T Nation

Obama Isn't That Bad


So I was reading this week's issue of The Economist and it brought up some pretty good points. Before discussing, we must realize that yes, Obama is a liberal, and he will set forth liberal agendas, so accept that. Please don't argue over conservative/liberal principles, think in a liberal mindset.

  • Stabilizing the Financial System

Obama's team resisted calls to take public ownership of banks and opted instead for a regime of stress tests... controversial, but it seemed to work. American banks are now better capitalized than they have been for decades. Also, for the car industry, Obama gave GM $50 billion in return for 61% of its shares, but the firm had to declare bankruptcy and fire its managers. This seems to have worked: both firms (GM and Chrysler) are back in profit, and the gov't intends to dispose of its stake.

  • The Economy

When it was terrible two years ago, the banks had stopped lending and there was no consumer confidence. So on to the stimulus bill it was. According to the non-partisan CBO, far more people would have been out work work in an unstimulated America. However, post-stimulus recovery has faltered and unemployment stubbornly refuses to fall. That is why liberals in Congress wanted an even bigger stimulus. But, did anyone expect the economy to be in tip-top shape only two years from 2008? I certainly didn't.

  • Health Care

Compels every citizen to buy health insurance or you get a fine. In return, the poorest buyers get a subsidy. And in return for receiving 30m previously uninsured people, insurances companies are obliged to offer more generous coverage (not denying customers on previous conditions, or putting a cap on how much health care they will pay over a lifetime). However, it does little to tackle soaring health care costs. Republicans, rightfully so, argue that it is unconstutional, because they ask, does the constitution give feds the power to force citizens to buy insurance they do not want?

Lastly, you don't see Dems boasting about health care because of the way it was passed. Obama came into office vowing to expunge the way Washington works in terms of how they passed bills, but when Obama realized that the health care effort was too big to fail, he resorted to all the tricks: appeasing special interests (hospital/pharmaceuticals industry), pork to wavering allies, and then resorting to the questionable budget procedure to defeat a filibuster. The Republicans felt it was 'rammed through' against the people's wishes.

... As for Republicans being the party of 'no', Eric Cantor (Republic whip in the House), said their unanimous rejection showed that they were the "adults in the room at a reckless liberal blowout on the taxpayers' dime."

  • What Didn't Happen

Obama still has a bunch of stuff he vowed to fix, but hasn't: immigration reform, action on global warming, a faster exist for Afghanistan, the advancement of gay rights (Don't Ask Don't Tell), and Guantanamo.

So that about sums it up. Obama has definitely made mistakes, some minor, some major (major being how he focused on health care for an entire year at a time when his focus should be put into the economy). But it is very possible, even if the Democrats are screwed tomorrow at the elections, that he can get his mojo back and get a better economy going.

I give Obama a C+. A for effort, though.


And I thought I wasn't going to have any entertainment this evening.


Yep, some good, some not so good, some bad. Overall better than I had feared and worse than I had hoped.

Why do so many people think this? Obama vowed to send more troops to Afghanistan not to remove them.



Really? You're playing this card? As if he was supposed to wave his negro-muslim-kenyan-pixie wand and have everything done at once?




First of all if you think any of this is good, I feel sorry for you.
Second, Asking us conservatives to think in a liberal mindset is like asking a liberal to get a job.
True we did not take over banks, but even you point out that we took over GM. In spirit of this thread I will point out some good he has done

  1. Killed one of the pirates that took an American hostage.
  2. Called Kanye West a jackass


Wow...I think that's my list exactly as well.


Great minds Rockscar great minds. I was hoping you could help me come up with another, but...



Could we spin that into something good. He did kick BP's ass with that $200 million he made them set aside, but I do not agree with the pres telling a business what to do. Maybe he could pimp slap Pelosi and we could call it even.


Obama has been highly ideological which has caused him to pursue policies that we are going to be paying for, for a long time.

He has been a complete failure on Iran. As I said he would. Because he set himself up for failure. Iran having nuclear weapons is going to be very bad, and it will happen on his watch.

His actions on the war on terror are a direct reflection of his adherence to ideology over reason. ie We are killing more terrorists with drones than ever before. The reason why is because he was so damned ideological about how prisoners were treated that we can no longer take terrorists prisoner and extract information from so all that is left to do is kill them.


All politics aside Obama is an unmitigated disaster. I even think he's worse than most (who knew what we were in for) thought he'd be.

Just off the top of my head:

-Failure to send troops over seas in a speedy manor after being begged by his top General to do so.

-Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in the middle of the most serious economic down turn since the great depression. This is coming January 1, 2011.

-Bowing to other world leaders.

-Far too many vacations.

-Not bringing Iran to the negotiating table, or even openly challenging their nuclear position.

-Virtually turning his back on Israel.

-Close door secret behind the scenes deals that he said would never happen in an Obama administration. Remember everything was going to be on C-Span?

-Multi billion dollar stimulus package that did absolutely nothing.

