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Introduction: Obama Annus Unus

President Barack Obama's first year, from Election and Inauguration through December, 2009.

by Mike Mosher

Obama Annus Unus is Obama Year One machine translated from English to Latin.

Bad Latin? Maybe. One might wish it used "Unum", as in "E Pluribus Unum", but the year ends with the United States still a politically divided nation. The Republican Party, and the Republiwannabes of the Democratic party called the Blue Dogs, have promulgated that division, most recently in the tortured passage of bills for an issue as commonsense as health reform. We also hope we don't give ammunition to right wing wags, claiming it's been an annus horribilis and sniping at a President they find heinous, with any similarity of "Annus" to "anus"...

In this issue we revisit US President Barack Obama's first year, from election and inauguration through December, 2009, for which we already identify two short but distinct "eras".

I. The Embattled Compromiser

The first items are from the seven months since Memorial Day, when the glow of good feelings had dimmed and the ship of state listed dangerously to the right.

Ken Jolly observes as Brooks and Gump Have a Tea Party, the moment when David Brooks wrote of his accidental epiphany on race while jogging from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol, Saturday, September 12. It was during his run that Brooks, like Forrest Gump, “found himself” at the center of a history-defining moment. The Obama Administration and the Rule of 'Opposite Day!' causes Zack Furness to wonder why suddenly up is down, black is white, hate is love, war is peace, and nuclear power is 'green'. Then in Obama, The New Lula?, Pancho McFarland notes how the Christian Science Monitor wants Obama to move to the right and govern from the center as it argues Brazilian President da Silva has successfully done. Bad Subjects wants him to move far left. Obama's choices for cabinet and advisory posts provided clues as to which direction he will go. Mike Mosher is pleased that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Prize, which suggests the world has faith again in the best ideals of our nation, but asks Where's the Peace?

II. Honeymoon of Change, and Out Demons Out!

The following items arose from the defeat of the Republican party in the November, 2008 election through May, 2009, when there was renewed spirit across the land.

Charlie Bertsch ponders the possible implications of the Barack Obama Presidency for American progressives in Clearing the Air: Progressives and the Presidency. On January 20, 2009, when the new President was inaugurated, a great African-American singer performed, prompting Mosher to attempt to allegorize the American automobile industry in the personage of one notable woman of Detroit--Aretha Franklin--in Soul Utility Vehicles: Aretha, Obama, and General Motors. The election caused members of Joel Lewis' family to cry Tears of Hope: Obama and Personal Politics, a personal experience of so many Americans' uncommon euphoria. A couple of visual, graphic responses depicted the man of action a meditative moment, and the expectations upon him were even discussed by Mark Patrick's electric outlets.

We finally turn to the final days of perhaps the worst President in United States history. Mosher gathers ten impressions from the last three months of 2008 As Bushnight Ends: Approaching Obamorning in America. These sentiments were echoed overseas when Britons saw Bush Protested in London, as Heather Turner reports how President George Bush's 'Farewell Tour' was greeted in London by scores of people outraged over everything from the civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan to global climate change. Finally, Furness provides a graphic monument to the brave Iraqi journalist who hurled a shoe and cried "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!"

Bad Subjects now welcomes contributions reporting on, analyzing and critiquing Year Two.

December 30, 2009
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