Obama Destined to be Remembered as a Great President

Destined to be ranked among the greatest US Presidents

Destined to be ranked among the greatest US Presidents

The right wing has been obsessed with doing all they can to vilify and attack Obama.   But if you pay attention these attacks are either broad and empty (personal attacks on him, his experience or motives) or simply wrong.   The right wing was all over Obama because Putin attacked Crimea, showing real ignorance about Russian interest and world affairs, for example.

My goal here is not to argue against the babble on talk radio or the right wing blogosphere, but point out that President Obama is amassing a record that all but assures that his Presidency will be remembered as not only a success, but one of the greatest.   The reasons full into four categories:  1)  Policy success, including fundamental changes in the nature of public policy; 2) A successful foreign policy, shifting US interests to adjust to new political realities while extricating the US from two painful wars; 3) Economic success, preserving through the deepest economic crisis since the great depression; and 4) Personal and cultural factors – who he is, and the shifting culture of the times.

Domestic Policy:   The White House was almost giddy as enrollments in Obamacare reached over 7 million, a number nobody thought they’d reach after the problems with the website roll out last year.   It is almost inconceivable that this law will be repealed – the cost and disruption of doing so would be immense, and it would create a massive health care crisis.    There will be reforms; once the GOP realizes the law is here to stay they’ll work on fixing problems in it rather than waging ideological jihad.  But President Obama did what Nixon, Carter, and Clinton all failed to do: achieve a major health care overall to expand coverage to tens of millions (ultimately) uninsured, and slow the rate of health care cost increases.

It took patience and persistent leadership, but President Obama claimed success this week as Obamacare enrollment hit the 7 million goal

It took patience and persistent leadership, but President Obama claimed success this week as Obamacare enrollment hit the 7 million goal

Obama has amassed a series of other major policy victories that often get neglected, but will shape the nature of US politics in the 21st Century.   He turned around the auto industry which stood on the brink of collapse in 2009.   He got an economic stimulus package passed that started creating jobs, including for the first time in decades an increase in manufacturing jobs.    Wall Street reform is major improvement on what we had before, and likely will protect the US from the kind of Wall Street induced crisis like that of 2008.  Relatedly, the recapitalization of banks, while controversial, avoided an entire collapse of the credit market in the US and allowed for a quicker recovery than I expected – I thought in 2008 we were looking at a decade before the economy would come back.

He repealed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and his justice department gave considerable support to the growing move to legalize gay marriage by recognizing such marriages at the federal level, being on the right side of an irreversible cultural shift.  He also worked to get the banks out of the student loan business, increase Pell grants, and make student loans easier and more accessible at a time when education is becoming more expensive.   Also under Obama’s stewardship the US became the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil for the first time since the early 70s.

Other policies involve significant education reform, toughening fuel efficiency standards, major credit card reform, improved veterans benefits, food safety, an emphasis on nutrition that may be turning around the obesity epidemic among the youth, federal regulation of tobacco, expanded national park service, massive investment in green technology (which will pay benefits long after Obama leaves office), new sentencing guidelines, and more.   Obama has reshaped the policy landscape. That’s one reason the right is so beside itself hating him: he’s an effective leader that has altered the political environment and put the US on a fundamentally different path than had been the case six years ago.

At time when child obesity threatens both the health system and young people's future, Michelle Obama's focus on nutrition is a needed shift in thinking

At time when child obesity threatens both the health system and young people’s future, Michelle Obama’s focus on nutrition is a needed shift in thinking

Foreign Policy.   The US has undertaken a quiet but very successful shift in foreign policy, including military downsizing, the Asian pivot, support for nascent democratic movements in the Mideast, and an effective effort to collaborate on international financial regulations.   He ended the war in Iraq and is ending US involvement in Afghanistan, reoriented US missile defense, helped topple Gaddafi in Libya, and supported South Sudan independence.  Osama Bin Laden was eliminated, and al qaeda is a shadow of what it was in 2008.    Due to unprecedented cooperation between countries (even ones not exactly friendly with each other) on intelligence about terrorism, terrorism has gone from being a threat feared by Americans daily to just a nuisance.

For me, a scholar of international relations, Obama's foreign policy has been a remarkable success in that he turned around policy content and America's image in a way many Americans don't yet grasp.

For me, a scholar of international relations, Obama’s foreign policy has been a remarkable success in that he turned around policy content and America’s image in a way many Americans don’t yet grasp.

