How the World Fell Out of Love with Obama
July 10, 2016 7:03 AM   Subscribe

"In countries key to the president’s legacy, people express profound disappointment in a man from whom they expected great things."

"In an effort to capture this evolving view of Obama’s historic presidency, last month, Politico, in collaboration with the BBC World Service, visited three countries critical to Obama’s foreign policy—Cuba, Egypt and Ukraine. A radio documentary of their interviews with dozens of citizens in those and other nations airs this weekend. In each country, they discovered a palpable sense of discontent with the now gray-haired American leader."
posted by Sir Rinse (91 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Subhead: In countries key to the president’s legacy, people express profound disappointment in a man from whom they expected great things.

Glib first-thought: “Countries?”
posted by Going To Maine at 7:20 AM on July 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Although President Obama should have hit the ground running in 2008, the American voter brought in the albatross congress that blocked his every move in 2010. There was so much passion this year for Sanders, but the real problem sources from the empty heads in the capitol building.
posted by pashdown at 7:21 AM on July 10, 2016 [66 favorites]


Contrary to popular opinion, the President does not run the United States all by himself. Obama has had to get everything he has done past the most obstinate and destructive congressional oppositions in all of US history. It's uknowable whether the depth of hatred is more because he is black or because he is a Democrat and the Republicans thought they had things safely sewn up forever, but he has had to carefully manage his messaging and his political capital to get anything done. I'm sure that if we had a Congress that was even an honest opposition in the classical sense rather than the rage and foam fueled atavistic horror we do have, Obama would have accomplished a lot more.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:25 AM on July 10, 2016 [202 favorites]


That darnd foo, if he'd just gone and invaded Iran.....
posted by sammyo at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Obama would have accomplished a lot more.

Sure? But this isn’t about what Obama could have done - this is about what Obama believes, what Obama did and what people abroad think about both of those things.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:28 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Democrats had solid majorities, even a supermajority for some time. Given that GWB was able to set half the world on fire on just a thin simple majority it was not unreasonable to expect Obama to at least do something with this huge mandate. Instead he seemed to be obsessed with finding creative ways to capitulate to the minority party.
posted by patrick54 at 7:35 AM on July 10, 2016 [36 favorites]


“People first love their presidents, then they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them”
(after Oscar Wilde)
posted by acb at 7:37 AM on July 10, 2016


It's uknowable whether the depth of hatred is more because he is black or because he is a Democrat

When Republican leaders blame the black president for spreading racism, I think you can make an educated guess.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:40 AM on July 10, 2016 [63 favorites]


GWB did not have the disadvantage of an obstinate unified opposition willing to oppose him on anything no matter how reasonable. And a handful of those democrats, particularly Joe Lieberman, were *cough* less than reliable.

The poll is about opinions, but those opinions are largely formed by what Obama did or didn't do and what was reported in the news. Consider all the flack Obama took during his first term from the LGBT community for not doing anything on gay marriage. I am sure he simply made a calculation that there was no way he could create movement on that and there were more productive things, like health care, that he could direct his limited resources to and maybe actually accomplish. But once upon a time he was absolutely reviled for stabbing the gay community in the back.

If your big issue is peace or closing Guantanamo you probably also don't have much of an opinion of him, and that is probably what is driving a lot of international opinion. Of course Congress balked him on Guantanamo. I feel there is also likely something going on there we may not learn until Obama is long out of office. We know he was not a particular fan of GWB's little adventure, but I can see him being informed on taking office that certain policies had to be continued or, you know, some unknown person might take a second amendment approach to fixing his policies. In any case except for directing them to actually take out Osama bin Laden, it looks like he pretty much let the military leaders do what they wanted.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:43 AM on July 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


[Please do RTFA; we have active threads on cops shooting Americans, the current campaign, and Brexit, and this isn't going to be a place for freeform discussion of freefloating rage about topics other than this article.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:43 AM on July 10, 2016 [6 favorites]




Instead he seemed to be obsessed with finding creative ways to capitulate to the minority party.

Bingo. This is the president who has deported more people in eight years than were deported over the entire twentieth century, in a frankly astonishingly naïve and ill-considered effort to win over Republicans. That's not on Congress; that's on the executive.
posted by enn at 7:48 AM on July 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


The Democrats had solid majorities, even a supermajority for some time. Given that GWB was able to set half the world on fire on just a thin simple majority it was not unreasonable to expect Obama to at least do something with this huge mandate. Instead he seemed to be obsessed with finding creative ways to capitulate to the minority party.

That's really intellectually dishonest. First of all the Democrats had a supermajority in the Senate for approximately 6 months total. It was literally enough time to pass the ACA and get out. Secondly, the Democrats don't operate in lockstep like the Republicans. They're a big tent party. The 111th Congress had both a much larger proportion of Blue Dogs than what we have today. They along with Lieberman (who was one of the two independent supermajority votes) blocked the public option from the ACA by threatening to not vote to invoke cloture on the whole bill. It was literally the ACA or nothing.

Obama didn't have 60 progressives or liberals in the Senate and wasted them. He had 58 Democrats, two independents and half a dozen of them were mildly conservative enough to let the Republicans filibuster anything that was seen as the negro getting too uppity.
posted by Talez at 7:48 AM on July 10, 2016 [73 favorites]


Hell, a better example is Guantanamo.

Executive Order 13492 was signed the 22nd of January 2009. Literally third day of the presidency. The Senate four months later approved the amendments to H.R. 2346 90–6 blocking any money from being used to transfer the detainees to United States soil.

You telling me we lost a 53 person majority in four months? Or the far more likely option is that Senate Democrats aren't automatically beholden to the president's policy.
posted by Talez at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


Yes, let's write an article wringing our hands over how Obama's approval has fallen from 86 percent to 76 percent in the UK, or went crashing down to 80 percent in Kenya. Or tumbling a whole five points in Canada, or eight in France. As if such terrible, awful losses of confidence were even something worth bothering to explain at all. The world has fallen out of love, down to generally only very high levels of approval.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:01 AM on July 10, 2016 [92 favorites]


Right-wing gossip mag pens slanted hit piece on Democratic president.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2016 [35 favorites]


FDR and LBJ had colossal democrat majorities in '33 and '65

The Senate was 49-48 GOP in 1932, flipped Dem handily in 1933, and it went 72-23 Dem/Progressive in 1937.

