So, it's Obama

And here we go.  I think this election expresses, above all, the hatred, the astonishing hatred, we all feel for George W. Bush.  And, to be sure, he’s earned it.

So now the question becomes: what happens with Obama in office and Democratic control of both houses when they continue to carry on the same policies that Bush has carried on?  More military adventures, more attacks on personal freedom, more support for billionaires on Wall Street, no solution for the mass forclosures and unemployment.  What happens?  Rage, or apathy?  I’m betting on apathy and hoping I’m wrong.

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0 thoughts on “So, it's Obama”

  1. I’m betting on the wrong sort of rage, and Carter-Plus-Charisma policies, and hoping I’m wrong. But I’d have almost the same feeling about a McCain win.

  2. I’m also hoping that after the alcohol wears off I’ll be able to spemm my owm mane vorrevtly.

  3. Whoops, obviously I just had to read farther along.

    -twinkle- Well. Glad you DID see that. Pity about his surname, then.


  4. I can taste the cynicism. Sadly, I can understand it.
    I hope for the best, but prepare for the food shortages.
    We can only hang on, hope, and make sure to have plenty of canned goods.

  5. Hey why so cynical?

    The man promises the following tangible items:
    – Hope;
    – Dreams; and
    – Change.

    To achieve these, America needs to conduct the following activities:
    – Walk a long road;
    – Climb something that is steep; and
    – Move a mountain (location or mountain not specified).

    Now that’s a man with a definitive plan!

  6. Oh and I found out something else. As a foreigner he offers me a shared destiny.

    Well my life is complete. I guess it’s now safe to book a holiday for my wife and daughter for a road trip around Waziristan?

  7. Apologies if I’m double-posting, but I don’t see the comment I thought I left:

    I’m just glad there’s one less reason to talk about class now. Bradley Effect: thoroughly debunked. President of the US, his wife, and his daughters: black. That’s worth a moment of satisfaction before we get on to, you know, the class struggle thang.

  8. There definitely won’t be rage or apathy. Those aren’t traditional Democratic emotions. I do think that the Democrats in Congress will be confused about the sudden change in master, from one who would strike them at the slightest hint of rebellion to one who wants them to behave well in public and do tricks.

    If they take to the new master, things might improve. If not, they’ll probably start peeing on the carpet and chewing up shoes.

    With Obama, i do fear more military adventures and more attacks on personal freedom. I hope not, though.

  9. Will: Except for at least one African-American comedian who’s already gone on record about him not being black enough (and whoever he speaks for). A sort of reverse-“one-drop”-test, I guess. How… …civilized.

    But yeah, what you said: it’s good that there is a little STFU component on that score.

  10. Techslave: I don’t, in this case, consider it cynicism. I’m basing my position on what Obama has said and what was said at the DNC, and throughout the campaign. More sabre-rattling against Russia with threat of intervention, more troops in Afghanistan, support for domestic wire-tapping, support for the bail-out, comments about the need to be tough. When the talk about rejecting “one-party rule” and seeking “broader consensus” no matter how lopsided the victory, that is code for, “don’t worry, we aren’t going to do anything to upset Warren Buffet.”

    I take Obama and the DNC leadership at their word on that.

  11. Oops, major typo in my comment. Should be: “I’m just glad there’s one less reason *not* to talk about class now.”

    Michael, yeah, the racialists will not let go so long as focusing on race lets them keep class privilege.

    Steve, on the other hand, Obama left open the possibility that he might be a sane moderate capitalist who would actually reach for the phone before the red button. You’re right that the smart money says he’s another Clinton—the DLC loves him—but we might as well enjoy the possibility that he’ll surprise us if he’s pushed hard to the left. I’m thinking health care will be the test issue, but it may be war.

  12. Health care is an interesting one. I’m not betting the farm on it, but with the domination of big oil and the shake-up in big finance (which tends to include the insurance companies), it might be there is a window during which a dominant section of capitalism might see an advantage in health care. At least, it isn’t utterly impossible, the way it was ten years ago when the financial sector had such a grip.