Perhaps most importantly by ending torture policies and having two very capable Secretaries of State – Hillary Clinton and John Kerry – US prestige and clout is at its highest point since the end of the Cold War.   President Obama is respected internationally, and has shown himself capable of engineering significant breakthroughs with Iran and – if reports are right – soon in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.   When people claim that Putin’s taking the Crimea is a failure of Obama, they are grasping at straws.  That is, as I noted, a sign of Putin’s weakness and desperation.   Obama has reinvigorated US international leadership.

Economic success.   When President Obama took office, the US was bleeding jobs, and the budget was out of control.   Now the deficit is far lower than anyone predicted (federal spending has grown much more slowly than during the Bush Administration), and more jobs have been created than during the entire Bush Administration when the US was experiencing a bubble economy. The economy looks set to take off with increased job creation this summer, meaning that the book ends of Obama’s Presidency will be an inherited economic crisis of immense proportions at the start, and a growing and revived economy by the end.

Job growth has been consistent and beyond levels during the Bush years; many economists expect increased job creation towards the end of 2014

Job growth has been consistent and beyond levels during the Bush years; many economists expect increased job creation towards the end of 2014

Finally, when the GOP tried to hold the US economy hostage on the debt ceiling, Obama starred them down, refused to bend, and ultimately the GOP was forced into a humiliating retreat, being blamed for a government shut down, a downgrade in the US credit rating, and playing Russian roulette with US jobs.   That was an example of the successful leadership that defines Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

Personal/cultural factors:  Although the right has tried to find one, Obama has had a clean and scandal-free Presidency.   He has shown himself to be a strong personal leader, using speeches, visits, and his own influence to guide policy.  He is, of course, the first black President, and reflects an America that is more cosmopolitan, tolerant, and diverse.   Just 20 years ago it would have been inconceivable that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama could win the Presidency.

The so-called Tea Party in the US, made up of mostly older white folk (my demographic), reflects shock at the scope of this change.  They believe they are losing America to some strange force which Obama – the black President with the funny name maybe born in Kenya – personifies.  He’s not “one of us,” he went to a radical church, he travels, he’s well educated, he’s not a good old boy like “W”. In that, Obama is indeed symbolic the emerging culture shift.   The process is just beginning, and Obama is destined to be associated with these changes.  He took office as the old order collapsed in an economic crisis and failed wars; he’ll leave office with the country revived and heading down a different path.  He symbolizes a pivot to a new direction for the 21st Century.

Just as most people now forget the attacks on Reagan by the left, or the vicious attacks on Clinton by the right – the two are both remembered fondly by most Americans – the attacks on Obama will fade from the collective memory.   Within ten or twenty years it’ll be clear that his Presidency was not only successful, but ranks alongside America’s greatest Presidents.

  1. #1 by lbwoodgate on April 2, 2014 - 15:14

    Overall I think you’re right Scott. I would point out a couple of things here.

    ”expanded national park service”

    Let’s hope this one doesn’t get quashed by the Republicans. Last week the GOP-controlled House was able to squeeze through a National Monuments Deignations bill by a 222-201 vote that “limits the power of the president to designate national monuments under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The bill would limit presidential authority to one designation per state over a four-year term. It also would require an environmental impact statement for designations over 5,000 acres and a cost estimate study for the proposed monument. Sites less than 5,000 acres would expire after three years without a full environmental review, but could be made permanent if the environmental review process was used.”

    I suspect too that his foreign policy will be blemished by the expansive use of drones. What he gained in global popularity following his 2008 election he has lost significantly through this policy, albeit with civilians, not military and political leaders so much. Domestically too his expanded use of surveillance started by Bush will diminish his status some. How much long-term remains to be seen and where such surveillance leads, i.e. further reduction of privacy rights

  2. #2 by List of X on April 2, 2014 - 17:54

    I think you are right, although I wouldn’t call increased oil and gas production an achievement of Obama’s administration. First of all, he didn’t have much to do with it – it was mostly the shale boom, and, second, the long term impact would just be a quicker global warming.

    • #3 by Scott Erb on April 2, 2014 - 19:58

      You’re right on both counts, though I suspect some of the short term economic benefits will be associated with Obama’s Presidency. But overall I agree with you..

  3. #4 by modestypress on April 2, 2014 - 23:11

    I am tempted to agree with you. However, just to be ornery, I will make a few points.

    1. I am always amazed by people who easily deride any President (from all ends of the political spectrum). If by some nightmare, I woke up in the White House and realized i had become President, the first thing I would do is pardon myself. The second thing I would do is resign. My standards for a great President are not that high.

