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Obama Half a Year In

How's he done? And, in hindsight (six-month hindsight, anyway), was all that self-assigned intellectual superiority really warranted, or has Obama pretty much failed to live up to expectations?

We're still in Iraq and I hear taxes on the middle class are going up. Now, again, I'm not terribly political, but I am a fan of armchair psychology, and never before can I recall an election in which so many people were duped into thinking that any one person could effect the sorts of "change" that Obama supporters laid on him.

8 Responses to "Obama Half a Year In"

  1. I was a big supporter of his. But I think the big difference is that his predecessor ignored opposition or at best gave them an opportunity to be ignored and Obama seeks out their opinions and modifies his proposals based on that*. Of course, he is facing a united Republican party that gets what they want (no real liberal or progressive legislation without conservative loop holes or dilution) yet gets to vote en masse in opposition. So the liberals and progressives get incremental push back against 8 years of what we see as awful policy that was pushed through with zero liberal or conservative input. He apparently thinks conservatives are worth working with. I thought he had a point last autumn, but no longer. He is wasting time and energy engaging folks who hate him.

    *-Note that I KNOW he is putting his principles first and the conservatives second, but he does seem to be seeking their input, listening and modifying proposals.

    As for Iraq there was gonna be no immediate withdrawal and his timetable was 14-16 months or something like that, plus he is also somewhat hamstrung by Bush's SOFA agreement with Iraq. He *IS* engaging Afghanistan more, like he said he would. He is committed to and had emphatically stated no tax increases on those who bring home less that $250k/year. If you think middle class earns more than 5 digits you're stoned! 🙂

    As a liberal I am disappointed. I am also unemployed partially due to the credit crunch and think he got played by the establishment banks and investment houses with the TARP and what not. I think after the initial bailouts that Bush did, we should have (MAYBE) started to allow them to fall and seized on the moment to pass real financial industry reform and regulation (DEFINITELY). Nearly all credible economists are pretty much in agreement with this from what I can tell (perhaps I have some minor details wrong, but the gist is prolly accurate.)

    The economic bailout was watered down to satisfy conservatives, though it will do no more harm to the debt than Bush's tax cuts, without hamstringing the government in the future, so I am less unhappy about that, but the economy stinks and the Keynesian solution seems to have been proven in the past and looks like it might prove itself again. But I am no economist and go by what I read from some of them. I think perhaps the package may have been too small as seems to be the popular economist opinion, but I cannot see how he could have passed anything large enough at the same time he was bailing out the banks AND the auto companies, which had to be done (depression would likely had been in the cards with MI & OH among others being hammered by dozens of percent of unemployment as GM and C and all of their suppliers went belly up.) Obama inherited a perfect storm of messes and seems to have done what needed to be done.

    In short, I am satisfied he has done the best he could. He may have fumbled a few balls here and there, but all new Presidents do. Nobody ever will walk into the Oval Office and just make all the right decisions. I think Obama has done as well as Clinton would have and way better than McCain. Better than Biden and compared to Palin, he is perfect.

    (Note, I think Palin's biggest problem is she just doesn't know enough to make good decisions. Smart is one thing, generally informed is another and she NEVER conveyed that she had any real grasp on any national issue from what I could tell. From a political stand point, i think she would still have made the wrong decisions even with a wider grasp of the issues, but that is just being in disagreement.)

  2. So much to comment on... I have slightly reordered a few blocks of your comments, in order to group common themes and to make my response clearer.

    Fred Priese said on August 7, 2009:

    I was a big supporter of his. But I think the big difference is that his predecessor ignored opposition or at best gave them an opportunity to be ignored and Obama seeks out their opinions and modifies his proposals based on that*. ... *-Note that I KNOW he is putting his principles first and the conservatives second, but he does seem to be seeking their input, listening and modifying proposals.

    This might have happened on other legislation, but this is definitely not happening on the ObamaCare bill. Democrats have been and are shutting down debate on that one.

    Of course, he is facing a united Republican party that gets what they want (no real liberal or progressive legislation without conservative loop holes or dilution) yet gets to vote en masse in opposition. ... He apparently thinks conservatives are worth working with. I thought he had a point last autumn, but no longer. He is wasting time and energy engaging folks who hate him.

    If you invert Republican/Democrat, and liberal/conservative, it's no different than when GWB was president. Since you are a self-proclaimed liberal, I know that you are biased against GWB; you seem to not be remembering history correctly.

