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The Presidency of Barack Obama

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 

Intended to create this thread after the Election, but New York Magazine published a month by month retrospective and aural history:

 

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/8-years-in-obamas-america.html

 

So I hope people will post their thoughts on the last 8 years of the Obama Presidency. 

 

Me? 

 

I was inspired by the election of Barack Obama in 2008, but even on Election Night my joy was tempered: I remember seeing the new President and his wife waving to an ecstatic crowd in Chicago, only to have the camera cut (or pull back) to show them standing in the middle of a giant bullet proof plastic cube. "oh" I thought. Yeah. 

 

Cut to 2016 October, and in a weird way it's like Obama has done everything and nothing. 

Two of the main planks of Obama's 2008 run, ending the war in Iraq, and a national Healthcare system, are regarded as conditional victories at best. Obama has tried mightily to pull America out of the Middle East, but Colin Powell's warning that "you break it, you fix it" has come to haunt the Obama Presidency. Obamcare may be regarded by historians as a "victory of an idea" vs. the actual plan that Obama got through Congress. Whoever takes the oath in January will make major changes to it. 

 

For me President Obama will be/should be remembered as the Leader who didn't let the shit hit the fan, who kept cool and worked with people from all sides and points of view to literally save the world from a major financial collapse. 


There are few people now living who remember the Great Depression, when unemployment exceeded 20%, or who lived in Wiemar Germany, when you had to use a Wheelbarrow to carry all the inflated currency you needed to buy a loaf of bread. We all know what followed that however. 

 

We may be headed towards some new worldwide conflagration, economic, political or both. But for the last 8 years, Obama has kept us out of Depression and War (on a major scale).

 

President Obama has always struck me as the one real non partisan voice of reason, surrounded by small men/women with small minds. 

 

Now the two candidates vying for the Presidency are the least liked and respected since, well, forever. I think this fact, sadly, ensures Obama's legacy. 


Edited by Cylon Baby - 10/24/16 at 6:52pm
post #2 of 123

It's the TDKR of presidencies.

 

post #3 of 123
I don't regret voting for him either time.
post #4 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I don't regret voting for him either time.
Not only that, I'd vote for him in a split second if he was on the ballot.
post #5 of 123
If he had a Democratic Congress he could have really changed things.

He stopped a recession, saved the auto industry, and got us closer to universal healthcare.
post #6 of 123
He also punched bin Laden's ticket.
post #7 of 123
So who's going to be the guy who wanders into the middle of the hagiography and mutters "kill list?"

Oh right, that'd be me.
post #8 of 123
It's important to make lists, otherwise you might forget things.
post #9 of 123

And the last thing you want to forget are the people you want to kill.

post #10 of 123

As a foreigner, my opinion on Obama's presidency is as follows:

 

An extremely solid and rational performance, with several accomplishments and few problems, whose real potential for greatness was stunted by lack of majority in Congress and political scheming.

However, when taking into account the state the country and the presidency were when he took office, his presidency is a monumental achievement.

Was it perfect? No, but was pretty damn great all things considered; the man deserved a better time to be president, but he did his best and it shows.*

 

*Its pretty ironic that Obama´s presidency is pretty similar to Piñera's here in Chile, despite them being on opposing political sides; both were handed their countries in very bad shape economically, politically and socially, and both managed to not only turn things back to better, but actually improved them.

And then we went back to the same shitshow, because we are idiots.**

 

**This is why it drives me absolutely insane when I see the stereotypical republican/tea party/moron calling Obama or Sanders "Socialists"; trust me, fellas, you have NOT seen TRUE socialism like we south americans have. 

post #11 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhp1608 View Post
 

And the last thing you want to forget are the people you want to kill.

Someoen really needs to make an App for that.

post #12 of 123
I get the feeling his reputation will improve as time goes on and people realise that the stuff he gets criticised for now is basically part and parcel with the job, for better or worse.

A president who just knuckles down, tries to steer the country in the right direction with a steady hand and has no time for scandals or other such nonsense might not sound that amazing at the time, but as soon as someone comes along who does a worse job, or tries to steer the country in the wrong direction, I bet people will dream of having someone as solid as Obama in charge.
post #13 of 123
Every time the propaganda photo of the little dusty Syrian refugee boy appears on my TV, all I can hear is Obama's "you didn't build that yourself, you had US Government help" speech.
post #14 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

So who's going to be the guy who wanders into the middle of the hagiography and mutters "kill list?"

Oh right, that'd be me.


Because what happened was that as soon as he took office he drew up this list and handed it to the CIA and said 'I want these people dead.'

 

Oh, wait, no. There's a whole process where the intelligence agencies vet a potential target before sending it to the president, that takes on average two months. And this program started in 2002.

post #15 of 123
Funny how that doesn't actually change anything.

