The Hedgehog and The Fox?

In the recent ordeals that the United States faced, namely the earthquake near the capital DC and New York, the Irene hurricane in the East Coast and now possibly the Katia hurricane developing at the Atlantic Ocean, one can find it difficult to imagine how nation's head of government, the uniting figure and the World's powerful man will be able to cope in maintaining his vote for the upcoming elections next year. Doubled with the aftermaths and current crises as a result of the 'Arab Spring', how will the world, and importantly the Americans view him?

In an essay written by Isiah Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, Berlin explains that in this world, what separates one with the another is the way they think of things. The fox, the animal that is characterised as being adventurous, outdoorsy and opportunistic. To survive in different climate and conditions they would tend to adapt to things. Hedgehogs on the other hand are more seclusive. They are nocturnal and depending on the seasons, would choose to hibernate, rendering them less active in comparison with the fox. But despite their less active lifestyle they too, like the fox, are capable to adapt to many things.

The analogy of the Hedgehog and the Fox is perhaps applicable to President Obama in today's politics. In times of crisis, Obama is sometimes seen as the perfect emphatic figure and the Tucson, Arizona shootings of Congresswoman Giffords exemplified that. In this event, he pleaded with fellow politicians, be it Republican or Democrats, the strongly divided and opinionated news media and general public to unite in times of sadness and grief. The president sent a powerful tone in which the media strongly appraised to what was known as a strongly 'emotionally charged' speech, and some even suggested it as 'one of his best moments' in his presidency. He called on everyone honor the victims of the shootings, "rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame", referring to how the media lambasted both parties as the cause of the shooting via fear mongering. Similarly, the killing of Osama bin Laden proved to be another of the president's 'best moments'. In his speech, being the bearer of good news, he took everyone by surprised on a sudden breaking announcement aired to all US's major networks that the lives lost by the terrorist leader and his networks in the September 11 attacks had be recounted and avenged for. Both of these occasions, both good and bad showed how the president possessed a skewed talent and characteristic in lifting the nations spirits. Additionally, his approval ratings and popularity soared. In this context, we can see that Obama is that Fox that I talked about earlier, the Fox that knows many a things that are beneficial to him.

However, alternatively, Obama seems to possess both sides of the coin in the sense that one can also view him as the Hedgehog. Obama, although tactful of uniting a highly polarised nation, finds himself in deep trenches with the concurrent economic crisis and subsequently job crisis. With the world again economically unstable with the Greek economic collapse and bail-out, a very precarious Spain and Portugal as well as the soaring oil prices as a result of the 'Arab Spring', finding a smooth spot for America's just-recovered-but-frailing again economy will be difficult for the first African-American President. Although promising a many during his HOPE theme presidential campaign in 2008, little showing can actually be said with regards to the campaign promises he made. Already members of the congress from both parties as well as the news media are questioning him in his leadership in the tumultuous economic recovery plan, at the same time pushing him to do more on jobs.

He may embodies that of the fox in times of crises and unity, pleading everyone to be in the same vein as he is throughout the ordeal, but de facto a hedgehog in his policies towards the economy and jobs, which by now we all can see in itself, needs a 'Change we can believe in'. But as for now, Obama will surely need to step up in his policies. With the announcement of his new job policy within a few hours time, the nation in need of a miracle hopes for the better. Obama is nevertheless in a very tricky position with his two main opposites for the next election, Rick Perry, media dubbed carbon copy of George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney, the popular and financially stable and resourceful politician gaining momentum in the recent opinion polls. Armed with excellent records in job creation within their own respective states as well as effective economic recovery policies, both politicians stand and present their own versions and plans on how deliver a successful economic recovery and employment policies that might topple that of Obama's any day. Perhaps one can predict that this upcoming policy will be the deciding factor on whether Obama will be a two-term president during next year's presidential election, or whether just another flop, like his predecessors before him, wanting to do more, with very little time.

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