Category Archives: Obama

The Bottle Opener

This was an interesting piece, about how racism and xenophobia have been more openly expressed since Trump’s presidential campaign came to occupy the headlines.   It is mostly based on personal anecdotes, but I suspect it is pretty accurate.  I think it is not the full story though.

Trump is just the bottle opener that has released pressure that has been building for the last 7 years.  President Obama has been elected twice, and I think has the support of the majority  of Americans.  Like most presidents though, he is less esteemed by a minority of the country.

Unlike past Presidents, though I think he is viewed by a significant minority as an actual material  threat to their well being, their freedom, if not their lives.  Being the first African president has to be a big part of this.  Especially, in many red states, you can live your life and generally not have to interact with anyone who isn’t white for  long.  You certainly don’t often have an African, or other non-white in authority over you.

When someone is first under the authority of a person not of their race, any latent racism tend to rise, even if only in the back of one’s mind.  Most of us have racist tendencies to  one degree or another.  Usually, these kind of feelings don’t last, as one becomes more comfortable with a new situation.  This adjustment is taken a while in most of Red America.  At the same time this  angst has been bottle up to a degree.  While most of us are racists, we know  you can’t generally express that feeling.  For many, this angst has been bottled up.

Mr. Trump in seeming to make it OK to  express these feelings has just popped the top of the bottle and released the pressure that has been building.


Worst of 2012?

Well this little girl speak for most of us I think.

What was the worst of this campaign?  Let me list a few of my least favorites:

1. Not knowing who Mitt really was – If Mitt wins maybe we’ll find out, but the campaign combined with his record in public office left you scratching your head till it bled.  He created Romney care, but disavowed it being used anywhere else.  I think maybe this might have worked if he could have suggested that at least some states might have taken this approach.  He was against global warming as a governor before he was against believing in it as a primary candidate.  He was pro-choice, and then became pro-life later.  The whole comparison of Romney to Schrodinger’s cat summed it all up in a hilarious way.

I’m not anywhere nearly convinced that Romney will certainly be a bad President even by my standards (I want pragmatic, libertarianism, and fiscal conservatism, with a heart at home, and ramped down intervention overseas – always driven by pragmatism).  He might be there in the end, but the risk of any number of different outcome seems huge.  Especially on foreign policy, I fear he’ll engage in the same careless intervention we came to expect from George W. Bush.

3. Bain, foreign accounts, outsourcing, and other issues raised against Romney that had nothing to with what he proposed to do-I like a campaign focused mostly on policy, and what should be done.  The fact that Romney was so difficult to get a handle on maybe caused this at least in part.  The campaign had to focus a lot on Romney the person. 

The effort to make Romney out to be a plutocrat that no would feel comfortable acting in their interest was important.  Issues like Bain and the rest did that.

Still, it seems to me that most off these issues meant nothing more than that Romney was a wealthy businessman.  The Bain years and the wealth that came with them are not I think unusual for a modern capitalist.  Are we disqualifying business people from the Presidency.  The government can’t be run  like a business, but I don’t think that means that businessmen are per se unqualified.

3. Obama seemed more anxious to campaign to keep his job than keep his job by making it clear he is DOING his job- Obama has often appeared to be more interested in campaigning than being the President.  Some of this was more appearance than reality, especially as wired in as the President is now, but I can’t help but feel that being on The View and other talk shows is something you do as a candidate, not as the President.  He started cross-country bus trip before 2012.  Maybe some of the talk show thing is a thing with the young will be more comfortable, and I suspect we’ll see it again, maybe if Ryan ever become President.

4. Romney lack of credibility on foreign policy – With the possible exception of Obama’s handling of Benghazi, Obama generally dominated the foreign policy arena – Why did this happen???  Mostly I think because of the dominance of domestic issues, so Romney generally didn’t focus on being coherent on foreign policy.  If anything I think he used it as an issue to keep his right wing base happy.  In short the dynamics of this campaign and other before have allowed foreign policy to be neglected by one or both candidates.

This is unfortunate because the arena that President can have the most influence in is foreign policy, yet in 2012, the past, and likely in the future:  foreign policy is a bastard step child.  This may be why young Americans keep going to die in place many of us have never heard of before.

