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Charlotteman

What's with Obama?

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Barack Obama was elected in 2008 for one reason. People wanted change.

People wanted universal health care. People wanted the end of Clinton/Bush era DOMA and "don't ask/don't tell". Americans didn't want any more spying on their fellow citizens. People said it loud and clear.

Obama's electoral vote was quite a resounding win. But so far Obama looks like a status quo guy, not willing to tip the boat too much. Are empty promises going to be indicative of his first term?

Today it was announced that certain provisions of the so-called Patriot Act will be continued under Obama's administration.

The administration is strongly hinting it doesn't consider the Public Option to be a deal breaker in the whole health bill thing. Without Public Option, it's essentially status quo.

All Obama has done to repeal DOMA and "don't ask/don't tell" is to give them lip service. He has done nothing whatsoever to end those deplorable laws. "I plan to work with Congress..." is too lame for belief.

Frankly, I'm getting disillusioned. So far, Obama doesn't seem like such a dynamic leader to me. He gives breathtaking speeches, but then doesn't live up to his promises. Ideas?

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You've also got to consider that Obama promised to be a president that would also work with Republicans and that he represented a "new way" of getting things done in Washington. Personally, I think he was a bit naive on that point, but he's trying to balance the change he promised with a more conciliatory tone. Obviously that's easier said than done. I'm not ready to pass judgment just yet. I do believe, however, that even if he gets healthcare reform legislation passed without the public option, that will still be a legitimate notch in his belt. On that particular issue, I think that going with the trigger is probably the ideal way to go at this point.

I guess in terms of perception, he can't please anyone right now. The liberals think he's being way too moderate, and the conservatives think he's way too liberal.

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You also have to realize that its going to take time for change. This country was on the brink of a major depression when George Bush left office. Much of his time thus far in office was spent on trying to stabalize and reverse the situtation which he has been successful at doing. But I think Obama has to pass this healthcare bill because I think his presidency is going to ride on that. But even during the campaign Obama said change wasnt going to be easy or happen overnight. At times it is as much of a challenge to get fellow democrats on the same page as it is with republicans.

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Personally, I don't even want to imagine what the world would be like if McCain/Palin had been elected instead of Obama. (shuddering)

I will say though, that I don't feel Obama has portrayed great 'leadership' abilities. I feel more like we are being 'managed.' I am also getting tired for all of the occasions which have arisen that have caused Obama and the administration to have to 'apologize.'

I am willing to give him some more time on some issues, and while he did want bi-partisanship; I feel the GOP has pretty much caused that to go by the wayside. I will say that I feel he has backed off promises to the LGBT community on DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, among other legislations. However, if we are in 'management' mode this time next year; I may be starting to loose faith in the promised 'change.'

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If you're angering both the far right and the far left, as Obama is, then odds are you're taking a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road approach that is best for everyone in the long term. Many of the sweeping societal reforms that we on the left (including Obama) would like to see would have no chance of passing presently, and pushing for them would only increase the political rift in this country. Given that Obama's presidency has this far consisted mostly of damage control on the multifaceted mess he inherited from his predecessor, it isn't surprising that he hasn't taken on anything but baby-step reforms. Only when the people see these minor reforms making their lives better will they open up to broader changes. The Republican party has become nothing but a roadblock, but they will enjoy the continued support of a huge portion of the population until these people see with their own eyes that there's a better way. Until that happens change will be a painfully slow process, and Obama would be wise not to rush that process.

That said, there are things I wish he had done differently. The administration waited far too long to enter the health care debate, letting the opposition create a popular perception of the president's stance that is completely untrue (for an elected official to inject such blatant, confirmable lies into political discourse should be punishable not just by impeachment but by jail time). Rather than backing off on the public option Obama should be making the point that it really is best in the long term for everyone, including the health insurance industry. However, by letting the GOP frame the issue he now has to cater to their side to gain passable support for his plan. which leads me to...

