President Obama: will he live up to expectations?

A self-explanatory title. Will Obama deliver all the changes he and his party have promised?

Of course not all of them, but I now believe he will make good on the principle of every priority he’s talked about. This is a little too broad reaching for me to get into at the moment, and I’m actually quite emotional still. At the moment it’s symbolic, and though it’s about as affecting and effecting as a symbol can possibly get… there is now so much that needs to happen and so much work that WE need to do, to translate this mandate into enduring progress.

He’s not the messiah, but Barack Obama is definitely the real deal.

I have trouble seeing how Obama can reconcile being a Christian with being pro-choice (it’s not something I can personally do as a Christian myself).

What’s your view on that?

Edit: I know it’s infinitely more complicated than one person’s view versus reality. I’ll post more later!

Well the pro-choice thing does not even really matter for the President. He just needs to leave the topic alone since abortion is already legal in the US.

The biggest argument for being pro-choice is the fact that abortion is going to happen anyway. Except with it illegal, it is going to be preformed in an unsafe manner by people who are not doctors. With it legal, at least it will not be as life-threatening for the woman. Abortion does not totally make sense to me but since I am not a woman, I feel I could never properly understand it as women who get them do (or even really understand what pregnancy is like).
Folks say it is killing a baby but it is really a biological and moral grey area. When does the fetus become a human with consciousness? Some say the second the egg is fertalized, some say it is only after birth. It is really an impossible to answer question.
Even with them legal and safe, I don’t think people get abortions routinely or as an alternative to birth control.

Also being Christian matters little when it comes to personal morality. Some Christians say that the death penalty is terrible and un-Christian. Some say it is necessary and totally Christian (the Bible supports it many times even though Jesus does not).

What about the tax rates, what exactly was the plan, to increase it for people over $150000 or for over $250000 and increase it by how much? The way I understood it is he wants to spread the wealth from the rich to the less fortunate via taxes that will fund projects benefitting everyone…

But the counter argument was that he’s hurting small business with such a low mark for increase and they get penaltised for doing a little better than others.

As for abortions, with it being legal I don’t see how it’s up to him and why it’s seen so negative, the people already spoke for it when it was made legal. Being pro choice at least implies you’ll take some measures to properly educate and inform people than fornw upon whoever even considers the possibility. Being pro war isn’t more Christian but many Americans still love that attitude, even people who frown upon Obama for being pro choice…

Whether or not Obama will live up to the expectations is a rather empty question to ask. It’s something that everybody should wonder about every president that is elected. He will not accomplish everything… but just that fact that we have elected an erudite shows that perhaps we are moving away from a culture of anti-intellectualism. That in itself gives me hope.

The pro-choice-but-Christian issue is really simple: it shouldn’t matter that he’s Christian. We have a very distinct (well, it’s supposed to be at least) separation of Church and State. Decisions such as that should be based on the rights of the individual, not the religious beliefs of the majority. Individuals have all the right to be against it and can make that choice. However, morality should not be imposed upon the people. (Same thing with gay marriage rights - it does nothing to affect those who oppose it, but prevents certain individuals from having equal rights as others.)

And as for his tax plans, no, this whole “take from the rich and give to the poor” propaganda is simply hyperbole. The vast majority of this country’s wealth sits in the top 20~30% of the population. Having a flat tax across all income brackets puts an unfair burden on the less fortunate. If you barely make enough to make ends meet, every last penny helps, whereas if you are in the top income percentile, the vast majority of your money is discretionary.