    So the liberals and progressives get incremental push back against 8 years of what we see as awful policy that was pushed through with zero liberal or conservative input.

    GWB was an awful president. Liberties were lost at an alarming rate; the USA PATRIOT Act was a sham, as were many other things that GWB did. (I hope that if you had me confused with a Republican, that you are now dissuaded of that notion.)

    He is committed to and had emphatically stated no tax increases on those who bring home less that $250k/year. If you think middle class earns more than 5 digits you're stoned! 🙂

    $100k is definitely still middle class. Upper-middle maybe, but definitely still middle. If ObamaCare gets passed into law, then there is absolutely no way that he will be able to keep his $250k/year no tax pledge -- and, mark my words, the press will give him a pass on it, unlike their treatment of George HW "No New Taxes" Bush. I'll repeat: Mark my words: if ObamaCare passes, then higher taxes are coming for people making well under $100k. There will be no way around it.

    As a liberal I am disappointed. I am also unemployed partially due to the credit crunch and think he got played by the establishment banks and investment houses with the TARP and what not. I think after the initial bailouts that Bush did, we should have (MAYBE) started to allow them to fall and seized on the moment to pass real financial industry reform and regulation (DEFINITELY). Nearly all credible economists are pretty much in agreement with this from what I can tell (perhaps I have some minor details wrong, but the gist is prolly accurate.)

    TARP was a law that should never have been passed. Failing banks and businesses (I'm looking at you, General Motors) should have been allowed to fail. The problem with the banks was that they were allowed to operate with very little capital on hand; in years past, banks were required to have something like 15% of deposits on hand in cash, because going below that was considered risky to the point of potential failure. More recently banks were operating with well below 10% in reserves, and we know what happened. Whether that is call for regulation or reform I dunno, but the ratio is what we need to guarantee.

    The economic bailout was watered down to satisfy conservatives, though it will do no more harm to the debt than Bush's tax cuts, without hamstringing the government in the future, so I am less unhappy about that, but the economy stinks and the Keynesian solution seems to have been proven in the past and looks like it might prove itself again.

    The "economic bailout" is another thing we didn't need and that shouldn't have been passed. I challenge your statement that "the Keynesian solution seems to have been proven." It seems to me that the opposite is true, because most of these problems were actually caused by government, not by the private sector.

    But I am no economist and go by what I read from some of them. I think perhaps the package may have been too small as seems to be the popular economist opinion, but I cannot see how he could have passed anything large enough at the same time he was bailing out the banks AND the auto companies,...

    In fact, it was too big, not too small. We didn't need it and shouldn't have done it. Now we've saddled our children with another huge pile of unnecessary debt.

    (continuing)...which had to be done (depression would likely had been in the cards with MI & OH among others being hammered by dozens of percent of unemployment as GM and C and all of their suppliers went belly up.) Obama inherited a perfect storm of messes and seems to have done what needed to be done.

    It didn't have to be done, and it shouldn't have been done.

    In short, I am satisfied he has done the best he could. He may have fumbled a few balls here and there, but all new Presidents do. Nobody ever will walk into the Oval Office and just make all the right decisions. I think Obama has done as well as Clinton would have and way better than McCain. Better than Biden and compared to Palin, he is perfect.

    I think Bill Clinton would have done much better; as for Hillary, I'm not sure. I think Biden or McCain would have done better, but these are all conjecture.

    1. Daniel, you make fine points, but the problem with letting all of those companies fail is that the US and the global economy would have been destroyed. Credit which froze would have completely disappeared. I fear the only options after that would have involved multi-governmental insolvency and the collapse of global trade. Say what you like, but cheap computers and electronics would disappear if that happened. OR the standard of living would tank as the average American income would have cliff dived. I think some failures or seizures (maybe a better choice?) would have been better than Geithner's bail everyone out approach.

      And I did not write with an assumption that anyone was a conservative or liberal. I tried to just speak for myself and to a lesser extent my fellow liberals and progressives without too much aspersions on conservatives. I definitely did not intend to address this TO or AT conservatives. A pissing match is a losing proposition.

