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Politics Obama - Actually doing a good job?

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by rogue49, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Now I know that it's all the fashion to trounce the big guy in office.

    But in the end, I'd like to give credit where credit is due.

    I had the opportunity ending last year to actually work for the White House for a year.
    This position came to me strictly out of luck and I had the skills to take advantage of it.
    Then with the budget wars of the last spring it ended...and then I had to find other options.

    Now, I'm not a politico...I don't necessarily support any side...or specifically any person.
    I tend to be totally pragmatic, judging the situation as it is, what options I have, then act.
    Same with my votes.

    I will say, given the options I had, I voted for Obama,
    but then again, I've voted for people before...and they've disappointed me (Dem, Ind or GOP)
    I judge people for what they do for me, the land and how hard they try.
    I treat my politicians like I do my workers, I don't care who they are, I care about results.

    I must say, being on the inside...I was impressed.
    Despite the challenges given to his administration...there were good management attempts and policies to address issues.
    Questions were put to EVERYONE, no matter who or what level...to see what they'd improve.
    Positions were put in place to actually optimize government. (ex. CIO and CTO...this is HUGE if you've ever seen IT waste...much less the damn contractors)
    Ideas to get rid of waste...not agendas...not ideology, but actual waste and redundancy...to increase efficiency.

    The media, the Left, the Right, etc, etc, etc...Everyone is screaming,
    Everyone wants what they want, right now, why isn't it done yet?
    Everyone colors it with their own agenda and bias.

    But now I saw it, without a filter...directly with my own eyes, over time.
    The Federal government is a HUGE complex machine.
    And you've got tons of drivers...there's no way you're going to turn it on a dime.
    You've got leaders and bureaucrats with their own territories.
    You've got laws, rules and protocols everything disputed if changed...must less how to implement.

    Yet there it was, bit by bit...things being put in place to re-enforce the policy of making it more efficient.
    A group of people and protocol trying to slowly turn this glutted beast into a sleeker system.

    I don't know if I agree with Obama on everything. (ex. NASA...my heart bleeds for that...maybe that's MY bias)
    But I will give credit to him and his administration for actually trying to fix the damn thing.
    And getting views from everyone, no matter their side.
    And actually following up and following through...bit by bit.
    A long chess game, the ultimate "this old house" fixit.

    In the upcoming election, I'd put Obama up for comparison against anyone, to judge him...see if he's worth it.
    That's my right as a citizen, to see if I can get something better.

    But one, in comparison with the current options given to me, I doubt it.
    And two, seeing what he's ACTUALLY done...from the inside and out.
    I'd say right now, he's done a pretty good job...despite all the factors.

    What do you think?
    Do you think he deserves credit?
  2. Pixel

    Pixel Getting Tilted

    I would say he has done an good job in a nearly impossible position. I often wonder how much control a president has, especially in the short term.
  3. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    One term is inadequate to work through the muck and mire he inherited. I think he deserves another 4 years. If he'd had a more cooperative Congress rather than one determined to block most of the initiatives he tried to put forth, he might have been able to accomplish more. Hopefully this next election will deliver that to him, as well.

    It is a big and complex machine. People expect so much, so quickly, without having any idea of how much slower a big gear turns.
  4. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Oh, most people have NO idea how complex.
    There are so MANY departments...and so MANY projects.
    Each with leaders who want to keep their own under control...much less expand.
    Each with military or bureaucrats or contractors...each wanting to keep their paycheck coming...much less any conflict of interest.

    I will give most credit, the intent is to do a good job, within their frame of control and reference.
    It's just that humans have their own weaknesses and bias...this adds to the controlled chaos.
    One hand doesn't know what the other is doing...repeat, repeat, repeat...and so on.