Couple things wrong with our government finances - we have a humongous deficit. We overspend on everything (primarily a Republican issue, which shows that they are anything but conservative), but we are also against any sort of increase in tax in general. One of these has to give. We currently have no reliable system of auditing the government (oh, those systems exist, but as far as I can tell, completely nonfunctioning), so how/where to cut expenditures is nebulous at best (it’s why I hate having to vote on propositions that propose new projects and whatnot - there’s no way in hell a layperson can understand the effects it will have on the state or federal budget, what will be sacrificed, etc). And lastly, it seems people have this stigma against “taxing the rich and providing for the poor,” and yet we have no issue with providing $700 billion to bail out bankrupt corporations. Not quite an apples to apples comparison, but still relevant to the discussion.

continued (just read Al3xand3r’s questions in the other thread)

Regarding Obama’s connections and whatnot, the most commonly touted one is to Bill Ayers, an alleged domestic terrorist. The problems there are that Ayers was never convicted of any crimes, and the group that he was allegedly the head of only ever managed to kill 3 of their own people in an accident. He was never found guilty and has since been working in education reform in the Chicago area. Obama was a part of the same education reform programs, so naturally had dealings with him. The issue seems to have arisen over how much association he has had with Ayers, something that has never been proven. Unfortunately, it seems that spending any amount of time in politics will connect you with some unsavory character or another in some shape or form. The important thing to remember is the nature of that association and whether or not the individual has ever said or done anything in support of the unsavory character’s unsavory actions. Here’s an example of an attempted guilt-by-association vs guilt-by-association-and-action:

  • Obama knew Ayers, and met with him on several occasions regarding education reform. Obama has never shown any support for Ayers’ prior actions, nor has he even shown whether or not he knew about it.

  • McCain’s lead financial advisor throughout a large portion of his campaign was Phil Gramm. This was the same Phil Gramm that spearheaded the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act back in 1999 that deregulated the banking and insurance agencies, which is one of the major contributors to the US’ current financial meltdown.

I am pretty sure the things I say in this post are accurate. But I’ve been working overtime for the past few months so I may have gotten some bad info and have not had time to fact-check. So if anyone can correct wrong points, I would appreciate it!

The tax/“wealth redistribution” thing is really ridiculous. Basically, as Abadd already said, he wants to tax the folks who make obscene sums of money and have been paying less taxes on it (combating the trickle-down economics that was big under Bush). The claim is that he wants to take money from the middle class and give it to the lower class so that everyone is on roughly equal footing. This is not it at all.
From my understanding the money (from taxes) is going primarily to fund public projects and provide things like education or healthcare (so poor peoples can visit a doctor without going into debt - they won’t be getting fat checks so they can become middle class without getting a job). Hypothetically some of the money will help pay off the national debt but I have doubts about that.
For most people, I do not think taxes will be increased.

Technically wealth will be redistributed. Technically every government (to my knowledge) does this. It is called taxes. All taxes are when the government takes money from people and uses it to pay for things which (ideally) help the community rather than the individual. McCain/Palin did not plan on abolishing taxes. In fact, even though the Republicans claim to promote small government and less spending, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush have done more spending which increases debt than any other president I know of.

HOWEVER under Clinton the Federal Reserve Bank (quasi-government entity to which we owe the national debt) basically told him that he had to start paying off the debt before starting the programs for healthcare and education he had planned. As such, there is no national healthcare BUT there was the only year I know of post-WWII in which the national debt went down a little. And people were plenty prosperous (although the tech bubble might have a lot to do with that…).

I expect Obama will face a similar mandate from the Federal Reserve Bank and I suspect this means not everything he wants to pass will be passed. But I think Obama has enough forethought to keep the public good in mind unlike Bush’s apparent goal of keeping the rich as rich as possible while throwing money into the fireplace we call “The Iraq War”.

I do not know if Obama will succeed in ending the conflict in Iraq. I hope so. But I doubt it. At least I do not think he is going to be starting any new wars.

Actually I believe Obama did say that he was aware of Ayers’ past but does not condone it at all.

Ah, thanks for clarifying the Ayers thing.

As for the national debt, under Clinton, however, we had a continuous surplus so we were working toward reducing the debt. It never got small, but we were making progress. However, in the last 8 years, our debt has increased tremendously.

Since the primaries were over, I’ve followed this Presidential race far more than any previous in my life, and while I’m still not terribly well educated about the deeper policy issues, the character of the campaign has been a momentous history unto itself. The sense of well being and relief that the candidate who had to win for the US to realistically even have hope of arresting this current path of decline, has indeed won; is still greatly tempered by the perpetual sadness and disgust I’ve been carrying from the sheer weight of misrepresentation and toxic hyperbole that has yet to be truly cleansed.

