A tale of two administrations
By Brian Francis | Mon, October 08, 2012 - 2:00 PM
IT IS INDEED AMAZING how things in a country could change so drastically over time. That is precisely what we are all witnessing in both Barbados and the United States in the current environment.
On the political front, two governments – the Obama administration and Freundel Stuart administration – are currently in a great battle to hold on to power as elections near in both countries.
What is rather interesting is that both administrations came to power in 2008 when the global financial and economic crisis was taking root.
Furthermore, the election platforms of both democratic parties mirrored each other in the sense that they were based on the idea of “time for change” and the promise of a much brighter future for their respective citizens.
To accomplish these ideals, the governments of Barbados and the United States implemented economic policies that were consistent with promoting a social engineering agenda.
Despite some differences in the specifics, it is fair to say that both governments were determined to keep unemployment down and provide safety nets for the vulnerable people in their societies.
Now that those policies have run their course and the governments’ terms are nearing their end, the success or failure of the economic agendas is clearly being evaluated by the electorate in both countries.
Of course, the two governments believe that they have done well under difficult circumstances, managing to keep their respective economies afloat. But does the electorate agree?
The views of the electorate can only be captured in public opinion polls. And that is what we have been witnessing in the United States for several weeks now. In the case of Barbados, the results of two polls conducted in May and September have now been presented to the public. What do these polls say?
In the United States, President Obama is leading his Republican challenger both at the national level as well as in key swing states such as Ohio and Florida. This development is quite amazing given the performance of the economy in the past four years.
The president’s lead can be linked to several factors, including his likeability, his commitment to more social engineering, increasing consumer confidence, and the apparent weaknesses in his opponent’s campaign strategy to date.
On the contrary, the findings of the recent CADRES’ polls clearly indicate that the present administration in Barbados does not enjoy majority support among the population.
Instead, the main challenger – the Barbados Labour Party – has expanded its lead in the race to capture the reins of Government.
Clearly, the issue of leadership and the current state of the economy are two of the more important factors working against the current administration.
Hence, therefore, what seems to be unfolding before our very eyes is the tale of two administrations that started out with similar ideas and promises but seem to be generating different reactions from their respective populations.
In spite of the state of the American economy, individuals still seem confident in the leadership of the Obama administration. The opposite is true for the Freundel Stuart-led administration.
Given that a day in politics is considered a long time, the obvious question that arises is, can either or both governments in Barbados and the United States survive the next general election? Time alone will tell!
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