Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Politics in the United States and elsewhere

Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Elliott » 01 Aug 2011, 00:48

Some say he's "just what America needed after Dubya". Some say he's a Marxist intent on destroying America (starting with Obamacare).

What's the truth?
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby John » 01 Aug 2011, 09:23

I certainly think Obama is a liberal and PC (i.e. a cultural Marxist) but I would disagree that this is something that started with Obamacare or that represents any kind of contrast with GWB. Remember that, for all his rhetoric, Bush never actually did anything to shrink the size of the state. Furthermore when we look at social issues we can see that he sometimes talked like a conservative but never did anything about it. For example in the 2004 elections he spoke a great deal about his opposition to gay marriage but then after the election he made sure to forget the whole subject.

After he left office he was interviewed and was asked ‘what was the worst moment of your Presidency’. He said it was when Kanye West accused him on not caring about black people after hurricane Katrina. That’s right his worst moment was not 9/11, not the economic crash, not even hurricane Katrina itself. His worst moment was being accused of having unPC attitudes. So yes I think Obama is leading America in a destructive direction, the same direction that fake conservative George Bush was leading it.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Caleb » 25 Oct 2011, 05:07

John: Those are good points about Bush.

Frankly, the social issues aren't what worry me so much about the U.S. right now as the economic issues (I tend to be economically conservative first and socially conservative -- on some issues -- second).

In this regard though, I really don't think it matters who is in the Whitehouse, not now, not next term. Actually, I think their economic issues are social/cultural issues, but I think these basically cut across party and ideological lines. The simple fact is that Americans live way beyond their means and they want their government to live way beyond its means also. Despite the massive amounts of hot air that come out of Washington, no one (aside from people way out on the fringe such as Ron Paul) is really serious about tackling America's economic issues. Everyone is living in denial about what really needs to be done and there was absolutely zero chance last election, and absolutely zero chance next election, that anyone will get serious about such things.

Those on the right in America love to get on Obama's back about his economic policies, but I really don't see that they would have done anything different, or will if they get total control of both houses of Congress and the presidency next election. In this respect, Obama is a perfect man for the times. It's not a matter of him being unreasonable unless you're willing to admit that the entire culture there is unreasonable.

For me, the really interesting thing is going to be the 2016 election, and even more so, the 2020 election. I will be quite surprised if America really digs itself truly out of its hole, i.e. its defecit. It's been digging this hole, and experiencing a general structural decline, for basically three decades now, under several administrations. If things drag on as they are, and I expect them to to some extent, for another four years, people are going to start getting really wacky. The current crop of loons in Washington will look downright moderate by comparison. Expect the rise of real right or left wing populism as America becomes the 21st century equivalent to Argentina. Not good.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Rachel » 28 Oct 2011, 14:40

Good points about Bush and presidents before Obama starting the rot.

Saying that, I recently read an article that said that according to polls Obama is the most unpopulat president in history at the moment.
I don't know if it's true.

I keep hearing different figures for the US deficit. Sometimes it's 1 trillion, sometimes it's 7 trillion and sometimes t's 14 trillion. That's a big margin of error. It makes the British debt sound small. They are going to have to default, eventually.

They can't carry on like on like this forever.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Caleb » 29 Oct 2011, 01:04

They do have other options than defaulting, especially since they're in the unique position of having the world's reserve currency. The most likely thing they will do is inflate the debt away due to some severe quantitative easing that will make the recent bouts look miniscule. It's not a good option either, and it will absolutely crush the middle and lower classes, but it's probably the least painful option and most politically expedient simply because it will be spread out and it won't be anywhere near as specific as something like defaulting would be.

Anyway, here's a very interesting talk:

http://www.piie.com/events/event_detail ... =152&Media
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Steve » 29 Oct 2011, 19:49

Elliott,

I don't think Obama is intentionally trying to harm the country. Like all modern democratically-elected leaders, he wants to be re-elected. How is he going to get re-elected if he is seen to be destroying the country? Every leader wants to be remembered for leaving a great legacy. There is no reason to believe Obama is any different in that regard. If nothing else, why would he want to destroy the country in which he is raising two daughters? He would have to be evil to do such a thing, and no serious person believes Obama is evil.