    Neither Democrat or Republican administrations or leaders are good at getting this under control.
    Both equally spend money and resources...just with an emphasis on different things.
    It's just that any attempt to "get rid of" or "reduce", usually just adds another layer.
    This does NOT mean that we should get rid of everything as the extreme Libertarians want to do. (there is a place for government)

    So I respect the audacity, the willingness of Obama to suggest and followup and follow-thru on making it more efficient.
    I saw inside, and I'm seeing it in the media (thru all the BS otherwise) that he is slowly pushing to get rid of unnecessary and redundant government.
    Proposals for reorganization, elimination of waste, paperwork, redundant departments, ongoing projects that won't go away or get results, etc, etc...

    I am a fair-minded Libertarian...and it greatly pleased me to actually see and experience...an inquiry and a push to remove the glut.
    His administration is NOT adding to the government overall...it is actually reducing it...bit by bit.
    It is not as those who believe that Dems classically add to the government...his actions observed are that is removing these.

    It's a virtually impossible task to clean up this mess of decades of build up through tides of change.
    But it is at least heartening that they are taking up the task, no matter the effort...or length of time.
    They are not doing it by the usual destructive method of reducing budget, stripping it of power, etc.
    But they are doing it by examining, reviewing, investigation...then acting, and setting overall policy to push for that goal for the whole damn thing.

    It's methodical, intelligent, reflective...but then they ACT. And tell others to follow, and act on those.
    Ex. CIO went though ALL agencies to find out those IT projects & contracts that hadn't been affective within a certain time...and stopped them if not.
    Ex. Policy to remove actual paper to transfer it to electronic media, with immediate backup, and focusing on centralization.
    Ex. CTO starting to setup shared cloud data repositories that all government can use, to reduce the number of datahubs and datacenters.
    Ex. Proposals to get rid of redundant departments and roll them into others. (unfortunately, he has to wait on Congress for this)
    Ex. Proposals to get rid of redundant regulations between multiple depts and roll them into one. (again, waiting on Congress)
    Ex. Created a bureau dedicated to optimizing performance and finding waste and inefficiency for ALL federal govt agencies.
    Ex. Creating centralized easily and non-redundant web site dedicated to sharing information through out.
    and so on...

    I even filled out two survey/poll/questionaire when I was there. (these were universal, asked of EVERYONE in govt...contractors included)
    First, asked...what ideas do you have to improve government...everything from small suggestions to large.
    Second, asked...what would you do to reorganize the government?

    Both of these were followed up on. I saw the action.
    And even though a minor idea was given the "award", all were considered, some immediately implemented, some will take time.
    Some need Congress to agree on

    But it was cool to see...and I can only hope that it continues.
    No matter who is at the head.
    (amazing what good things get shoved aside just because they were someone else's idea)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. SuburbanZombie

    SuburbanZombie Housebroken

    More cooperative congress? The Democrats had the majority in the House and Senate for the first 2 years of his presidency and he still couldn't get anything done. Granted a lot of that is the result of Democrats in congress vying for more pork and power for themselves than actually doing anything for the country in general and the Democratic party for failing to capitalize on a mandate to make changes.

    I don't see him as having done much of anything. Troops are still in Afghanistan (+1 for getting them out of Iraq), Gitmo is still open, Bush tax credits extended, no prosecution of banks that caused the financial meltdown and the middle class squeezed even harder while the "1%" continue with business as usual. I'm sure I'm missing a few other things but can't think of them right now.

    I don't think Obama has been good or bad. Average at best. Solid C. Then again, I think the presidency has been slipping more into a "figurehead" position than an actual leadership position and the money = free speech ruling is hastening the process but I digress...

    He will get another 4 years. With the current crop of buffoons the GOP is trotting out, I don't see how he couldn't be re-elected.
  6. Derwood

    Derwood Slightly Tilted

    Columbus, OH
    Did you miss the GOP filibustering every bill and forcing a super-majority vote to get anything passed?
    • Like Like x 1
  7. redux

    redux Very Tilted

    Foggy Bottom
    In fact, despite the toxic environment, particularly in the Senate as Derwood noted, Obama had more legislative priorities enacted than any first term president since Reagan.