And Sometimes Code Isn’t Even Necessary – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

And Sometimes Code Isn't Even Necessary – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast.

I’ve seen this bumper sticker about twice in the last 12 months or so. The first time I was utterly shocked that someone drive around with something so ugly on their bumper. This I’ve seen in the pacificnorthwest. I’ll hazard it more common in areas that didn’t vote for Obama and likely won’t again.

From Megan McCardle on the President’s Speech

While I voted for the President and may again, I find he doesn’t seem like a bold leader. Here a suggestion of why:

… there’s rather a big poison pill for Congress in here: Obama has proposed no pay-for. Or rather, he proposed that Congress figure out how to pay for it:

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.

One gets the dreadful feeling that the more ambitious plan may consist of asking Congress to find another couple of trillion under the couch cushions.

As MuniLass said over Twitter,

Obama: “Here’s the deal: I take credit for the new spending now; you take credit for making politically unpopular cuts later.”

This is becoming a signature move for Obama. As far as I can recall, he has never taken the risk of proposing anything even potentially unpopular; even with something like health care, he let Congress take the lead. Eh voila–anything you like in the plan is a product of his wise leadership, while anything unfortunate is, y’know, the not-perfect stuff he had to sign in order to get Americans health care.

Remarks And Asides


Native Americans have raised a stink about the use of “Geronimo” as either the code name for Osama bin Laden or for the mission that was designed to get him.  Some folks at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where Geronimo was imprisoned and where he is buried, have asked for President Obama to apologize for the use of the name.

Damn, Obama can’t do anything right.


Reuters reported that the U.S. killed two “mid-level” al Qaeda leaders in Yemen today, in a “remote province where al Qaeda is active.” No doubt, these two terrorists, who were brothers, figured it was okay to stick their heads out for a couple of days, as those boastful Americans would be too busy celebrating the death of bin Laden to notice.



Fidel Castro, who said it was bad manners to kill bin Laden in front of his family, believes that the way bin Laden perished “has turned him into a much more dangerous man.”  No. That can’t be. CNN has confirmed that bin Laden is in hell, or at least that 61% of Americans believe so.  And everyone knows that if you go to hell, you’re too busy searching for shade to perpetrate any earthly mischief.   However, I’m with Alex Parenne of Salon, who urges President Obama to release the “photographic proof” that bin Laden is, in fact, in hell, so we can settle this pressing matter.


President Obama is in New York City today to lay a wreath at Ground Zero and meet with the families of the victims of 9/11.  He had invited President Bush to come along, but according to reports, Mr. Bush “has chosen to remain out of the spotlight during his post-presidency.”

If only Mr. Bush had chosen to remain out of the spotlight during his pre-post-presidency.


John Kasich, Republican governor of Ohio, who essentially declared war on public employees when he took office, declared this week, “Public Service Appreciation Week.”  Short of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad being let out of jail to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, I can’t think of a worse idea.


Sam Stein reports: “Health Care Repeal Is ‘Dead.’  He says that a “top Republican” concedes that legislative efforts to overturn Obama’s health care law are doomed.  I, of course, won’t believe it ’till I see the photo.


Finally, this shouldn’t go unnoticed:

SYDNEY – Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of World War I, died Thursday at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.

I recommend following the link and reading a little bit about Mr. Choules, who became a pacifist later in life and wrote his first book at the age of 108.

He told ABC in November of 2009:

I had a pretty poor start, but I had a good finish.

Words to live, and die, by.

Tagged: 9/11, al Qaeda, Barack Obama, Fidel Castro, George W. Bush, health care reform, John Kasich, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, wreath-laying ceremony, WW I

Remarks And Asides
R. Duane Graham
Thu, 05 May 2011 17:41:19 GMT

Killing Bin Laden: Being a Candidate versus Being a Leader

Let me just start by saying, if you haven’t noticed, that on this blog I often post items that take different views on a question or issues.  That is I post, and like to post on both side of issues, especially if I find the argument at least thought provoking if you quite convincing.

This post by Russ Roberts seem to skate very close to saying maybe we shouldn’t have hunted down Osama.