Granted, Obama is generally center-right in the scheme of things, but the fundamental issue I see is ~30% of this country appear to believe he is some crypto-marxist Manchurian Candidate.

We can't have good government when so many voters are profoundly and irredeemably confused like that.

As for Bush getting his wars in 2002-2003, that Goering postwar quote on warmongering explains it well enough I think.
". . .all you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."
As for Obama's job overall, it's been a pretty weird 8 years. The overall economy has been cooking along for 5+ years, partially if not largely thanks to the ~$3T of monetary injection courtesy of the Fed, 2009-2014.

All this money is just draining overseas which is the main 'keeps me up at night' issue for me I guess.

The USA is in a very strange place economically, and the greatest danger I can see is that the GOP and conservatives in general are actively working to destroy our national fisc, through simple greed and/or abject ideological stupidity.

What we could have done with the $14 trillion of new federal debt since 2000 is rather soul-killing.

Pissed it all away is what we've done.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 8:18 AM on July 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


Politico produces dramatizations of current affairs so it is understandable that they would choose this angle but the "profound disappointment" with Obama is simply not substantiated. The poll figures quoted are not particularly bad and the interviews present a rather measured and balanced view of Obama. It seems the conclusion was reached before the article was written and then they had to dress the pig.
posted by dmh at 8:25 AM on July 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Right-wing gossip mag

Is Politico right wing? I wouldn’t think so, but counterpoints are welcome.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:26 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


freeform discussion of freefloating rage

Ah, the good old days.

I've been repeatedly disappointed by Obama's repeated strategy of giving everything away before beginning a negotiation. He's had some good victories along the way, but either he or the VP needed to have a willingness to fight and twist arms for there to have been a chance of better results.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:27 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


and conservatives in general are actively working to destroy our national fisc, through simple greed and/or abject ideological stupidity.


Fisc? Is this a term I have just somehow not stumbled across before? I mean, I think the thing is genius and the meaning is intuitively obvious (and my iOS spell check did not flag it), but I honestly don't think I have encountered this word before this morning.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:32 AM on July 10, 2016


Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Obama's only at a three-year high approval rating domestically, such a disappointment.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:33 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Fisc?

"a royal or state treasury; exchequer" -- dictionary.com
posted by Sir Rinse at 8:36 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ricochet biscuit-I could be wrong but I think the term is either somewhat old-timey or used more in British English.
posted by Captain l'escalier at 8:37 AM on July 10, 2016


Cool. There are few words I can pinpoint to the minute when I learned them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:37 AM on July 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Politico article is uninformed concern-trolling. Whether this is driven by ideology or just clickbaiting, who can say.
posted by gimonca at 8:40 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, notice how W had a rebound in his popularity after he left office? He was a terrible president, and now most folks are like, "Eh, he was an alright guy, all things considered."

Obama's reputation going to be like the second coming of Roosevelt once he leaves office and there's no benefit to Republicans sandbagging him anymore.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:40 AM on July 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


The complaints in the article don't have much (anything?) to do with the US Senate or Obama's domestic negotiating style. When a Ukrainian says he wants Obama to risk more and be more brave, he's not thinking "he should have held out for single payer." The 29 year old Cuban who doesn't expect to benefit from the lifting of the embargo isn't complaining that the Bush tax cuts were preserved for people earning $250k.

Putting a lot of hope in a single president in the US to solve US issues is being simplistic. Doing it abroad is being downright naive. If the Cuban, 20 years after the embargo ends, are more prosperous, healthy and free, the people in Cuba should get most of the credit. If not neither they nor Politico be looking at the US and saying "If only Paul Wellstone hadn't died in that plane crash things would be different." Obviously.

Not that the people being interviewed are doing that--they were asked, of course. And the foreign views are interesting. "Critical to the legacy" though? I don't think Americans are going to be saying "We got health care, but this is tainted by bad polling numbers in Cuba."
posted by mark k at 8:41 AM on July 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh Politico. As insubstantial as ever. There's a reason Charlie Pierce calls them "Tiger Beat on the Potomac".
posted by Ber at 8:42 AM on July 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


To recap. Obama ended two wars, saved Detroit, saved the economy, ended torture, killed OBL, implemented national health care, supported gay marriage, normalized relations with Cuba, and struck a 15 year nuclear deal with Iran. All in the face of an utterly obstreperous Republican party that has Lost. Its. Damn. Mind.

I mean, God damn. If a Republican president had done half that, they've have carved him on Mt. Rushmore by now.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:43 AM on July 10, 2016 [84 favorites]


If the BBC wants to join in the right wing of American political bluster, they need to make sure all their employees get the memo. I mean, they just put this up on June 30th saying how great Obama was doing internationally.
posted by gimonca at 8:47 AM on July 10, 2016


Well I for one am really happy with my affordable health care. And the best part is none of the doctors in my network is a rich white dude, and my treatment has been SO much better. somuchbetter. So better. Srsly, if I never see another dismissive white prick with a stethoscope, I will die happy. But I'll probably actually live a whole lot longer.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:03 AM on July 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Wasn't a fan of Obama at first but he has grown on me. I like best this late game Obama who seems to be getting shit done, with much less political calculations.
posted by chavenet at 9:15 AM on July 10, 2016


isn't complaining that the Bush tax cuts were preserved for people earning $250k.

Note that the return of the 39.6% bracket was deferred a couple of years as part of the deal to get the last extension of emergency unemployment benefits back in late 2010, during the dying days of Democratic majority.

marginal rates in 2000 (dollar figures are 2013 dollars):

15.0% $0
28.0% $58,465
31.0% $141,263
36.0% $215,261
39.6% $384,457

2013:

10% $0
15.0% $17,488
25% $71,030
28.0% $143,432
33.0% $218,528
35.0% $390,273
39.6% $440,876

The GOP's true, inner-party reason for wanting to repeal PPACA is its 3.8% tax on investment income.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


It seems like a matter of expectations more than anything else. Expectations were so high when Obama took office that he wouldn't have been able to meet them even if he had 80 solid liberals in the Senate and and unlimited foreign aid budget. Take away those enormous expectations and he's been ok. He won't go down as Lincoln/FDR good or anything, but he's better than average.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


As the article repeatedly says, the rise of the possibility of President Trump has a serious effect on how people feel. When you see what the other side will toss out as a candidate and hear him speak you're suddenly much more appreciative of President Obama.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:23 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, he's going to get another Nobel for not being someone else?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:25 AM on July 10, 2016


What pisses me off so much about Obama is that everyone around the world loved him when he was elected and then it turned out he wasn't willing to go to the mat for every concern of every population group of non-US voters around the globe who probably don't even have a word in their language for "obstructionist congress". He totally deserved the 10% dip in his popularity.

