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Thread: Reflections on Obama's presidency

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Reflections on Obama's presidency

    On a personal level, I would say Obama is easily the greatest US president of my lifetime. He is charismatic, presidential, dignified and thoughtful. He seems to effortlessly combine casualness and humor with dignity and the gravity of the office he holds. His personal life while in office has been exemplary and scandal free. As such, he has been a public figure that has caused many around the world to envy America and say to themselves "I wish my country had a leader like that I could respect as a person". Simply by virtue of being such a presidential person, he regained a huge level of international respect for America, and the office of its president.

    Policy-wise so many things have happened in Obama's presidency, many of which he had limited control over due to the nature of a divided US government, that it is not easy to assess him. However, a few policy failings stand out starkly as massive moral failures on his part.
    1. His infamous statement "We need to look forward as opposed to looking backward" became symbolic of his refusal to investigate or punish any of the serious crimes done by the wealthy and the powerful during the previous administration - torture, war crimes, economic fraud that collapsed the economy - were all swept under the rug and overlooked. This sent a clear message to those in power that they could commit the most severe crimes and get away with it.
    2. Similarly after making great promises of "transparency", his administration went all-out in its prosecution of whistle-blowers, and even made a habit of using the Espionage Act against whistle-blowers who leaked to journalists, prosecuting more such people under that Act than had been prosecuted under it in the previous 80 years combined.
    3. Obama became the first president in US history where the US was at war for the full two terms of his office. Not merely did he fail to put a proper lid on the military interventions begun under Bush, but he undertook a huge number of his own interventions, with a major intervention in Libya, drone strikes in 7 different countries, special forces actions in 33 different African nations in the last year alone, etc.

    On the level of political strategy, rather than policy, he showed clearly that he was too inexperienced, as he was outmaneuvered by the Republicans at every turn. He let the Republicans control the media narratives during his presidency, and lost the general PR battle, and failed to effectively use the powers of government he did have to achieve the sorts of policy victories he could have were he more experienced.

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    tWebber Leonhard's Avatar
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    I for one will miss him, but I won't criticize Trump until he has done something I find worth criticizing. The American tradition has always been for people to band together and support their elect, though of course some will grumble. Maybe he'll surprise us? Maybe he really will pull the US out of the role of watchdog of the world, and if Putin starts invasions, perhaps they'll still be at the diplomatic table doing good.

    However I will miss Obama, I wish he had been able to go further with his campaigns.

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    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
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    My reflections: impotent doormat loser who presided over the ushering of the greatest right wing revolution in half a century. Overall more of a symbol than a major actor, he will go down in history with an infamy far above his actual ability or performance. Rogues everywhere will be appropriately butthurt by it.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonhard View Post
    I for one will miss him, but I won't criticize Trump until he has done something I find worth criticizing.
    Key points I find worth criticizing so far for Trump:

    1. The extent to which he made statements throughout the campaign through to the present that were demonstrably false was an order of magnitude higher than is usual for politicians.

    2. He's on video admitting to sexual assault.

    3. He appears to have serious conflicts of interest between his business activities and his future political office, and (a) he is refusing to release his tax returns and hence nobody can even know the full extent of those conflicts of interest, or whether he owes huge amounts of money to Putin or whatever else (b) he registered 6 new businesses in Saudi Arabia during the course of his campaign thus setting up even more conflicts of interest, (c) since winning the election he has had phonecalls with political leaders in South America and Taiwan about them helping him out by furthering his business interests there, (d) he says he does not plan to follow the standard conventions of putting his business assets into a blind trust upon taking office, (e) any further business dealings with foreign entities on his part will be in violation of the Emoluments clause of the constitution, thus rendering him impeachable on those grounds, (f) his lawyer asserted this week that all pending foreign business deals have now been cancelled at Trump's request, yet today we learned a pending business deal regarding his Scottish golf course has just gone through, thus giving the lie, etc.

    4. Most of his cabinet appointees appear to have almost zero experience or qualifications in the field they have been appointed to, and to have massive conflicts of interest with business, on par with Trump's own. e.g. consider Rex Tillerson, who got a civil engineering degree and then spent 41 years working for oil giant Exxon, and worked his way up its ranks to be the CEO for the last 10 years, and recently got awarded the "Order of Friendship" by Putin personally. Nobody with a straight face could say, "after looking for a qualified unbiased expert in international diplomacy and for someone who has the best interests of the US and its people at heart, and out of 300 million Americans we found that the best person to appoint Secretary of State and put in charge of US foreign policy is Rex Tillerson." That appointment instead says that Trump asked Putin who he wanted as US Secretary of State, or Trump asked multinationals and his billionaire donors who they wanted as US Secretary of State. Trump's other cabinet picks are in a similar vein... nobody reasonable could say they were picked for their talent or relevant skill set, their appointments are simply clear evidence of out-and-out corruption.
    Last edited by Starlight; 01-17-2017 at 06:26 PM.

