Thoughts about President Obama

Summary:  the official FM website’s view of President Obama.  Just opinion, with little supporting evidence.  You too can opine in the comments.  Let the vituperation (on both parties) flow!

One pleasure of living in modern America is watching the media construct fictious images of our political leaders.

  • Kennedy, the athlete and family man.  In fact he was the opposite.
  • The clumsy Ford.  In fact he was one of the most athletic of American presidents.
  • The brilliant Carter, elected as a cardboard cutout for the Bicentenial (which we forgot to send back to Plains on 31 December 1976).
  • The stupid Dan Quayle, who was nothing of the sort — as seen throughout his career, from his support of the Patriot to the Murphy Brown speech.
  • And now we have the Messiah … Obama.

Skillful media work gave him the Presidency.  Now the American people slowly learn the truth (all of which were obvious before the election).

(1)  He has little experience with the political arts (other than campaigning), as evident with his bumbling handling of the health care initiative and war policies.

(2)  He’s weak.  The Generals accurately sized him up months ago, and successfully rolled him on Afghanistan.  As with President Carter, others  — friends and enemies — will soon see this and act accordingly.

(3)  He has fine but not extraordinary rhetorical skills.  Mostly tricks, which will become boring soon — and after that the subject of mockery.

(4)  The right-wing has convinced their moronic followers that Obama is a leftist radical, even a nihilist.  In fact he owes his rapid rise to faithful service supporting the established order.  As seen …

  • with health care, in which his first step was to guarantee the profits of the insurance and drug industries
  • with foreign policy, which continues the key aspects of Bush’s policies.
  • with economic policy, which continues the key aspects of Bush’s policies.

It will be a long four years.  He’s set ticking two timebombs, one or both of which might destroy the Democratic Party’s Senate majority in the 2010 elections — reducing to almost nil Obama’s ability to enact the significant reforms desperately needed by America.

  • Our Middle-East wars — Our generals having done for Obama what LBJ’s generals did for him.  Long pointless and expensive wars.
  • Bailing our the banks but not the broader economy — high unemployment is almost certain electoral defeat in America.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the following:

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

Other notes from the past on the FM site:

  1. Is Obama running for the office of Chief Shaman?, 6 June 2008 — Weirdness from our next President.
  2. Does America need a charismatic President?, 15 July 2008
  3. More about charisma, by Don Vandergriff…(#2 in the “getting ready for Obama” series), 16 July 2008 — About charisma:  know it before you buy it!
  4. Obama might be the shaman that America needs, 17 July 2008 — At what point does criticism of Obama’s charisma and rhetoric become criticism of leadership itself — and blind faith in technocratic solutions so loved by policy nerds?
  5. Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.
  6. America gets ready for new leadership (or is it back to the future?), 14 November 2008
  7. About Obama’s coronation – wisdom from Fred, 23 January 2009
  8. What past President does Obama most closely resemble?, 31 May 2009
  9. Obama knows how to lead America by exploiting our fears, 5 June 2009
  10. Obama is just like Jack Kennedy!, 13 October 2009

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

34 thoughts on “Thoughts about President Obama

  1. I think you’ve captured Obama well. Very disappointing! I thought I had finally been able to cast a positive vote only to find that, once again, I voted for the lesser of two evils. The American political system has been thoroughly captured by the military-business elite. I would say military-industrial, but we have little industry left. Sad day.

  2. I would say military-industrial, but we have little industry left.

    Which gives rise to the question of how much longer the military – sans industry – can last.

    I’ve spent the past two days cursing about my crazy right-wing cousin, simultaneously realizing that if John Robb is even half right that cousin is one of the fellows I’m going to need to rely upon.

  3. You nailed it Fabius! Deeply disappointing as prez. I’m in favor flushing the incumbents repeatedly until the Congressional toilet bowl is completely cleared. Ah wishful thinking. It probably would have little effect. I guess we need to hit the wall–HARD.

  4. Like the South Park episode from four years ago, we had a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich {Douche and Turd Sandwich}. Which one did we get this time?

    Vote Out Incumbents Currently Entrenched (VOICE of the people). Pretty catchy huh? I think it can work if we can figure out away to prevent the recently tossed out bums from becoming lobbyists.

