Obama Has Lost His Edge: Americans Are Over the Obama Image in 2012


This week Obama proposed to extend Bush-era tax cuts for people earning less than $250,000 a year. With only four months left in Obama's term, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, job creation isn’t as high as it should be, and the president faces criticism for his decision to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants. Adding to the heat, an upcoming and controversial movie about the 2008 elections entitled, The Obama Effect hits select AMC theaters this Friday.

The Obama Effect is an example of how some people throw their support behind politicians, the president included, based on the image he or she projects. The movie is a heartening comedic satire that conveys a simple message: Don’t get carried away in the excitement. In the past four years, President Obama has failed to uphold some promises he made in 2008.

Charles S. Dutton, who also directed the movie, plays John Thomas, a middle-aged insurance salesman, who is “motivated by a misguided obsession with getting Barack Obama elected” back in 2008. Ironically, John is swept away by Obama’s “Change” slogans and ignores the changes necessary for him to improve his health and his relationship with his family.

I haven’t seen the film, but from what I gather from the trailer, The Obama Effect undertakes topics like mass incarceration, health care, and race. In a radio interview, Dutton states that the movie is “a great reflection for Black men to look at because it’s about Black men’s health.” Dutton acknowledges that there are some people who disapprove of President Obama solely based on the color of his skin. Dutton believes the movie captures the excitement of the historic moment when the United States elected its first African American president.

The Obama Effect also raises the issue of criminality. In the trailer, a character admits he can’t vote because of his record. In July of 2008 Obama said, “We have certain sentences that are based less on the kind of crime you commit than on what you look like and where you come from." According to the Children’s Defense Fund, a Black male born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in their lifetime, while a Latino male has a 1 in 6 chance, and a white male has a 1 in 17 chance. Not enough effort was put forth in the last four years to change the disproportionate number of Black males in prison.

The 2008 presidential race was exciting because the previous administration was unpopular. In addition, Obama effectively appealed to minority voters —perhaps because of his racial background —and eloquently told the people what they needed to hear from a candidate. However, in 2012 alone, Obama addressed issues concerning minority groups like LGBTQ and undocumented immigrants, but did not do much to gain approval of Black voters. With elections just around the corner, the Obama Effect is wearing off and reality is hitting Americans.