Obama almost makes me believe the US president isn't Magic Jesus who's supposed to fix everything. Just another Washington Fat Cat.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:31 AM on July 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


80 solid liberals in the Senate

A Senate full of the likes of Wellstone, Franken, Murray, Boxer, Feingold, Dayton . . .

Contrasting that to the current horror show makes me want to book a ticket to Narita again (I lived in Tokyo in the 1990s and it was OK).

DC is only broken because our electorate is so broken. So many people have been so thoroughly bullshitted for so long now.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:35 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


If a Republican president had done half that...

Sticking narrowly to the FPP: It's Politico. So... yawn.

But viewing Obama's legacy a bit less narrowly... statements like leotrotsky's are objectively true. The accomplishments listed in that comment, and by others, are indeed worthy of commendation.

But what's going on here is of a piece with the Hillary/Bernie schism in the US, Brexit and Grexit in Europe, and similar conflicts that represent certain "internal contradictions" in the left coming to the fore. In particular, I'd argue that the fact Obama hewed so closely and unapologetically to the neoliberal economic consensus, on the one hand (the TPP is nothing short of an appalling disgrace), and maintained--and, arguably, enhanced--the deep surveillance state on the other, is what the tarnish is about.

The nice things liberals do that used to get them praise aren't really cutting it any more because many around the world now see them for what they are: a sop thrown to the masses to keep them from seriously rebelling against structural injustices that are fundamentally political-economic in nature. We've had a person of color with impeccable US-liberal credentials elected president who threw the middle and lower classes under the bus in favor of financial elites. We have a woman likely to be president with the same ideological bent. We have CEOs falling over themselves to say how open-minded they are about bathroom policies related to gender identity.

It's complicated. And that's not a bug, it's a feature, as far as the ruling elites are concerned. One cannot deny the positive social consequences of certain developments (people of of color and woman can feel politically empowered by Obama and Hillary, changing cultural attitudes toward LGBT community will help relieve the suffering of millions) but one can also not deny that such cultural politics have done and will do nothing to ameliorate the widespread materially-based suffering caused by the massive wealth inequality that is quite literally poisoning the Western democratic republics and fomenting authoritarianism.

And all of that happened on Obama's watch.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2016 [41 favorites]


In line with Guantanamo, I hold President Obama personally responsible for Edward Snowden being unable to return home, likely ever.
posted by fragmede at 9:47 AM on July 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Granted, Obama is generally center-right in the scheme of things

Oh dear Christ I wish people would stop saying things like this, devoid of context, as though there is a single linear platonic Scale Of Politics, as though it makes any sense to say 'Dude is a 38, tops! POLITICS: DISCUSSED'
posted by beerperson at 10:03 AM on July 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Under Obama:
TPP;
Libya;
Ukraine;
Cfaa;
Unending drone warfare dressed up as a kinder gentler warfare;
Sadistic killing of OBL as a bloody non-catharsis;
ACA and it's terrible privatization of the healthcare for all movement, and the new clawbacks;
Increased military favors to local terrible PDs;
Tim geithner and the miserable merry band of economists who funnel money from rich to poor;

Need I go on?
posted by yonation at 10:06 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


one can also not deny that such cultural politics have done and will do nothing to ameliorate the widespread materially-based suffering caused by the massive wealth inequality that is quite literally poisoning the Western democratic republics and fomenting authoritarianism.

And all of that happened on Obama's watch.


Really? The influence of unlimited cash on elections and lobbyists is being laid at Obamas's feet? This didn't exist in 2008 and now is so much different in 2016? And Obama had the legal authority to do something about this? I mean, he's on record as being opposed to Citizens United but even assuming Magic Jesus Obama had the political capital to spend single handedly destroying the Big Money interests in Washington, exactly how would he accomplish this? 2 out of 3 branches of government think things are working just fine and if he made this his signature issue, no Democrat would ever be elected again.

To be clear, I think wealth inequality is *the* issue facing humanity in the 21st century that most threatens our survival as a species. In fact, without massive change in our political process (i.e. Campaign finance reform), I doubt we will ever see another president in our lifetimes manage to get as much done as Obama, but seriously, the widespread acceptance of LGBT people as equals, universal health care, not sending thousands of soldiers to fight new meaningless wars, ending the Bush wartime recession, with a congress that wanted none of these things -- to consider these just bones thrown to pacify the masses while the Robber Barons continue to enslave us and profit -- well, it's one interpretation of the last eight years, but it's a pretty cynical one. The 1% started consolidating their power long before Obama and it's kinda weird to think that the power brokers are allowing social progress to distract us from questioning from where their power derives.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:16 AM on July 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


You are correct, Slarty Bartfast. ALL of it didn't happen on his watch. I would rewrite that if I could.

But it all continued on his watch, and not because of the big, bad Republican obstructionists, but because his ideological vision supports them.

And I find it "kinda weird" that you didn't notice that using identity politics to stifle economic political action is exactly what the Clinton campaign used against Bernie. And, see, too, Brexit.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:34 AM on July 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


the widespread materially-based suffering caused by the massive wealth inequality that is quite literally poisoning the Western democratic republics and fomenting authoritarianism

Has the same thing not also been happening in other Western countries though? The neoliberal consensus is partly a result of people consistently having voted for such policies over the past 20 or 30 years. It seems to me the tilt towards (broadly) a political right that is fringed by authoritarianism has been happening for decades and cannot be fully explained in materialist terms.
posted by dmh at 10:35 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Under Obama:
TPP;
Libya;
Ukraine;
Cfaa;
Unending drone warfare dressed up as a kinder gentler warfare;
Sadistic killing of OBL as a bloody non-catharsis;
ACA and it's terrible privatization of the healthcare for all movement, and the new clawbacks;
Increased military favors to local terrible PDs;
Tim geithner and the miserable merry band of economists who funnel money from rich to poor;

Need I go on?