-Recently openly claiming to political supporters that "we must punish our enemies" meaning the republican party. Not a good way to unify the nation.

-Unemployment at 10% (greater if you consider the people who are still jobless but not eligible for unemployment)

-Pushing the single most unpopular bill down the throats of the American people (health care)

-Raising the national debt to 13.4 billion dollars. (Wha boo hoo Bush totalled greater numbers than that -Yes but it took him 8 years. At this rate Obama will pass him in about 3 1/2)

-Giving a deadline on when to leave Iraq thus bolstering our enemies position. Since when do you tell your enemies what your next military move will be?

-Generally bringing Chicago style politics to the nations capitol.

I could go on and on. Obama is more a disaster because of his lack of experience than his strong liberal bent. I hope the next time that a democrat runs for President that he or she is fully vetted by the national press because there is just too much at stake to put another clown like Obama in office. Honestly, the man is a clown all he needs is a big fluffy red whig and floppy shoes - He is a joke!

Grade: D- It would have been an "F" but so far he has not gotten us into world war III, and as of this date we are not in a depression. However, his term isn't up yet.


People would have criticized him for acting rashly

they're doing all sorts of good now


Both Bush's and Reagan spent more time on vacation in their first year



The realities of office he didn't anticipate

That's a really dumb thing to say. I guess everyone in the CBO is a lefty marxist.

Punish people if they they poorly represented their constituents. What's the problem?

Can't really argue here. shit sucks. However there is a large contingent of economists that say it would be a heck of a lot worse with no stimulus.

Really sucks that I can still be on my parents insurance as a student till I'm 26 and that ~30 million people will get health care once it's in full effect.

Pretty sure the final budget Bush proposed was about 1.4 trillion in the red while the first one Obama proposed was about 1.2 trillion in the red.

The "surprise we're gone" probably would've worked perfectly.

Generally a vague statement.


There are plenty to highlight, but two in particular:

  1. Health care cramdown: not only did Americans not want it, it was the worst strategic move in memory. To the extent the stimulus, TARP, etc. worked at all to create an environment where the economy would wake up and grow (subject to debate, but assuming the very best), it was completely neutralized by Obamacare, which injected so much uncertainty into the marketplace that businesses remain on the sidelines (which they are, with about $1 trillion in cash, doing largley no hiring or expanding). Because of the ideological zeal and the outsourcing of this "damn the torpedoes" approach to Pelosi to pass something, anything come Hell or high water, he destroyed any benefit of his (and Bush's) economic-oriented relief.

Thus, the decision to press ahead with Obamacare was bad not only on the direct merits (the US didn't want this kind of health care reform), it is in large part responsible for the continued economic malaise. That's bad strategy, bad prioritization, and plain bad leadership, regardless of whether a D or R is beside your name.

  1. The decision to try terrorists in civil court in New York. Good Lord.


You are right in the sense that these things take time, I didn't choose my words correctly. However, Obama wanted health care done in the spring of 2009. He got it done in the summer of 2010 for a number of reasons. There was pretty much a year of health care this, health care that on the news. If he executed the health care plan properly, it could have been done a lot sooner, and he could have focused on these other issues.


Yes you are right. My mistake.


Actually, I may not have mentioned it, but I disagree with most of the stuff he has done because of my own principles. So don't feel sorry for me bud. Think in a liberal mindset... OK, bad choice of words I guess, but honestly, what did you expect from a very liberal man... to suddenly go the conservative/libertarian route? Let's be realistic. I truly think his intentions were in the right place, but his own beliefs and execution of noted policies are substandard.


This is an incredibly bizarre way of describing what happened - Obama "demanded" that Congress pass a 2,000+ page bill that no one had read prior to the August recess. The "year of this, year of that" was the public's demand that the issue actually get some sunlight so the public might have a sense of what the hell was actually being passed and what they were being asked to pay for.

Your statement that "if he executed the health care plan properly, it could have been a lot sooner" makes zero sense - what would have been, in your mind, the "proper execution" that would have sped things up?

Obama didn't just "get it done" in 2010 for "a number of reasons" - he was forced to by an increasingly skeptical and pissed-off public that demanded a little democracy. And even then, he didn't have the people behind him.


I was going to respond to ZEB quote-by-quote, but instead just read siouxperman's post, because that is exactly how I feel (on most issues mentioned).

But seriously, bowing to leaders? "Really?" indeed. Because this is such a huge issue and America is now everyone's bitch because of it. Please. Let's focus on the big issues, please, not every little fact you can look up on the internet or remember.


Obama decided to leave the initiative with Congress instead of grabbing it up himself, which held everything up. Thus the bill only reached his desk in summer of 2010 after a year of back-and-forth in Congress (single-payer system, dropping the public option, and all the little intricacies). The Republican vote would have been the same either way: 0.

I applaud Obama for trying to get some Republican support for it in Congress, but he didn't anticipate that it would take so freakin' long. And when it did, he couldn't do anything else on his agenda.

I agree. There was a ridiculous amount of punditry, lobbying, and game-playing.