Obama's insistence on pushing for bipartisanship is going too far. That is a noble goal, and I applaud him for making it a point of his administration. However, it is a two-way street, and for all the olive branches he offers the Republicans (angering off his base in the process) they show little willingness to work with him on anything. All we see from the Republican leadership is vitriol and outrage at every turn. We have elected officials leveling the sort of attacks on Obama that Bush never faced from anyone except the extreme liberal fringe of the public. I'm sorry, but any official who had no problem with Bush's myriad offenses has no right to be indignant at Obama's push to stop health insurance companies from ripping off the people. If the GOP isn't willing to sit down and have an honest, dignified debate over their differences with the president, then screw them and their opinions. Pass the reforms over their heads and let them explain to their constituents why they opposed these measures that improve the quality of life in this country.

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In a political science course I had taken in college, it was talked about that president's historically follow the status quo on many things, especially domestic issues, even when campaigning against it. So far, it has proven true. As far as health care goes, sure they could ram something through House, but that isn't where the problem lies. The problem is in the Senate, where moderate and blue dog Democrats are cool to the idea of a public option. At that point, you won't get anything at all until you get both sides to agree. Now thats not to say that the Republicans aren't throwing fuel into the fire, but they aren't the only problem there is. Him not spelling out exactly what he wanted definitely didn't help this either. The longer the health care debate goes on, the more damage there will be to Obama. His ratings have steadily dropped since this whole fiasco started and it will likely continue until something is done.

Another problem Obama keeps finding himself in is definitely a position of apologizing constantly for things. He is constantly on the defensive for things, making it even more difficult to get things done. This not only hampers efforts to get anything done, but it also weakens his standing abroad, as it shows him as an easy target and weak leader.

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It's time for Obama to stand up and show some guts.

These so called "Blue Dogs" are obstructionists, pure and simple. 100% of Senate Republicans are obstructionists. Why even bother with them any more? These legislators are getting major contributions from insurance companies. Isn't this an obvious conflict of interest? How can they be taken seriously?

Obama is the only one with any credibility. I'm becoming convinced any change in American health care is going to come from the work of the Executive Branch.

Sen. Max Baucus is a national disgrace.

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Obama is nothing but a statist. I knew if he got in office, there wasn't going to be change. That's why I voted for Ron Paul, even though he had no remote shot of winning.

If President Obama was smart, he would not be trying to reform healthcare. Just leave it alone and let the free market decide. When government runs something, it's always worse, more inefficient, and much more costly. Besides, this country is in so much debt, it has no money for Obama's health care reform or any other stimulus packages, unless he runs to Ben Bernanke's printing press or borrow more money from foreigners. As of right, there are more pressing issues in this country other than healthcare, like getting the troops out of the Bush's wars and reducing the deficit.

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Obama is nothing but a statist. I knew if he got in office, there wasn't going to be change. That's why I voted for Ron Paul, even though he had no remote shot of winning.

If President Obama was smart, he would not be trying to reform healthcare. Just leave it alone and let the free market decide. When government runs something, it's always worse, more inefficient, and much more costly. Besides, this country is in so much debt, it has no money for Obama's health care reform or any other stimulus packages, unless he runs to Ben Bernanke's printing press or borrow more money from foreigners. As of right, there are more pressing issues in this country other than healthcare, like getting the troops out of the Bush's wars and reducing the deficit.

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If President Obama was smart, he would not be trying to reform healthcare. Just leave it alone and let the free market decide.

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Pardon me for asking, but was that a joke?

So far the free market you speak of has lead to 47 million uninsured Americans, and umpteen thousand bankruptcies related to catastrophic health costs.

The USA is the only major industrialized democracy that doesn't guarantee it's people health care. This is quite literally a disgrace. We elected Obama to change this.

btw a side note: I recently looked into purchasing health insurance for my cats. Interestingly, the statistics on pet health insurance are as startling as human insurance. Pet owners can expect 20% increases in premiums almost every year!

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He's a good speaker, but heavy on top-down government, spends even worse than Bush (who himself grew the Federal budget far, FAR too much), and seems to be a little uncomfortable as President. The confidence he had campaigning seems to have disappeared when he got his first official briefing (after which, you might recall, he looked like he had seen a ghost). I think he's feeling things out and beginning to understand that perhaps being a community organizer doesn't necessarily give you the managing or leadership skills to be President of the United States of America. I think he needs to be given time to really develop. That's completely apart from his policies and beliefs, which is (and should be) another discussion entirely.