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    tWebber
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    If I were to ever give credit to the dude, I'd credit him for being the worst warmonger since Bush (in fact, worse than Bush), yet all the while keeping that almost totally covert. He not only got the neocons believing he actually isn't a warmonger, but totally placated the anti-war movement left that we saw during Bush's admin (though the latter is probably due more to partisan bias and just ignorance about what's going on in the world outside of western culture). When it came to warmongering, the brotha was smooth
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

  6. Amen Starlight, Sparko amen'd this post.
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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    On a personal level, I would say Obama is easily the greatest US president of my lifetime.
    I wouldn't go that far even though he single handedly managed to take the Democrats from the peak of power with overwhelming control of both Houses of Congress (with a whopping 76 vote majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate -- a lead that should have easily kept them in power for a decade or longer) and put them in the minority, losing both Houses. Not to mention Democrats held the majority of Governorships and state legislatures, which also slipped away from their control.

    They lost 9 Senate seats (a 16% drop), 62 House seats (a 24% drop), 12 Governorships (a 43% drop) and 13 state legislatures (a 48% drop) under Obama's leadership. According to Ballotpedia Obama oversaw a 959 net loss of such Democratic positions -- a drop of 23% in just eight years


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    tWebber Starlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I wouldn't go that far even though he single handedly managed to take the Democrats from the peak of power with overwhelming control of both Houses of Congress (with a whopping 76 vote majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate -- a lead that should have easily kept them in power for a decade or longer) and put them in the minority, losing both Houses. Not to mention Democrats held the majority of Governorships and state legislatures, which also slipped away from their control.
    I think it's hard to blame him for that - his favorability ratings have been positive for basically his entire time in office. The fact that the rest of the Dems have struggled for popularity speaks to poor PR strategies, poor messaging, and poor coordination on their part. People like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the inner circle of democratic party strategists strike me as being much more to blame than Obama. As the most popular US politician - Bernie Sanders (with a +21% favorability rating nationally, and +70% in his own state) - shows, it's absolutely possible to generate huge enthusiasm and huge popularity by talking over and over and over again about left-wing policies and values. The Dems just didn't do that and didn't run elections on policy substance.

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    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    I think it's hard to blame him for that - his favorability ratings have been positive for basically his entire time in office. The fact that the rest of the Dems have struggled for popularity speaks to poor PR strategies, poor messaging, and poor coordination on their part. People like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the inner circle of democratic party strategists strike me as being much more to blame than Obama. As the most popular US politician - Bernie Sanders (with a +21% favorability rating nationally, and +70% in his own state) - shows, it's absolutely possible to generate huge enthusiasm and huge popularity by talking over and over and over again about left-wing policies and values. The Dems just didn't do that and didn't run elections on policy substance.
    It is certainly not all Obama's fault, I agree with you in that. Much of the Democratic machine has been failing for some time, with only a few bright lights. In addition, quite a bit of the previous Democratic gains in 2006 and 2008 had much more to do with growing dissatisfaction with the wars and economy under Bush.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starlight View Post
    On a personal level, I would say Obama is easily the greatest US president of my lifetime. He is charismatic, presidential, dignified and thoughtful. He seems to effortlessly combine casualness and humor with dignity and the gravity of the office he holds. His personal life while in office has been exemplary and scandal free. As such, he has been a public figure that has caused many around the world to envy America and say to themselves "I wish my country had a leader like that I could respect as a person". Simply by virtue of being such a presidential person, he regained a huge level of international respect for America, and the office of its president.
    With help of lib media to cover up flaws and scandals, also make image nicer, Obama showed us all how easy to dupe lots and lots of folks with fake charisma, teleprompter, celebrity friends.
    Trump is basically "Bruce Wayne pretending to be a foppish retarded billionaire" tier genius, in case nerds need a simpler metaphor.

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    tWebber
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    I'll mostly remember Obama for his terrible handling of police-community issues. As a black president, he had a platform enabling him to do serious work to improve the police-community dynamic, but he squandered that.

  12. Amen RumTumTugger amen'd this post.

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