    2. Has he (and not too long from now) or she, destroyed the world?Has he or she been caught too with his or her hand in the cookie jar? The “cookie jar” should be defined very broadly Nixon was not particularly greedy; he was just nasty and clumsy; had he not made a clumsy cover up and then stupidly recorded himself, he would now be considered a reasonably cookie jar free President. China is not a particularly wholesome country, and they are eating our lunch in many ways, but without Watergate, Nixon would be considered a man who had found a pretty good fortune cookie even if it brought us some indigestion.

    3. I am not sure it could be considered brilliant for Obama to born mixed race, but Chinese food (oh oh! too many mixed metaphors!) is considered wonderful because it mixes so many ingredients, not to mention cultures and races and what not. But a good quality for a President to have is good luck. To my taste, Reagan was an obnoxious jerk, but he was a lucky jerk and he gets credit for destroying the Soviet Union, even if most of the credit should perhaps go to Harry Truman and John Foster Dulles.

    4. An apt description of the American system of Presidential Power would be, “First we worship you; then we destroy you.” Every President should consider himself lucky to get out A. Alive and B. Not impeached.

    5. FDR was rightly considered a great President.

    6. Limiting Presidents to two terms is one of the greatest decisions in American political history. If you wait long enough, even the finest dish ever prepared starts to stink and will eventually become quite toxic.

  4. #5 by John Squires on April 3, 2014 - 14:40

    Alles muss anders sein.

  5. #6 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 08:01

    It’s easy to see that you really admire the man and are willing to ignore a lot of things that the majority of Americans are not willing to ignore.

    • #7 by Scott Erb on April 14, 2014 - 08:08

      Well, he was comfortably elected twice. I think he’ll be a symbolic President representing the transformation of the US into a new kind of thinking. The country is going through a transformation. Obama isn’t the cause, he’s symbolic. That’s why the right hates him – they want the US to stay the way it was, and he symbolizes the culture shift we’re experiencing.

      • #8 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 14:09

        Scott, you still did not answer the question that was implicit in my comment i.e. he *was* elected twice but the love affair seemed to end rather quickly in the 2nd term as represented by a majority of Americans opposing his policies as well as distrusting him. Surely you’re not saying this majority are the “right”? many of them voted for him twice. Could it be that a lot of irrefutable evidence came to light e.g. “the lie of the year” that caused them to change their minds and develop a king-sized case of buyer’s remorse?

      • #9 by Scott Erb on April 14, 2014 - 14:37

        I disagree with your claim. I don’t think a majority of Americans disagree with his policies, and the polling backs that up. I think you simply have a false belief about what Americans think. Consider job approval for Obama is at 47% according to Rasmussen. About 10-20% who disapprove are on the left, upset that Obama does not do more things that the left want. But when push comes to shove, they’ll support him. So I disagree completely with your premise.

  6. #10 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 16:01

    Scott, not according to Gallop. 43% approval
    According to Rasmussen 52% disapprove of his job performance
    According to Quinnipiac 54% disapprove of his job performance
    These are just 3. I could give you more but you get the idea. You can claim disagreement with me all you want but I submit I can produce more documentation to support my claim than you can produce to refute it. When one looks at the current poll numbers and realizes that his approvals used to be in the high 60s and low 70s, one has to ask what happened so greatly, and, so suddenly? I guess you don’t wonder about that though. As you can see from the poll numbers I cited that plenty of people must have had some serious about the man.

    • #11 by Scott Erb on April 14, 2014 - 16:48

      Polls clearly fluctuate. At one point his job approval was below 40. Then it shot up to over 50. Recently it was lower than it is. Bush was down to 22% approval at one point, Truman at 27% approval when he left office – yet Truman is usually remembered as having been a good President. So if you think watching polls says much about history or anything other than a snap shot that usually says more about the economy or perceptions of current stories, you’re fooling yourself.

      In any event, you haven’t answered my post, you just made a logical fallacy: argumentum ad populum. Obama has made a major difference in policy, was the first President who actually succeeded in major health care reform, and symbolically marks the fact that the country is going through a transition (seen in public opinion on gay marriage and a variety of social issues). Watch as the economy continues to rebound. Clinton’s numbers got down low, but by the time he left office he was over 60% approval. Reagan’s got down to 38% approval at one point. So, I think you’re grasping at straws – and haven’t said anything to counter my argument. Again: argumentum ad populum (appeal to public opinion) is a logical fallacy.

      • #12 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 17:53

        Scott, I never mentioned Bush, or anyone else for that matter. My focus is on the one currently in office as he is the one that is in a position to affect my country and by extension, my life.

        I get it however, you’re an Obama fan. Some people are, but just not most of them.

        You said I haven’t answered your post. What did you ask me? Pose your question and I’ll be happy to answer it.