Abadd’s two examples of association exemplify the difference between Obama’s and McCain’s campaigns. While there are several aspects of his life Obama has very understandably downplayed, perhaps even shielded to some extent, there was a relentless smear strategy of trying to insinuate a straight line between the attitudes and agendas of people he’s been on friendly terms with and his own political agenda, and in every case none really exists. Both of the two ‘scary’ characters invoked directly by the McCain-Palin campaign had even more impressive political associations with some Republican interests than they ever did with Obama.

The vast majority of people who voted for Obama still had only a surface notion of how much may have been at stake in this, but on some level they at least recognized integrity by the end. McCain is an interesting one… for as much as he really is just another crony capitalist, there’s at least some nuance in evidence. I half predicted the way things would play out in a random conversation when he first got the Republican nomination, because in order to do so he ended up selling out his own persona, and I don’t think he ever recovered from the blow to his own nominal integrity. By the end his campaign became like a perfect caricature of the institutionalized hypocrisy of the neo-conservative strategy. He was clearly never truly comfortable with the new persona either.

It was almost like John McCain became precisely the contrast needed to ensure Barack Obama’s constancy and scrupulous positive platform could prevail.

I can’t fully know how this got presented outside the country, but just trust that whatever questions seem to be there about “who’s the real Barack Obama” and any other sinister implications are beyond even hyperbole, they are effective fabrication. That said, much of his philosophical leaning is quite probably more radical than he’s represented through the campaign, yet in practice he’s probably going to be a lot more conservative than many of his fellow Democrats even expect.

One note, since Obama’s specialty is in constitutional law, it would perhaps be far more incongruous if he wasn’t pro-choice.

Things were mostly positive for Obama here, none of those association rumours/whatevers was even mentioned. Obama is mostly liked in most countries from what I’ve seen so far.

I’ve just heard such things by American friends who are apparently truly terrified Obama won… Our relationship was even affected merely because for every bad “link” of theirs I was easily able to find an opposing side to that story which made perfect sense and I tried to tell them, hey don’t worry just yet, things MAY turn out alright and what not.

I mean, I know people get all worked up over politics, which is why I don’t often discuss them with friends and family, but this level of terror and hatred toward an individual was previously unseen for me and I just wondered how a smear campaign could be this damn effective…

I have a friend who barely makes a living trying to start up a business and yet, as soon as elections were close, her worries were that when/if she actually manages to get the business to take off, more of her money will go to taxes… That was an insane change of attitude to me so, again, I wonder what’s happening with the tax rates and how could someone present them in such a way that it gets people who don’t even currently have money so worked up…

I know the feeling.

A friend of mine who is like a brother to me, grew up in Lithuania where even today you can feel the grip of Stalinist Russia. He’s very smart but is paranoid about the return of Marxist-shaped ideologies.

I could go on but I’d only end up offending people, especially the Christians supporting abortion.

I hope Obama does the right thing where it counts.

One of these days, I want a real Socialist to run for presidency, just so Americans can see what that is actually like lulz

Heretic summed it up very well. Hear hear.

As for finding out the truth, well, one can never really know, but I’ve found the following site to be the best to my knowledge.

They did a fairly comprehensive job of following up on every claim and provided sources for their information when confirming or debunking said claims.

I just want to say that if Obama was a real Socialist, I would probably be supporting him even more. The fact that Socialism is considered so revolting to most folks is bothersome to me. I mean, by current US standards I would wager that Adam Smith (of “The Wealth of Nations” fame) would probably be labeled a socialist.
(Note that by this I do not mean USSR-style stuffs or Nazi-style stuffs or anything like that)

It seems a lot of folks have forgotten that the purpose of society and culture is to embetter all of ones surroundings instead of the ultra-greed version of “I’ll get as rich as possible and screw everyone else”.

I’m not in favor of taxing people into poverty or just giving out money to anyone who asks. But I think everyone deserves a place to live, access to medical care, and access to a quality education. People should be able to get any of these things without going deeply into debt (as is currently the standard for many folks).