    The big ticket items like the stimulus bill that has contributed to 24 months of private sector job growth or nearly 3 million jobs to-date (with no Republican support) and that also included significant investment in infrastructure and clean energy technology

    And the Affordable Care Act that has already help about 20 million Americans (with no Republican support).

    Smaller but still significant legislation like the Dodd-Frank wall street reform (which IMO didnt go far enough and the implementation blocked by Republicans) pay equity for women, credit card reform, student loan reform, a new START treaty, the end of Dont Ask, Dont Tell, procurement reform...

    And as rogue noted, a serious attempt at regulatory reform and streamlining government.

    He failed on his promises in the area of national security, where most (but not all Bush policies) were extended.

    The biggest failure was in letting the Republicans control the message.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
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  8. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    I think redux sums up Obama's first term fairly.
    Unlike a lot of folks, I didn't expect that much out of Obama in the first place. There is no footing in Washington that will allow true liberal policies to find ground. From what I can tell, the machinery is tooled to pretty much pull to the right on all matters.

    And, yes, some of Obama's biggest failures were in maintaining and even extending Bush era policies regarding national security and the war on terror. Unforgivable failures, in my estimation. I will vote for him again simply because there is no one else running who doesn't totally fucking terrify me. But it won't be with the enthusiasm I had the first time around.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. SuburbanZombie

    SuburbanZombie Housebroken

    Its not all the GOP's fault. The Democrats had a perfect opportunity to set the political and social agenda but squandered it with infighting, power grabs and desire to add pork to everything for their districts. The Democrats blew it and gave the hard line conservatives a chance to get in there and muck things up.

    Obama is a charismatic and telegenic orator. I am hoping he learned a lot more leadership skills and that those will be on display for his second term.
  10. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there!

    What does this mean?
    Do you think there is some inherent anti-liberal bias in the way the government is set-up or am I misunderstanding?
  11. redux

    redux Very Tilted

    Foggy Bottom
    I wouldnt necessarily describe it as a anti-liberal bias, but the fact that the country is marginally right of center and that is reflected in Congress where there are more moderate and conservatie Democrats than there are moderate or liberal Republicans (virtually none, these days).

    The Affordable Care Act is a good example. This is not a liberal bill, by any means, despite the rhetoric from the right about socialized medicine and government take-over. It is a bill that expands the market for private insurance companies by 30=40 million potential customers. The fact is that a more liberal bill, with a public option, would have been opposed by enough conservative Democrats to effectively kill it.

    Republicans like to point to the polls on the ACA that show, on average, 49 percent of the country opposed to it and 46 percent supporting it. But if you look beyond the surface, you would find that anywhere from 10-15 percent of those opposed are on the left who think the bill didnt go far enough.

    The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill is another example, facing the same opposition from moderate/conservative Demorats and had to be watered down to ensure passage.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  12. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    In a way, yes. That's not to say that there is no liberal influence. Just that, if left without a driver, so to speak, the automobile will pull to the right.
    I guess it's a way of saying that I don't think liberal politics is a natural for America.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  13. fflowley

    fflowley Don't just do something, stand there!

    I hear you.
    So it's not something structural, it's just not the way most of the country and their elected officials want it to be.
    And redux, I couldn't agree with you more about the health care bill, and I'm no liberal. It's "worst of breed" solution.
  14. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia ...

    When you consider that people have had to die on the streets of America for every single 'liberal' achievement ever made in this country, it seems pretty clear.
  15. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Now is this fair credit or blame?
    Seems that people are giving negatives on Obama as gas prices rise.

    Now, I believe that gas prices are set by the oil companies...MAYBE government might be able to coax or influence prices over the long run,
    but action, policy or direct negotiation...but for the most part, it is set by the speculative nature of commodities and companies' bottom lines.

    I would no more give credit to him or anyone else if they went down.