  7. #13 by Scott Erb on April 14, 2014 - 20:33

    You err, Al, in thinking this is about fandom. Intellectually, I believe my post to be an accurate analysis of how Obama will be remembered. You’re acting like this is a game, and there are “fans” of different teams, and somehow Obama’s “team” doesn’t have many fans. I think that analogy is flawed on numerous levels, and doesn’t at all address the argument I made. If I use your analogy, I’m analyzing – and your response would be, “well, you’re predicting Boston will win because you’re a fan, and anyway most people like the Yankees and not Boston.” That’s irrelevant to the analysis of their teams.

    • #14 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 21:52

      Scott, you did not offer an “analysis” in any intellectual sense of the word, rather you offered a fan club best wishes message. My comments underscore the idea that he may not be remembered the way you hope he will be. I offer the poll numbers to add credence to that argument. All you did was off a list of things he did that you, and others like you, find favorable. You totally leave all the unfavorable things out of your “analysis”. In my view such an analysis must account for the good and the bad.

      I’ll as this question again since you seem to have avoided it. You said I haven’t answered your post. What did you ask me? Pose your question and I’ll be happy to answer it.

      • #15 by lbwoodgate on April 14, 2014 - 22:05

        “My comments underscore the idea that he may not be remembered the way you hope he will be. I offer the poll numbers to add credence to that argument.”

        Actually Al that’s not really a very strong position to hold. Historians, not the people polled during a certain era, will write the history books and they will do so with a more critical and objective eye than the lay person who never really took in all the factors that effected Obama’s choices.

        They will likely point out Obama’s low ratings in public polls but they will also connect the dots of initiatives Obama took and how they impacted conditions down the road. If those conditions prove favorable then regardless of what people say today, history will assess Obama in the light that associates him with those favorable conditions.

  8. #16 by Al Brassell on April 14, 2014 - 22:40

    lbwoodgate, actually I never took a position on how future historians will view Obama. I believe I used the phrase “he *may* not be remembered”…Now that is hardly taking a position rather it’s more like saying no one can say how it will go in the future. My entire point is not about his legacy but rather about the present situation. A situation characterized by a precipitous fall from grace which is directly attributable to what he has said and what he has done. e.g. he passed a healthcare law in a rather questionable way (I can provide details and documentation of this). Most people were somewhat wary of the law because they really did not know what it entailed. No one did. By the time they found out what was in it they were really opposed it to the tune of a rather substantial majority of the citizenry. No one caused that or can be blamed for that except Obama himself.

    As for how historians operate, I have advanced degrees in History and Philosophy. I think I may have a little insight into how those disciplines operate.

    • #17 by lbwoodgate on April 15, 2014 - 06:00

      “As for how historians operate, I have advanced degrees in History and Philosophy.”

      And yet I was left with the distinct impression that you were just another angry white guy using a specious argument to object to someone pointing out any positive aspects of a man you obviously have no regard for.

      • #18 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 07:47

        Angry white guy? I was wondering when race innuendo would enter the picture. Thanks for continuing to perpetuate that default behavior.

      • #19 by lbwoodgate on April 15, 2014 - 07:59

        It’s really not a baseless default behavior Al. It’s just gone undercover.

        Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

      • #20 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 08:40

        Gee, Al, playing the victim here? His approval ratings are near 50% in many pools, and I suspect he’ll end up above that, especially as Obamacare gains popularity. That was the point of my post: right now people don’t see how historically important his Presidency is. We’re in the midst of a culture shift, and that’s the point a lot of people miss (or are upset about).

  9. #21 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 08:58

    Not playing any victim. You have nothing to harm me with, thus I cannot be a victim. All you have is the claims of that which is unseen by everyone but yourself and others like you and the futuristic picture of what you claim things will be like when the future gets here. Pretty lame when it comes to empirical evidence. Rolling ones eyes and repeating maxims from various flavors of idealism is not the same as advancing a fact-based logical argument. So, go ahead and call people racists and tell us all how the future will be.

    • #22 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 09:06

      Don’t be silly, Al. Speculation about the future is normal, it’s fun. What is strange is that you feel compelled to reject it without grounds. You’ve committed logical fallacies and simply relied on emotion, not reason. You haven’t countered the argument. You seem bothered enough to object, but your objection is grounded in neither fact nor logic. The only “fact” you give is that one volatile approval rating is at 43% (though another is at 47%, and a week ago one was over 50% – and if history is a guide, it could rise way up in a year or so – your ‘fact’ is very weak). Yet that is irrelevant to the argument. Look, you can say we don’t know the future and shouldn’t speculate. But people do all the time – predictions about politics, sports, etc. If you don’t like it, fine. But methinks thou doth protest too much here.