You kind of do. Politics is the art of the possible. You don't get to compare Obama to the Platonic ideal of the presidency that never has and never will exist. It's unfair and unreasonable. You need to compare him to what the alternative would have been in the real world that we all live in. What's the alternative here, within the realm of the possible? Take the ACA, for example, it only barely survived by the skin of its teeth and one supreme court justice. The alternative to the ACA wasn't the public option, that was never within the realm of the possible this time around. The alternative was the status quo: millions of uninsured people, skyrocketing healthcare costs. W failed to reform healthcare. Clinton failed to reform healthcare. Obama made things better. Not perfect, not ideal, but better. He moved the needle. That's the metric.

Clinton gets this (and Bernie doesn't). With her Black Lives Matter meeting she made it crystal clear:

"Look, I don't believe you change hearts," Clinton said, arguing that the movement can't change deep seated racism. "I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You're not going to change every heart. You're not. But at the end of the day, we could do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them, to live up to their own God-given potential."

She's an incrementalist. She's not perfect, but she'll move the needle. Do that enough times, and the whole Overton window shifts. That's how you win, little gains over and over again until the battle is won.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:40 AM on July 10, 2016 [67 favorites]


The Politico article is basically Thanks, Obama: International Edition. You go to three countries that have had a hard time of things for some time and ask them if a particular powerful world leader has done enough for them personally, and what do you think they're going to say? What's really remarkable is how, at the end of each country's section, it's briefly noted that they really don't want Trump to succeed Obama.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:42 AM on July 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


dmh: I'm not saying that Obama is responsible for an entire sweep of history. I'm saying that, like it or not, his presidency will be evaluated in this particular historical context, one in which the masses are realizing that "liberals" and "conservatives" have colluded in a class war waged by the super wealthy against the 99+%. He and the rest of the Democratic establishment not only didn't argue against this, but they outright promoted policies in support of it... at least until guys like Bernie and Corbyn got political traction.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:43 AM on July 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


FDR and LBJ had colossal democrat majorities in '33 and '65

Of course you meant Democratic majorities. You seem politically savvy enough to know that the truncated version is a slur, so I'm guessing typo.
posted by maxsparber at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sorry to be weird about that usage, but it's misuse has become something of a calling card for noxious politicking, and I don't want to see otherwise valid points undermined by it.
posted by maxsparber at 10:47 AM on July 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is this where we should point out that Obama's approval ratings just keep getting higher as the alternatives to replace him are now clear?

The Politico article is basically Thanks, Obama: International Edition. You go to three countries that have had a hard time of things for some time and ask them if a particular powerful world leader has done enough for them personally, and what do you think they're going to say?

The framing here is really stupid (should be self-evident, it's Politico). Obama isn't the President of Cuba, Egypt or Ukraine, and his approval there is irrelevant, especially without asking what the alternative was, as if the people of Cuba would've been happier with Presidents McCain or Romney. Why not ask Iran if they're happy the US didn't elect McCain and start another war against them?
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:48 AM on July 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


In each country, they discovered a palpable sense of discontent with the now gray-haired American leader.

"Palpable. It was palpable I tells you -- like a tumor. We interviewed entire threes of people in each country to arrive at our conclusions."

Tiger Beat on the Potomac. Yep.
posted by JackFlash at 10:49 AM on July 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


He and the rest of the Democratic establishment not only didn't argue against this, but they outright promoted policies in support of it

Yes, but at the same time, a lot of people promote and support such policies. I'd say that in fact a lot of voters do, which is why it has become the dominant political paradigm in the first place. I think the class war argument is not without merit but it does not seem to explain the rise of Bush, Sarkozy, Merkel, Blair, Harper, Howard, Haider, etc., perhaps as far back as Thatcher.
posted by dmh at 10:58 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Note to self: President's are rarely, if ever, global messiahs.
posted by MrJM at 10:58 AM on July 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


He and the rest of the Democratic establishment not only didn't argue against this, but they outright promoted policies in support of it...

Maaaaaaan, if Obama had only arrested the political opposition and purged Congress, he could have totally done great things. But he didn't so he's like, part of the problem.
posted by happyroach at 11:04 AM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


From an outsider's view, he most definitely was not perfect but, dear God, was he better than any realistic alternative placed in comparison.
posted by nfalkner at 11:09 AM on July 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Boy yeah with discontent and divisions at all-time highs inside the US, gotta start breaking out articles to make divisions with the rest of the world too. Wouldn't want to learn from one another or anything.

Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.
posted by fraula at 11:37 AM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


sigh
Even as the corrupt, conniving, idiot journos can't hide what people are saying, they still manage to angle the article so it expresses the exact opposite of what is said. It's sick.
Today while listening to talk radio on the car, two populist politicians told lies upon lies, and the journalist didn't ask one relevant question or correct one blatant lie. More and more, I feel our current lack of confidence in democracy is as much about the lack of integrity of journalists as the corruption of politicians. The politicians can get away with corruption because the journalists are ignorant, stupid, corrupt and vain.

/end of rant
posted by mumimor at 11:39 AM on July 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


No mention in TFA or in the comments here about the war on drugs, or gun control. How about food and water security? Climate issues? Wealth and politics are going to be entangled until the end of time, and making changes there is an uphill battle. But there are 21st century issues coming down the pipe, and I think these are the context in which he will be evaluated in history books of the future. I give him points for the country moving closer to ending drug prohibition, but regarding other nascent issues where he could have had a positive impact, everything I've read says he is firmly in the pocket of big business.
posted by mantecol at 12:26 PM on July 10, 2016


[Few deleted, "proper use of Democrat/ic Party" has achieved derail status.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:08 PM on July 10, 2016


mondo dendro: I'm saying that, like it or not, his presidency will be evaluated in this particular historical context, one in which the masses are realizing that "liberals" and "conservatives" have colluded in a class war waged by the super wealthy against the 99+%. He and the rest of the Democratic establishment not only didn't argue against this, but they outright promoted policies in support of it...

Can you give some examples of specific policies that the Democratic establishment has supported over the past eight years which are examples of what you're referring to? I find it hard to understand these kinds of sweeping accusations without specifics.
posted by biogeo at 1:16 PM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


What we're seeing in 2016 and what we were seeing in 2008 was a demand in certain quarters for something beyond "government as good management" and more like deep political transformation. Candidates have those demands pinned to them if there's any sense at all that they might break the mold. For Obama in 2016, it was partly his newness to the national scene, partly his truly electrifying stage presence and a stronger online presence better than any candidate before him (or, really, since), and partly the historical achievement of the election of the first African-American president.

