Politicians want to get elected. They also want to get reelected. This second consideration imposes limits on their departures from the mean voter position, even when, as in the case of President-elect Obama and the current Congressional Democrats, they have a mendacious press covering (for) them. President Obama may initiate beneficial changes in some policies, from political considerations, out of genuine sympathy, or out of ideological motivation.
Where might President Obama improve on current US policy? Below, I offer a few wild guesses, and fond hopes.
US interests would be served by a greater distance between US policy and Israel. So also may Israeli interests be better served. Opponents of the welfare state understand the argument that welfare is a trap, that welfare damages recipients. This applies to foreign aid, including military and political support for Israel.
Update: Not to be...The Dear Leader does not understand "distance".
A phased stand-down from the war on drugs. Please. The current policy fills prisons with non-violent "criminals" who have done no more harm to themselves or to others than have the patrons of the corner bar. The current policy corrupts law enforcement and misdirects law-enforcement resources. The current policy enriches opponents of friendly governments in Afganistan, and Columbia. I see no indication that President Obama will promote a relaxation of drug prohibition, but he has far fewer ties to the social conservatives who support drug prohibition.
Immigration lowers the price which employers must pay for labor. The Wall Street Journal and large employers support open borders. Public sector unions (teachers and social workers) benefit from the work created by the younger immigrant population. Competition with cheap immigrant labor harms most the people at the bottom of the income ladder. Before the advent of widespread public-sector unionization, Democrats favored restrictions on immigration. How President Obama will weigh these and other considerations, he alone knows.
President Obama went to Punahou, an elite independent school (their Math program stinks). Current policy in most US States restricts parents' options for the use of the taxpayers' pre-college education subsidy to schools operated by dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel. Political control of school harms most the children of the least politicaly adept parents. American Black voters supported Obama's candidacy. How will he weigh their support against the support of public sector unions? He alone knows. Most likely, he would prefer to spend a lot of money in a vain show of concern, but this option may not be available, if tax revenues fall.