But this is getting off topic.

Of he won’t , but what the hell anything is better than Bush . And the Republicans needs a real good sound kicking to wake them up to mess they’ve made of the whole world . Quite sad after all that good will after 911, still it put pay to the IRA I quess.

Lets just hope Obama isn’t another Blair , but even if he is, that’s a billion times better than Bush

Geoffrey, I don’t wish to step on any of your personal Christian sensibilities either. But non-Americans aren’t likely to understand the dynamics of the abortion issue as it still exists here (most Americans don’t for that matter). No one really says they are supporting abortion for one thing, but the Pro-Life side tends to represent a spectrum extremist platform, a sort of neo-parochialism, that tries to impose one brand of morality on American social values.

Unlike much of contemporary Europe, where Christianity as an institution seems to be regarded more as heritage similar to their monarchies and other cultural distinctions - and for those like yourself who are yet devout, was there a clear traditional denomination for you to join? - the majority of Americans still claim some allegiance to Christianity as defining their lifestyle. Among that total majority, it’s possible a majority of them may not even think about it on a daily basis, but they still identify that way.

But even among the practicing faithful of general Protestant denomination, there are several very distinct and established camps. And certain of those camps are pursuing effective theocracy here, which is literally proscribed by America’s founding principles. So I’m getting back around to the issue of our constitution here. There is an ongoing argument about whether the US was founded on Christian values or not, for obvious reasons and with obvious interests on each side. But the single most important part of the issue, for myself, never seems to be a part of that debate: the very imperative of Separation of Church and State was itself informed by those Christian values!

It is a matter of record that certainly Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were not orthodox Christians at all, so there can be no question that they intended to protect secular matters from denominational tampering. But these were moral people, the founding principles of the nation are a declaration of manifest morality, the concept of human rights. And this morality had been arrived at through generations lived according to a core Protestant value, their personal relationship with God / Jesus. Separation of Church and State is a symmetrical principle, because secular power also corrupts faith.

Which is being proved once more, as the second great apostasy is perhaps manifesting as we speak.

So anyway, I didn’t intend for this to become such a dissertation. One thing to try to understand about the Pro-Choice platform, is they are just as much about education and birth-control rights and everything else that should keep abortion from ever becoming a choice in the first place. And arguably the reason it became accepted as a constitutional issue, is on the basis of women being forced to term even when it was a danger to their own life. The battle is waged over extremism, it’s not really about anyone being “pro” abortion, and a majority of people do not say Roe v Wade should be overturned. It’s a wedge issue to force people to one side or the other, and there can be no doubt it’s also being wielded as a wedge to force the theocracy agenda.

I know Christians who voted for Obama despite the fact that he was pro-abortion. Why? They had totally lost all faith in the Republican camp on solving the rampant abortion problem. The goal is not to control women’s bodies or impose morality on others. The goal is to reduce the number of abortions. Their logic was and still is that by creating a more financially stable situation, suddenly the main reason for abortion in the first place, which on the surface appears to be, financial instability, it would help to solve the problem.

Does it? To put simply: not really. People by and large, still prefer inconsequential sex. All the pleasure and none of the pain. Ok, fair enough.

I’m very familiar with all the groups involved in this debate on both ends of the spectrum. The moderates aim for a realistic viable compromise, which unfortunately, is rampant abortion.

That shouldn’t be the solution. The solution should be arming people to the teeth with contraception to begin with so that it never becomes a problem. Obviously the Catholic Church has really, really failed here. We all know their stance.

So the goal is to save lives. However, once again, this issue has been successfully turned from an issue of life versus death into one of women’s rights almost exclusively. We’ve been brainwashed into believing that an unborn child isn’t even alive to be considered life so therefore has no rights, but even if it were alive, hell the more abortions the better because we’re overpopulating the planet anyway. This is the logic pushing this movement forward. The depopulation angle is very, very amusing when you consider that the populations of Europe and the States are a minority in this world.

