Monday, January 23, 2017
The harsh truth about Barack Obama: He failed
Some sad words from a disappointed Leftist below. He seems to have a better grasp of reality than most Leftists and is spot-on in fingering the unwillingness of Obama and his Democrats to compromise as the cause of Obama's failure.
In any Western democracy, there has to be a degree of bipartisan consensus for any reform to become entrenched. Otherwise it can be reversed by the next government of another stripe. It happened in Britain when it became clear to everyone but the British Labour Party that government ownership of industry was an abject failure. So Margaret Thatcher was elected and proceeded to uproot decades of British Leftist "work". The same is now about to happen to reforms associated with Obama.
Leftists tend to live in an eternal present, with no awareness of the past and a blissful lack of concern for the future consequences of their actions. The quite hilarious actions of Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats in abolishing the filibuster is a prime example of that. They didn't foresee a future GOP administration and are now left with no weapon in the Senate to obstruct Trump. They ripped up an important constitutional safeguard in order to get their way on some relatively minor matters and now find that they have given Trump an easy glide through the Senate confirmation process.
And that lack of vision was strikingly in evidence when Obama came to power. The Donks were like kids in a candy shop when they found themselves in complete control of both the Presidency and Congress. So they rushed to construct a huge piece of legislation that would fulfil all their addled dreams about healthcare and much else besides.
Even many Democrat congressional interest groups could see problems with the legislation but Obama and the congressional Democrat leadership piled on the pressure to get the legislation through. But such were the problems with what became known as Obamacare that most of that "golden" first two years of Obama control were wasted, with little else of significance enacted.
And given the problems with their own people, there was no way any GOP amendments would be considered. And none were. So the legislation passed with no hint of bi-partisanship. Which has now doomed it. There is no constituency in GOP circles in favour of it. Obamacare might have survived in some modified form if it had been constructed with a degree of GOP consent but it now looks like being completely uprooted. The Donks just did not look far enough ahead to envisage GOP dominance.
And as the writer below correctly notes, that obstinacy on the part of the Donks generated an equivalent obstinacy in the GOP. They regained Congressional majorities after the first two years and thereafter blocked most initiatives from Obama and his Democrat flunkies. Legislatively, Obama was neutered. And he and the Donks brought it upon themselves.
The major change in social policy during the Obama reign was the valorization of sexual abnormality -- but that was a product of SCOTUS, not Obama. And so many judges on the court are elderly that it seems Trump will have the opportunity to make appointments that will swing the court far to the Right for a long time. So a more balanced approach to sexual abnormality could well emerge from that
ALL hope, no change.
The world still swoons over Barack Obama, but we need to face the harsh truth about his presidency: it has been a crushing let-down.
The greatest American presidents are renowned for what they did in office. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery. Franklin Roosevelt created the New Deal. Ronald Reagan stared down the Soviet Union.
Mr Obama will enjoy a broadly positive legacy, but for very different reasons. He’s a cultural icon. History will remember him for what he represented, not what he accomplished. He has been an admirable role model, but an ineffective president.
Eight years ago, when he first ran for the White House, Mr Obama spoke of “fundamentally transforming” the United States. His idealistic speeches and extravagant promises captured the imaginations of Americans suffering through George Bush’s wars and the start of the Global Financial Crisis.
Mr Obama’s achievements since then bear little resemblance to the soaring rhetoric, and many of them are about to be dismantled by Donald Trump anyway.
His administration did oversee America’s relatively slow economic recovery after the GFC, bringing the unemployment rate down below five per cent. It also reformed the regulations governing Wall Street. But all of that was quickly overshadowed by Mr Obama’s top priority — the health care law known as Obamacare.
The goal, to help millions of Americans who couldn’t afford health insurance, was noble. The law itself, and the manner in which it was implemented, set Mr Obama’s presidency on a toxic path from which it would never recover.
Early in his first term, with the Democrats in complete control of Congress, Mr Obama rushed to pass the controversial law in a down-the-line partisan vote, overruling widespread opposition from the American public. No Republican voted for it, and in the midterm elections several months later, the opposition party swept into power on a wave of anger.
