On Air: Are we expecting too much from Barack Obama?

Listening to the radio over the weekend, I heard people in England breaking down in tears (good tears!) when asked to talk about what they hoped from an Obama Presidency. So, are many of us – not just Americans – expecting too much?

Ros is in Washington to present the show. He’ll be on the corner of Madison and 7th on The Mall opposite MSNBC, just by National Archive, and right behind the bleacher where all the tv correspondents are. Do go down if you fancy joining him. From 12-2EST.

44 Responses to “On Air: Are we expecting too much from Barack Obama?”

  1. 1 Marcia Castellani
    January 19, 2009 at 17:23

    Why do so many people compare Barack Obama to JFK and Abraham Lincoln? Likely, because everything about him symbolizes unity, something this country so desperately needs. Barack brings both black & white together, he is after all both. This is the first time in the state of this union that everyone is enfranchised. Black men everywhere will now know that they can be anything they want to be; more than just a former African brought to this country against his will. He is now an integral part of this country. This country now truly is ALL for ONE and ONE for ALL! We are all finally, free at last; free of self imposed prejudice, free to be all we want to be, free to live & strive together. I am not black, but I cannot explain the sense of PRIDE & JOY I feel for this country; the sense of HOPE I see for our future. A country that can come together like this can become nothing but GREAT! ALL can stand together and finally be proud to be Americans! God Bless America! We are ONE!

  2. January 19, 2009 at 17:25

    I don’t think that we are expecting too much from Barack. I think the big problem is and is going to be that we are expecting too little of ourselves. We have become a society the feels we need everything, we need it now, and we need it to come in the form of an easy to swallow pill. Well unfortunatly reality doesn’t work that way. We dug this hole of our own ignorance, and we will have to fill it with the knowleged of our past experiences.

  3. 3 Michelle from Jamaica
    January 19, 2009 at 17:37

    I can’t speak for all Jamaicans, but the ones I’ve spoken to don’t have any high expectations from Barack. We feel that the world is at a stage where you just have to come together as families, communities and individuals and fend for yourself. No hope lies in any one man. His appointment is historic and we celebrate the moment., but when the dust settles we have to raise the expectations within ourselves.

  4. 4 Kim Johnson
    January 19, 2009 at 17:43

    I don’t expect anything from B. Hussein Obama because I did not vote for him and he will not be my President even though I am a US citizen. He will not achieve any of his goals because he will be busy campaining for his second term. Even if he does anything it is going to be a disaster to implement his liberal, socialist and communist agenda. British people are liberals and socialists and they are going to destroy their country with their idiocy. No good wishes for Obama.
    Obama was elected only because he is black!

  5. 5 Arnold
    January 19, 2009 at 17:49

    Many people are acting like Obama is the Messiah. They are in for a rude awakening when they come to realize he is only human.

  6. January 19, 2009 at 17:49

    “Are we expecting too much from Barack Obama?”

    No, has demonstrated he is ready for the task at hand. It’s time for promises to have value again. The American people, democrats and republicans will have to keep pressure on President Obama to ensure things move forward as he promised. This is a team effort, the American people cannot afford to sit idly by, content to be an observer. Obama can not do it alone, he is only one man, but he can fulfill the leadership role we elected him to as our President.

  7. January 19, 2009 at 18:05

    If Obama is a true hero and wants to do his best for US he should never be caught in a lie or doing deals with nefarious people.

  8. 8 John Smith - Jamaica
    January 19, 2009 at 18:05

    The first thing to do is identify what people expect and in what time frame. The last survey taken in America shows that most Americans dont expect change to come for at least two years. I think people have more realistic expectations in light of the sobering times due to the economic climate.
    Bush hasn’t set the bar high, so I doubt people will expet much more than a change from the disasterous Bushonomics

  9. 9 Brett
    January 19, 2009 at 18:08

    STEEEEEEVE!!!!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

  10. 10 Philippa
    January 19, 2009 at 18:10

    PLEASE give the man time! The entire world should show that its attention span reaches beyond a few months, or even years.
    thank you

  11. 11 Laxman from Portland, Oregon
    January 19, 2009 at 18:13

    It is certainly a momentous occasion not only for America but for the rest of the world too. While we are expecting so much from one man – we need to use this moment to also introspect and set expectations for us – the individuals. Change cannot be forged by just one man – all of us have to participate vigorously. The message of Change and Hope that Barack Obama has articulated cannot happen without the active participation of us – the people!!!