I have to admire the conditioning that the far left wing of the political spectrum, everywhere I may add, has pumped out the sewers over the years. They have successfully taught a whole generation that it doesn’t matter if you get pregnant because abortion is here to save the day. Now it’s forged itself into our collective consciousness as a form of contraception. People make a mistake and the child pays for that mistake.

Incest and rape? Extreme examples always given to draw your attention away from the vast majority of abortions that don’t fall into that category. Most are performed for purely selfish reasons.

Women wanting control of their own bodies? Any sane person agrees with this. But it’s clear that the radical feminist groups including my personal favourites, the gender abolitonists, define themselves too much through abortion as if they are drunk on their own sense of power they gain from having total control, and that is all they care about. They are so afraid of losing that power that they belittle a fetus into a parasitic cancer which is in urgent need of being flushed down the toilet, while they openly look down on any women whom choose to embrace motherhood earlier in life. Most moderates see feminism as the morally bankrupt movement that it really is these days, thank God.

We’ve taught ourselves that life has no value, and that is dangerous.

It really doesn’t have to be about religion either. It’s life or death. The slavery abolition groups were predominantly Christians, or did we forget that? I find it unbelievable how the goal of saving innocent lives has been so demonized so successfully.

Why aren’t the left wingers focusing on Islam when it comes to these issues where they are a hundred times worse? Now that would be insensitive, wouldn’t it?

I could go into the science if you want. Most abortions are performed before 8 weeks where the fetus is arguably considered not alive yet. Quite a few are still carried out between 10-15 weeks though when the fetus is fully resembling a human being.

The answer is proper contraception, not abortion. A Christian supporting abortion is a paradox. It goes against the core of the belief system. Obama could say that he would personally not be for it himself but understand that others don’t share his faith etc.

Life has value and that needs to be remembered.

But anyway, gun sales went up in the states as soon as Obama was elected out of fear of being disarmed! I love America. Europe would simply crumble without it. The secular model of Europe would not have survived this long without the protection of the states. The people here, however, take that protection totally for granted.

It’s a shame that these debates are impossible to put delicately.

Well, I agree it doesn’t have to be about religion, and indeed there are people on the pro-life side who are not religious. But it is a non-issue in the US… except for the religious platforms it’s connected to. That is the reason the ‘debate’ still rages in such extremist terms, because of the current partisan construction. That was my main point, I’m not arguing the issue itself since it’s clearly inflammatory, especially for you Geoffrey.

A couple of things I would like to point out:
The current president is a strong opponent of abortion. Under him, despite a massive approval rating for a long stretch of time, there was nothing done to overturn Roe v. Wade.

You say that a Christian cannot be pro-choice. May I ask you to explain this a bit? I’m not a Christian and perhaps this is why I have difficulty understanding. As far as I remember, Jesus did not really talk about abortion.
And as I said in my first post of the thread, since abortions would be preformed anyway, having them legal and safe would save lives (of women getting them).

I don’t know any women who have had an abortion. As such, I assume that they are not done as routinely as you seem to imply. Do you actually know any women who have had one?

IDK, I really don’t feel qualified to make firm comments on abortion. When in doubt, keep it legal. (That is what I think at least.)

We believe life starts at conception. I hold it as more of a scientific fact rather than a mere belief.

Life isn’t something you throw away just because it’s more convenient, and unfortunately, that is happening. The mother has all the rights but the child has none.

I personally am not for dismantling abortion clinics, but abortion should be a last resort rather than the first resort that it is being taught to be. A million are performed every year in the states alone? That’s insane. We are being taught that life isn’t alive. Motherhood is being marginalised into nothingness in favour of far more glorified (by feminists in particular) career paths.

It’s a distortion of the truth all for convenience. So let’s hope that contraception solves the problem of abortion instead of becoming a form of it and a way for women to “empower” themselves like it currently is now.

It’s the only realistic compromise for a society so highly saturated with sex, and I’ll argue the point with anyone.

Don’t worry about tiptoeing around my sensibilities by the way Heretic. I’m forever arguing with secularists about the direction in which we are going who pretty much aim to erradicate all religion from the face of the planet.