But the demand for transformation of that sort -- realistic or not -- isn't going away. To the limited extent that Obama has lost the extreme popularity he had upon his electoral victory, it reflects the consistency or even growth of that demand. Part of his legacy may be that, despite Herculean effort and real achievements, he was ultimately not positioned to stop the ongoing corrosion of public trust in public and private institutions.
posted by kewb at 1:26 PM on July 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Can you give some examples of specific policies that the Democratic establishment has supported over the past eight years which are examples of what you're referring to?

I don't know where you're living, but it would be astonishing to me that anyone in the US would need to ask this question. Have you listened to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren? Ever?

But, if you want specifics, here are a few: the TPP, which is a nice warm fluff of global capital; the post 2008 economic policy that bailed out the banks and the financial sector at the expense of pretty much everyone else; the failure to regulate and prosecute financial malefactors; the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants; the acceptance and enhancement of the surveillance state; the failure to defend habeus corpus...

Just off the top of my head.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:41 PM on July 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


Every day when I wake up, it ruins my day to see again that the people who need to fight for a socialist imperative on all trade deals are voting for populist and nationalist parties. I literally cry every day at breakfast. My kids want me to stop reading news.

IMO, there is nothing wrong with international cooperation. It just needs to be based on workers interests and rights, not the warped views of the 1%
We can never change anything in local coops just by protesting (but we can definitely create good examples).

I should be in bed now, and maybe I'll be more optimistic in the morning
posted by mumimor at 2:57 PM on July 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Human being who worked incredibly hard at a complex, multinational job , who often had to rely on others to do said job.Mostly others who had a lot riding on him failing.

Human being raised our national discussion to maybe 6th grade level when it's been at first grade for quite some time.

Human being inspired hope in people where the Bush years had drained that well almost dry.


Human being continued being a person while doing said job, leading by example of what a good parent/partner can look like.

Human being did not solve every woe in the country.

Bad Human!!!
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 3:05 PM on July 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Perhaps, in retrospect, it was a mistake to front him the Nobel Peace Prize, after all...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 3:14 PM on July 10, 2016


the post 2008 economic policy that bailed out the banks and the financial sector at the expense of pretty much everyone else

What post-2008 economic policy??

Basically Obama was shut down after the ARRA; once the House was lost to our friends in the GOP it has mainly concerned itself with renaming post offices, when it wasn't repealing "ObamaCare", launching Benghazi probes, threatening to default on the national debt and/or stop the ability of government to borrow money to cut the checks for next month's A/P.

As for the 2008 bailouts, well, call this Stockholm Syndrome but a repeat of the 1930s wasn't too attractive at the time. Certainly AIG, Bank of America and Citibank should no longer exist as such, but letting them go the way of Lehman would have been an immense systemic shock.

Mozillo and tens if not hundreds of thousands of other bad operators in the FIRE sector should be in jail now perhaps, but the lines they were crossing 2002-2006 weren't being actively policed, and that's the real crime.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 3:31 PM on July 10, 2016


"I feel there is also likely something going on there we may not learn until Obama is long out of office."

My future monocle is quite intrigued.
posted by clavdivs at 3:34 PM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think a huge part of disappointment with Obama in certain parties comes from the extent to which people bought into the performance that got him elected in 2008. As a performer myself, I have always recognized that campaigning (among many other aspects of political life) is essentially an act of performance. In this case, Obama very carefully crafted the persona of a quasi-messianic, ideologically pure, transformational political figure whose very existence would change the political landscape of the United States and who had the magical property of being a "uniter not a divider" that would bring the Republicans to the table in the spirit of cooperation and progress. Along the way, many of my colleagues in their various points along the left-leaning political spectrum, allowed them to be convinced that he would be their president and further their agendas. When he turned out to be exactly what underpinned practically everything he had actually said and done prior to election -- i.e., a slightly right of center Democratic president who remained a remarkably inspiration speechmaker while perhaps believing the press clippings about his abilities to get the other side to cooperate instead of aggressively pushing his agenda during the first two years when he had a chance -- well, that's when the disappointment set in. Which is too bad, in my opinion, because I think he has overall been a very good and effective president. But expectations in certain parties were either too high or too fanciful. Frankly, I see a bit of this quasi-messianic objectification of Sanders by some of the diehards today.
posted by slkinsey at 4:38 PM on July 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Being saddled by Bush with two ongoing wars and a depression did slow Obama down long enough for the Repubs to grab Congress and refuse to act except to benefit their (dwindling) friendbase.

people bought into the performance that got him elected
Yep. He promised us everything. I believe we like that.

At any rate, the US currently (obviously) suffers from a vacuum of real leadership, and seems intent on keeping it that way.
posted by Twang at 5:38 PM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The alternative to quasi-messianic objectification that I'm grappling with is that the democratic party isn't for me*, never really was, and isn't ever going to be.

*Obviously it has to be the choice this election and the GOP will never be that choice ever.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:44 PM on July 10, 2016


quasi-messianic, ideologically pure, transformational political figure whose very existence would change the political landscape of the United States = please see Bernie Sanders
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 6:17 PM on July 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know where you're living, but it would be astonishing to me that anyone in the US would need to ask this question. Have you listened to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren? Ever?

I don't know where you're living, but it would be astonishing to me that anyone in the US would not be aware that not all liberals agree with all of Bernie Sanders's analysis of the last eight years. And while I certainly have the impression Elizabeth Warren is doing her best to pull the discourse to the left (which I am very glad of), I hadn't read that she's characterized the policies of the Obama administration as part of "a class war of the super-wealthy against the 99%." I would be grateful for references.