  5. John MacArthur of Harper’s on Obama as the ‘faux liberal’ onto whom so many projected their hopes, and who is now generating disappointment and bitterness: “More and more, Obama seems a faux liberal“, John R. MacArthur, 16 December 2009.
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    FM reply: To quote from the Maltese Falcon:

    Detective Polhaus: {pointing to Obama} “What is this?”
    Sam Spade: “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

  6. Obama is no way liberal. He only looked like one when standing beside “bomb, bomb, bomb” McCain. Or slumming on Fox news. Nevertheless, the difference between bad and worse is more painful than the difference between good and better. :)

  7. I would say military-industrial, but we have little industry left. When military spending tanks the economy, there is less money for everyone, including the military. DOH!

  8. The widespread disappointment with Obama is a little strange to me, seeing as I never expected that much from him in the first place. I simply looked at the choices and made my decision. On the left was a bunch of spineless, appeasing chumps. On the right was a bunch of retarded, blood-sucking freaks. I had less hatred and fear for the spineless, appeasing chumps. That was enough to get me on a bus, to another state, knocking on doors for Obama. I’ve been doing this for a while.
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    FM reply: Agreed. As I said in this post, most of these things were widely predicted (in broad form) before the election. Still, the choice between bad and worse is more important than between good and better.

  9. The question is, will the system produce anyone capable of leadership (transformational) in this country? I don’t think so.

    Secession, anyone?
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    FM reply: Sheep sit around all day waiting for someone to lead them to freedom. All they get are shepherds. That’s because they’re not willing to strive for freedom, merely complaining while they graze. Leaders arise from a free people, naturally. Because they deeply desire liberty.

    “Secession, anyone?”

    I see this all the time. People move, believing that they’ll find better friends in a new community than in the old. They forget the words of the great Buckaroo Banzai:

    “Wherever you go, there you are.”

    Your new State probably will have the same problems as the old, because it has the same people.

  10. FM: the official FM website’s view of President Obama. Just opinion, with little supporting evidence. You too can opine in the comments. Let the vituperation (on both parties) flow!

    See, that’s why I enjoy this joint.
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    FM reply: It’s free, too.

  11. From #11: “Secession, anyone?”

    Depends.
    Do you want to join the war of “The Republic of Texas” against the USA, that was started by the Irredentist Americans in the disputed territory of Louisiana?
    Do you want to help the “Independent Sovereignty of Delaware” to become the mafia-run money laundering hub that it has always yearned to be?
    Do you want the “Federal Union of Alaska” to ally with Russia against the hated socialists of the United States of America, causing Canada to begin expanding its military?

  12. Secession from Washington (theoretically) doesn’t have to result in abolition of the Union. Just move the capital and keep the constitution. Although I don’t see how the complete Union might stay intact. I wonder how the military would respond to this.
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    FM reply: And why would secession be easier than reform? Why would secession help at all, since the new “nation” would bring all its problems (sheeple and leaders) with it? These are the dreams of sheep grazing under the watchful eyes of the shepherd’s dogs.

  13. William Lind says he’s observed, but I suspect he’s invented, the “O=W” bumper sticker for disappointed liberals – you can buy one now, but the offer at zazzle went up after his column mentioned it. It was in July 2008 that the satirical site Fafblog! said, of Obama, “Change you can suspend your disbelief in.”

    I noticed that Obama swore allegiance to the War Party during the campaign, and I hoped he was lying, but he’s an honest politician – one who stays bought.

    It seems possible to me that the people of America already have the government they deserve. I know that sounds harsh. May the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above [metaphorically speaking.]
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    FM reply: I would state this in more extreme form — in the modern era most peoples get the government they deserve, excluding cases of foreign domination. The key is to act so as deserve more. A grim view, of course.

  14. As I recall, the American Republic was born in secession from Great Britain. Beginnings are so delicate; so much can go wrong. On the other hand, what’s to lose when things are already so wrong?
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    FM reply: Beware the illusions of specificity. In the American Revolution a colony broke away, not “secession” in the usual meaning. The 13 colonies had their own culture, their own laws, their own leaders.

  15. Look forward for a moment to 2012. At this point in time, it looks like it will be Obama vs Palin. If she gets in the bumper sticker will likely read: O = W = P or POW for short. Put that in your pipe and smoke it for awhile. Jesse Ventura anyone? Why not change the constitution and let Arnie have a crack at it.
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    FM reply: Arnie will have presided over the collapse of California, to which his political inexperience greatly contributed. Of course, the people of California displayed their unworthiness for self-government by electing someone with no relevant experience to high office in the early stages of a crisis.

  16. “Secession from Washington (theoretically) doesn’t have to result in abolition of the Union. Just move the capital and keep the constitution.”