      • #23 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 13:19

        “Don’t be silly, Al”

        Name calling is also a default behavior. You may note that I never called you names.

        “What is strange is that you feel compelled to reject it without grounds.”

        I never rejected it rather I merely suggested that the future *may not* work out in Obama’s favor. If you contend I rejected it out of hand please quote where I stated anything that could be logically shown to be an absolute rejection.

        “relied on emotion, not reason”

        No more so than you have. Reason should lead to logically valid single conclusions. I see nothing about your conclusions that make them logically valid single conclusions.

        ” you can say we don’t know the future and shouldn’t speculate”

        I never said you *shouldn’t* speculate. I simply pointed out that what you were offering as the most likely historical outcome was, in fact, only speculation.

        For some reason you kind of change my words just enough to allow yourself to take the conversation in a direction favorable to yourself. As you can see I quoted your exact words. If your are going to claim I said something, please make sure I said what you claim I said.

      • #24 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 14:42

        Seriously – you’re saying “don’t be silly” is name calling? It’s good natured ribbing. You gotta lighten up if you’re going to debate politics, we’re very respectful here. I’ve seen places where people are vicious. If your only point was “you might be wrong,” well, of course. Any prediction like that could be wrong.

    • #25 by lbwoodgate on April 15, 2014 - 09:54

      ” So, go ahead and call people racists and tell us all how the future will be.”

      Woe! Easy there. Scott didn’t call you a racists and if you think I did then you were being too sensitive. Perception is reality and though I have no reason to disbelieve your denial about being a racist, the fact that I referenced the image of “an angry white man” was merely intended to depict the type of individual we see at the anti-government, Tea Party rallies. I’m sure they’re not all racists. Well, I’m not sure but I’m willing to give some of them the benefit of the doubt.

      • #26 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 13:25

        From my perspective race has no place in this conversation. I never brought it up. You did, twice.

        ” So, go ahead and call people racists and tell us all how the future will be.”

        This comment of mine was in response to that and although was said in a reply is meant to be applied to anyone that ascribes that motivation to anyone they disagree with or perceive to be a socio/political enemy.

  10. #27 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 16:19

    Scott, most people that communicate in writing are well aware that intended levity is not always apparent to the reader.

    “You gotta lighten up if you’re going to debate politics”

    Actually, all I really gotta do is keep may facts straight and watch the use of the language. I’m also quite certain that I have behaved respectfully and will continue to do so, here as well as everywhere else.

    My only points were (1) that your prediction may very well be wrong and (2) that the people writing in this blog seemed to take great pains to avoid taking into account Obama’s recent failings and the subsequent ill favor of most Americans.

    As far as political debate goes, this is not a real debate. It is more akin to being a coffee house discussion. Debates are rule-governed and heavily moderated.

    • #28 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 16:45

      It would be nice if you could say what failings you’re talking about. Also, words have broad definitions. Your definition of debate is very narrow – people can debate something at the coffee cooler without a moderator. It’s like when people say “we aren’t a democracy but a Republic.” No, we’re both! In political science and democratic theory the term democracy does not mean crude majoritarianism. Yet I always run into people who are convinced that there is only one way to define a term and they have that one way (and don’t get me started on how people define and redefine socialism). So I’ve found that its best not to get too caught up in the particular words used, and think about the ideas and interpretations.

  11. #29 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 17:53

    Failing – Lie of the year
    Failing – NSA spying and his own NSA chief self-admittedly lying to congress about it
    Failing – Stonewalling about Bengahzi (this is the perception of most Americans)
    Failing – one day claiming outrage re the IRS treatment of conservative groups and the next day claiming it doesn’t exist.
    Failing – Promising to include all sides in the crafting of Obamacare and then not doing it
    Failing – Promising to put the crafting of Obamacare on C-SPAN, then acting like he never said it

    I could go on and on but you get the idea. BTW I have video/audio clips of these and other things which I am prepared to show if necessary.

    My definition of “debate” is derived from the use of the word in academia. Debate was de rigueur during my pursuit of a Masters in Philosophy. I do agree however that the word is often misused in everyday life. The exact use of language (what some refer to as splitting hairs) is necessary to ascertain truth and certainty. Look at science, legal proceedings, business dealings etc. In none of these areas is playing fast and loose with the language allowed. I often find that I have to do that when I’m challenged because usually the tactic of the challenger is to play fast and loose with the language.

    • #30 by lbwoodgate on April 15, 2014 - 18:30

      Lie of the year???