  12. 12 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 19, 2009 at 18:13

    Barak Obama is a well-spoken, highly educated man with a great deal of integrity. That’s already change for the better, as his predecessor was not of the above.

  13. 13 Philippa
    January 19, 2009 at 18:26

    We have decided to sign off. We thought this was a party! You sure know how to put a damper on things. Goodnight.

  14. 14 Dagmar
    January 19, 2009 at 18:26

    I am writing to you from Berlin in Germany, and we cant wait to welcome him here in April to speak at the Brandenburg Gate.

    I do not think that expectations are too high, because I think one has got used to scale down the expectations in the last 8 years to minus zero, and all that happens now is that one gets back to normality and readjust expectations to reality. Expectations are always a dumb thing, one should not have any of them anyway – what is important is to be able to feel responsible and connected again , and to listen carefully when Barack Obama says , I cannot do it alone. So lets get on with it in the light of change and humanity.

  15. 15 John in Scotland
    January 19, 2009 at 18:27

    The great thing about the Obama election is not Obama himself but the desperate desire of millions for a peaceful harmonious world.

    Obama may be magnanimous , charasmatic intellectual ,Christian,well intended, but he can’t offset the laws of history that are now unfolding .

    Just like King Canute who thought he could hold back the sea , Obama’s going to find that the world is about to change him ,more than he is ‘it.’

    Predictably he will end with the respect and reverence we have for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown…basically none …..shame , but I think that will be the case .

  16. 16 Ed
    January 19, 2009 at 18:29

    To use a cliche hope is a good thing and I suspect that our hopes are not misplaced, but unless I missed something (and I am no academic on the structure of the US political system) doesn’t he and his administration still have to get policies though the senate and congress? I think he is under no illusion that what he wants to achieve will not be easy. Just look at some of the attitudes that still prevail through the senate!

  17. 17 Brett
    January 19, 2009 at 18:30

    Calling Obama a Marxist or Socialist is racist?!

    So someone can’t hold these ideas (I do not hold them myself) without being labeled a racist?!

    To that young woman who said that statement, gee, what a sad and inflamatory comment. Ignore parallels (however skewed or incorrect they may be) and jump straight to pulling a race card… Sad.

    And on topic, I think its important to expect as much as possible from obama. Hold his feet to the fire, make sure he follows through with his promises and the countries needs and wishes.

  18. January 19, 2009 at 18:33

    I don’t think it is right to be asking a negative question in the height of such profound change in America. Through his unending efforts he has already achieve the following:

    a) Proof that the American people are capable of change in electing an African American into the top office
    b) Youths in America and around the world are motivated through his encouragement and the energy, willingness to continue the grassroot mouvement even as he is President.
    c) He has reached all People rich, poor, old, young, educated and uneducated

    President elect Obama will continue to inspire and get results.

    My highest hope is that his administration will achieve PEACE in the Middle East and the World..

    Do I believe that change is going to come? I most certainly do, because it is already happened and continues to do so.

  19. January 19, 2009 at 18:38

    People of the world WATCH OUT! Obama is a neo-liberal and will continue the same U.S. imperialism and economic free-trade policies that have exploited so many around the world the last four decades. His cabinet largey consists of old Cold Warriors, hawks, Chicago School Milton Freidmanites and other neo-liberals, not one Progressive/Liberal in the bunch. Why do you think the Republicans have supported so many of his cabinet choices? The sooner the world wakes up to this realization, the sooner we will be able to combat it and maybe change it.

    listening to W.H.Y.S. on 90.3 WCPN CLE OH

  20. 20 Wambui
    January 19, 2009 at 18:39

    As a Kenyan I am truly embarrassed by the level of expectations placed on him here in Kenya. My dear Kenyans please address your need for roads, schools and hospitals to YOUR political leadership. Obama is an American President not a Kenyan MP.

  21. 21 Sahara
    January 19, 2009 at 18:47

    I live in a rural village in niger, and we will not be disapointed w/obama, we know he will be more transparent and compasionate than bush!

  22. 22 Rev Kuzipa Nalwamba, lusaka, zambia
    January 19, 2009 at 18:47

    I think obama is an inspiration for me as an african but i dont expect him to take care of us here. He has enough to do in the US. Pride in him an african american more than expectation is what i feel about him. Most thoughtful africans feel the same way.