    That’s pretty much exactly what the Confederates tried to do in 1861. Have you ever read the Confederate Constitution? It’s a word for word copy of the U.S. Constitution, with a few edits made to make it clear that states have rights and slavery is AWESOME.

    How’d that work out for them again?
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    FM reply: The Civil War (or, for you Southerners, the war between the States) took place during the rise of the nation-state. Dynamics during the era of State’s decline might differ greatly. In other words, the South might have been more early than wrong about seccession.

  17. FM note: This comment is by someone who knows, and has acted on his beliefs by running for local office.
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    “There is a Providence that protects idiots, drunkards, children and the United States of America.”
    — Otto von Bismarck

    I hope that is still true. If people want to effect change they need to start at the bottom and work their way up. That means participation. Right now the local political machines is run by the same people year in and year out in both parties and if we want different leaders that is the group that must be replaced. Obama is nothing more than a reflection of this system. If the people keep to their lazy ways, change may not come very soon. I’m currently meeting the candidates running for congress and senate to determine which I plan on supporting in the primaries. Go to your local comittee meetings, mens and womens clubs, and listen and talk to them. It costs very little in relation to the bigger picture and may be able influence who gets to the general elections.

    “When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn’t the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice.”
    — Otto von Bismarck

  18. Why blame Obama? He simply played the role assigned to him — give the people the illusion of change while pursuing the same policies of his predecessor. The American President is something like a corporate CEO – his main job is to encourage investors, and keep the employees docile.

    And Obama is not wholly or even partly responsible for the health care legislation emerging from Congress. For that we have to blame both political parties, and the system of lobbying and electoral financing that allows huge financial entities like insurance firms to dominate the legislative process. Read William Greider’s Who Will Tell the People.

    And this article/graphic illustration might be interesting to FM readers. It shows that the main source of current and projected US budget deficits is not the global financial collapse, our ongoing wars, or the bail-outs, but Bush era tax cuts. This is a bi-partisan policy which reflects the ongoing project of transferring wealth from lower and middle to upper classes. Obama is only the latest highly paid free-agent to play for the team. “President Obama Largely Inherited Today’s Huge Deficits – Economic Downturn, Financial Rescues, and Bush-Era Policies Drive the Numbers“, Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), 16 December 2009.
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    FM reply: It is with great regret I agree with your opening paragraphs, conceptually. But we must hold office-holders — and ourselves — responsible for our actions. Otherwise we are finished.

    The CBPP study is an antidote to the pernicious progaganda circulated by the right-wing. For example, Glenn Reynolds (the Instapundit) said little about the deficit during the Bush years. Now its almost a daily item, Obama’s deficits. However, you don’t accurately state the study’s conclusions. The recession is the largest factor increasing the deficit, with decreased government revenue the single largest factor. This is a robust conclusion, supported by many other studies.

  19. re-cycling Spengler’s catchphrases without attribution? or was Spengler re-cycling his??
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    FM reply: Please explain what this means, as I don’t get it.

  20. Regarding those here and elsewhere who chide voters for their failing to note that Obama made certain conservative/moderate noises during the election, etc.

    1) On the one hand, Obama made certain promises, such as curbing Blackwater or increasing transparency, which he has broken. On the other hand, he did concededly make aggressive noises about Afghanistan. So why are only his conservative noises sacrosanct while his liberal noises mere window dressing?

    2) I am a voter, not a party to a contract. Caveat emptor does not apply. I am not obliged to inspect subparagraph N(3(q)(iii) of some position paper nor am I bound by it. I can support or oppose Obama at any time for any reason, every reason, or no reason at all. Obama knew very well that lots of people took him for a liberal; he was leading them on; and he had the obligation firmly to set them straight.

  21. I will support Obama . He is pleasing to look at . ( for a woman , anyway .) His wife and kids seem nice ; at least they are not annoying . He is mixed race . Symbolically , this is excellent .

    If he is weak ,and has allowed the status quo to continue ,it is safer than being strong . You perhaps assume a strong president would do what You want .He might do the opposite . He might scrap medicare , invade Iran , draft your sons to Afgh , nuke Gaza , and serially cheat on his wife .
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    FM reply: That is an interesting observation. England has, on the whole, done better under its Queens than Kings. Even strong Kings, who often involved England in foreign wars.

  22. “I will support Obama . He is pleasing to look at . ( for a woman , anyway .) His wife and kids seem nice ; at least they are not annoying . He is mixed race . Symbolically , this is excellent .”

