Archive for the ‘Obama’ category

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Is Obama a Socialist?

October 10th, 2010

Is Obama a socialist?

This is a question that many are asking. Right-wing pundits, from Hannity and Beck to Palin and Gingrich, are claiming that President Barack Hussain Obama is a socialist. I have actually never heard of a Indonesian Muslim, black liberation theology-believing, socialist (as conservatives are alleging). Conservatives have really uncovered a unique character in Obama. A few months ago, I called Sean Hannity’s show and asked Sean,”Do you really believe Obama is a socialist?”

Sean: “Yes.”

Me: “Really?”

Sean: “Yah-ess.”

Me: “Are you kidding me…the guy is pro-business…does a ‘socialist’ give tax cuts to 95% of Americans.”

Sean: [hangs up on me and continues talking as if I was still on the call] Ah…ah…look…we cover this over and over on this show…anyway, gotta run.”

Sean promised me a copy of his book, but then hung up on me before he could hook me up with his staff. I called his people back and said, “Sean promised me a book, and I am liberal, so I want my handout.” They thought that was funny so they sent me a copy of his book. I read it. His argument that Obama is a socialist is just silly. Basically it says that a couple of statements Obama made about “spreading the wealth around,” and his ties to liberation theologian Reverend Jeremiah Wright, proves he is a socialist. Glenn Beck has made similar arguments.

However ridiculous these arguments seem to the rational observer, right-wing propagandists are having an impact on public opinion. A poll (PDF) from Democracy Corps found that 55 percent of likely voters believe that the word “socialist” describes the president either “well” or “very well.” This is very interesting in light of the fact that the left has repeatedly criticized Obama for being to conservative. Pick up any issue of The Nation magazine (let along International Socialist Review) and you will find criticism of virtually every policy that is being pushed by Obama.

If you take a look at what real socialists think of Obama’s policies, you will find an even larger degree of discontent—to put it lightly. For instance, in Alan Maass’ recent book, “The Case for Socialism,” he repeatedly criticizes Obama for his rhetoric of change and a bottom-up society that never really turned into reality when he took office. Maass takes issue with Obama’s ongoing support for two wars (perhaps three, if we include Pakistan), the watered-down health care law that is beholden to private insurance industry, Obama’s lack of action on LGBT rights, and a host of other issues. » Read more: Is Obama a Socialist?

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Short-Changed by Obama?

June 23rd, 2010

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama’s message of a people-first public policy inspired people all over the world. His rhetoric was a breath of fresh air, especially copared to the unilateral approach of his predecessor. Many of us were looking for a return to New Deal-style governance, a truly progressive leader who would improve democracy in America. Noam Chomsky pointed out that, “Obama’s message of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ offered a virtual blank slate on which supporters could write their wishes.” Perhaps many of us are guilty of projecting our specific hopes onto Obama’s message of change. But his campaign was more than just vague proclamations about change and hope; he made a number of specific promises–actually, 510 specific promises (more than twice as many as Bush made in the 2000 election). So has he lived up to his promises? What can we say about Obama after his first year-and-a-half? Has “change come to America,” or have we been short-changed? Let’s look at his record.
» Read more: Short-Changed by Obama?

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Obama’s Katrina?

May 27th, 2010

Conservatives are calling the BP oil spill, “Obama’s Katrina.” Interesting. What exactly, my dear conservative friend, went wrong during Katrina, in your view? My recollection is that liberals thought the response was slow, completely inadequate, and irresponsible. Some even saw racism, opportunism (see Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine), and corruption. But conservatives generally defended the Bush administration’s response. They simply chalked it up to a natural disaster, and in some cases blamed the victims for expecting government help.

But now, with Obama in office, they are comparing the response to this man-made oil spill by BP, to the government’s response to Katrina. So I take it that they now concede that the response to Katrina (by Bush) was woefully inadequate, and that the Obama administration’s response is also poor. Is that the point they are making now?

Jon Stewart’s analysis of this comparison is too funny to miss.

» Read more: Obama’s Katrina?