Obama's sixth year: Leader or lame duck?

When

6.30pm–8.00pm

14 May 2014

Topics

Politics

The enduring idea that the US president is all-powerful is directly at odds with the facts. The reality is that the nature of the US system of government makes it very difficult for any president to pass domestic reforms. Furthermore, it is not just the constitution and divided government that restrict what presidents can change. They are also beholden to larger economic and international forces. Because of these forces and Obama’s own instincts it is plausible to argue that Obama's foreign policy has been more traditional and risk-adverse than the more radical decisions taken by the George W. Bush presidency.

Our expert panel of US Studies Centre academics discussed the Affordable Health-Care Act and Obama’s attempts to address the issue of inequality in the US. Obama has of course faced opposition on these issues and others. The nature of this opposition - from the Republican Party, the Tea Party and others – was examined. Obama’s relations with the media, his struggle to move from campaigning to governing and then back again and his fading public popularity was also debated.  

Featuring

  • Dr Thomas Adams
    Dr Thomas Adams
    Lecturer in American Studies and History, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney)

    Dr Thomas Jessen Adams is Lecturer in American Studies and History at the United States Studies Centre and in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry. His research and writing focuses on political economy, labour, social movements, urban history, and race, gender, and American politics.

  • John Barron
    John Barron
    Research Associate, United States Studies Centre

    John Barron is a Research Associate at the US Studies Centre, anchor of “Planet America” on ABC-TV and author of the book “Vote For Me” about the 2008 Presidential campaign. He has produced political documentary films including “First Stop Iowa” about the history of the Democratic Party primary process and “The Party of Reagan” about the disputed legacy of a conservative icon – a film which was made with the assistance of the US Studies Centre.

  • Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Associate Professor Brendon O'Connor
    Associate Professor in American Politics, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney)

    Brendon O'Connor is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney as an Associate Professor in American Politics. He is the coordinator of the American Studies program at the University of Sydney and the Director of the Faculty Scholars Program. He is the editor of seven books on anti-Americanism and has also published articles and books on American welfare policy, presidential politics, US foreign policy and Australian-American relations.