  23. 23 pallex
    January 19, 2009 at 19:03

    I expect that it will take more than 4 years to fix the mess that was made over the past 8 years. I am worried about what will happen when the republicans have a chance to put Obama out and one of theirs in. If Obama isn’t able to fix all the problems Bush left us with, then when the next election comes around Obama will have to defend what he was able to do and push for the chance to continue the work that he needs to do. We must be loyal to him and the cause throughout the entire journey

  24. 24 Syed Hasan Turab
    January 19, 2009 at 19:06

    We are living in this world with hope & expectation’s, even we have believe & knowledge that God is etternal & we are mortal.

  25. 25 David Waln
    January 19, 2009 at 19:06

    The genius of Barack Obama, is that he sees past the things that most people get distracted by. If he is to succeed, he needs more of us to see past those things too.

    Seeing past skin color is easy, when compared to the study it take to see the truths that might be contained in our political opponents bundle of mistaken ideas.

  26. 26 emmanuel opoku
    January 19, 2009 at 19:07

    for starters Obama is just man with an idea, the influence he has is that ,the world at large believes in his ideology but the question is how many are ready to to do what it takes to see the realization of his ideas. I believe in Obama I believe in the African and the world I believe in Ghana.

  27. 27 Richard Chonak
    January 19, 2009 at 19:23

    The political blogger “helping” Ros with the show was a disappointment. She was highly partisan and came on every few minutes to recite slogans against President Bush instead of offering any sophisticated analysis.

    Her talk about “consensus” on Afghanistan was so empty of content that Ros had to remind her that the Taliban is quite intransigent. She paid him no heed at all!

  28. 28 merzifon_05
    January 19, 2009 at 20:07

    Yes we do, definetely we do.

  29. 29 Sam in Kansas city
    January 19, 2009 at 21:37

    Well we have all been down and out for the last 8 years, thus Obama sang a song of chnage that was really music to our ears. We only expect what he promised, which is a lot.

  30. January 19, 2009 at 22:00

    The chang am xpectn is dat America would make education easier for African youths through more int’l scholarships. And when dis is considered Nigerians shuld be accomodated in dis.

  31. 31 steve
    January 19, 2009 at 22:03

    There are couple things I could have said on the air, but I might have just been repeating others as I could barely hear outside. But first, Obama has the advantage of having a democratic congress. Bill Clinton had to become more centerist quickly after being elected because the republicans took control of Congress. So he literally has the political capital to enact “change”, whatever that might be.

    Second, I think Obama is very aware of the unrealistic expectations people have for his Presidency. At least in terms of the economy, he admitted “things will get worse before they get better”. So from his own words, if you’re expected a miracle on Jan. 20 and everything to somehow improve immediately, you will be disapointed.

  32. 32 Chris
    January 19, 2009 at 22:43

    Well unlike most I expect NOTHING from him, it will be business as usual, anyone with a brain knows he won’t be able to do anything unless Pelosi and Reid tell him he’s allowed to!
    He is one man and he will be treated as a figure head, Pelosi and Reid have the real power and they aren’t about to let anyone do the peoples work unless they can get their pockets lined.
    So good luck with your change! LOL

  33. 33 Amy
    January 19, 2009 at 23:12

    To Kim Johnson,

    I never voted for President Bush and have not supported his positions but never once have I said that he wasn’t my President. I truly see your comments as one of the problems I have with the extreme right wing of the Republican party – it’s your way or the highway. Your comments remind me of a spoiled child that doesn’t get their way. Whether you like it or not, Obama is going to be your President.

  34. January 20, 2009 at 00:24

    Obama has no ulterior motives, He is not in the oil business, his family is not from big moneys. He is perched on the right bough for success and America did the right thing in electing him. I thank the American people for this rare opportunity.

    Now! The question is whether Congress will get onboard and back his efforts to make America and the World a better place after the mess of GB

  35. January 20, 2009 at 01:54

    No, we are not expecting too much from Obama and he has no trouble meeting the main criterior? Be better than Bush? That he can do in his sleep. He will have more information and listen harder and be smarter in his decisions. Cutting back on wasteful defence that stops nothing and making the Joe Average better off is easy in this wasteful mindset. Who needs to finance going to Mars and making the astronauts sweat and urine recyclable? Millions on a space toilet? Thousands were also spent years ago perfecting a pen that would write in space. The Russians used a pencil??? Change all that and get out of the hole?

  36. January 20, 2009 at 02:05

    I think that immediately expecting way too much from Barack Obama….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  37. 37 K.Anaga
    January 20, 2009 at 04:56

    I am opinion that weare not expecting too much fom Obama. Unfortunately, as Bush has made innumerable blunders,we expect Obama to eradicate all the blunders made by Bush and start a fresh to bring back Americaa to its glory.