      As for Bill Clinton, I think he and Obama have far more in common than you think. Though, I have to wonder, now that I think about it. He had to deal with a whelp of a shrinking Dem majority and then the Rep majority so he might be more effective with a strong or at least strong Dem majority. That being said, while the Reps will stand in unison on many issues, the Dems are a more diverse party and committed to said diversity, so any majority will always be fractured. Interesting hypothesis. At least it appears that Obama can keep it in his pants. So fewer distractions there. 🙂

  3. Fred Priese said on August 7, 2009:

    And I did not write with an assumption that anyone was a conservative or liberal. I tried to just speak for myself and to a lesser extent my fellow liberals and progressives without too much aspersions on conservatives. I definitely did not intend to address this TO or AT conservatives. A pissing match is a losing proposition.

    Often people assume that I am a Republican when they find out that I am not a Democrat, or when they find out that I don't hate GWB, as many liberals are wont to do. I just wanted to make sure that you didn't make that mistake as well.

    I may or may not reply more later.

  4. I rather disagree with the implicit assumption of your post, to wit that Obama has failed. I cannot see a distinction in the connotations of 'self assigned intellectual superiority, and 'failed to live up to expectations'.

    I believe that we are more on the right path than the wrong one, based on what I see, what I read, and what appears to be happening.

    To take just one issue: If we do not reform health care, then we are going to pay more later. There are a number of ways to do that reform, but without a push from the White House to bring it about, we would not have taken it on. If we do not address pre-existing conditions, the insured paying less to providers than the uninsured, and rationing of health care by insurance companies driven by their profits rather than appropriate care guidelines, we are going to have a catastrophe eventually. Better to address it now than to wait another few decades, and at least the administration has thus far been willing to compromise on exactly how the end result looks.

    Given how utterly useless congressional republicans have been in this process, I am quite pleased with the rate of change. (Note: I do not suggest that they should have become liberals. By being the party of no, and refusing all efforts at bipartisan legislation, all they have done is keep the voice of fiscal conservatism from being at the table. Simply put, either do your f-ing jobs, find livable compromise positions, and create legislation for the whole country, not just the "real americans' that are a net drag on the economy, or resign in favor of someone who is.)

    Scott

  5. I'm with Fred on this one.

    I've also seen a lot of this "haha he's not God afterall!" nonsense recently (must be the 6 month or "second hundred days" thing...) and it feel ridiculous. Anyone expecting "everything to be fixed" by now is just silly.

    I, personally, feel like we're at least being steered in the right direction. I'm certainly not expecting a single person (even our president) to change everything overnight.

    by the way... "all that self-assigned intellectual superiority" sounds pretty bitter. No need for the haterade. 😛

  6. How about the fact that the White House wants you to report people giving "fishy" information regarding health care reform?

    Doesn't that scare anyone else?

    And why the rush on the health care bill. It's 1,000 PAGES long for good ness sake! Has anyone tried to read it? It's not casual reading. That's for sure.

    Which begs the question. Why all the secrecy and lawyer-speak? Is it possible that there are things in there the Democrats don't want you to know about? I'd say that's a huge possibility.

    And Obama wants differing opinions? Are you kidding me? Yesterday he pretty much stated that those who "broke" the system (in his definition) don't get to speak up. They need to just get out of the way while Obama "cleans up the mess" aka pushes his plans through.

    I'm not a fan of big government at all. Whether it comes from the Right or the Left. Government should not be pumping money into "cash for clunkers". We've already given tons of money to the auto industry.

    And now they basically want to run health care? Look how well Medicare and Medicaid have turned out.

    Just throwing out an opinion here. I don't think the Democrats in this Administration and in Congress give two hoots about health care for you and. This is all part of a ploy to make people that much more dependent on the government.

    Just my $.02.

  7. Jared, the Obama White House's "snitch line" scares the crap out of me, and it should scare every American citizen of any political persuasion. Just think what would've happened if GWB had done something like that after 9/11 - we'd still be hearing about it today.

    To the Obama supporters: I wonder if you could explain what you mean that you think we're "headed/steered/whatever in the right direction." I wonder how a massive, skyrocketing deficit (NOT debt, but that is skyrocketing too) of $1.2T (FY2009) is "heading in the right direction."

    Do you guys know what the federal debt is? (That is, the accumulated deficits.) It's $11.7T, which is $11,673,976,338,148.39, or $38,062.20 per man, woman, and child in America. The debt was around $8T in 2005, $8.5T in 2006, $9T in 2007, and $10T in 2008.

    As I said before, we are saddling our children with mountains of debt. Many economists say that these are levels of debt that can never be repaid.


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