  13. I’m looking forward to having someone tell me how much air to put in my tires, where to set my thermostat, wipe my bottom when I’m dirty, feed me when I’m hungry, and take care of me when I’m sick. I’m quitting my job right now, because I don’t have to work anymore! Yes!

  14. As to the question – What will America feel next (rage or apathy)? How about – happiness?

    I know it’s not a serious analysis of the many problems needing to be solved, but I am serious about my answer.

    When President-Elect Obama mentioned that his children were getting a puppy, it hit me. We’re going to have children AND a puppy in the White House again!

    I think America is better, happier place with children and a puppy living in the White House. It’s very Camelot-esque.

    Optimism! Yeah!

  15. Like Bill H., I was feeling happiness last night. I went to bed euphoric and hopeful. I woke up in a similar mood. When I finally got in front of a computer that all changed.

    I saw the results for Prop 8 in California. I remembered in the debate when Obama said he didn’t support gay marriage and I dismissed it as not crucial.

    I think I was wrong to dismiss it. I think my wife and I need to consider getting divorced rather than participate in the hateful, bigoted institution that marriage is quickly becoming.

    I’m not currently feeling rage or apathy; I’m feeling sorrow, deep, immobilizing sorrow. Apathy isn’t next, though. I predict the rage will be there tomorrow or the next day.

  16. There is already rage, in some quarters.

    There is also dread, as chants of O-ba-ma bring up echoes of the waning days of the Weimar Republic.

  17. babysat, me, too! Alas, neither Democrats nor socialists will provide those things for us in my universe. How do I enter yours?

    Bill and Ken, enjoy the hope, because the general movement is in the right direction. Then plan to do the work to continue the movement.

  18. The man has to govern from the middle. You can not govern from the left in this country. You just can’t. There are too many centrist and right wing folk out there to truly manage it in my opinion.

    The change that will happen will be small changes. But hopefully those small changes do make a difference in the long run.

    From little things, big things grow.

  19. Mr. Shetterly @ 19:

    I’m glad that you live in an alternate universe. Because comrade bin Obama has said all of the things that I mentioned with the obvious single exception. Socialism, as he intends to practice it from his own words is a religion of hopelessness and surrender to his control. Little by little, his government will do more and more for us, and taking more and more of our freedoms, and making more and more of our decisions.
    I only wish that I didn’t live in that reality. It worries me about the future for my children. I’m teaching them to stand tall and proud, and show love for your fellow man by helping them as you can voluntarily, not thru taxes. I don’t want my government to be any more top-heavy.

  20. @22

    There is a class of people who are perfectly comfortable because their food is brought to them over the publicly built highway system, they get clean water from the public utility system, they don’t worry about dysentery thanks to public sewer systems and they face no likelihood of dying from polio or small pox thanks to publicly funded vaccination and other health initiatives. This class often cannot understand that there are people in this country who don’t have access to even these few, life altering services. If the government were to try to take these basic necessities away, they would scream bloody murder, just as they protest attempts to provide them to everyone else. They want government expansion until they’re happy, then they want to bring back “rugged individualism”.

    Given your misunderstanding of what socialism actually is, and your use of the internet, a government program funded with public money, to protest government programs, I strongly suspect you belong to this class.

  21. Though I didn’t like either candidate, I’m adopting a “wait and see” approach to the Obama administration.

    There’s not much else to do at the moment. Once we see how he runs his administration, that’s when hope, rage, dread, or despair will set in.

  22. Did you miss when he promised a big bag of hope in every pot?

    Look, no candidate is ideal. To paraphrase Marx, (Groucho) ‘I wouldn’t want to vote for anybody that would want the job.’ But seriously, after 8 years of W, can it be worse?

