Barack Obama has got down to work in Washington after a church service to speed him and his team on their way. This administration has a “to do” list which seems intimidating and needs all the help, divine or otherwise, it can get.
It will take some time for the Democrats’ euphoria bubble to burst such are the hopes invested in Obama, and he knows he needs to be seen to be doing something quickly. America is mired in two overseas wars, one of which Obama wants to get out of as soon as he can, but which will need careful planning. He will also be expected to provide a world lead on climate change and the economic crisis, and he has to revive America’s stalling economy and slash the budget deficit. Obama is warning people however not to expect him and his team to do all the heavy lifting: “Part of what I wanted to communicate in my inauguration speech was that government is going to work, we are going to make it work, but you know it is ultimately the American people coming together that is going to determine what we accomplish and how we get through some very difficult challenges,” he insisted. After years of neglect by President Bush the Middle East is also crying out for a strong US initiative, and Obama has already spoken to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan by phone.