Friday, January 30, 2009

Anti-Obama. Already.

Eight days into his new job, and – farcically – Obama already has those who are ready to write him off. One such person is Mary-Ellen Synon. In what is an audacious piece of spin, she manages to take what has been a strong first week in the Oval Office and turn it into a scenario where Obama is losing. Badly. Let’s take a look:

Yesterday, just eight days after the inauguration, President Obama had his £576bn so-called stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives - but without a single vote from any Republican.
Imagine: Republicans not voting for a Democrat measure. This really is unprecedented, isn’t it? The next thing you know, we’ll be hearing that the Republicans and Democrats are different parties who don’t agree on everything. What crazy times we live in.

Congressman Eric Cantor, one of the leading House Republicans, says an analysis of the Bill shows it is mostly pork: just 12 cents of every dollar in the spending will go to any genuine economic stimulus, such as creating jobs.
Yep, and you could put the same question to a House Democrat who would give you a completely different answer. The truth is normally somewhere in the middle of the two views, but seriously, a House Republican who voted against the measure is not going to be, on any level, an unbiased analyst of the legislation. Plus, this Cantor fella is going to be an outspoken critic of Obama. After all, he could be one of the people who runs for the Republican nomination in the future.

Yet Obama was keen to have support from the Republicans. He didn't get it, because what he really wanted was submission from the Republicans.
I know what she was trying to say, but reading that paragraph just makes no sense. He wanted support, but actually he wanted submission. So he didn’t want support then? Contradicting yourself over the course of two, short sentences really does undermine what you have to say.

Clearly the Republicans on the Hill don't reckon they are going to get any backlash from the voters in their districts because they have given a No to The One. They understand that already their voters don't like what Obama is doing, or indeed the arrogance with which he is doing it.
Couple of points on this one. Firstly, the next election for representatives is just under two years away – even if there is a backlash, then the chances are that the voters will have forgotten about it before those legislators try for re-election. And it is also worth noting that most of these people will be from Republican leaning districts, meaning that their voters probably don’t support Obama anyway.

Just two days after the inauguration, when Republican legislators told the president they objected to the massive spending bill, Obama dismissed them with two words: 'I won.'
Well, I hate to break it to you, but he did win. And the Democrats won control of Congress, partly in response to Republican policies. The Republicans can object as much as they want, and with some justification, but last November the voters spoke and gave the Democrats the right to implement their policies – for better or for worse.

That was a particularly stupid mistake by the new president. Hard-left Democrats may cheer at such gloating, but most Americans don't like that kind of contempt being shown to Congress.
Really? The voters don’t like that kind of contempt? Are you sure? ‘Cos let’s look at two examples of Presidents who showed contempt to Congress. FDR was re-elected in 1936, 1940 and 1944 – despite shitting on Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. And LBJ won one of the most spectacular landslides in US electoral history despite bullying and cajoling Congress until basically it was his bitch. Showing contempt to Congress may not be a great thing to do constitutionally, but it certainly doesn’t seem to worry the voters that much.

Indeed, as the American website Politico points out, with those two words 'Obama brought the curtain down on the 48-hour era of bipartisanship.' He liberated the Republicans from any mainstream media pressure to offer support to Democrat policies. He dismissed 'bi-partisanship,' so why shouldn't they?
Why shouldn’t they anyway? Why shouldn’t the Democrats bin bi-partisanship? Why isn’t a little debate and disagreement between the two parties a good thing? Why is there this reverence for consensus? If the two main parties are meant to agree on everything, then they should just form one big party. Fundamentelly, bi-partisanship has a limited life-span anyway, what with there being two parties with clear differences in ideology and policy.

The big spending and the big arrogance are why Obama's support is already falling. During the transition from the Bush administration to the new administration - that is, during the weeks in which Obama kept near-quiet and had to do nothing - his ratings in the Gallup opinion poll were 83 percent. After just three days in office, Gallup showed his support had already dropped by 15 points to 68 percent.
Four points.