    Thushe has a difficult time ahead.

    If Bush did not make such Himalayan blunders,the task for Obama would have ben much easier. He could have started from Where Bush left with minor changes here and there. Now of course, Obama is in sqare number and therefore it may take some time to get the necessary steam to impliment his own policies. Fortunately he has adequate good will from the people all over the world.
    I would like to translate and quote from great Tamil Epic Thiruk -Kural thus-:

    ” If You do not lie in your heart,you live in the hearts of all”

  38. 38 smithcopper
    January 20, 2009 at 07:42

    better hold on to your promises …we have our own version of Tony Blair!

  39. January 20, 2009 at 08:10


    In Africa, it seems people are expecting Obama to come fix all their problems. People are talking of Obama coming to send troops to Somalia, Obama granting Africa access to the American markets and even throwing open the gates of America to all his ‘brothers’ from Africa.

    In Africa, as elsewhere, there is a cause for some justifiable optimism, Obama is certainly going to be more conciliatory in his foreign policy, and will reach out to other nations in the pursuit of international relations. As an African American, Africa may be right in expecting some favours from American foreign policy under him.

    Especially in Africa, leaders need to sit up to their responsibilities and take bigger and bolder steps in regional and international affairs especially in resolving the many conflicts in Africa without waiting for Uncle Obama. Rightly, he may be ‘one of us’ (African) but note that this African is now elected President of the USA, thus his first priority will be the welfare of Americans, and then others. Don’t forget that the whole world is watching him, besides he (Obama) said in a speech that America may not get there in a single term, so you see, second term may also be in his mind.

    But on the whole, we should all ask ourselves whether or not what we are expecting from Obama should be directed elsewhere, especially to our own leaders if we are not Americans. Also bear in mind the America Bush is handing over to Obama, it is snared in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is burdened by multi-trillion dollar debts and the economy is in a mess. Maybe the second question (after what can Obama do for me?) should be what can I do for Obama.

    I wish Obama a very successful and peaceful tenure.

  40. 40 Ayse
    January 20, 2009 at 10:44

    It seems like yes, people are expecting too much from Obama, or maybe hoping too much instead…
    will see in time if he is going to rule in justice or he is going to let ‘the others’ direct/push him about how to govern like…!

  41. 41 Lawrence
    January 21, 2009 at 09:57

    If people consider him as the new Messiah, yes. But he is not the Messiah. a lot of retoric and hot air, that is all

  42. 42 Marge
    January 21, 2009 at 11:10

    So, how many expect that one man can change the world? How many think that one man (G Bush), has brought about the mess that the world is in?

    So many simplistic and uninformed people. Don’t give up hope. – some little green aliens may come and show us how to do things.

  43. January 21, 2009 at 16:35

    Matthew January 21, 2009 at 15:55
    What we expect of Barack Obama is measured by our own aspirations and that which we desire to achieve within ourselves as individuals. The wishes we hope to fulfill within the dreams which we all pursue at one level or other, must reach beyond the selfish and the personal. We can once and for all gather to achieve a collective effort that will lay down a marker and set forth a path for all to follow and for us to strive towards an ideal and a realistic set of goals. No more, no less.
    One man alone can not solve all our problems or settle half of them without a community, a society and a people slowly but surely moving as a force and an energy that consumes itself with a will and determination to confront head on and with absolute resolve to do so, the seemingly insurmountable obstacles thrust in our way.
    Patience is a virtue that we all have sight of yet so seldom do we act with calm, self-assured nature and a steady hand so as to rein in our busy demeanour that we normally display to the world everyday, as the method and the means to earn our survival and wellbeing.
    If we all take a step slower, yet are no less decisive in our stride, but can be assured in its taking that we choose to make good the progress of communication, dialogue and eventual cooperation whether it be at home or abroad, then the rewards will be worth the long and arduous journey we had to undergo to ensure reaching the pinnacle and summits of human achievement.
    Our indubitable duty is to ourselves and future generations that will thankfully be able to glance back upon history and witness that the world grasped the mettle and seized the moment as if life itself depended on it and passed on a legacy of hope, and an everlasting spirit of good fortune, for all to see.

  44. January 22, 2009 at 11:13

    President Obama’s election proves to us that the world is in a historic turn. And so, if Americans can do away with Racism, we Africans must follow their step and do away with Tribalism, Nepotism and Favoritism.

    All we ecpect from President Obama is to unite the whole World as one.


    Mohammed Kondawa, Monrovia Liberia

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