    These are splendid credentials for emcee at a cocktail party; Obama, however, is president.
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    FM reply: The terrifying fact is that many people vote on the basis of such things.

  23. “If the truth were known; if we looked too closely at our family trees; many many of us, in America, are of mixed race.” :)

    Actually, according to the geneticists, we all come from Africa. Which means that none of us are Neanderthals.
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    FM reply: We have a “best of thread” winner!

    But you might be wrong that we are not descended from Neanderthals. See “2010 preview: Arise, Neanderthal brother“, New Scientist, 17 December 2009 — Excerpt:

    “Do we have a little Neanderthal in us? That’s not a reference to your behaviour at the end-of-year office party, but to the genes of our extinct cousins. With the imminent publication of the genome sequence of Homo neanderthalis, that question may finally be answered. So far no one has uncovered evidence of any cross-species romps – at least none that left a trace in our DNA. The 3-billion-nucleotide Neanderthal genome is our best chance yet of finding out.”

  24. FM: “The right-wing has convinced their moronic followers that Obama is a leftist radical, even a nihilist.

    I believe this is a core reason America may be doomed in the long-term; how can you meaningfully engage people who openly and self-righteously reject facts and reason? Palin and Beck’s popularity despite clownish lack of substance, and the incoherence and rapid misinformation of the Tea Parties and Health Care Townhalls, are evidence that these people are trapped in a serious cognitive closed-loop that has no hope of understanding the complexities of modern society, much less honestly dealing with a changing world.

    The Left may be hopelessly idealistic, but at least it’s informed and rational (for the most part).
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    FM reply: Nope. The Left is just as delusional, but different things — like race, gender, and global warming. Both left and right are Americans, hence nuts. It’s just a bad phase we are going through. Hopefully America will outlast it.

  25. FM: “Sheep sit around all day waiting for someone to lead them to freedom. All they get are shepherds.”

    I disagree, FM. People who suggest secession aren’t necessarily sheep, they are would-be wolves. If they are lucky they either truly are wolves (which is bad for their neighboring sheep) or shepherds save them from themselves. The unlucky would-be wolves would probably be the first to die.
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    FM reply: I have stated my objections to this. That people dream that under some other regime they’d become wolves is of no significance.

  26. Regarding my comment about Rev. Wright. Wright said, in the famous sound bite, “God damn America for sending Japanese Americans into concentration camps” during World War II. This was very old news but as soon as the anti Obama forces started to bring it up again in March, 2008, Obama, rather than making any attempt to defend an old friend, threw Wright under the train. Wright then said that Obama would say anything to get elected. It really was Obama’s moment of truth, and he caved. Made a wonderful speech about race relations, etc., but he caved in. And people saw this.
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    FM reply: Thank you for that pertinent and valuable observation.

  27. The Left is just as delusional, but different things

    Yes, the extreme leftists are not very different from the extreme rightists. Just wear a different color flag.

  28. A good insight into how any particular Washington insider, President, Senator, Congressman, views ordinary people is to examine their public statements and official actions concerning any reform of the bankruptcy laws. This can be useful if the economy continues to tank and more and more people file bankruptcy.

    In January it was proposed that the laws be amended to permit a bankruptcy judge to modify mortgage terms. Its proponents argued that it would lessen the number of foreclosures by making it easier for those homeowners who wanted to keep their homes to do so. It was also argued that this would benefit homeowners who were paying their mortgages by slowing the fall in overall housing values. But most importantly it was argued that many of the toxic assets held by banks could then be considered to have a real fair market value, because there would have been a judicially determined fair market value of many of the mortgages comprising the toxic assets. This supposedly would unfreeze intra-bank lending.

    The problem for lenders/investors is that it would result in a judicially caused paper loss, which could never be recovered if the economy rebounded in the relative short-term. Of course if the economy never recovers or only recovers in the long-term, a 25%, for example, judicial write-down of a mortgage that is eventually forclosed upon is no loss. Twenty-five per cent of nothing is nothing.

    Interestingly this proposal was the stated reason for Rick Santelli’s televised rant. Some peope consider his rant to be the spark for the Tea Party Movement.

    It is not the point of this message to debate whether this proposal was substantively good or bad, but to note the political response to it. Obama paid lip service to this proposal but did not aggressively push it. Very few if any in Congress aggressively pushed it. It was, however, aggressively opposed in Congress.

    The response was the various bank bail-outs. This legislation did provide financial incentives for lenders to voluntarily re-negotiate the terms of mortgages. However, to date very few mortgages have been re-negotiated.