1. 68% is still pretty spectacular.
2. It is easy to be so popular when you have to do nothing – it is still good to be at 68% when you start doing stuff.
3. 68% is still far more than the percentage of Americans who voted for Obama last November and still represents support from the vast majority of Americans.
4. 68% is far better than the utterly appalling polling figures that the last President was getting.

As any economist will tell you, what is important in a statistic is not the number, it's the trend. In this case, the trend is down, and fast. Americans are already having buyer's regret about their new president.
I’d also imagine that most economists will want more than two numbers before they start assessing trends.

Then of course there is his naiveté in foreign policy. A few days ago he gave an embarrassingly-wet interview on Arab-owned television and offered unconditional talks to Iran.
Because, of course, Bush’s policy of being simultaneously angry, silent and aggressive towards Iran worked so well. Actually offering them talks is a novel policy. Furthermore, offering talks is just that – talking. Obama hasn’t offered unconditional concessions, he has offered a conversation with a regime that we should, as a hemisphere, start trying to have more of a constructive relationship with.

Iranian president Ahmadinejad replied, as one knew he would, with a fierce demand that he wouldn't talk to Obama until the Americans had issued an apology - ie, grovelled - for unspecified 'crimes' and had withdrawn all their troops from all other countries.
Yeah, and who looks like the ignorant, unreasonable cunt now – Obama, or Ahmadinejad? Frankly, I think Obama has done a great job in stitching Ahmadinejad up nicely.

(Note: some countries in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait actually want the American forces there. I don't. But then, I alas am not the king of Saudi Arabia nor one of the ruling al-Sabahs of Kuwait. And judging by my brief time with one of the al-Sabahs, more the pity for Kuwait.)
(Note: I’m not arrogant enough to assume that anyone cares what I think about American forces in the Middle East. And that lack of arrogance is one of the reasons why I could never write for The Daily Mail.)

And there is Obama's naiveté about Islamic terrorists. He wants to close the prison at Guantanamo.
Yep, he wants to close the unconstitutional prison that is synonymous with torture and acts as a lightning rod for fundamentalists everywhere. Frankly, he deserves a round of applause for that.

Fine by me. But he has made that his policy without first figuring out where he is going to put the 245 remaining inmates, some of whom are undoubtedly keen to get back to the job of mass-murdering.
If they are guilty of something, they can be put through the courts and imprisoned. If they are innocent, then they should go free. After all, the fundamental foundation of almost any justice system is being innocent until being proven guilty. Basic, basic stuff.

Two men already released from Gitmo turned up six days ago on a video posted on a jihadist website. A US counter-terrorism official told AFP news service that one of them is a Saudi man called Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri who on his release was taken into the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
A few questions:
1. When were these people released? Under Obama?
2. What were they doing on the website? What were they saying?
3. What were they in Gitmo for? Was there any evidence to keep them there?

If he or any of the other 245 turns up as part of another jihadist atrocity, the new president is going to have to have more to say than, 'Gosh, whoops.'
Yep, and the FBI and CIA are going to have to justify why they didn’t at least keep a watchful eye over people America has already imprisoned for being fundamentalists. But again, if there is no evidence, people should be released. You can’t imprison people because you think they might do something bad in the future. This is the real world, not Minority Report.

And he is going to have to find another job after 2012. By that time, Americans will be looking for change they can believe in.
So, Obama – currently with 68% approval rating, having got his stimulus package through the House of Representatives and having done the popular and decisive move of closing Gitmo, can be written off already? Sweet Jesus, what does a President have to do to get re-elected in the demented mind of this writer? Walk on fucking water whilst bringing peace to all mankind?

And what change they can believe in for 2012? Sarah fucking Palin? Do me a favour. As it stands, Obama will win in 2012. And win big. I’d also imagine he has better things to do over the course of the next four years than worry about the opinion of hacks writing for The Daily Mail

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