But hey! Historical brilliant genius president everybody loves and wants to congratulate themselves for voting for! Clearly he can do no wrong!
post #16 of 123
.
Edited by Agentsands77 - 11/9/16 at 7:32am
post #17 of 123

I just hate the framing of it as 'OBAMA'S KILL LIST' as though A: it's a list that he himself drew up (he didn't), and B. it's a program that he himself ordered created (it wasn't). It's a policy of his predecessor that he opted to continue because it's (arguably) effective, and inarguably better than the full scale invasion of a country in order to go after one person.

post #18 of 123
On the domestic front, the most important civil rights breakthrough in a generation happened in a leadership vacuum. Until the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, upholding the Constitution's language forbidding the establishment of second-class citizens, President Obama was still making a public show of "evolving" from a stated position of opposition to equal access to a marriage contract.
post #19 of 123

I voted for him twice, but I was so concerned about his use of drones and his foreign policy generally that I very nearly didn't vote for him in 2012. I think, certainly, so much of his legacy - because he had to do a lot with executive actions when held up by a Congress dedicated to making him look foolish - will be dependent on who the next President is, it's hard to say what impact he will have over the long term. But I tend to agree with the historical arguments that say his legacy certainly has the potential to make him one of the top two or three Democratic presidents in memory - certainly in the realm of LBJ and FDR. I think he's surpassed Clinton.

 

But in thinking about this, I think one of the most underappreciated and meaningful elements of Obama's legacy is this. He made learning and intellectualism and curiosity meaningful American values again. From all accounts, Bush was a guy who liked to read, but that wasn't the front he put forward. Same with Clinton, who was much more a people person. Obama's been a wonk. He's talked recently about how he wants to go back to writing, how he thinks of himself as a writer above most things*. But he's made the pursuit of knowledge an admirable thing again - he's made it cool to be curious, to boil it down. I look at the interviews he's done with writers, the way he would go out of his way to release his summer reading lists, the White House Science Fair and the White House Film Festival...it all added up. And coming after eight years of Bush, it was nice to have a guy who illustrated you could be incredibly smart, incredibly curious, and still be the kind of guy you wanted to have a beer with. 

*In my ideal world, Obama not only writes a novel, but knocks out a series of hard SF novels every couple of years and does the convention circuit for the rest of his life. 

post #20 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

On the domestic front, the most important civil rights breakthrough in a generation happened in a leadership vacuum. Until the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, upholding the Constitution's language forbidding the establishment of second-class citizens, President Obama was still making a public show of "evolving" from a stated position of opposition to equal access to a marriage contract.

 

Except this was in 2015, and Obama publicly stated his belief in same-sex marriage three years previous. 

post #21 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I don't regret voting for him either time.

 

You only voted for him twice?  I expected more of you, Brad.

post #22 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
 

 

Except this was in 2015, and Obama publicly stated his belief in same-sex marriage three years previous. 

Yeah, he'd been extending same-sex benefits to federal employees and had always refused to defend DOMA. I think he always knew that it was going to come down to a Supreme Court decision, so advocating for same sex marriage from day one of his presidency wouldn't do much more than alienate hard line christians.

post #23 of 123

Too soon to judge.  Let's do a check in 20 years once the seeds that he planted have borne their fruit and make a proper assessment then.

 

I voted for him in both elections, by the way.

post #24 of 123

Lets also decide whether or not we want to grade on a curve.

post #25 of 123
If we're around in 20 years, he did an okay job.
post #26 of 123

Also, it can't be understated how powerful it is, symbolically, that (knock on wood), Obama will finish out his term without a significant attempt on his life (i.e., one not thwarted in advance). This from a country with a legacy of political assassination, and what's powerful to me about this is that Obama never seemed to shy away from doing things in public. He maintained a presence - he didn't hide in the White House. He went out. He lived his life. And he was safe doing it. I think about that sometimes and find myself profoundly moved. 

post #27 of 123
Thread Starter 

People decry the Kill List like Obama was randomly picking names out of a hat and if Civilians were killed in an attack, was shrugging his shoulders and saying "eh no biggie". 

 

In fact there are numerous stories and interviews which show that each attack was carefully considered and thought out. 

 

And the alternatives were/are so much worse. 

 

Surgical strikes may well be deemed ineffective in the long run, but the American public had no appetite for invading other countries when they elected and re-elected him. 

 

In terms of Foreign Policy, the openings to Cuba and Iran were significant initiatives, and gambles. 

 

Cuba I think will be a major win in the long run, for the country at large and the Democratic party as well. 