It’s an unusual point of view and posted it as an interesting contrarian thought, but to remove doubt:  I don’t agree.

Given that he ordered the murder of 3,000 US citizens in act of aggression comparable to Pearl Harbor, I think we had no choice to but to hunt down and kill him.  Hats off to President Obama for doing so.   President Bush also is to be applauded to the extent he helped set this up to be successful.

Go back to the campaign of 2008, McCain (remember him?) and Obama. Suppose in the middle of the campaign, someone returned from the future and told you that by 2011, the President of the United States will have kept Guantanamo Bay open, launched a war against Libya, and crossed covertly into an ally’s territory to assassinate Bin Laden. Who would you think that would be? McCain or Obama?

Couldn’t be Obama. The man who was repulsed by American exceptionalism, who pledged to close Guantanamo Bay, the man who said the way to deal with bad guys is to talk to them, not attack them.

What happened?

Three possibilities come to mind. The first is that politicians on the campaign trail lie and dissemble. They need to motivate their base, craft an image, and so on.

The second possibility comes from a CIA economist who told me in the middle of the 2008 campaign that when Obama becomes President, he’ll know what Bush knows (meaning horrific and frightening classified information) and he’ll do the same thing as Bush.

The third possibility is that when you get into power, you change. It’s fun to play video games with real lives. You can’t help yourself. It’s easy to convince yourself (given that classified information) that you have no choice.

I think it’s a mix of two and three. I think Obama the candidate really thought he would be different. President Obama is not so different.

What we’ve learned about Obama (and power)
Russ Roberts
Wed, 04 May 2011 13:20:05 GMT

What Birthers need now!

Not Good Enough

by Kieran Healy on April 27, 2011

No-one will be fooled. I demand the White House release video of Obama being born on home plate during the 1961 World Series, with Roger Maris attending the delivery and being heard to remark “That’s a fine-looking future President you have there, Ann”. Oh wait, is the White House REFUSING to release this video? Or maybe—just maybe—are they in fact UNABLE TO? And why do you think that would be? Because the so-called President was IN AFRICA at the time? Because Hawaii wasn’t even a U.S. Territory in 1961? I think you can join the dots yourself. I rest my case.



Too late to Kill Birtherism

It seems to me that this (releasing the Long Birth Certificate) should have done early on, or not at all.

An early release I think might have quelled this pointless discussion before it got so much momentum. I emphasize “might”.

Doing it now just makes Trump look powerful. I think the true hard core birthers will still not be convinced, or they’ll just turn their attention to some other issue like his college years, or both. The web has more wacky ideas about his origins that you can imagine. I think it lacks the seal of the state or so I’ve heard.

Maybe it is a make the Republicans look nuts scheme, but I don’t know.

John Boehner: I like the president personally. We get along well. But the president isn’t leading.

This seems correct to me.

"He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly isn’t leading on this year’s budget."
Said House Speaker John Boehner today. Later, he met with the President and Harry Reid at the White House, and, per Boehner, "We made some progress… But I want to reiterate there’s no agreement."
NYT link.)

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"I like the president personally. We get along well. But the president isn’t leading." (Ann Althouse)
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 03:02:16 GMT

On the budget my sense is as a liberal Democrat, President Obama had a great opportunity to address remedying our fiscal issues.  He would have had greater credibility with the strongest opponents of cutting entitlement spending than any Republican.  That could have been his legacy.

In addition he could have kept the GOP from taking initiative on this important issue.  When he formed the Simpson-Bowles commission, I thought/hoped he would do that.

Instead, he’s again let the congress lead.  This seems to be his MO.  On healthcare, perhaps his best achievement he mostly reacted to congress.  The stimulus was basically the same story.

On civil liberty he’s seems to have adopted the Bush administration’s techiques almost fully now.  On Libya he acted unilaterally, and looked somewhat decisive.  But this may turn into another quagmire.

I’m discouraged.

How Michele Bachmann Could Win | The New Republic

I’ve gone pretty wobbly on Obama, but the Republican are likely to nominate someone who’s push me back from coming home.


How Michele Bachmann Could Win | The New Republic.