Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Barack Obama’s first year: Reality bites

without comments

I certainly don’t agree with the glowing reviews of Obama’s first year discussed in this article, nor with the condemnation that he is ruining our country, but it is encouraging to think that people beyond our borders are thinking more positively about us than they have in recent years. My experience in Brazil agrees with this assessment, having lived there from 2002-2006, and now returning to work for weeks at a time each year. Brazilians and others throughout the Americas have always received me with open arms, but they have clearly been much more encouraged by respectful rhetoric of inclusion and dialogue than they ever were by Manichean ultimatums that ‘you’re either with us or you’re against us.’

This is not simply a matter of good feelings, making friends, or just wanting people to like us. In an increasingly interconnected world we depend on the people and lands outside the U.S. for raw materials, manufacturing, labor, markets for the goods we produce here, and, of course, for our security. The recent issues of health care, cap and trade, and an ever-expanding deficit have me perplexed at best, and often out right infuriated.  But in terms of the way that we are seen by people in other countries, it matters, and in that respect there have been significant improvements in the last year.

Jan 14th 2010 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition

Governing is harder than campaigning. But America’s 44th president has made an adequate start


FOR some, the magic is undimmed. Carl Baloney is extravagantly happy that Barack Obama is his president. He is old enough to remember segregation: back in the 1960s, his local university turned him away because he was black, he says. He is also old enough to have high blood pressure, which pushes his monthly health-insurance premiums skywards.


Others feel differently. “I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, neither a jackass nor an elephant. But I wouldn’t vote for a socialist. Hell, I’d vote for Adolf Hitler before I’d vote for Barack Obama. At least you know what he’d do to you,” says Ron King, a retired policeman in Stuart, Virginia. He adds that Mr Obama “lies all the time” and is “dangerous; he’s trying to change the entire country.” Mr King has perhaps not rigorously thought through his Hitler analogy, but his anger is real.


How much does this matter? Simon Anholt, an analyst, heroically estimates the value of the “Obama effect” on America’s global brand at $2.1 trillion. […] Under Mr Obama, he finds, America is once again the most admired country in the world (having slipped to seventh place in 2008). Using the same tools that consultants use to value brands such as Coca-Cola or Sony, he guesses that the value of “Brand America” has risen from $9.7 trillion to $11.8 trillion.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 14th, 2010 at 4:11 pm