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Can Obama Turn Things Around?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    I've been thinking about this for quite awhile about whether Obama can actually turn things around given the both the monumental challenges he is faced with along with what at times appear to be exagerated expectations of him. Even before Obama won the election we have seen him backpedalling on some of this promises and in the leadup to innauguration we've seen him temper his lofty rhetoric and all but acknowledge that many of his campaign promises aren't going to be able to be fulfilled. Obama though comes in at a time of greater turmoil and with greater hope than any US President since FDR.

    I'm wondering what do people who supported Obama and those who opposed him during the election think about what might happen.

    Here's an article I read this morning regarding diminished expectations overseas on Obama.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28720894/

    As challenges mount, ardor for Obama cools
    An impatient world wonders how much the president-elect can deliver



    updated 4 minutes ago
    Barack Obama got a global standing ovation long before he was elected president. But in a fickle and fast-moving world, the overseas reviews are already turning mixed.

    Though much of the world will party through the night Tuesday after Obama is sworn in as America's 44th president — just as it did when he was elected — there are signs the ardor is cooling as the sheer weight of his challenges sinks in.

    A deepening global recession, new hostilities in the Middle East, complications in closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan — an impatient world has a stake in all of them and is asking how much change Obama can deliver.

    "Just two months ago, the future president seemed a cross between Superman and Merlin the magician," Massimo Gramellini wrote in a commentary for Italy's La Stampa newspaper. "Now he himself admits he won't be able to keep all his promises, and who knows? Maybe someone will ask for his impeachment by the end of next week."

    Idealism has diminished
    "The idealism has diminished," said Samuel Solvit, who heads an Obama support network in France. "Everyone was dreaming a little. Now people are more realistic."

    Muslims want to know why Obama hasn't joined the chorus of international criticism of Israel's Gaza offensive. Last week posters of him were set on fire in Tehran to shouts of "Death to Obama!"

    "By the time Obama takes office, hundreds or thousands more will be killed in Gaza and it will be too late for him to act," said Adel Fawzi, an Egyptian government clerk in Cairo.


    Obama has expressed concern about Gaza, but says he's reluctant to say much more until his inauguration.

    Meanwhile the global economic collapse is already closing in on him. Around the world, leaders and their publics are waiting to see what he does to calm roiled markets and restore confidence.

    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both say they're confident the Obama administration will succeed in working with Europe and China to build a stronger global economy.

    "He has a big vision of how America can contribute to the long-term prosperity of the world," Brown said.

    "The chances of us working this out are good," Merkel said in Berlin, where Madame Tussauds rolled out a wax likeness of Obama to great fanfare.

    Monumental challenges
    Sweden's prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, told parliament last week he empathizes with the monumental challenges facing Obama.

    "I think it's difficult to find an American president who is being met with such a number of expectations as Barack Obama," he said.

    That's the problem, said Reginald Dale, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington: People everywhere simply expect too much, practically ensuring Obama will disappoint.


    "The United States can't solve all the world's problems," he said in an interview. "It doesn't have enough money or military power. And the president is constrained by Congress and the constitution. The founding fathers wanted to stop someone from being like a monarch."

    Developing countries rely on U.S. aid
    Dozens of developing countries rely on U.S. foreign aid, which historically has been generous. But an administration preoccupied with keeping Americans from losing their homes and jobs may have to cut back on foreign assistance.

    Even items on Obama's agenda that initially seemed straightforward are turning out to be fraught with complications, such as closing Guantanamo in eastern Cuba. Obama has hinted that it may be his first executive order — but experts say it could take a year to accomplish.

    "There are all sorts of logistical questions," Dale said. "What if they suddenly captured Osama bin Laden? Where would they put him? It's very easy for people abroad to take these issues as symbols of what they think is wrong with America. They need to understand the Americans don't like these things any more than they do."

    Blunt advice from some
    That hasn't stopped harsh U.S. critics like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from offering blunt advice.

    "I don't want to tell President Obama what to do," Chavez said in a televised address. He did anyway: If Obama wants to free up billions of dollars, Chavez said, he should pull U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately and shrink Washington's military bootprint around the world.

    Obama did pledge during the campaign to withdraw all American combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. But he also vowed to shift the focus to Afghanistan — and Obama's Pentagon is likely to find it hard to persuade allies to commit more troops there.

    Mexico has tempered its expectations that Obama will bring "transformational change" to the economy or quickly tackle immigration reform. As Agustin Carstens, Mexico's treasury secretary, put it: "At the end of the day, we have to be realistic."

    High expectations
    All the same, there's still plenty of Obamamania overseas, particularly in Europe, where George W. Bush is highly unpopular.

    "We still have high expectations," said Dean Cole, 41, selling fruit from a north London market stand. Obama "strikes me as a man of honor. When I hear him, I think, 'There's a man with a mission.'"

    Maria Gabriella Lunato, a 53-year-old saleswoman in Rome, reveres Obama as though he were a pope. "He will not be just an American president, but a person who will spread justice around the world," she said.

    But Lise Lindeberg, a 72-year-old retiree in Stockholm, Sweden, thinks people have put too much faith in Obama.

    "I feel sorry for the poor thing," she said. "People want him to be a savior — some kind of messiah. You just can't become president and change everything when there's no money."
     
  2. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Member

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    Doubtful he can do anything in the short term. I expect two years of significant pain.
     
  3. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Member

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    In terms of economic turmoil, this statement simply is not true. When Reagan assumed office, unemployment was on its way to 11% in the US, and inflation was at 12.5% (yes, 12.5% - truly an atrocious starting point). We're nowhere near either of those levels right now

    While the media is ready to put Obama up on Mt Rushmore for saving us from the worst economic times in history.....well, it's simply not true.
     