      “Stonewalling about Bengahzi (this is the perception of most Americans)”

      Is it? Please clarify what you mean by “stonewalling”. Mistakes were made. People have been fired. What more are “most Americans” expecting? And might that perception have been fostered by a vindictive GOP? Just a little??

      “Promising to include all sides in the crafting of Obamacare and then not doing it”

      You mean before the GOP decided they wanted to completely repeal the ACA?

  12. #31 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 18:36

    Lie of the year? Not sure what you mean there. NSA spying is a bureaucratic problem — it was very bad under Bush too, a reaction to 9-11. It certainly isn’t an “Obama failure.”

    Benghazi has been a loser for the Republicans because there was no stonewalling. That’s why it’s gone no where – the GOP tried to manufacture a scandal where none existed. It actually disgusted me, it was trying to turn a national tragedy to political gain by fishing for scandal. If the Democrats had done that after 9-11, it would have been just as disgusting. Benghazi went nowhere for the GOP because nothing was there! Even Krauthammer admitted the White House won on the issue. That’s not a failure!

    IRS – no scandal there either. Now the GOP is pathetically trying to hound a bureaucrat for e-mails, hardly a big Obama scandal. And now THAT is blowing up in their face. Obama has had a scandal free White House, despite attempts by the GOP to manufacture one. Crafting of Obamacare on C-SPAN? That’s grasping at straws. Things at level can be found in every administration. If these are his worst failures, then he’s had the most failure-free Presidency in history!

    Also, you will never attain certainty of truth. Science doesn’t prove things true, it only finds hypotheses that remain unfalsified after considerable testing – but every scientific fact is contingent. Debate is a broad term, if you want a narrower definition (debate that is moderated, etc.) then you need to specify the kind of debate. You’re talking “formal debate” not debate as a general term – so if you just say debate and assume others will think you’re meaning only formal debate, you haven’t been precise with your language.

    Oh wait, just goggled “lie of the year.” The White House said people could keep their insurance plans, but also said that insurance plans would have to cover certain things. I kept my insurance plan, but some aspects of it had to change due to Obamacare (and I’ll pay tax on it too). So it seems rather minor to me, but it’s certainly not a policy failure or anything like that. And not all the successes – not the least of which is how well Obamacare is starting to work!

    • #32 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 19:29

      Lie of the year – Awarded by the left leaning Politifact fact checker

      NSA spying – NSA chief is appointed by POTUS. If it was failing under Bush it was also a failing under Obama, even worse because they trotted out their appointee to lie to Congress

      Bengahzi – Obama himself stated we know who is responsible and vowed to bring them to justice. This was over a year ago. He the said he was having a hard time finding them. Journalist however were sipping tea with them at cafes and interviewing them.

      Million of people have had their Ins plans cancelled against their wishes.

      I could go on but I won’t because you are still ignoring that fact that what is a presidential failing is whatever the voters think it is. Voters make the decisions and right now it is abundantly clear what the majority of the voters think. The mid terms will bear this out. Perhaps we should meet for coffee after the election and “debate” the outcome.

      Here’s a flash for you, I’m not a Republican so your continual references to the GOP mean nothing to me.

      “you will never attain certainty of truth”

      We do have however a functional definition of the truth and the proof of that is the degree of dodging it that some people are willing to do.

      • #33 by lbwoodgate on April 16, 2014 - 05:37

        Obama himself stated we know who is responsible and vowed to bring them to justice. This was over a year ago. He the said he was having a hard time finding them. Journalist however were sipping tea with them at cafes and interviewing them.

        It would help if you would provide those sources you claim you always have. My findings here show that 4 people were dismissed from their positions at State for their role in this and Eric J. Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, “resigned” as a result of on-going investigations into this. At the time, Hillary Clinton took responsibility for her Department’s failure and she too has resigned since, though that could be attributed, in part at least, to her plans to run in 2016

        As far as Obama’s lie of the year per Politifact, since we are talking about rating president’s historically, how would you rate that lie with the one George Bush gave the American people to invade Iraq? How many lives were lost as a result mistakenly telling Americans that they would not lose their coverage compared to those lives lost with our military and Iraqi civilians? I don’t dispute that it was a lie but will it have the same long term effect on Americans and future generations in the way that the loss of nearly 4000 military losses in Iraq has, not to mention the families and property destruction in Iraqi. Then there is the trillion dollar price tag for Iraq that continues to grow. A debt left for future generations

        ”Million of people have had their Ins plans cancelled against their wishes.”

        Please provide documentation for this.