Iran could well be a horrible mistake. There's lots of evidence that the Iranians are already cheating on their agreement, and that could result in a very bad player getting Nukes soon. Or, Obama's gamble could pay off and a generational change could take place...though to date there is zero evidence that is happening or will happen. 

 

By the by, it looks like ISIL's strong hold in Mosul, the place where they'd staked their claim on a new Calphate and defeat all non Muslims, is going to fall soon. Making the issue or ISIL mute for the election, and one final victory for the President. 

 

Obama has stated he plans to stay in DC after the election. It will be interesting to see what role he plays going forward. My guess is he'll be the most activist ex President in terms of affecting policy that we've seen. 

post #28 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

People decry the Kill List like Obama was randomly picking names out of a hat and if Civilians were killed in an attack, was shrugging his shoulders and saying "eh no biggie". 

 

In fact there are numerous stories and interviews which show that each attack was carefully considered and thought out. 

 

And the alternatives were/are so much worse. 

 

Surgical strikes may well be deemed ineffective in the long run, but the American public had no appetite for invading other countries when they elected and re-elected him. 

 

In terms of Foreign Policy, the openings to Cuba and Iran were significant initiatives, and gambles. 

 

Cuba I think will be a major win in the long run, for the country at large and the Democratic party as well. 


Iran could well be a horrible mistake. There's lots of evidence that the Iranians are already cheating on their agreement, and that could result in a very bad player getting Nukes soon. Or, Obama's gamble could pay off and a generational change could take place...though to date there is zero evidence that is happening or will happen. 

 

By the by, it looks like ISIL's strong hold in Mosul, the place where they'd staked their claim on a new Calphate and defeat all non Muslims, is going to fall soon. Making the issue or ISIL mute for the election, and one final victory for the President. 

 

Obama has stated he plans to stay in DC after the election. It will be interesting to see what role he plays going forward. My guess is he'll be the most activist ex President in terms of affecting policy that we've seen. 

 

I don't have the credibility to speak on US affairs by reason of my Europeanishness...and the fact I'm slightly tipsy and listening to Monk/Coltrane. However, and everything heretofore notwithstanding, I fully endorse everything Cylon just said. From the bit of the world that has for a long time the greatest alignment with the American project, and boy is this project pretty much the only one that hasn't blown up so bad the kid's gone screaming home from the science fair, this president has been far and away your best in forever.

 

Clinton was good, and will always be identified with a material improvement in the expectations of most people in the Western hemisphere, but he had an advantage in capital flows that Obama has had to negotiate vig on for the entirety of his presidency. Plus the figuring out what Bush left him in the Middle East. Yep, good luck with that. Didn't do an awful job. But that's like asking someone who grew up quite possibly disbelieving in American interventionism to suddenly embrace the after-effects of the most interventionist administration in forty years. Made things apparently worse? No doubt. Traded off liberty for a win? Maybe. Maybe.

 

Wouldn't you prefer a generally intellectual approach to conflict resolution that doesn't presuppose right and wrong, except he has executive responsibility for a nation so the chance of him not calling you out for wrongs against that nation, well maybe...but again, at least he said agencies don't do it, I do. Which is the literal opposite of Bush's delegate the shit out of this because god-damn I have literally no idea what I am doing, approach.

 

Add to that all of the social inequalities he has tried, sometimes in vain, to address...but good Christ, at least he tried, and you have in my privileged white liberal eyes, a pretty damn fine, not-Carter, not-Reagan, not-Bush, not-Clinton, not-Ford, not-LBJ(ish), not-Kennedy, not-Nixon(christ), well, okay, he wasn't Ike, President at a point in time when had you not had a massively qualified competent person with a conscience and an unwillingness to simply let loose following an utterly incompetent figurehead on top of a reprehensible but superficially competent but actually astonishingly feckless administration, things might have gone a whole lot worse. Had you not had him, goodness alone knows what shit state we would have been in. And by we, I mean, the western world, and probably, maybe, the rest of it too.

post #29 of 123

I suddenly realise I could have been talking about Putin. Except for the social liberalism. That's important. The big nations are currently playing big, horrible, life changing games with each other, but only the US is making some inroads into social justice and an embracing willingness to imagine everyone is part of the solution.

post #30 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhp1608 View Post
 

 

I don't have the credibility to speak on US affairs by reason of my Europeanishness...and the fact I'm slightly tipsy and listening to Monk/Coltrane. However, and everything heretofore notwithstanding, I fully endorse everything Cylon just said. From the bit of the world that has for a long time the greatest alignment with the American project, and boy is this project pretty much the only one that hasn't blown up so bad the kid's gone screaming home from the science fair, this president has been far and away your best in forever.