  4. basso

    basso Member
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    i recall there being a fair amount of turmoil when Truman assumed the office, and when Nixon was elected in 1968, and regan's first election in 1980.

    the lofty expectations are entirely of his own making. if he fails to live up to them, it's on him.
     
  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    True the economy in the US might've been worse but Reagan didn't come in with two ongoing wars. It is the combination of things that makes what Obama is facing possibly as monumental as any US president since FDR.
     
  6. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Member
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    I don't want this to turn into a debate regarding which president came in at a worse time, as every president can say that they are coming in with some sort of crisis and also since that is very subjective. This may be too much to ask of the D & D but I am looking for a frank discussion among supporters and opponents regard whether you think Obama can succeed or not.

    Obama did create some lofty expectations but at a certain point I think those even exceeded what he himself said. Whether the blame lies with him or not I'm wondering if you, as an opponent, think he can't turn things around and why. Not blame.
     
  7. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    What a joke. Reagan is the biggest credit card President since, well... Bush. He deficit spent like Bush and he cuts taxes like Bush to get us out of those numbers. Basically George W Bush could have done all that and gotten us in to a few wars in the process... deja vu.
     
  8. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Member

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    You know a big piece of Obama's stimulus package is......tax cuts!...and spending!

    think, people, think. please.
     
  9. rhester

    rhester Member

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    I don't think it is his role to turn things around.

    I see him as a globalist in philosophy and a universalist in character and expect him to be successful in those areas. Most education, business and government is already structured that way.

    I believe he will have a successful admin.
     
  10. BetterThanEver

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    Bush came with a budget surplus of $127 billion. The economy wasn't nearly as him leaving the office. Bush had a cake walk.
     
  11. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    Republican Presidents have run up an $11 trillion dollar deficit with their deficit spending and tax cutting to fatten up their friends in times of prosperity and have now screwed up the economy so badly that Obama has to use the same tactics just to keep us afloat in bad times. We know the score.
     
  12. BetterThanEver

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    Revision:

    Bush came with a budget surplus of $127 billion. The economy wasn't nearly as bad as him leaving the office. Bush had a cake walk.[/QUOTE]
     
  13. MadMax

    MadMax Member

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    I voted for Obama...but let's not pretend that cronyism and irresponsible spending finds home in only one political party in this country.
     
  14. Major

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    I always find this whole "can he live up to expectations" thing amusing. It's not his supporters that have ridiculous expectations of him. The only people who talk about expectations are always talking about OTHER people having ridiculous expectations. It's sort of like that whole "they cling to guns" comment. The people in the small towns that were polled weren't particularly offended. It was all the other people saying "oh, those people are going to be so offended". Really bizarre.

    Obama benefits from massive popularity and relatively low expectations. While he has something like a 70-80% approval rating, 60-70% of the country also believe our problems are going to be solved anytime soon. In other words, they recognize the enormity of the mess we're in (thus Bush's record-low approval) and understand this is going to take a lot of work. Obama is actually set up fairly well to either meet or exceed expectations.

    Every President makes promises about timing that can never be met. Bush promised everything from tax cuts to pulling back our foreign policy to permantently fixing SS & Medicare. He met some, he didn't meet others. He wasn't considered a failure because he didn't fix SS - he was considered a failure because of the policies he DID implement that failed. Similarly, Obama's not going to be expected to fill every last campaign promise or be considered a failure. He's going to be judged by the things he does do. Of the campaign promises he did make, the few that he will be judged on are:

    1. Getting out of Iraq in some reasonable time frame
    2. Creating new jobs
    3. A new kind of politics where he is working with Republicans instead of demonizing them

    Things like whether Guantanamo is closed in March or next year - no one is going to care about.
     
  15. Major

    Major Member

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    This should be "*aren't* going to solved anytime soon", just to clarify.
     
  16. Grizzled

    Grizzled Member

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    Success can be measured many different ways, so I think you need to define more specifically what you're referring to, but I think the most important part of the Obama campaign was what it awoke in the the people. Obama could die of a heart attack tomorrow, but now we all know how great and widespread the desire to do things differently is, and now, with or without Obama, we are responsible for making that change happen. Now that we are aware, we become responsible.
     
  17. bingsha10

    bingsha10 Member

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    Obama's "stimulus" is going to ruin the economy because of the big time inflation necessary to pay for it.

    no, he won't live up to expectations (unless you expect him to fail, or course)

    To be fair McCain wouldn't have done anything different.
     
  18. Dubious

    Dubious Member

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    A lot of a president's success depends on factors he doesn't control. Economic booms gloss over other ills and the basis of economic booms depend on the the perception that new technologies or new conditions will deliver new efficiencies or new cycles of growth. FDR has the war, Reagan had his massive military build up and tax cuts till the pyramid ran out and Clinton had the dawn of the information age.

    Only true visionaries actually see the disruptive paradigms coming but I don't really see anything on the horizon. The possible exception would be alternative energy solutions but with the huge oil and gas exploration and development we've seen in the past decade, it will probably take at least 4 years for them to become viable again.

    So on the biggest issue I don't think we will see much progress, but there will lots of other successes: World standing and diplomacy should be a big win, fairness and transparency in government should be big, inclusiveness, the feeling that we are all in this together can't be over stressed. The #1 win should be just the appearance of competence. Everyone should feel better that we don't have Bozo's driving the bus anymore .... that's a win on day1.
     
  19. Grizzled

    Grizzled Member

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    Or, viewed another way, W. set the bar so spectacularly low that Obama realistically can't help but be seen a success by comparison.
     
  20. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    I think deflation is a bigger problem right now.
     

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