But, if you want specifics, here are a few: the TPP, which is a nice warm fluff of global capital;

I don't fully understand the TPP, but as far as I've been able to gather, economists are divided as to what exactly its effects will be (as usual). Some argue that the TPP will increase labor income more than capital income. I don't know whether the TPP is a good deal or not, but I don't see any clear evidence that this is a deliberate attack by Democrats on the 99% to benefit the wealthy elite. It seems more like a typical messy international agreement involving lots of concessions on all sides and therefore is a mixed bag in terms of good and bad. Presumably the Obama administration feels the good outweighs the bad, unless they really are mustache-twirling villains.

the post 2008 economic policy that bailed out the banks and the financial sector at the expense of pretty much everyone else;

Okay, we've known for years that the bank bailout was fully repaid, with interest. The current "expense of pretty much everyone else" is almost -$70 billion -- that's a minus sign in front: the American people turned a fairly significant profit off of the bank bailout, and avoided a total economic collapse in the process.

the failure to regulate and prosecute financial malefactors;

What about Dodd-Frank? And many of the financial industry corporations were hit with pretty serious fines in the wake of the Great Recession for their malfeasance. Personally I would have liked to see more (if corporations are persons, they should be subject to the death penalty), but it's false that there was a failure to prosecute financial malefactors. And going forward the DOJ has changed its practices to focus more on prosecuting individuals who are responsible for decision-making at companies that commit malfeasance of this type.

the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants;

This idea that the Obama administration has been particularly aggressive about deporting undocumented immigrants is often stated, but the evidence for it is unclear at best. In short, there's no actual official definition of what constitutes "deportation," so different people can use it to refer to different things depending on their political agenda. Under the Obama administration, it seems that the number of people caught while attempting to cross the border and subsequently returned has gone up, but the enforcement of removals of people who have been in the U.S. without documentation for a longer period has gone down. Personally I favor free movement across the border, but that would require a dramatic increase in federal resources to provide support services for people seeking U.S. residency to prevent them from overwhelming border localities' ability to absorb them, and frankly I just can't see that as a politically viable option in America right now. Free movement also generally requires free trade agreements, similar to the TPP, only stronger. At any rate, if one is concerned more about long-term undocumented residents of the U.S. (as I am), I haven't seen compelling evidence that their risk of deportation has been higher under the Obama administration than under previous administrations.

the acceptance and enhancement of the surveillance state; the failure to defend habeus corpus...

Here I agree with you. But I'm not sure exactly how these points map onto class warfare; this seems more like government overreach and the slow weakening of the rule of law to me. Things I am more than happy to criticize Obama for, but which seem a bit orthogonal to your original point.
posted by biogeo at 6:53 PM on July 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


In this case, Obama very carefully crafted the persona of a quasi-messianic, ideologically pure, transformational political figure whose very existence would change the political landscape of the United States and who had the magical property of being a "uniter not a divider" that would bring the Republicans to the table in the spirit of cooperation and progress.

Such as in his acceptance speech on election night in 2008, when he said:
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
After which we all patted ourselves on the backs for a job well done, and smugly stayed home during the 2010 elections, giving the Republicans everything they needed to not only obstruct every progressive piece of legislation, but also the opportunity to gerrymander election districts across the entire country to ensure that their most extreme supporters would have a disproportionately and undemocratically loud voice in our election process.
posted by biogeo at 7:05 PM on July 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Well,biogeo, you have a slew of misunderstandings there, but I'll tackle a few of them.

Yes, the TTP is a messy agreement, but in every case the conclusions favor the interests of global corporations and wealthy elites over workers. And for the record, the Peterson Institute isn't exactly a neutral player in the discussion.

The bailouts were a gift to the banks. They always tout the fact that they paid the money back with interest, but the interest rate was well below the market rate, that is, it was a taxpayer gift. The market rate was 10% yet they got their money for 5%. That amounts of billions in taxpayer handouts.

Further, the bankers were not punished in any way for their reckless activities that destroyed millions of peoples' lives. They kept all of their million dollar bonuses even as they were receiving taxpayer handouts. The way the banks should have been handled is the way Obama handled GM. He fired all the executives, he wiped out the shareholders, he gave the bondholders a haircut, and then sold the rescued company back to the public. Instead, the banks have all the same crooked executives making the same million dollar bonuses as before.

And you say that many of the financial industry corporations were hit with pretty serious fines. Funny thing about that. They paid almost $500 billion in fines for fraud, price fixing, and forging of documents but not one single banker went to jail. $500 billion is a lot of criminal activity without a single jail term. Contrast that with the much smaller banking crisis in 1987 when over 1,100 bankers were sent to jail. This time, not one.

The public has a right to be bitter about the coddling of Wall Street when so many millions of lives were destroyed by the crisis.
posted by JackFlash at 7:47 PM on July 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


The market rate was 10% yet they got their money for 5%. That amounts of billions in taxpayer handouts.

How do you figure? Interest on 10 year treasury bonds never exceeded 4% since 2008 and averaged 2.7%. Even Baa bonds never exceeded 8%.

Further, the bankers were not punished

A lot of bankers lost their jobs. In the UK alone Business Insider puts it at 180,000+ and Bloomberg at 500,000 jobs.

I don't mention this to detract from your broader point that the moral bankruptcy that precipitated the financial bankruptcies was adequately addressed but I think it is hard to fault Obama's course of action, in that while numerous problems were left unsolved, it is hard to see how you can affect systemic change when the system is crumbling. The current level of financialization unfortunately drastically contracts the policy space.
posted by dmh at 10:35 PM on July 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


The market rate was 10% yet they got their money for 5%. That amounts of billions in taxpayer handouts.

If you actually read the link I included, you'll see that the taxpayers' return on investment for the bank bailout has been just over 10%. I don't see how that amounts to handouts. If my misunderstandings are so great, it should be pretty easy for you to provide me with actual information. That is not just a rhetorical challenge -- I really want to know the truth. But unsourced claims which are contradicted by the sources I provided don't convince me that I really am misunderstanding anything.

The public has a right to be bitter about the coddling of Wall Street when so many millions of lives were destroyed by the crisis.

I'm not disputing that. But that's a very different claim from the idea that the policies of the Obama administration amount to class warfare against everyone except the elite 1%. It can be simultaneously the case that on the whole the financial sector got off too easy for their negligence, and that the policies that let them off easy were necessary to prevent a worse catastrophe. Most experts seem to agree that is the case.
posted by biogeo at 1:28 AM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


The alternative to quasi-messianic objectification that I'm grappling with is that the democratic party isn't for me*, never really was, and isn't ever going to be.

*Obviously it has to be the choice this election and the GOP will never be that choice ever.