For the next six years, Republicans obstructed Mr Obama’s every move, preventing him from passing any other significant reforms. The president was forced to use his executive powers to circumvent Congress wherever he could, particularly on issues such as climate change and immigration.
The problem? Mr Trump can rescind those orders the moment he takes office. Even worse, the health care law itself is extremely unlikely to survive after Mr Obama leaves the White House, as Mr Trump and the Republicans have pledged to repeal it almost immediately.
This means most of Mr Obama’s domestic agenda, including his signature achievement, will be entirely reversed within months.
Mr Obama’s record on foreign policy is just as dicey. He advocated a less interventionist approach than George Bush, withdrawing from Iraq and rehabilitating America’s image around the world. Those parts of his agenda, along with his decision to authorise the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, were popular.
He also ended the decades-long trade embargo with Cuba, and forged an agreement with Iran aimed at curtailing the rogue state’s nuclear weapons program, though Mr Trump has indicated he will rip up both deals.
Beyond those accomplishments, Mr Obama has left Mr Trump colossal messes to clean up in Libya, Ukraine and particularly Syria, which descended into a cataclysmic civil war on his watch. He was slow to react to the rise of Islamic State, famously comparing it to a “junior varsity” team, and mocked his opponent in the 2012 election for daring to call Russia a “geopolitical foe”.
“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War has been over for 20 years,” Mr Obama joked. Since then, Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea, flagrantly committed war crimes in Syria and apparently interfered in America’s presidential election.
So, on arguably the two greatest foreign policy challenges of his presidency — Syria and Russia — Mr Obama has not managed to find answers.
Mr Obama’s greatest disappointment, however, was his failure to honour the central promise of his 2008 campaign.
Millions of voters were energised by his pledge to end the chronic gridlock plaguing Washington. Sarah Palin infamously referred to this as the “hopey-changey stuff”, and perhaps she was right to make fun of it, because the bipartisan dream Mr Obama spoke of so eloquently never materialised. That wasn’t all his fault — the Republicans were determined not to play ball — but he could have done far more.
“Mr Obama is simply not the kind of politician that likes to get down and dirty with the kind of everyday politicking, and the horsetrading. He was simply not willing to engage in politics as it is usually done on Capitol Hill,” Dr Gorana Grgic, a lecturer in US politics at the United States Studies Centre, told news.com.au after Mr Trump’s election victory.
“A lot of people have said that it’s a kind of product of his personality and who he was previously. An academic, someone who’s very aloof maybe. He’d rather debate things, he’d rather try to show that his argument is plausible or he has more evidence to support his course of action than make those compromises.”
There was a fundamental contradiction at the core of Mr Obama’s presidency. He sounded like a centrist, constantly talking a big game about bipartisanship, but in practise he was condescending towards his political opponents and unwilling to compromise
That greatly hindered his ability to negotiate with Congress, and coupled with the Republicans’ own uncompromising shift to the right, it created “the most polarising environment ever” in the US, Dr Grgic said.
That environment led directly to the rise of Donald Trump. It decimated the Democrats, whose numbers have plummeted at federal and state level. Mr Obama’s party has seen most of its rising stars turfed from office, and now there is no obvious leader ready to pick up the pieces when he’s gone.
Mr Obama isn’t the only one to blame for this — not even close — but it’s an undeniable fact that he failed to bring the country together. Race relations have soured. Urban elites and rural voters openly sneer at each other. And in a sickening dose of irony, America’s first black president is about to hand over the White House to the man who spent years hounding him with a racist birther conspiracy theory.
It isn’t all negative. Mr Obama has been an exemplary role model in the Oval Office, as both a leader and an admirable father. He’s suffered no personal scandals, and has consistently appealed to Americans’ better angels. We won’t be able to say the same about Mr Trump, and you suspect the world will soon look back on the Obama years with fond nostalgia.
He will be remembered — perhaps even revered — as a progressive icon for decades to come, having personified a significant leftward shift in America’s social values. But few will remember what Barack Obama actually achieved, and for a presidency that started with such remarkable promise, that can only be considered a failure.