    In effect the bail-outs were a bet by Obama and both parties in Congress on the economy recovering in the short term. So what will our leaders do, if the economy continues to tank?

    A good predictor is The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Although touted as reform, it could fairly be described as “The Sub-prime Credit Card Bank Relief Act.” Remember all of the unsolicited credit card offers in the mail.

    It significantly narrowed the eligibility for Chapter 7 relief, thereby forcing more individuals into Chapter 13 wage earner plans, and added about $500.00 of transaction costs to the process, which of course is not chump change for someone at the end of their rope. It passed Congress with large BI-PARTISAN support.

    If Obama and Congress lose their bet on the economy recovering in the short-term, bankruptcies will steadily rise. Since a debtor can’t do a Chapter 13 without a job, the number of Chapter 7s will rise, notwithstanding the restrictions of the “reforms” of 2005.

    So if you start hearing chatter in Washington about a need to reform the bankruptcy laws, pay attention to who is pushing it and who is aggressively opposing it. You will clearly see who sincerely has the interests of regular people at heart.

    As to Obama, if he is still in office when such legislation passes Congress with wide BI-PARTISAN support, he will sign it into law, notwithstanding how he portrayed himself during his campaign.

  29. “If Obama and Congress lose their bet on the economy recovering in the short-term, bankruptcies will steadily rise. Since a debtor can’t do a Chapter 13 without a job, the number of Chapter 7s will rise, notwithstanding the restrictions of the “reforms” of 2005.”

    America has slowly evolved into the Land of Pretense. In this case we see the pretense concerning what is moral and ethical for the masses (Re PROPERTY) is determined by the guys who answer to the guys with the $$$.

    For another view of what is good for the guys with the $$$ who reach an ethical impasse (re PROPERTY) notice that yesterday Morgan Stanley DEFAULTED/DUMPED FIVE major Office Bldgs in SF. And probably DUMPED a big pile of stink on the CMBS’s they created to overpay Blackstone(for said Bldgs, read: “persoanl responsibilty” as Corporations are “Individuals” per Supreme Court)

    BUT But see what they the guys with $$ tell us about such default: Per Bloomberg: “This isn’t a default or foreclosure situation,” Barnes of MS said. “We are going to give them the properties to get out of the loan obligation.”

    HUH?????…you got that, right? An involved discussion of Default in the USA would take another Thread—but you get the idea, yes?

    Greg
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    FM reply: Now we can wait to see the conservatives rail against these corporate deadbeats. After all, they’ve slammed families who walk away from the mortgages — and logically should also puke on the big corps who do so. As in “The New Breed of Deadbeats“, Megan Mcardle, blog of The Atlantic, 11 December 2009 — I love her delusional talk about “easy bankruptcy” for people. Excerpt:

    Maybe the reporter made them sound worse than they are . . . but it sure sounds like they just decided that once the price of their property fell, they shouldn’t have to pay back the money they’d borrowed. There is a sizable school of thought that says why shouldn’t they? They made a contract with the bank under known rules, and as long as they’re willing to pay the penalties, why shouldn’t they just walk away, the way a corporation would? Well, for one thing, companies don’t always behave like this, and those who get a reputation for stiffing their suppliers run into trouble. But for another, because society doesn’t really work on such clean logic. The reason we can have easy bankruptcy and a pretty robust credit market (usually) is that most people act like debts are obligations which should always be paid off if possible. I’m not saying you should live on Kraft dinner and water for twenty years to slave at an impossible mountain of debt.

  30. FM ,will you please stop maligning sheep .
    They do not sit around waiting for shepherds , unless shepherd brings meals on wheels for them .You need to go and try round up some unwilling sheep to appreciate their sagacity .

  31. So why were so MANY of you hesitant of voting for Ron Paul in the last election? More important…now that you’ve been burned, now that “your” prince was really just a frog, are you ready at last to open your mind to 3rd party candidates.

    Obama became suspect last fall when he came out strongly for TARP. That was a warning sign. So many of you didn’t see or just plain overlooked it. Please don’t let that happen again. A vote is a terrible thing to waste.

    P.S. just say NO to incumbents. Sure, your Congress is “good” and preserves your “bennies” & brings home the “bacon” to your district. That’s the problem. What’s worse… for every pound of nooky you think you get, the financial oligarchy receives FAR more. That’s because your Gov Rep SOLD OUT TO THEM! What you get are scraps.

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