This is where I've always been. My personal political leanings are way too far to the left for me to be a member of the Democratic party. I tend to vote for the Democratic candidate nevertheless, because I give my vote to the person most likely to further the kinds of policies I support who has a reasonable chance of being elected.
posted by slkinsey at 5:48 AM on July 11, 2016


quasi-messianic, ideologically pure, transformational political figure whose very existence would change the political landscape of the United States = please see Bernie Sanders

It's not lost on me that my same colleagues on the far left who put Obama up on a pedestal in 2008 have now shoved Sanders up on that same pedestal, and just as Clinton was their Great Satan in the 2008 primaries so are both Clinton and Obama to them today.
posted by slkinsey at 5:57 AM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


After which we all patted ourselves on the backs for a job well done, and smugly stayed home during the 2010 elections, giving the Republicans everything they needed...

I think it's a bit more complicated than that. I think, for example, that many of us badly underestimated the extent to which having a black man as our president would cause segments of our society to go batshit insane. Understanding that reaction in retrospect, I'm not sure anything could have been done to keep a Democratic Congress in 2010. I do, however, fault the Obama administration and the 2008 Congress for not realizing this and pressing their advantage when they had it.
posted by slkinsey at 6:26 AM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you actually read the link I included, you'll see that the taxpayers' return on investment for the bank bailout has been just over 10%.

10% over an 8 year period. That's less than 2% per year.

The market rate was 10% yet they got their money for 5%. That amounts of billions in taxpayer handouts ...
How do you figure? Interest on 10 year treasury bonds never exceeded 4% since 2008 and averaged 2.7%. Even Baa bonds never exceeded 8%.


Banks on the verge of bankruptcy don't get Aaa rates. They don't even get Baa rates. They were about to go out of business and were desperate for funds. How do we know the market rate? Because that was the rate for money on the open market. At the height of the crisis, Warren Buffett loaned $5 billion to Goldman Sachs, perhaps the stronger of the beleaguered banks, and received 10% dividends plus warrants on stock. That was the market rate for one of the stronger banks. A government loan at 5% was a gift from the taxpayers.

A lot of bankers lost their jobs. In the UK alone Business Insider puts it at 180,000+ and Bloomberg at 500,000 jobs.

Those are bullshit numbers and you know it. Almost all of those people were not executives but bank tellers, secretaries and back office workers, in other words, the 99%. None of the bankers went to jail.
posted by JackFlash at 7:05 AM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think it's a bit more complicated than that. I think, for example, that many of us badly underestimated the extent to which having a black man as our president would cause segments of our society to go batshit insane.

This is a really good point. Fortunately, I think the Republican party gains in 2010 (coinciding with the redistricting) have been a Pyrrhic victory in many ways. Redrawing the lines to give you safe districts means your only election risk is being primaried from the Right. Having to constantly defend their flank from Tea Party purists radicalized the party and the voters.

That's when the alternate reality bubble really took hold. The Republican voters are expecting their elected officials to deliver on promises that are politically impossible, and voting them out when they don't deliver. As a result, as a Republican politician, it's much safer to grandstand than to actually try to pass legislation to further policy goals, because passing legislation requires compromise, and any compromise is seen as betrayal. (That's why Senators did better than Governors in the primaries.) This mindset completely lobotomizes the party and prevents serious policy conversations. This is both what dooms moderate Republican legislators and what gives you Ted Cruz and Donald Trump at the de facto leaders of the Republican party.

The 2010 redistricting was a poisoned chalice, it strongly misaligned the party for future electoral success. Reince Priebus knows this, by the way. His 2012 autopsy recognized the need to be a more inclusive party, and that's not something that can happen when you're alienating everyone but old white people.

The next election in 2020 is going to be Ted Cruz against incumbent Hillary. Ted can't win a national election, but the Republican faithful don't understand this yet. Ted getting crushed in a general election destroys the argument that the reason the Republicans are losing is that the candidates haven't been conservative enough. They would have learned that in this election cycle (and queued them up to legitimately challenge Hillary in 2020), but Trump hijacked the nomination. So they'll have to wait until 2020 to learn it. And then the 2020 redistricting (during presidential election year, good for democrats) will just destroy them.

At which point they'll finally start to tack to the center, because losing 4 presidential elections in a row is not something any political party can sustain. (The last time that happened was with Franklin Roosevelt).
posted by leotrotsky at 7:08 AM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


10% over an 8 year period. That's less than 2% per year.

The majority of the revenue payments occurred within the first few years, mostly by the end of 2013. And, bailouts were spread out over a period of a couple of years or so. There's a continuing trickle of revenue today, but you can't just add up the total revenue and the total number of years since the first bailout and declare that the ratio is the effective interest rate, that isn't how math works.

Banks on the verge of bankruptcy don't get Aaa rates. They don't even get Baa rates. They were about to go out of business and were desperate for funds.

Yes. That was the point. The banks were nearly insolvent and the market couldn't provide them with the capital they needed to survive. That was why we bailed them out, to prevent all of our banks from collapsing and triggering a depression worse than the Great one.

A government loan at 5% was a gift from the taxpayers.

So if your definition of "gift from the taxpayers" is "loan at rates more favorable than the market could provide," then sure. But that goalpost has been moved pretty significantly from "economic policy that bailed out the banks and the financial sector at the expense of pretty much everyone else".

Those are bullshit numbers and you know it. Almost all of those people were not executives but bank tellers, secretaries and back office workers, in other words, the 99%.

Any evidence to support that? It certainly could be true but if you're going to call dmh's sourced numbers "bullshit," it seems like the least you could do is provide contrary evidence to support your position.

Anyway, it's clear to me at this point that this discussion of the bank bailouts isn't going anywhere other than a derail, so I'll drop it.
posted by biogeo at 8:42 AM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


There's a continuing trickle of revenue today, but you can't just add up the total revenue and the total number of years since the first bailout and declare that the ratio is the effective interest rate, that isn't how math works.

Yet that is exactly what you did! You claimed a 10% rate of return. And I pointed out the fallacy of your assumption using the numbers you provided.

As to hundreds of thousands of "bankers" losing their jobs, you have to be delusional to believe that.
posted by JackFlash at 8:54 AM on July 11, 2016


Those are bullshit numbers and you know it. Almost all of those people were not executives but bank tellers, secretaries and back office workers, in other words, the 99%. None of the bankers went to jail.

I'm acquainted with a couple of traders and analysts who lost their jobs as a result of the financial crisis. It wasn't fun. Now that may be anecdotal, but it is supported by the fact that UK productivity in the finance industry shrunk by more than 10% since 2008.