  23. @20, 22 – I had this discussion with my room-mate the other day, as to which Houses McCain and Obama would belong. McCain seems like a Dragon easily enough. Obama, on the other hand, is harder – nominally he would be an Iorich. My first instinct would be Tiassa (inspiration), or Vallista (rebuilding). More and more, I think he would be a Hawk – to attempt to restore order to a country in disarray from the misguided impetuousness of the previous ruler. (My apologies for any reference that might associate, on any level, Bush with Khaavren ).
    Right now, I am more guardedly hopeful. Government is a fluid and continuing thing – Obama won’t magically change things overnight. Some policies are simply too large to dismantle or change directly and quickly: economics and Iraq/Afghanistan are great examples. Obama will inherit Bush’s legacy, such as it is. It’s a pipe dream to hope that our troops will be home and the economy thriving in two years – but it is considerably closer now than it was two days ago.

  24. Off topic… but still political… I’m kinda curious… some of you out there are socalists. When exactly did Americans (in general) start using the terms Socalism and Communism as an interchangable thing?

    It surprised me how during the recent campaign when Obama was called a socalist, people took it to mean communist. And yet if you asked people if they wanted universal health care… most people would say yes.


  25. to 24;

    but, you see, it’s not my misunderstanding, it’s his, because those are the things that he wants to do. I believe that the private sector can do all those things you mentioned better in all senses than the government. The market can fix the health care problem if the idiots that got elected would get out of the way.
    Stop it with the classism stuff already.

  26. Dru @ 20: Kicked out an Orca and got an Orca.

    GWW @ 21: “The man has to govern from the middle. You can not govern from the left in this country.” And yet, governing from the right seemed to work. When Obama says he is going to govern “from the middle” he means he has no intention of reversing the most appalling, despicable actions of the Bush administration. Which, to his credit, he has been saying for the last three months; we can’t claim to be surprised when it happens.

    GWW @ 27: You win.

    GWW @ 29: The general confusion and massive ignorance about what socialism means (and communism too, for that matter), can be traced to the McCarthyite witch hunts of the 50s, which made education on the subject, in essence, illegal. For permitting that to happen without serious resistance, you can blame the Communist Party and its policy (going back to the 30s, except briefly during the Stalin-Hitler pact) of support for the Democratic Party.

  27. interesting thing I noticed. Obama received over 1,000,000 less votes for prez than Bush did in 2004. Not sure what that says, other than less people voted.

  28. @32:

    Do you have a source for either assertion? Both seem improbable, to put it mildly.

  29. @34

    As I expected, thanks for the research. I guess meme is all they’re left with at this point.

  30. At skzb in 30: It only worked for a while though and then we had what most would consider a landslide for someone who feigned left leadership (though who’s record is, in my opinion at least, really quite centrist).

    I hope I’m wrong of course. I hope he can make things like universal health care actually happen.

    I grew up in the deep south, so it’s always hard for me to see the best in my fellow Americans when I was mostly surrounded by ignorance and bigotry.

    I always assume that the south, who seems dominated by conservative right wing christians, are going to stop change no matter how good it seems just because they’re stubborn as hell and want to argue about everything.

    I’ve lived the last 7 years over seas in Australia which HAS universal health care, cheap university, an excellent living wage, etc… and man it’s great. Truly amazing. That I can go into any doctor or hospital hand them my card and get free treatment is… I truly can’t describe the feeling.

    Growing up we never went to the doctor because we never had enough money unless we were REALLY sick, and then even as a child you felt bad because you know you just made the family have debt and such. It’s taken me years and years to even start to break that deep ingrained training and I honestly feel sorry that American’s don’t have the freedom to be healthy and well.

    I was talking to my wife the other night about this stuff, and it seemed to me that many Americans have a born in need to distrust or… I’d even go so far as to say ‘to be paranoid’ about every change out there.

    Hell, people still don’t believe we walked on the moon.

    I just don’t get it. I honestly don’t understand how people can be that thinkheaded about things. Things that are progressive especially.

    Oh well.

    Sorry about McCarthyism, he’s my great great something or other on my mom’s side. Whoops!

  31. GWW: “It only worked for a while though…” Depends what you mean by “worked.” Exxon-Mobile recorded their biggest profits in history. From Bush’s standpoint, I’d call that success. I’m not sure there’s much else that matters to him.