A sandwich enthusiast-- seen at the "Women's march"
Looks like she has had way too many sandwiches
The media have finally shot themselves in the foot
The media, especially the 95 percent within the media who are liberals, are in free fall in audience and credibility. A recent Associated Press survey reported that 96 percent of Americans no longer trust the “mainstream media.” The media elite are still in denial that their world of unaccountable privilege and bias has vanished.
How the media elite respond will determine whether anyone listens to them ever again. The latest Buzzfeed/CNN promotion of false Trump trash is further evidence that the elite are on a different planet from the real world.
The American news media was “middle of the road” and patriotic until the mid-1960s. At that time the older generation of media moguls retired or died, ushering in activist liberals. Media liberalism became radical with the Vietnam War and Watergate.
Accuracy in Media (AIM) was founded in 1969 by Reed Irvine to expose this new liberal media bias. AIM’s documentation remained within conservative circles until Vice President Spiro Agnew used its research in boldly partisan speeches during the 1970 elections.
Americans were also held captive by three broadcast networks and Public Broadcasting until CSPAN cable television entered the scene in 1979. Conservative Members in the House of Representatives used CSPAN to conduct guerrilla theater. Using large photos, graphs and models of Soviet airplanes, House conservatives began to directly educate the public about big government and the Soviet threat. It was the first breech of the liberal media filters.
In April 1980, two senior news editors, Arnaud De Borchgrave and Robert Moss, published The Spike, a novel exposing communist influence within the American media. As importantly, they exposed how liberal media moguls pervert reality as much by what they don’t cover as what they do – “spiking” stories.
The real media revolution really began in 1987 when the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) eliminated the “Fairness Doctrine.” For the first time since 1949, radio stations could feature editorial content in their normal programming. On August 1, 1988, Rush Limbaugh launched his radio show. Now all Americans finally had access to non-liberal perspectives.
The liberal media fought back. Talk radio hosts and news reporters were denied press credentials to cover Congress until the Republicans took over the House in January 1995. Even though credentialed, talk radio was still shunned. The liberal media elite branded it unprofessional and said it trafficked in conspiracy theories.
Starting in May 1995 with Netscape, the Internet devastated the liberal media citadels. Website news began to supplant broadcast and print media. Social media, along with internet access on mobile devices in 2004, ignited an historic information revolution.
Conservative voices were unleashed by these upheavals. Liberal media elites could no longer “spike” stories or present their bias unchallenged. Even their own audience favored getting their news from social media and shows on Comedy Central. The media establishment sped its own demise by succumbing to fake news from its reporters like Jayson Blair and Dan Rather, and trafficking in false news like “hands-up don’t shoot’ and “a video caused the Benghazi attack.”
All the elements of a liberal media cataclysm were in place. Trump’s blunt talk and his supporters’ contempt for the media brought the status quo crashing down.
Nore than any other politician today, Trump understands that he can render the media irrelevant. Pew Research and other studies show that 62 percent of Americans now get all or part of their news from social media. Facebook posts 510,000 comments and 136,000 photos per minute. Nearly 2.5 million emails are sent every second. Fifty percent of Millennials check out Facebook when they first wake-up.
Trump does not need to have his message filtered and interpreted by Democrat operatives posing as journalists. Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos were Democrat flacks long before they took on the trapping of journalists. Dozens of reporters and “on-air talent” are married to Obama Administration officials. Trump’s response is to go over and around them.
Even President-Elect Trump currently has over 50 million Facebook and Twitter followers. Millions of Trump supporters repost or retweet his quotes on countless social media pages. Some 128 million Americans posted or liked Trump content on Facebook during the campaign. No one has ever been so pervasive in communicating and mobilizing.
Mr. Trump is the master of this new media reality. He understands that 140 characters on Twitter or a pithy comment or compelling image on Facebook shapes the media cycle. This is all before he becomes President, with all its additional resources and reach.
Liberal media in the Trump era is fast becoming as credible and relevant as horoscopes.
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Posted by JR at 1:35 AM