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Editorial: Obama’s struggle is only beginning

Tuesday’s much-hailed historic election could easily amount to little more than a mega-million dollar coin toss.

Despite Sen. Barack Obama’s victory, the fact remains that the country has problems, and it’s going to take a whole lot more than the smiling, baby-kissing veneer of the campaign trail to fix them.

Consider: As president, Obama will have to do more than wax religious about warm, fuzzy terms like hope and change.

He will have to employ expert advisers — think FDR’s brain trust — who can help him overcome his lack of experience.

The U.S. health care system is in shambles. As detailed in The New York Times, about 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance. For those who are covered, costly co-pays and greedy corporations threaten to put even the most basic care out of reach. The real-estate market collapsed, along with Wall Street. This squeeze has hit millions of middle-class Americans, who have lost their jobs, their homes or both — along with large chunks of stock-tied retirement savings.

There’s Iraq, a military morass few Americans want to be in, but one that’s still impossible to escape. Though politically popular, a quick troop withdrawal threatens to leave the country in the hands of sectarian radicals and bloodthirsty insurgents — potentially positioning the Middle Eastern nation for anarchic turmoil.

And then there are other nagging issues, like energy security and the U.S.’ sub-par education system.

These issues weren’t resolved during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration. It’s important to note, too, that some of these problems surfaced during President Bill Clinton’s administration — think of Hillary’s major flop with health-care reform.

For some of these problems, 16 years have passed without the executive or legislative branches of the government making significant progress.

With jobs exported overseas, increasing numbers of students under-qualified for the global workforce and no end in sight for the nation’s economic or security woes, the U.S. needs a president who can give the country more than just a brief reprieve.

The U.S. needs a strong executive and a strong commander in chief. Whether Obama meets these criteria — and can actually pull this country up from what may be its  all-time low point — remains to be seen.