    “That I can go into any doctor or hospital hand them my card and get free treatment is… I truly can’t describe the feeling.” *Dies of envy*

    “I just don’t get it. I honestly don’t understand how people can be that thinkheaded about things.”

    When people are constantly bombarded by propaganda indicating that amassing personal wealth is the only mark of success; when rational thought is not only not taught, but taught to be treated with suspicion; when key information about how society works is systematically excluded, it would seem that to blame it on people being thickheaded is maybe a bit–pardon me–thickheaded.

  32. skzb: When I said “It only worked for a while though…” I meant from the perspective that people only accepted it so long before demanding something different.

    Sure you can lead from the left or right, but it seems like we will flip the other direction which means it’s difficult to make long term change without the whole country coming together, which I just can’t see happening any time soon.

    I wouldn’t argue that I’m thickheaded, I am I guess.

    My wife and I were talking last night about all these things and she said that she thought a lot of Americans were republican and believed in the free market and such for the life they wish they had rather than the life they were living.

    It struck a bit of a chord with me I guess. I had never thought about it in that way before.

    Do you see a path from where we are now as a country to one where socalism could be accepted?

    I’m not a socalist… but since living in Australia I can see so many advantages to socalised aspects of things like education and healthcare.

    You should visit Australia if you’ve never been here.

  33. GWW: “Do you see a path from where we are now as a country to one where socalism could be accepted?” As Lenin said, “Patiently explain.”

    “You should visit Australia if you’ve never been here.” I SO should!

  34. Well… right now socalism seems blocked by lack of education or understanding about the workings of society in general. Not from a pure political standpoint but from a need to happen standpoint.

    After living abroad I don’t see how we as a Country can expect to maintain our super power status without adapting to or at the very least simply accepting basic socalised education and health care.

    And yet, too many people thing socalism is a bad word. How do we change as a people to accept what’s good for us? Or do you think people are ready to accept it and it’s media and corporate conglomerates which are the roadblock by dividing the country on the matter?

    What’s the path we take to make the changes to survive and thrive?

    I kinda want the US and Australia to mush together and take all the good bits out of both!

    It’s a good time to visit with the AU dollar being shredded at the moment. 6 months ago it was approaching 1:1 with the USD. Now it’s down to mid60’s. You can instantly almost double your money! Heh. It’s spring here now too. And beautiful. And we’re more accepting about an individual’s race and sexual preferences. More mature about drugs and alcohol. Have universal health care. An excellent living wage. Leagalized gambling. Few guns. Nearly no muders. Mandatory voting. 2-4 weeks per year paid vacation time depending on vocation. A 37.5 hour per week work week.

    I could go on. And on. Not that we’re utopia. We have plenty of issues. But the big stuff seems pretty good to me.

  35. GWW:@40

    “A 37.5 hour per week work week”
    That bit of crock in general reality. I don’t know when I worked such a week last time.

    “Nearly no muders”
    I shit to think how many murders happen per capita in your bit of America to make you think that.

    What part of Aus are residing at the moment?

  36. I’m in Melbourne.

    I used to live in Atlanta. Where people were murdered or at least shot on a daily basis.

    We have a fraction of the murders here.

  37. I got some in-laws out that way. We did a big drive from Melbourne up the great ocean road to Uluru and from there across the center to Cairns.

    It was 2 of the most awesome weeks ever.

  38. Now, I am playing devil’s advocate here, cause I tend to agree…. Nothing changes fast in Washington other than who pays off whom.

    But what if it does change? I mean that will have an effect also, but is it all good? Pulling out of both “peacekeeping actions” could spell just as much trouble as staying in. And as for the economy, the people have to believe in it for it to get better, not just a change of presidency. Once man cannot do that in a few weeks, and if he does, I am going to start watching for the freedoms that we do still have left to crumble and the rise of a new Mein Kamph.
    And I say all this when I voted democrat…..