But neither is he pursuing the kind of policies that America needs -- far from it. Although he obviously can't be blamed for the problems the country faced when he took office, his policies have made the recovery much worse than it otherwise would have been, and they are in fact exactly the kind of policies that put the country in such a difficult position in the first place.

Obama is just a modern, big-government liberal. Like all modern liberals, he believes that large government programs can, and should, help people, and he is pursuing policies that he genuinely believes will achieve that end. He's not evil. He's just naive.

Many people ask if he's a socialist, and the ensuing debate is complicated by the fact that people often have different definitions of that word. I think by any reasonable definition, he clearly is, but then so is almost everyone nowadays. Therein lies the problem.

I agree that few American politicians are genuinely serious about solving our problems, and even the ones that are usually bite their tongue in fear of public reaction to obvious truths. But I don't agree that there are no differences between the two parties. Essentially all of the politicians that are serious are Republicans, and I think there is genuine opportunity for needed reform if Republicans can win the Presidency, hold on to the House and/or re-take the Senate. There has been much talk about the Tea Party, but many people fail to realize that the movement is as much a reaction against the false conservatism of Bush-era Republicans as it is against Obama. The conservatism of Mitt Romney, the favorite for the Republican nomination, is highly questionable, but even if he is just an opportunist, his rhetoric is so conservative as to seriously box him in if he becomes President, and if he has a conservative Congress, I think he will sign conservative legislation.

The bottom line is that decades of liberal policies are causing serious problems throughout the Western world, and liberals everywhere are in denial about it. Ultimately, the citizens themselves are in denial about the need to pay their own way. Obama and the Democrats are pretending that increasing taxes on the rich will be enough to solve our fiscal problems, and they are hoping there is enough resentment of the wealthy that these policies will prove popular, but this runs against the grain of traditional American culture. The question is how much of that culture remains.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Steve » 29 Oct 2011, 19:55

Rachel,

The annual U.S. budget deficit has been running around $1.4 trillion per year over the last 3 years, and our total accumulated debt (from all prior annual deficits) is about $14 trillion.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Caleb » 30 Oct 2011, 00:00

Steve,

That's a very good post. The next election is there for the taking for the Republicans. It depends upon whether they choose to win or lose it. In a way, I am pessimistic about how the Republicans would act even if they had full control of the executive and legislative branches.

Many are as addicted to pork as anyone else; they love spending a lot of money on various wars, including all the different versions of the "War on..." Also, I think they're going to have real trouble working out social security and Medicare. Those things are sacred cows and political suicide to touch, yet they must be touched.

I also worry that there will be plenty of right wing Christians who will decry the interference of the state in "personal" matters that they see as part of the so-called Culture Wars, but who will then implement their own busybody tactics and will spend a lot of time pushing an agenda of dinosaurs and humans living together on Noah's Ark in schools and other anti-scientific nonsense. That whole side of "conservatism" in American politics is, frankly, embarrassing. It's only a couple of steps forward from some of the ideas coming out of Iran or Saudi Arabia, and a massive diversion of intellectual energies.

Of course, the liberals are way off point, but to be honest, I'm not that enamoured with many conservatives either.
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Re: Is Barack Obama a reasonable guy?

Postby Gavin » 29 Jan 2014, 20:27

I just saw the website of an American actress. As might be expected, the blog was self-obsessed, childish and inane, and of course the author had a juvenile admiration for socialism.

Nothing unusual there. But what struck me was this picture of Obama, done in communist colouring and artistic style, like the one of Che Guevara:

Image

They're actually not ashamed to present the guy as a "communist saviour". Even he might be a little uncomfortable with that, I think.

Meanwhile, I have been speaking with a colleague who is fresh out of Ukraine. He said that country has been ruined by years of communism. He agreed with me that capitalism represents the freedom for an individual to make the most of themselves, while communism destroys aspiration and hammers everybody down the same low level.
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