        For everyone who had their earlier insurance cancelled because it didn’t meet the new standards under Obamacare they were eligible for other insurance that had better coverage. And not everyone was upset with this. So its misleading for anyone to suggest that they have lost health care coverage altogether.

        ”I could go on but I won’t because you are still ignoring that fact that what is a presidential failing is whatever the voters think it is”

        And you think you should be the final judge of what that failure should be Al? How noble of you. Perception is reality so for someone like you to select Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” as a basic criteria for presidential failure ignores the end results of what wrought that “lie” and how it will likely be diminished over time compared to one that killed tens of thousands thousands and cost trillions.

  13. #34 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 20:54

    I really think you’re in full spin mode, taking tiny things and pretending they are more important than they are. You have no clue what a majority of voters think (remember a lot who disapprove of Obama do so because they think he’s not liberal enough, but would vote for him again against a Republican), and you have no clue where the volatile “approval” ratings will be in a year, even a few weeks from now. History does not watch approval ratings as they ebb and flow. History watches policy change, social change, and long term impacts. Obama has changed this country dramatically. That’s what matters, regardless of what one thinks the “majority” (remember: argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy) believes. I do think you’re wrong in your view of what the majority believe, but that’s OK – neither of us really can know that. If you think you can, well, I think that’s a bit delusional. We also don’t know what the mid-terms will bring. Politics shifts.

    You are right that I may be wrong; you have to accept that you may be wrong.

    • #35 by Al Brassell on April 15, 2014 - 22:28

      OK let’s get something straight regarding you continual reference to argumentum ad populum. For starters tell me what you think I’m arguing for. I don’t see myself as arguing for anything. The only people who argue for things are religious people and idealists and I am neither. So if you can give me a succinct statement as to what you think I’m arguing for maybe we can quickly put that issue to bed.

      It is probably true that in the socio/political spectrum we see things quite differently but that does not necessarily mean I’m arguing for something.

      You say I have no clue what a majority of voters think. Well, are you saying you do? Bear in mind I just quoted current poll numbers and they are what they are and accurate as near as I can ascertain. You say I have no clue where the volatile “approval” ratings will be in a year. Well of course I don’t, and never claimed to, so why are you behaving as if I did?

      I just wish people who want to “debate” would simply make assertions in the form of true propositional statements and then support them with facts and logic. Instead all I usually get is oblique references to this or that maxim from some strain of idealism.

  14. #36 by Scott Erb on April 15, 2014 - 22:39

    Poll numbers vary – a couple weeks ago Rasmussen had Obama over 50% approval – he’ll probably be there again. That’s always in flux. The irony is I made a post full of data – policies Obama will be credited for, foreign policy successes, the cultural shift that he is straddling, and how he entered office at the start of a horrific recession, and is poised to leave with growth back. That’s not “oblique references” or “idealism,” those are real propositions. Your response has been, essentially, that I might be wrong (granted), and that his approval ratings are below 50%. That seems very vague and oblique to me. It doesn’t address the argument I make or the data in my post. So if your main point is that I might be wrong – definitely! Very true! I’ve been wrong on many things in my life (though I did predict McCain would choose Palin two months before he did – sometimes I get lucky in my predictions). But I did make an argument, and backed it up.

  15. #37 by Al Brassell on April 16, 2014 - 08:10

    lbwoodgate, what you didn’t include in your “findings” was that the four you mentioned as being fired were actually reassigned. This amounts to a horizontal move sort of like being moved from the sales department to the purchasing department. The resignation was by someone who had been planning to resign anyway. His superiors did not ask for his resignation. (One of many sources USA Today)

    As for George Bush lying, as I have already pointed out (I guess you missed that) I have no more tolerance for Bush lying than I do for Obama lying.

    Regarding Hillary taking “responsibility”, it only served to help her avoid taking accountability. In the real world responsibility means that getting the job done is on you. Accountability, on the other hand, is what comes when you fail to live up to your responsibility. The juxtaposition of words is what politicians do to enable them to deceive e.g. in the case of Obamacare “sign ups” and “enrollments”. These are 2 totally different things both from a legal standpoint as well as a consequential standpoint.

    • #38 by lbwoodgate on April 16, 2014 - 10:21

      “what you didn’t include in your “findings” was that the four you mentioned as being fired were actually reassigned.”

      And you’ve personally decided this is insufficient? Based on what? How involved were you with this process? Why would you automatically assume this is insufficient? A personal bias perhaps rather than an open mind?

      • #39 by Al Brassell on April 16, 2014 - 11:52

        I never said it was insufficient nor did I imply it, rather I was merely showing that you were mistaken in your characterization of the four being “fired”. Moreover no one was has ever been held accountable for the deaths of those people. After all “what difference at this point does it make”?

