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Obama's Brilliant First Year

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Rashmon, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    If this has been posted, please lock. An interesting perspective sure to irritate the Palinators.

    Obama's Brilliant First Year

    By January, he will have accomplished more than any first-year president since Franklin Roosevelt.

    By Jacob Weisberg Posted Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009, at 8:13 AM ET

    About one thing, left and right seem to agree these days: Obama hasn't done anything yet. Maureen Dowd and Dick Cheney have found common ground in scoffing at the president's "dithering." Newsweek recently ran a sympathetic cover story titled, "Yes He Can (But He Sure Hasn't Yet)." The sarcasm brigade thinks it's finally found an Achilles' heel in his lack of accomplishments. "When you look at my record, it's very clear what I've done so far and that is nothing. Nada. Almost one year and nothing to show for it," Obama stand-in Fred Armisen recently riffed on Saturday Night Live. "It's chow time," Jon Stewart asserts, for a president who hasn't followed through on his promises.

    This conventional wisdom about Obama's first year isn't just premature—it's sure to be flipped on its head by the anniversary of his inauguration on Jan. 20. If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn't an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It's a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office.

    The case for Obama's successful freshman year rests above all on the health care legislation now awaiting action in the Senate. Democrats have been trying to pass national health insurance for 60 years. Past presidents who tried to make it happen and failed include Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Through the summer, Obama caught flak for letting Congress lead the process, as opposed to setting out his own proposal. Now his political strategy is being vindicated. The bill he signs may be flawed in any number of ways—weak on cost control, too tied to the employer-based system, and inadequate in terms of consumer choice. But given the vastness of the enterprise and the political obstacles, passing an imperfect behemoth and improving it later is probably the only way to succeed where his predecessors failed.

    We are so submerged in the details of this debate—whether the bill will include a "public option," limit coverage for abortion, or tax Botox—that it's easy to lose sight of the magnitude of the impending change. For the federal government to take responsibility for health coverage will be a transformation of the American social contract and the single biggest change in government's role since the New Deal. If Obama governs for four or eight years and accomplishes nothing else, he may be judged the most consequential domestic president since LBJ. He will also undermine the view that Ronald Reagan permanently reversed a 50-year tide of American liberalism.

    Obama's claim to a fertile first year doesn't rest on health care alone. There's mounting evidence that the $787 billion economic stimulus he signed in February—combined with the bank bailout package—prevented an economic depression. Should the stimulus have been larger? Should it have been more weighted to short-term spending, as opposed to long-term tax cuts? Would a second round be a good idea? Pundits and policymakers will argue these questions for years to come. But few mainstream economists seriously dispute that Obama's decisive action prevented a much deeper downturn and restored economic growth in the third quarter. The New York Times recently quoted Mark Zandi, who was one of candidate John McCain's economic advisers, on this point: "The stimulus is doing what it was supposed to do—it is contributing to ending the recession," he said. "In my view, without the stimulus, G.D.P would still be negative and unemployment would be firmly over 11 percent."

    When it comes to foreign policy, Obama's accomplishment has been less tangible but hardly less significant: He has put America on a new footing with the rest of the world. In a series of foreign trips and speeches, which critics deride as trips and speeches, he replaced George W. Bush's unilateral, moralistic militarism with an approach that is multilateral, pragmatic, and conciliatory. Obama has already significantly reoriented policy toward Iran, China, Russia, Iraq, Israel, and the Islamic world. Next week, after a much-disparaged period of review, he will announce a new strategy in Afghanistan. No, the results do not yet merit his Nobel Peace Prize. But not since Reagan has a new president so swiftly and determinedly remodeled America's global role.

    Obama has wisely deferred some smaller, politically hazardous battles over issues such as closing Guantanamo, ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and fighting the expansion of Israel's West Bank settlements. Instead, he has saved his fire for his most urgent priorities—preventing a depression, remaking America's global image, and winning universal health insurance. Chow time indeed, if you ask me.

    A version of this article also appears in this week's issue of Newsweek.

    Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2236708/
     
  2. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    It would be nice if the author actually waited a year to write that.
     
  3. Shovel Face

    Shovel Face Member

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    A socialist takeover is BRILLIANT. What a f***** original genius.
     
  4. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    Nothing anyone paying attention doesn't already know.
     
  5. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Quick, get in the time machine and jump 80 years to the past, we need to save us from socialite takeover.
     
  6. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    Hey Obama we are in two wars and have double digit unemployment. What is your number one priority for the last several months?

    Health care!

    Brilliant![​IMG]


    self pwn3d: inflation was supposed to be unemployment
     
    #6 Bandwagoner, Nov 30, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  7. vlaurelio

    vlaurelio Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    self-explanatory if you can actually read

     
  8. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Yes, Barbara Hutton and Doris Duke must be stopped.
     
  9. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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  10. Ari

    Ari Member

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    "I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. "- Barack Obama, October 27, 2007
     
  11. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    My problem with Obama isn't what he hasn't accomplished, it's a lack of leadership.

    Let's congress sort out the health plan details - where was the presidential leadership?

    Waiting so long on Afghanistan and taking a relaxed stand on corruption in my eyes. I know it's a tough complex situation...but geez.

    Iran - I think he was too slow to take a stand - missed an opportunity.


    I can't believe I am going to say this - but I think Obama would benefit from being a bit - and I mean just a bit - more like Bush. Make a freaking decision and run with it! Stand up for what will work.

    The health care reform has been so watered down by compromise I wonder what's the point in passing it at this stage.

    He came into office with a mandate and couldn't get anything done? Very disappointing with the expectations HE set.
     
  12. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I brought this up in another thread that Obama had accomplished a lot. Whether you agree with it or not.

    As for lack of leadership the only real big area that he has displayed that in in health care by letting Congress do most of the writing. He certainly displayed leadership in getting the stimulus bill passed and what people see as dithering on Afghanistan is him taking control of the policy. Again people may agree or disagree on the decisions he has made whether they are good or bad but I don't think an argument can be made that he hasn't accomplished anything or not shown leadership.
     
  13. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    Legislation is written by the legislative branch, not the executive.
     
  14. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    Not exactly. Legislation can be written by anyone but it is passed by the Legislature. That said most recent Presidents have written ot at least greatly contributed to the text of major legislation.
     
  15. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    As you said, Presidents can only make suggestions. And in this case Obama has certainly contributed to the language of the bill. But in the end, he has no say in what is included.
     
  16. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    I don't want to debate whether Obama has accomplished anything or not, but is the article's point really that Obama has accomplished more than any president in history in first year (or since FDR) because it's possible that by his first year's marker healthcare will pass? So, the possibility of a single piece of legislation passing, the possibility of it passing ALONE, means he's already accomplished more? Really?

    I'll admit to not being versed in exactly what each president has done in his first 12 months, but have none of them actually passed a single bill? Ever?
     
  17. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    It isn't the passing of a "single bill" (which, BTW, Obama ALREADY did with the stimulus package), it is the passing of such a massively important bill as healthcare reform. This is something that progressives have been trying to do for 60 years and if Obama does it, it will place him a good ways up there on the accomplishments list.
     
  18. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    But you are using a key word..."if"

    I can't accept an article that says he already is the most accomplished first year president because of what he "might" do.

    I "might" win the lottery next week. Would it be safe to say I am the richest man on the BBS?
     
  19. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member
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    well said. He is too much of a pleaser. He can't/won't make the tough decision because he's too concerned about being liked and accepted.
    Even when he does try to make his stand, he comes across as weak.
     
  20. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    The article qualifies the discussion with the same "if."
     

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