more than whispers and illusions of hope. Even if the protesters in Tahrir Square do cause the ousting of President Mubarak, there is a good chance that the Muslim Brotherhood will take power in his place. The fire of revolution will be engulfed by the blaze of Islamic extremism that will take Tunisia, Jordan, and other countries with it. The spread of radicalism will maintain its course (Continued on Page 7) www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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OPINION (Continued from Page 6) and renew conflict between the Middle East and the rest of the world. The few rays of hope can take hold and lead these chaotic nations to a new, better age, but either way the glossy-eyed Westerners should be ready and wary for the worst. s

An Insecure Future in Davos by Eric Feinberg, ‘12 Staff Writer

Spanning the five days from January 26th to the 30th, this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, highlighted the uncertainty in the global economy that still remains after the financial collapse of 2008. However, due largely to increasingly coordinated international recovery efforts, there has been a marked increase in confidence from the last two conferences, during which catastrophe was still a looming danger. Some of you may be wondering what Davos is or why you weren’t invited. Do not fret: unless you’re a major CEO, minister of finance, economics professor at Harvard, or multi-billionaire investor, you probably never had a shot. Only some 2,000 invitations are extended each year, including this year to people such as: British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Two of the themes this year were particularly prescient. The first was the growing sense of apprehension about the Euro currency system. The debt crises in Europe have revealed the inherent weakness in the system that some economists foresaw early, namely the fiscal in-

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flexibility it imposes. Greece, for instance, is an example of a nation that would do well now to devalue its currency but is unable to do so since the Euro is supranational. At Davos, financial experts were talking openly about some countries dropping the Euro in the next few years, which would have been unimaginable before the crisis. The second important theme related to the rise of developing nations like India and China, which has also been talked about with unprecedented openness since the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States in January. A consensus appears to be emerging that the global economic hegemony of the West is coming to an end in the all-too-near future. This notion was echoed in the State of the Union Address, with President Obama urging Congress to make critical investments in the workforce or risk falling behind these budding competitors. What is the bottom line? In the last decade, the American political conversation has placed a tremendous emphasis on our own parochial national problems, i.e. the budget deficit, the spending on the wars, entitlement programs. My impression is that the rise of external pressures like those discussed at Davos may just be the impetus we need to get past this partisan gridlock. As our real competitors grow stronger, the tolerance for political theater will drop off rapidly. For analogies, I always look to Ancient Greece. In archaic times, the various Greek city-states fought each other all the time for reasons of varying importance; more often than not it would be over something petty like a patch of land or a perceived insult. But then, when a serious threat emerged from Persia, the Greeks put their trivial differences in perspective and allied for the purpose of defeating their common enemy. In modern times, Americans attack each other all the time for reasons of varying importance; more often than not it is over something petty like civil unions or whether citizens can really claim their anti-aircraft guns are for hunting. My hope is that as the American people begin to see their problems as emerging not from Republicans or Democrats but from the Chinese or Russians, and that as they learn the price of disunity, they'll start taking politics seriously again. Let this be the lesson of Davos. s

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OPINION Regaining “Omentum”: The Reasons for the Sustained Rise in President Obama’s Poll Numbers by Neil O’Donnell, ‘13 Production Manager Since receiving a so-called “shellacking” in the midterm elections, the President’s approval numbers have jumped upwards. According to a poll by the Wall Street Journal conducted on January 17, 53% of Americans approve of President Obama’s performance in the White House, while only 41% of Americans disapprove of the way he is handling his job. This poll represents a significant increase from a poll conducted by the paper on December 13, in which only 45% of Americans approved of the president’s performance and 48% disapproved of President Obama’s job as Commander-in-Chief. President Obama first received praise for his successful lame-duck session. The president compromised with Congressional Republicans on a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts, a measure that will provide much needed support to the economy. Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, the eponymous host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, stated that Obama’s compromise to extend the tax cuts amounted to “a second stimulus package,” which may have even greater efficacy than the president’s first stimulus plan. Furthermore, the president’s quick, tactful compromise on tax cuts allowed the Congress to pass several crucial initiatives including: the ratification of the New START treaty with Russia, the 9/11 First-Responders bill, and legislation on food safety. As President Obama said in late December, “I think it’s fair to say that this has been the most productive period we’ve had in decades.” President Obama’s success in pushing through these measures (after months of Congressional gridlock) has indeed improved his approval rating. In addition to his legislative triumphs, President Obama has seen more success in providing Americans with a clear message of the objectives of his administration. After the tragic shootings in Tucson, President Obama’s speech at the victim’s memorial service was pitch perfect. President Obama encouraged our increasingly fractured nation to rise above partisan politics. As he stated, “I believe that we can be better…those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all the evil in the world,

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but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us.” The president’s speech was widely praised by both Democrats and Republicans. Andrea Tantaros, a conservative political writer for The New York Daily News, observed, “President Obama acutely understood our collective need to heal on Wednesday night.” The president’s finely tuned rhetoric was juxtaposed by a clumsy speech by Sarah Palin. Said Bill Maher host of HBO’s Real Time, President Obama gave a timely speech to heal our nation and “Sarah Palin gave the rebuttal.” The president’s post-partisan stance was further expounded in his State of the Union Address. The spcch offered more potential compromises with Congressional Republicans. President Obama stated that he would lobby to lower America’s high corporate tax rate, if Republicans would close several tax loopholes. Even Karl Rove had some praise for President Obama’s State of the Union. In an Article on FoxNews.com, President Bush’s former Senior Advisor stated that the some of the President’s proposed reforms “show that he is in touch with job creators.” Throughout the State of the Union, the president demonstrated a commitment to compromise with Republicans in order to improve America and move the nation forward. President Obama’s recent success in legislation and oration has already increased his approval ratings among Americans. Yet, President Obama’s recent victories may translate into far more than higher job approval. After gleaning 63 seats in the United States House of Representatives, the Republicans are poised to obstruct the initiatives of the Obama Administration. Without tactful, political footwork by President Obama, Washington may become ensconced in more gridlock and partisanship. If Capitol Hill reaches an impasse, President Obama’s Administration will fail to fix the economy, to improve the education system, and to achieve many of its other goals. Yet if President Obama can continue to successfully and constructively compromise with Republicans, he can continue to push through his reforms and change the course of the nation that is headed in the wrong direction. In 1980, President Reagan tried to spur on a nation saddled by malaise and uncertainty. His reforms, which included lower taxes and less government intervention, intended to kickstart American industry, and were encompassed by the term “the Reagan correction.” President Obama desires to again reform American industry and “to provide a correction to the Reagan correction.” This lofty goal seemed impossible after a shellacking last November, but his recent successes demonstrate that he still has the potential to achieve his goals. s www.JHUPOLITIK.com


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