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.... and he seems to be a little uncomfortable as President. The confidence he had campaigning seems to have disappeared when he got his first official briefing (after which, you might recall, he looked like he had seen a ghost). I think he's feeling things out and beginning to understand that perhaps being a community organizer doesn't necessarily give you the managing or leadership skills to be President of the United States of America.....

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I don't think he seems confident. He seems to take a long while making decisions or to exhibit leadership. In the healthcare fight, for example, it seems he created a mess by only writing his own proposal after congress had "allowed" it to become a big fight in the public arena. No matter your feelings on the current proposal for healthcare reform, if Obama wanted to really make his mark as a leader there, he would have done what the Republicans feared, which is to take the lead and ram it through the Democrat-majority congress himself without allowing for the intensity of emotions to snowball as they have done. In Afghanistan, he's had Gen. McChrystal's report for a while and hasn't as yet formulated how to proceed there; instead he was attending the IOC when they announced the winning city while the report was sent to him which if nothing else at least looks, from a PR standpoint, like his priorities are a bit confused.

I don't mean to sound like I'm completely bagging on him, but at this point I don't yet think he's quite settled in and made the adjustment to being President. In another year, if public opinion seems to remain on his side, I think he'll find his groove and the Republicans won't be able to stop or slow him as they (relatively surprisingly) have done on healthcare.

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I don't think he seems confident. He seems to take a long while making decisions or to exhibit leadership. In the healthcare fight, for example, it seems he created a mess by only writing his own proposal after congress had "allowed" it to become a big fight in the public arena.

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^Regarding the healthcare debacle, the administration has said that Obama wanted the proposal to come from Congress rather than the White House. He felt that the Clinton plan failed in large part because the president was perceived as forcing the proposal on Congress. Obama's mistake was trusting the Republicans to have a fair, honest debate on helthcare reform rather than immediately reverting to partisan obstruction through deception. In hesitating to ram his plan through, Obama wasn't demonstrating his uncertainty. Rather, he was attempting to give all parties a fair chance to be heard.

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Had he done that, it would have clearly discredited him as someone who seeks to work in bipartisan fashion, and that's what he has said he would try to do as president. That was one of his major selling points. To abandon such a principle this early in the game would have worked against him. I can possibly see him going a little more in that direction with whatever issue he decides to tackle next.

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I for one am glad he didn't force his health care bill through as well, but in so doing he has had to compromise on the issue. Perhaps that was the plan all along - ask for more than you intend at first, and negotiate down to what you really wanted in the first place. Both sides come away feeling like they accomplished something. Hard to say, since we don't really know what goes on in the back rooms, but strictly from what you see on TV it does look like one of Obama's "teachable moment" for himself as krazeeboi said...

As to the Olympics, the jury's still out as to their overall cost/benefit to an economy. Certainly trying to top Beijing's impressive Games would be a costly mistake, but in an era of such heightened security it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Games would make a net profit; I think they're an image-maker and profile-booster, as Beijing "used" them to top effect. Then there's Obama's rise through Illinois politics, a state ruled by, you guessed it, Chicago. An attempt to boost his buddies at home? I have no proof other than being suspicious about politicians of any stripe, party, or political leaning...though that kind of jockeying to get the Games does seem a bit beneath the President's pay grade. IIRC Chicagoans weren't so wild about having the Games anyway. Better to go to a place like Rio where the folks are genuinely excited and ready to welcome the greatest Games in the world :)

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The President appeared in New Orleans today and delivered another world class speech. I only got to hear some of the speech, but what I saw was (typical) breathtaking Obama oration.

It was readily apparent the crowd was inspired, and they responded enthusiastically to the President's comments on rebuilding New Orleans. I was even inspired---- and I live in Washington State, thousands of miles from the devastated area.