    So, people vote with their pocketbook...or as Clinton was said to have said, "It's the ECONOMY stupid"

    Question is...will it be the same in November...this is really where the show is...and what will win or lose the game.
    But that's why I asked the question.
    Taking out the "luck" factors, that any president has or doesn't have control of.
    Do you see him as actually doing anything?

    Personally, for what the President or Commander in Chief actually has literal control of...I see him working every angle.
    But I don't want to give credit or blame for something "out of reach".

    And Congress currently is worthless. I'm more afraid of what they MAY do, instead of what they don't.
  16. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    Gas prices are set by speculation on the market. This is why you always hear people talking about the price per barrel of oil going up or down. Something bad happens (i.e. sabre-rattling re: Iran), people speculate that the market will be pinched, and voila, prices go up. The market for oil is really, seriously fucked up, especially for a commodity we use so much of, as circumstances beyond simple supply and demand control it.

    Anyone who believes Obama can control the energy market is ignorant.
  17. Stan

    Stan Resident Dumbass

    Obama has nothing to do with gas prices; but a long list of his predecessors have taken hits for exactly the same thing.

    What he can and may do is use the strategic oil reserves to manipulate prices. Again, not an original idea. Touch and go whether gas prices are really "strategic" or political.
  18. Aceventura

    Aceventura Slightly Tilted

    North Carolina
    Speculators will speculate both sides of anticipated underlying price movements. In other words speculators can be responsible for a temporary premium in underlying prices or a temporary discount. Given uncertainty in the ME, almost no excess refinery capacity (impacting gas), limited development of North American continent resources, anticipated economic growth, and a few other factors speculators anticipate the demand for oil will be greater than supply (driving prices up) in the future. They can easily be wrong. On the other-hand if speculators thought the uncertainty in the ME would subside, the US had plans to increase refinery capacity, an increase in NA development, flat or no economic growth, etc, they would speculate the price down or below real market prices.

    Speculators in the market reflect real sentiment - but even with that they may only be responsible for a 20 to 30% price swing plus or minus in the short-term. Governments and producers can easily counter anything speculators do. Suppliers won't when there is a premium. But if the US government wanted to end or curb speculation in the oil market there are many things that could be done. Obama saying he has no control is not true.
  19. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Speculation is only one aspect of the bigger picture that includes external influences on supply and demand. Obama has some control but not enough to have any substantial meaning, unless he wants to take more extreme (i.e. costly) measures.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to evaluating how Obama is doing, it depends on your politics. If you're a free-marketer low-tax conservative, Obama is doing all the wrong things to manage the challenges the U.S. is facing. This despite the same strategies being employed currently elsewhere (Canada, Germany) and even domestically in the past (by Republican presidents, no less).

    So gas prices are just one thing. The problem with the U.S. is that it's so behind on many things compared to most of the developed world. It's behind in fuel economy. It's behind in green energy production. It's behind in energy conservation. So when you look at oil supplies and prices, you're only looking at one piece of the puzzle, and it's a piece that the U.S. isn't actually managing that poorly comparatively.

    I view Obama as a disaster-management president. Unfortunately, most of what he does to either a) fix problems, or b) pursue new opportunities is faced with resistance from conservatives who'd rather leave everything to the good graces of the private sector. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons he's a disaster president is because of the private sector. Any meaningful change will come at the cooperation between the government and industry. I'm sure you'll find this is the way of most success stories.

    Conservatives today will deny this. They want government out of the way. They'll say one thing as the reason why, but more than a few of us know the real reason.

    I would like to think that most would rather see success.

    The Republicans, unfortunately, have been focused on nothing other than failure.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Pixel

    Pixel Getting Tilted

    If I knew someone would come in and actually shrink government and get it out of the way, I would probably actually vote for them. It will never happen though. I guess it comes down to I like the things that Obama spends money on versus the things that the other guys would spend money on.
    • Like Like x 1