Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

President Obama needs to break a promise if he wants to be reelected.

Posted by Jason O on Aug 23, 2011 in US Politics |

President Obama is the real deal. That's why he's unpopular.
President Obama is the real deal. That’s why he’s unpopular.

I am proud to say that I was an Obama admirer before it was fashionable. When Hillary had a lock on the Democratic nomination, I still thought Obama was the guy, and here’s why. Because he’s not a socialist or even (by US standards) a liberal. President Obama is a middle of the road can’t we work this out centrist. That’s why I liked him, and that’s what is killing him.

A lot of people are comparing him at the moment to President Carter, another thoughtful centrist faced with massive challenges and a populist disingenuous right wing. When you look at President Carter’s time in office, you realise that the great majority of the decisions he made in office were right, indeed, on energy security, way ahead of their time. President Carter tried to build a coalition of moderate social liberals and moderate balance the books conservatives. He got hammered from both left and right, and President Obama is caught in the same place, struggling to placate his high spending left whilst dealing with the F**K The Poor right. 

The problem for President Carter and President Obama is that the US is not in the humour for the calm measured debate the president promised when he ran in 2008. The country is angry, and looking for a leader to stake out his claim.

It’s time for the President to reach back to his liberal base, and say that yes, cuts are going to be have to be made, but yes, the mega wealthy are going to have to cough up their fair share. The rich don’t always spend extra money they get in tax cuts. The working man always does, because he’s no choice.

Mr. President, it’s time to be the working man candidate.

4 Comments

William
Aug 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm

My initial misgivings about Obama were that he seems disingenuous, partly that he seems too afraid to let people know he’s the man you love him for, that he doesn’t treat the electorate with enough respect to think they might vote for him if they knew what he was like. Take for example his stance on free trade. He holds near enough the consensus view that trade is good. But while seeking the Democratic nomination, he pretended to think free trade was bad, and criticized Clinton for her support of NAFTA. At the same time, he let the Canadian ambassador know that he didn’t really mean that. He also allowed this fact to be leaked to the press, because he knew that those who really understood, like you or I, would pick up on that story, but the masses he was speaking to wouldn’t hear that minor part of the story. Whereas, he could have used his great oratorical power to convince a ready audience of the benefits of trade. (Long-winded example, I know).

Since before Christmas, my issue with him is that he hasn’t seemed willing to fight for the centre-ground that he believes in. On either the tax cuts deal then, or the debt ceiling deal more recently, one the game started, the GOP started moving further right, and Obama moved right to catch up with them. Once the game stopped, they’d ended up at a position closer to the original GOP position. Why not start with a grand speech justifying his stance, then allow a move 10% in their direction, make everyone think it’s the Tea Party bringing down the government, and allow government to shut down to show he’s serious. Not quite that simple, I know, but he just hasn’t been strong enough. And I know that what you want him to be. So do I, because the thought of President Perry scares me.


 
Joe
Aug 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I am a conservative, and I would hardly characterize our outlook as “F*** THE POOR”. If anything, we’re trying to financially preserve the instiutions that low earners have grown to depend on.
Obama seems like a good guy, but I disagree with the crowd he has surrounded himselv with that define the administration’s policy, social outlooks, and political tactics. He’s also had too many policy failures. If he didn’t have a slavish press and the besserwisser culture covering for him, he would be in much worse regard.

My sense is that he has no chance of re-election, were it not for servile and unquestioning instiutions supporting him, and the billion-dollars his campaign folks folks are boasting about. The public are not game, and even a large number of democrats are dissatisfied, and many growing to detest the man.

It isn’t socialism that puts Americans off when they’re saying that they reject socialism, it’s stateism that they reject, a feature common to socialism, fascism, and all forms of autoritarianism, whether they are sold as populism to secure votes or not. Our natuire is to prefer devolved power.

I would also remind you that the United States is not your country. What sense of entitlement many Europeans seem to have to political advocacy isn’t just intrusive, but does those who do it no favors. Moreover it tends to do more harm for “their candidates” than anything else.


 
Jason O
Aug 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

You’re right Joe, the US is not my country. But as countless Americans have realised over the years, what happens in other countries effects yours. You know, the way the US (rightly) takes an interest in who lives and works in Northern Pakistan. As for European advocacy not being of benefit, I suspect that is true. Certainly, watching Fox News, one would assume “European” is an expletive. Yet many Americans I have met who have lived in Europe (am I right that you’ve lived here too?) have discovered that European living standards and quality of life is not that different from the US, nor do we have “death panels”.
As for a hatred of statism, I’m reminded of that Tea Party poster: “Tell the government to keep its hands off my Medicare!”


 
Joe
Sep 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

In aggregate I have spent a third of my life in various parts of Europe, and I think it’s a rather broad to say that to many Americans the word “European” is an insult. If anything they will take it to imply something magical and qualitative, when it’s plainly obvious that human nature is universal. The trick is to look at people honestly and discount the examples that appeal to one too greatly like the Tea Party poster poster demanding that the government not touch their Medicare benefits.

So what. You can always find someone to say what indulges you. In November of 2008, the BBC did an interview with a totally dissembled Joe Kennedy who insisted several times that “McCain has ALREADY stolen the election!”

To which the intrepid, truth-seeking reporter simply nodded and smiled in agreement.

So what. It’s more to do with the viewers emotions than it does with anything else, and those viewers were neither voters, or were in any way under the impact in any real way from the vote. As much as they wanted it to be, it wasn’t their vote. In fact, the desire to influence by non-nationals is inimical to the importance of voting, and accepting thie consent of a people on itself and its decisions.
It’s what’s also vile about the assumptions and desire abroad to assume as fact and amplify endlessly the “Bush stole the election” meme. Theire “concern” about the election, it’s “importance to them” of it was so shallow that they were repeating a political stunt to themselves as fact. Moreover, they were indulging in a bleat that attempts to undermine all elections, making them forever suspect, and doing the opposite of what elective processes are meant to do: let the losing minority accept the choice, and proceed peacefully to try, try again, but remain involved citizens.
The outsiders who take an unatural level of interest in our politics seem to fall for those destructive memes over and over. Almost without exception, they also inhabit the left, not the right european informational echo chamber, citing a press and media that are largely state funded and managed.

As to there not being “death panels”, you’re right. There is an even quieter concencus, and a huge amount in government involvement in degrees to which people will be treated. It’s the same thing.

I have a close friend in Paris who started a business writing software to manage netowrk operations. He hired a young guy as his first employee. He made rthe mistake of going on vacation, only to have young guy lose his only client. This bankrupted him. As a result of his inability to pay 60% of said-young-guy’s wages as unemployment compensation, let alone anything else, he was put on a form of notice that included his being barred from access to any service owned of managed by government. This included medical care, which for him would be limited to emergency room service to the extent that they would only treat him for an injury that would immediately risk his life. How is that not a death panel?
The state’s involvement in all things, it’s affectionate care – this comes at a price.

As to the Medicare whiner, having paid into it, I might say the same thing as well. It’s cost, judging by my pay-stub is equal to half of my monthy health insurance premium, and in case you can’t tell the difference, already IS a form of nationalized and universal health insurance system.
The other theme that you’re missing is that Medicare was slated to be replaced by what was bing proposed – step and fter failing step back from the precipice of nationalization.

An involved party, one who’s vote is actually made, whose rule the voters live under, knows that. An partially interested ourtsider doesn’t, and consequently doesn’t know WHY someone would say “Tell the government to keep its hands off my Medicare!”


 

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