  39. to 35:
    apologies, must have been reading some incomplete data. I just grabbed the first number I came to. Nothing was intended there except to impart the data that caught my eye. Thanx for immediately jumping on the negative, though. That really helped. Several conclusions could have been made, as with the more complete data that has now been shared.
    Seriously, why go there?

  40. @46

    Legitimate researchers corroborate their initial findings before publishing. Considering the track record of your single ‘source’ might’ve been beneficial as well. Hannity? Limbaugh (either)? Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler?

  41. My first inclination was to be pleased at the finding because is gave less credence to the allegations I was hearing about ACORN, Then, I thought, let’s post this to see where it goes.
    I don’t recall claiming to be a researcher. I am only a private dude that saw a total on a local news site. It was imcomplete, as it turns out, and I didn’t realize it. Hang me in effigy if it makes you feel better for pete’s sake. Let go of the hate!

  42. Bawrence: You usually seem pretty solid in what you say (even when I don’t agree), but I think you may be missing it here. Unless there’s something *I* am missing, im-Palin didn’t come in with an agenda, just made a remark about some election numbers he saw that turned out to be wrong.

  43. I only asked for sources to substantiate what appeared to be(and were, as it turns out) unlikely assertions. The assumptions that followed in replies to my request are beyond my control.

  44. Maybe I’m missing something. I heard this:

    im-Palin @ 32: Obama got fewer votes than Bush.

    Jason @ 34: Here are the correct numbers.

    im-Palin @ 48: I stand corrected.

    At least, that’s how the interchange read to me. I’m making this a bigger deal than I probably should, but you seem awfully harsh on someone who made a simple factual error, which inclines me to think there’s more going on here.

  45. It appears, and I could be wrong, that you are looking at the series from its’ terminus and describing events therein out of sequence. Hmm… sounds like one of my favorite authors.

  46. I, at least, am truly apologetic for my error. I was on the site for another reason. When I saw the partial numbers, I made the assumption that by now they were final, when they were correctly advertise as only partial. My next step was to remember when my father was up in arms about the GOP making a stink that Bush had received so many votes, and that number had stuck in my head. I was happily interpreting that “they” couldn’t gripe because of this. Then I wanted to hear what others might have to say without prejudice of what I saw. I understand that these are stressful times, and can see how that was misinterpreted. I will endeavor to persevere, and be more cautious in the future.

  47. OH, and the pseudonym may have been misleading when it was intended to be a humorous play on words. Obviously, I failed at that as well!

  48. It appeared to be a resurgence of the same Vince Foster murder conspiracy/swift-boating/… tactics we’ve all seen since at least the ’90’s, but if the source of the initial incorrect information is to be believed now then I overreacted and I apologize.

  49. You left out other potential emotions: pleasant surprise by those who benefit from war and benefits for millionaires.

  50. The most interesting thing to my mind is the international reaction to Obama’s election.

    The day after Election Day, I spent some time browsing random news websites around the world that had public forums, the BBC in particular. I won’t suggest I did any kind of definitive analysis, so take these as my impressions.

    What I found was that the Obama election is seen as a sign of hope all over the world. It’s not just that a lot of people see it as a sign of progress for the USA. That IS true, but it goes beyond that. There are a LOT of “ordinary people” in places all over who are looking at Obama’s election as a sign that things are going to change for the better EVERYWHERE.

    Understandably, in places like the Middle East, that enthusiasm was a lot more muted and tempered with cynicism. Despite that, the undercurrent of hope was still there.

    I don’t know how long it will last, but the thing that seems clear to me at this point is that Obama isn’t just a politician just now. He’s a symbol. If his administration actually manages to “fix” things for awhile and that prosperity radiates to the rest of the global economy, then I think you’re going to start seeing Saint Obama as a ridiculous yet not overly-far-fetched reality.

    In any case, whatever happens down the road, the American people have raised themselves in the estimation of much of the rest of the world. How that will translate into political clout, I couldn’t say. The reason I find it interesting is that it so clearly has nothing to do with politics. It seems that on a much more visceral level, the election has given a lot of global citizens the hope that a change like this for the USA means that an even bigger and better change can be made for the entire world.