Don't get me wrong. I am also angry that the people at the top were basically airlifted out of a forest fire of their own making at the taxpayer's expense. But the notion that it was all "business as usual" is to buy into the PR campaign manufactured to calm the markets. It was pandemonium.
posted by dmh at 11:19 AM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yet that is exactly what you did! You claimed a 10% rate of return. And I pointed out the fallacy of your assumption using the numbers you provided.

Well, I said I was dropping it, but if you're going to claim I said things I didn't, I'll respond to at least defend my own words.

me: the taxpayers' return on investment for the bank bailout has been just over 10%.

I did not claim a 10% rate of return, I claimed, and supported with a citation, that the total return was just over 10%. You are the one who introduced the idea that the rate of return being so low constitutes evidence of that the bailouts amount to class warfare. I then pointed out that the way you'd calculated rate of return wasn't particularly meaningful and was mathematically biased to produce a low number. Additionally I am unconvinced by the idea that this would indeed amount to class warfare. Unfairness, yes, but that's a very different question, and lots of things are unfair but necessary.

I supposedly have a whole slew of misunderstandings about this issue, but despite my requests for hard sources of facts you haven't provided any to help my correct my misunderstandings. Since I don't know you personally and I have no reason to believe that your understanding of these issues is any better than mine, providing citations would allow me to evaluate the sources of your claims, just as you were able to with the Peterson Institute link I provided. I am open to being convinced that I'm wrong -- I really am. But the vast majority of the time that other people on the Left claim that the Obama administration and the "Democratic establishment" are part of a deliberate effort of class warfare against the majority of Americans, when I try to evaluate their claims I find mounds of contradicting evidence and very little in the way of hard facts to support it. Often it takes trivially little effort to find concrete, undisputed facts contradicting these sorts of claims.
posted by biogeo at 12:34 PM on July 11, 2016


It's worth granting some benefit of the doubt in these numerical discussions. For instance, apropos of "trivially little effort", as others have pointed out, the senate agenda was largely exogenous to Clinton and Sanders, and there are few votes that distinguish left from far-left. Furthermore, it is often overlooked that DW-Nominate is a cardinal scale, not ordinal, so rank comparisons are also inappropriate (11th most liberal Senator, etc). But even with the paucity of votes distinguishing left from far left, (as I recall) Clinton's Nominate score was 0.5 standard deviations to the left of the Democratic mean in the Senate, while Sanders's was 3 standard deviations to the left -- a much more significant difference than 93% agreement or rank comparisons would suggest. But in any case, I'm not looking to reopen that old debate, just point out that what may appear trivially easy to support via one citation may be considerably more complex as you go down the quantitative rabbit hole. A little bit of benefit-of-the-doubt goes a long way.
posted by chortly at 1:17 PM on July 11, 2016


Let's review the context:

The market rate was 10% yet they got their money for 5%. That amounts of billions in taxpayer handouts.

Your reply: If you actually read the link I included, you'll see that the taxpayers' return on investment for the bank bailout has been just over 10%.

That's trying to pull a fast on one the readers. Confusing annual returns and total returns, or not at least putting in a disclaimer, is just the sort of thing that bankers do to trip up potential customers. You aren't arguing in good faith.
posted by JackFlash at 1:20 PM on July 11, 2016


You aren't arguing in good faith.

I was thinking the same thing about you, and since you're now suggesting I'm being intentionally dishonest, I think we're done. Have a nice evening.
posted by biogeo at 4:52 PM on July 11, 2016


The nice things liberals do that used to get them praise aren't really cutting it any more because many around the world now see them for what they are: a sop thrown to the masses to keep them from seriously rebelling against structural injustices that are fundamentally political-economic in nature. We've had a person of color with impeccable US-liberal credentials elected president who threw the middle and lower classes under the bus in favor of financial elites. We have a woman likely to be president with the same ideological bent. We have CEOs falling over themselves to say how open-minded they are about bathroom policies related to gender identity.

It's complicated. And that's not a bug, it's a feature, as far as the ruling elites are concerned... such cultural politics have done and will do nothing to ameliorate the widespread materially-based suffering caused by the massive wealth inequality that is quite literally poisoning the Western democratic republics and fomenting authoritarianism.


fwiw...
Why Clinton's New Tuition-Free Higher Ed Plan Matters
The plan isn’t great. I think means-testing higher ed makes about as much sense as means-testing Social Security or elementary school (though, alas, we still do that in this country through local funding and property taxes). I would have preferred free higher ed for everyone.

That said, and assuming Clinton can get this plan through (a big assumption), this is still a big step forward. For three reasons...

[reasons]

To my mind, this announcement today goes way beyond the Clinton/Sanders horserace or the Clinton/Trump race. If there is anyone to be celebrated here, it’s the millions of people—particularly young people—who pushed so hard during this campaign, and who have been slowly changing American politics outside the electoral realm.

One of the biggest challenges facing democracy—as opposed to liberalism—and democratic ways of thinking and doing things, is the sense, among a lot of citizens, that political action, whether in the electoral realm or the streets, doesn’t matter. That sense is not delusion; there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that on some fundamentals, it doesn’t matter, at least not yet. But you don’t change that common sense by repeating it over and over to people...

If this plan of Clinton’s does come to pass—again, a big if—it could help, ever so slightly (I stress that ever so slightly), change our sense, if we claim this victory as our own (not as a beneficent handout of an elite neoliberal politician but as a response to real pressure from citizens, particularly younger citizens who have been active in so many social movements these last few years), it could help change our sense of where power lies. It could help more people see what the good activist and the smart organizer already sees: that if we could just possibly get our shit together, we might, sometimes, find power elsewhere. Not power in the abstract, but power to change the concrete terms and conditions of our daily lives.

So here’s my new (really, hardly new at all, and actually not mine) political slogan, as we enter a season of (I hope) increasing, if ultimately finite, concessions from the neoliberal state: Take this, demand more, seize all.

Update (6:45 pm)

A helpful Vox piece reports on three other elements of the Clinton college plan that we should not be thrilled about...
also btw...
-Clinton Reaffirms Support For Public Option In Bid For Sanders Supporters
-Obama Joins Call For 'Public Option' Health Care Plan

otoh, clinton's reflexive support of surveillance capitalism: "consider the other candidate running for President, the one we consider the sane alternative, who has been a longtime promoter of a system of extrajudicial murder that uses blanket surveillance of cell phone traffic, email, and social media to create lists of people to be tracked and killed with autonomous aircraft."
posted by kliuless at 11:42 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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