 

 

Hate quoting myself, but good Lord does this now ring hollow.

post #31 of 123

Yep...Obama is now consigned to a footnote in the History Books:  "And then the United States elected an illegitimate Kenyan Muslim for 8 years, but thankfully the Glorious Leader was called to action by the people, and all the foul deeds the Kenyan committed in office were overturned."

 

Sarcasm aside, it's infuriating to me.


Edited by Jmacq1 - 11/10/16 at 11:10am
post #32 of 123
Watching this man I admire so so so much sit there and eat a shit sandwich for his country is just the saddest fucking thing. Has there ever been a proverbial "bigger man" than Obama?
post #33 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disciple_72 View Post

Watching this man I admire so so so much sit there and eat a shit sandwich for his country is just the saddest fucking thing. Has there ever been a proverbial "bigger man" than Obama?

 

Nope. In a presidency full of historic moments, this is among them. 

post #34 of 123
I wonder if he now feels like everything was just a colossal waste of time. I mean, I'm half surprised that bin Laden hasn't crawled out of the ocean and cackled, "Better luck next time, Barry!"
post #35 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I wonder if he now feels like everything was just a colossal waste of time. I mean, I'm half surprised that bin Laden hasn't crawled out of the ocean and cackled, "Better luck next time, Barry!"


I can't speak to the man himself.  He unquestionably did the best he could, and in my mind that was far better than most would have managed.

 

But man...there are some pictures of the White House staffers floating around the Twittersphere that were taken as President Obama was commenting on the election results, and they just looked...shattered.  You could practically see the "Have I completely wasted the last several years of my life?" written on their faces.

post #36 of 123
He was a 21st century President for a country that's stuck in the 19th.
post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

He was a 21st century President for a country that's stuck in the 19th.

Quote of the Year.  

post #38 of 123

Well, this has become a depressing thread. I thought this would be in celebration and honor of his accomplishments!

 

 

 

 

Cue El-troll popping up to shit on everything in t-minus 10, 9, 8...

post #39 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmacq1 View Post
 


I can't speak to the man himself.  He unquestionably did the best he could, and in my mind that was far better than most would have managed.

 

But man...there are some pictures of the White House staffers floating around the Twittersphere that were taken as President Obama was commenting on the election results, and they just looked...shattered.  You could practically see the "Have I completely wasted the last several years of my life?" written on their faces.

I just saw the picture and yeah...this description is very accurate.  They're crushed because they know, EVERYTHING they tried to accomplished and did will be repealed within a year if the Republicans could do it...

post #40 of 123

His story may not be done, too young for that ... he can retire and enjoy his life, or be a different type of ex president and rebuild the loyal opposition.

I'm really curious what he plans to do next.

post #41 of 123

He's going golfing in Hawaii for at least a month.

post #42 of 123

The Keeping It 1600 guys' most recent podcast was particularly shook wrt the "I have wasted my life" feeling.

post #43 of 123

The Clinton Foundation will bring him down. I don’t know how much it will hurt him. It really depends on how much tainted he got himself into. He did not look happy after his talk will Trump. Some people seem to think it was caused by the ACA. I don’t think so. I think Trump tried to get him to elect a Republican special prosecutor. I think he got tangled up in The Clinton Foundation some how.

post #44 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Hill View Post

The Clinton Foundation will bring him down. I don’t know how much it will hurt him. It really depends on how much tainted he got himself into. He did not look happy after his talk will Trump. Some people seem to think it was caused by the ACA. I don’t think so. I think Trump tried to get him to elect a Republican special prosecutor. I think he got tangled up in The Clinton Foundation some how.


Uhhhh, what?
post #45 of 123

Trump:  "I have great respect for President Obama." The fuck you do. You hate him. You think he's the worst president ever and you spent five years in a racist campaign to prove he was born elsewhere. Fuck your lies. Repeat with all the bullshit coming from Obama and everyone else too.

post #46 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Hill View Post
 

The Clinton Foundation will bring him down. I don’t know how much it will hurt him. It really depends on how much tainted he got himself into. He did not look happy after his talk will Trump. Some people seem to think it was caused by the ACA. I don’t think so. I think Trump tried to get him to elect a Republican special prosecutor. I think he got tangled up in The Clinton Foundation some how.

 

I know I was going to be open to others' opinions, but 

 

this is dumb

post #47 of 123
Ignore him. He's been posting nonsensical horseshit for 48hrs, if not longer.
post #48 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco Senior View Post

Repeat with all the bullshit coming from Obama and everyone else too.

What are you talking about?
post #49 of 123

Fuck you Trump, this is what an adult President actually sounds like....

 

post #50 of 123

"that space-jam dig was a new low to a decorated sportsman, mr president!  APOLOGIZE!!!"

 

-dontrump

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