      • #40 by Scott Erb on April 16, 2014 - 12:26

        So Al, who was held accountable for the deaths of thousands on 9-11? Like Benghazi, it was a terror attack. There were uncertainties early on. Ultimately both sides formed a bipartisan commission to learn from what went wrong and not “blame” people for the tragedy. Efforts to blame individuals or the administration about Benghazi like it was a scandal have failed because they were based on a political motivation – one that sacrificed patriotism for a desire to get the “other side.” Sad.

      • #41 by Al Brassell on April 16, 2014 - 12:45

        Scott, regarding Benghazi accountability, Obama has already stated that we know who is responsible and that they will be brought to justice. It hasn’t happened.

        Depending on which source one listens to or reads there are still many documents that haven’t been turned over in un redacted form, still witnesses that haven’t been interviewed and still a lot of obfuscation testimony (much of which I watched myself). So the question remains, who should you believe and why?

      • #42 by lbwoodgate on April 16, 2014 - 16:07

        “Moreover no one was has ever been held accountable for the deaths of those people.”

        That would be the terrorists who killed them.

        “I never said it was insufficient nor did I imply it, rather I was merely showing that you were mistaken in your characterization of the four being “fired”.”

        Yet you still feel what’s been done is insufficient to account for the deaths of four Americans?

        BTW, could you provide your sources where “CNN and AP reporters have interviewed some of the people named in the indictments and some of the interviews were conducted in cafes while sipping tea”?

        And I still haven’t received your source(s) to validate your claim that “Million of people have had their Ins plans cancelled against their wishes.”

        “I have no more tolerance for Bush lying than I do for Obama lying.”

        So when you attempted to hold him accountable what did you do? Did you vote to re-elect him in 2004?

    • #43 by Scott Erb on April 16, 2014 - 13:45

      Everything I see says that the rate of uninsured has declined, with as many as near 10 million having insurance that didn’t have it before Obamacare. So a claim that millions got their insurance plans cancelled seems to be a bit of a falsehood. There is a difference between cancelling a plan (leaving someone uninsured) and altering/improving a plan.

      • #44 by Al Brassell on April 16, 2014 - 14:37

        Scott, when ones private plan no longer conforms to the new government standards it gets cancelled automatically. It then becomes incumbent for that person to shop for a new plan. About the only place to go is Obamacare where you can buy a plan that contains provisions you may not want or need. Moreover it might not include your doctor or hospital in its network. It may also provide less coverage with higher premiums and higher deductibles. I don’t want that for myself. The people who fall under the category of these private plans have been said to number between 6 – 8 million people. Many of these have signed up/enrolled in Obamacare and are counted in the current numbers Obama is touting.

        The number of people who fall under the type of insurance provided by employers is said to be about 80 million. Obama has delayed the cancellation of these policies until after the 2016 presidential election. This being the case this 80 million will not feel the pain of the new rules prior to the election thus will not be angry at the government and will not be disinclined to vote for Democrats.

        The stated purpose of Obamacare was to provided insurance to the uninsured. He is currently touting numbers like 7.5 million sign ups. If, of that number, 5 million were people who had their private plans cancelled and you subtract the number that enrolled in Medicaid and then subtract the number that signed up but did no enroll by paying the first premium then the number your left with is how many of the previously uninsured are now insure. I will speculate that number to be embarrassingly low. That may be why the administration has gone to such pains to withhold those figures from us. That may be alright with you and others like you but it’s not alright with me.

  16. #45 by Scott Erb on April 16, 2014 - 13:30

    I am not sure if Obama said that in the context you imply, but sometimes things take time. President Bush vowed we’d get Bin Laden. In 2011, Obama did just that. Did Bush fail and Obama succeed? No, it just sometimes takes time and tough intelligence work and planning to get the bad guys. And Obama might have been wrong – he might have been told “X did this,” only to have later intelligence change (that happens a lot – we’re dealing with moving targets). So going from just one statement like that is really nothing. That’s “gotcha” politics where you try to find a sound bite that one can quibble about – that’s meaningless. And if after such investigation you’re left with alleging there may be documents somewhere that have something, or that you’re not sure you believe witnesses….well, more bluntly that means you have nothing. That’s why it’s become a joke.

    • #46 by Al Brassell on April 16, 2014 - 14:43

      Scott, Obama has already stated that we know who is responsible. Moreover he claimed that we have sealed indictments against specific people. He also claims he can’t find them. CNN and AP reporters have interviewed some of the people named in the indictments and some of the interviews were conducted in cafes while sipping tea. Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem like they are that hard to find.

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