  51. @59 Speaking from outside, I think we saw that anything was better than Bush.

    Even a hawke like McCain seemed better. At least his policy wasn’t determined by Big Church and Big Oil. Big Coal doesn’t seem as scary for some reason.

    I think people are exicited with the fact that a cool handsome black man is elected. The media here did a sloppy analogy from Slavery to Presidency. Never mind that none of his forebears have anything to do with American black slaves.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s the lesser of two evils but I think electing him base on racial preference is wrong wrong wrong.

  52. Well, I think you’d find few people in the USA who would admit to voting for him on racial grounds.

    To really understand, you’d have to have been around here for the ’88 elections. That was the year that Gary Hart was (temporarily) the Golden Boy. He energized the electorate, especially the young college voters who are normally apathetic. I was a local caucus delegate that year and it really was amazing the way he got people galvanized.

    If Hart hadn’t been stupid enough to get caught womanizing, I think he would have won the presidency that year.

    Obama had the same energizing effect this past year, and it was a lot broader than when Hart was a candidate. If Obama had been elected strictly on his racial heritage, he would have lost. One of the reasons that you saw Oprah Winfrey backing off after she basically went on television and said “What’s wrong with you Black people? This is our chance to elect a Black President!” is that there was a huge negative backlash from it.

    However much anyone may have wanted Obama to be the first Black President, what everyone ultimately wanted was someone who is going to be an EFFECTIVE President.

    Whether Obama is that man or not remains to be seen. The whole reason that this is a big deal, really, is that most people in the USA and, as far as I can tell, most people worldwide feel that Obama was elected based on who he is as a man and not on his genetics.

    It’s interesting. Kenyans see him as a local boy who made good. As far as they’re concerned, he’s a Kenyan. One poster at the BBC summed it up by calling him the “President for the World”. His father was Kenyan. His early childhood was in Asia. His mother is American. Even in America, he was raised in Hawaii which has plenty of its own international community with both Asian and Polynesian roots.

    In short, he’s not just “Black”, nor is he just “American”. From an international viewpoint, there’s a lot of hope that he will bring a perspective to the White House that hasn’t ever been seen there before.

    Time will tell.

  53. Oh yes he definitely is a worldly guy by American standards (I’m lead to believe W didn’t actually have a passport until he became president?)

    Question is though, will his term(s) in office be like his election campaign – style over substance? Catchphrases won’t solve the underlying causes of the people’s well being. My Prime Minister is an ex diplomat who speaks fluent mandarin and won the election based on a glossy Kennedy style campaign but to date, I’m not impressed.

    Saying all of that though, Obama has to be better than W (not a stretch goal mind you).

    I’m chuckling to think when I think how many people will turn a whiter shade of pale watching his inauguration when he says “I, Barack Hussein Obama…”

  54. I retain my present coloration as I ask that, and expect I will at the swearing in.

    Are you willing to predict that people will not ululate nor fire off celebratory full-auto AK-47s at the exact same moment, all over the Umma?

    Hey, I’m just askin’. Don’t mean any harm by it.

    May we all be satisfactorily disappointed.

  55. @63

    While there may be such celebrations, the expections of the participants appear to be groundless, unless you’re a sucker for right-wing meme.

  56. #64: Odd. I thought I posted a response. Perhaps I only previewed it.

    Bawrence, my concern is with relatively mindless reactions of many stripes, including both the one described by schmwarf and the one I suggested.

    As I said, “may we all be satisfactorily disappointed.” I think that’s the best we can hope for.

  57. Hey Steve

    I found this interesting article by Victor Davis Hanson. The guy is a Right Of Center academic and while you will disagree with what a lot has being said here, there is an underlying theme: Obama and the Democrats are not about to spread rainbows and moonbeams.

    And if I post nothing further in the next few weeks, may you Ressa, Kit and your others have a happy holiday period!

  58. Damn. I think that now that the election is over my apathy is back. Oh well…I’ll just go back to caring about celebrities until the media tells me to pay attention again.

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