Obama Gears Up for Re-election

Barrington M. Salmon and James Wright | 9/7/2011, 12:25 p.m.

Jones-DeWeever, who is also a political scientist and policy analyst, said there are constructive ways to hold Obama and other elected officials accountable.

"Oftentimes voters think that voting for someone is enough, but the vote is only the beginning of engagement. There is still so much work constituents must do to provide political cover for politicians. Without money and influence, you must use other means to influence policy. Without money, we must use numbers. You have to voice your opinion and make demands early and often to those who you've elected."

President Barack Obama is surrounded by children attending the ARC foundation in Southeast Washington DC on the campaign election trail in 2008. Photo by Victor Holt.Kimberly Rhones said that black people need to give Obama time to straighten things out.

"It is going to take more than four years to get this country right," Rhones, 43, said. "You know that he is going to have a hard time doing what he needs to do and there are some people who are going to make it harder for him because he is black."

As electoral activities gear up, speculation is rife that Obama will be a one-term president.

"I don't think he'll get a second term," asserted David Markowitz, an Atlanta-based real estate lawyer. "The president has been largely ineffective. He realized that the direction he chose is the wrong course. Now he's trying to soothe everyone. He has an identity crisis with regards to who he is and what he wants to do. He starts in one place and then down the road, goes in the other direction."

"He tries to please everyone and pleases no one. His policies take on the color of a chameleon. We've wasted a whole lot of time on health care when a lot of people aren't working."

Despite this characterization, Markowitz, 54, acknowledged the enormous challenges Obama faced coming in and continues to confront.

"He came into office with a tough hand," he said. "He'd been dealt two wars, economic crises, the breakdown of Wall Street, Bernie Madoff ... (but) he has been a miserable failure so far. Unemployment is at record numbers and he shepherded a health care bill no one is able to take advantage of. He's trying so hard to build a legacy and that legacy was to be the first president to pass health care, but he has failed to recognize his identity."

Like many African Americans, Amanda Mance was elated the night that Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States. She knew that the job would not be easy for the first-term Illinois senator, but the fact that he won made her proud.

Despite the country going through a severe economic downturn and fast-changing events on the world stage, such as the Arab Spring, which signaled new freedoms for Tunisians and the people of Egypt and is evidenced by the ongoing struggles in Syria and Libya.

Mance, 50, supports Obama even as some blacks are beginning to voice their frustrations with his administration and its policies.