This is what the Noble Committee was basing their decision on. Obama has the ability to inspire people. He has inspired the whole world with his aim of restoring the US's role as moral leader. The Committee clearly understands that one man can indeed make a difference in world peace. When awarding the prize, accomplishments become secondary.

Of course, in the years ahead we look forward to the President's concrete achievements, and I feel there will be many.

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Time will tell his success; premature awards will not.

Unlike what seems to be the conservative status quo, I don't wish him to fail. That's a selfish argument that promotes the same narrow anti-Obama sentiment I railed against when Bush was in office and we heard a lot of anti-Bush noise. It also debases anyone who argues it, as it debases anyone who argued the whole anti-Bush position; arguing for our own elected President's failure shows a character flaw, IMHO, of pessimism, where we as Americans should be as optimistic as we have always tended to be.

I think we need to wait for results before we give Obama pure adulation that he's received during the post-Bush mint he's been riding.

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Sen. Lamar Alexander R-Tenn. has said the Obama administration is "showing Nixonian tendencies by compiling enemies lists". Alexander was not forthcoming on examples of this nutty claim.

By the way, Alexander was part of the Nixon administration. :o

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I do want the President to succeed - to an extent. I do believe there is good he can and may do, I also believe there is a lot of damage he can and will try to do unless restrained.

But so far, he has been an empty suit. He is not a leader, had some small amount of political experience before getting into this - but nothing along leadership lines. He has surrounded himself with a lot of questionable people, IMHO, EX: Van Jones. Sorry, I don't want an pinkos sitting that close to the President, whom I believe has some pinko blood of his own running through those veins. I personally don't like moving in the socialist direction.

Sure he delivers good speeches, so what? It seems to me he made a lot of promises that he is now realizing will be hard to live up to or fulfill. He has alienated the far left. He hasn't alienated the far right, that was automatic and would have happened just for being a liberal Democrat. Fewer people are trusting in him, and the Congress and Senate. His approval ratings are dropping. I think a lot of people are now questioning their decision of voting for him. He has turned out to not be the Messiah after all.

Would McCain have been better? Probably not?? Worse?? Probably not, I think he would have achieved similar results by this time had he been elected as the Democrats would have rallied to block his agenda along many avenues - and we're where we always are - little gets done to the benefit of the people, Washington remains inefficient and corrupt.

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I do want the President to succeed - to an extent. I do believe there is good he can and may do, I also believe there is a lot of damage he can and will try to do unless restrained.

But so far, he has been an empty suit. He is not a leader, had some small amount of political experience before getting into this - but nothing along leadership lines. He has surrounded himself with a lot of questionable people, IMHO, EX: Van Jones. Sorry, I don't want an pinkos sitting that close to the President, whom I believe has some pinko blood of his own running through those veins. I personally don't like moving in the socialist direction.

Sure he delivers good speeches, so what? It seems to me he made a lot of promises that he is now realizing will be hard to live up to or fulfill. He has alienated the far left. He hasn't alienated the far right, that was automatic and would have happened just for being a liberal Democrat. Fewer people are trusting in him, and the Congress and Senate. His approval ratings are dropping. I think a lot of people are now questioning their decision of voting for him. He has turned out to not be the Messiah after all.

Would McCain have been better? Probably not?? Worse?? Probably not, I think he would have achieved similar results by this time had he been elected as the Democrats would have rallied to block his agenda along many avenues - and we're where we always are - little gets done to the benefit of the people, Washington remains inefficient and corrupt.

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I'm not disappointed with Obama because I knew exactly what I was voting for. He has acted in the same centrist manner that I expected him to so there's really nothing "overall" to be disappointed about. Specific issues like bailouts to the banks instead of the little people and his over use of executive privilege and state secrets clauses disappoint me. Other than that, he is exactly the President I expected. My vote was more to stave of the disaster that would've been McCain/Palin. There was no way as an American that I could sit idly by and let the right wing take us completely off the cliff. That said, I just don't see how people deluded themselves into thinking Obama was a liberal/progressive. He is not now nor has he ever been either of those things. A quick look at his voting record would have revealed this.

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