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Author Topic: Is Obama a good president? (Not just vs. an elected Romney.)  (Read 4815 times)
Not A Spatula
Technocratic Libertarian



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« on: October 04, 2012, 01:55 am »

Hi all, during the presidential debate discussion in IRC the topic of us American DMers' ethusiasm for voting Barack briefly came up, with the majority basically saying he only hacks it in the sense he's better than republicans. I find this interesting! So, anyone interested, please feel free to jump in and discuss your feelings about the U.S. president.

To kick things off, I'm troubled by the embrace of extrajudicial killings. Obama is a likeable guy and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not, but fuck is this practice awful. Otherwise I guess I mainly just wish he would show backbone more often when dealing with conservative opposition.

What I do like is that he got a somewhat humane healthcare system underway, and that fucking finally he said gay people should have the same marriage rights as everyone else. He has stood for other liberal causes (to various degrees), but it's those two issues especially where I feel he's stepped up to the plate as a leader who's willing to take risks in the name of ethics.

I live in East Texas so maybe it's just harder for me to be deeply disappointed by the overall course of a man who's more progressive than 95% of the people I've talked politics with in person. I believe where we live and what beliefs we're used to seeing normalized by our peers and politicians might influence where we set our expectations when evaluating a president's successes and failures.

But maybe I'm just wrong, hence the thread. Let's have an informative discussion on this shit.
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Kybard
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 07:18 am »

I think a lot of disappointment with Obama (generally, not saying this about people in the IRC conversation of which I was not a part) stemmed from misunderstanding the dude -- he was never a super-liberal, he was always a guy who thought the right way to do something was to get 20 smart guys into a room and have them come to a reasonable consensus. which means he's not much of a hard-line stance type, much more of a "come on in and let's hash this out and compromise" guy. in the debate last night I think that made him look overly cautious, and during his first term I think that approach backfired pretty miserably and through a lot of it he didn't really have a backup plan faced with all the obstructionism.

I am still full-throatedly behind his presidency not just because he's not-Romney but because he's eminently sane, which is a quality I care about far more than a willingness to be strident or snappy.

the extrajudicial killings are, like the general horrors of the drone war, part of the really ugly and messy business of trying to "fight" "terrorism," which will be a fairly gross and awful part of this country's foreign affairs for a while to come no matter who is president.
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but it's not so great when you consider that it's coming from an alive lady
thermus aquaticus
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 09:11 am »

Why is all this drone business inevitable? What happens if the president stops it tomorrow?
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GoMichael
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 10:53 am »

What do you guys think about the current administration economically, though?

There are enough things about Romney (his position on most social wedge issues, rhetoric that suggests his foreign policy would echo W. Bush's foreign policy even more than Obama's currently does, all the indications that crony capitalism would thrive to an astonishing degree under a Romney administration) that would make me not vote for him, but is Obama really doing all that well to try and encourage economic growth?

I mean, for all us liberals like to joke that opponents of the healthcare bill just hate poor people, there are a lot of people whose main argument against it is that it will put even more burden on an already strained economy (which I've researched, and all the studies contradict themselves and each other so much that it seems impossible to accurately predict what will happen). And tough economic decisions like the stimulus are either held up as necessary evils, or horribly misguided and flawed recovery attempts.

What we have to keep in mind is that for most people, the economy is the single most important issue in this election. It's dominated both debates, it's what I personally hear complaints about more than anything else. It's easy to get caught up in the wedge issues, and yeah from that standpoint the Republicans are fucking awful. But from my own experience, most of the Romney/Ron Paul/Gary Johnson supporters I know do so not because they actively hate gay people and minorities, but because they feel like Obama is a major economic disappointment and has taken us down the wrong track to recovery.

Is there truth to this claim? Or is it (as I suspect) that the economic troubles the country has faced would have been impossible to greatly ameliorate by any president, and Obama's playing a long game that will pay off down the road?
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Bettytron
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 01:15 pm »

Here are a bunch of charts measuring different economic metrics, for a pretty straightforward way to see results of the stimulus.

The conservative models, as far as I know, focus solely on tax cuts and cuts in government services that generally benefit the poorest citizens. The theory is that when CEOs and business owners see their profits increasing, they'll use those to hire more employees. This is blatantly self-interested, because what's the advantage in hiring more employees if it's not going to make the business more money? The demand side of the equation is totally ignored. Creating demand for goods and services is pretty straightforward- make sure basic needs are met, and you have more people with the ability to work and retain some disposable income. There's no evidence suggesting that increased profits for businesses=increased jobs, but when you get prosperity at even the lowest income levels, everyone prospers.

I guess it depends on where you see the role of government, whether you think things like healthcare should be something a person goes into lifelong debt over or not, whether you think everyone is entitled to food, whether you think it's a good thing that a working mom gets help affording childcare so she can work to meet other basic needs for her family. Also, I guess, whether you think it's healthy to introduce a profit motive when you're talking about keeping people fed or alive, you know, or if you think those are basic services everyone deserves a right to regardless of their income, and that those services shouldn't be doled out at the discretion of people willing to screw you over for a percentage.
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GoMichael
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 02:12 pm »

Wow, that's really interesting, and it makes sense. So what you're saying is that even if the healthcare bill imposes a tax that might remove some disposable income from middle/upper-middle/upper class people, over time it's going to relieve the burden on the lower class who can't afford the health care upon which their potential disposable income is wasted, growing the economy in that way. Am I off-base here?
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Not A Spatula
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 03:15 pm »

What do you guys think about the current administration economically, though?

There are enough things about Romney (his position on most social wedge issues, rhetoric that suggests his foreign policy would echo W. Bush's foreign policy even more than Obama's currently does, all the indications that crony capitalism would thrive to an astonishing degree under a Romney administration) that would make me not vote for him, but is Obama really doing all that well to try and encourage economic growth?

I mean, for all us liberals like to joke that opponents of the healthcare bill just hate poor people, there are a lot of people whose main argument against it is that it will put even more burden on an already strained economy (which I've researched, and all the studies contradict themselves and each other so much that it seems impossible to accurately predict what will happen). And tough economic decisions like the stimulus are either held up as necessary evils, or horribly misguided and flawed recovery attempts.

What we have to keep in mind is that for most people, the economy is the single most important issue in this election. It's dominated both debates, it's what I personally hear complaints about more than anything else. It's easy to get caught up in the wedge issues, and yeah from that standpoint the Republicans are fucking awful. But from my own experience, most of the Romney/Ron Paul/Gary Johnson supporters I know do so not because they actively hate gay people and minorities, but because they feel like Obama is a major economic disappointment and has taken us down the wrong track to recovery.

Is there truth to this claim? Or is it (as I suspect) that the economic troubles the country has faced would have been impossible to greatly ameliorate by any president, and Obama's playing a long game that will pay off down the road?

Correct statements.

Also, a lot of those wedge issues are hopelessly interlinked with economic policy. Things like foreign policy, immigration, federal benefits for gay couples, abortion rights, aren't islands unto themselves. More progressive folk believe in investing toward creating/protecting opportunity. The Republican party believes in making investments from the top down.

There are always going to be unexpected variables that impact job growth and such, but looking at the data over four years it's clear we're slowly recovering from the Bush administration, and given time we may even see that progress start accelerating. I think anyone who cites the economy as a reason to vote Romney is either dangerously misinformed or consciously putting their wallets above the pursuit of a more egalitarian society.

Wow, that's really interesting, and it makes sense. So what you're saying is that even if the healthcare bill imposes a tax that might remove some disposable income from middle/upper-middle/upper class people, over time it's going to relieve the burden on the lower class who can't afford the health care upon which their potential disposable income is wasted, growing the economy in that way. Am I off-base here?

I think you've got the gist. Moreover, when it comes to social harmony and the happiness of individual citizens the reduction of inequality turns out to be much more helpful than a nation's overall wealth anyway.
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Bettytron
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 04:18 pm »

This opinion piece from the NY Times did a good job of addressing how inequality generally is bad for everyone.

Wow, that's really interesting, and it makes sense. So what you're saying is that even if the healthcare bill imposes a tax that might remove some disposable income from middle/upper-middle/upper class people, over time it's going to relieve the burden on the lower class who can't afford the health care upon which their potential disposable income is wasted, growing the economy in that way. Am I off-base here?

And yeah, like Not A Spatula said, that's basically the gist. Though it's not just healthcare; Romney/Ryan want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, they want to cut food stamps and WIC and TANF and unemployment and basically every other social assistance program. Their claim is that people using those programs are doing so instead of working, that it creates an "entitlement" society. The reality is that many people receiving food stamps (or SNAP) are working, they're just working low-wage jobs that don't pay well enough to keep them above the poverty line. Those kinds of low-wage jobs also tend to underemployee, keeping people working 35 hours a week, so they don't count as full time and therefore aren't entitled to health coverage. Another reason it's crazy to link healthcare to employment status! Employers like Wal-Mart thrive off of this.

Also, a lot of those wedge issues are hopelessly interlinked with economic policy. Things like foreign policy, immigration, federal benefits for gay couples, abortion rights, aren't islands unto themselves. More progressive folk believe in investing toward creating/protecting opportunity. The Republican party believes in making investments from the top down.
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GoMichael
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 06:19 pm »

Thanks to both of you, all of that stuff was really interesting and eye-opening.
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Gudamor
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 04:27 pm »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/18/rewarding_impunity

Another thing that has happened under this administration that bothers me.
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Gudamor
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 08:33 pm »

http://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/191-press-releases-2013/909-dni-clapper-announces-review-group-on-intelligence-and-communications-technologies

https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/367068435286466560
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its like they heard somebody over here was handing out asses and theyve known nothing but years of bitter ass famine
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