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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2498

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:05 am    Post subject: Low approval Reply with quote

Been watching the approval ratings polls and noting how Obama has slipped? Think he'll get a second term?
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As of now, I don't see anyone else I particularly think would make a good President. Personally, I don't think Obama is doing that poorly in this position. I believe he truly thought he could produce more change in things--but then, bingo, life and its challenges and obstacles hit him in the face. I think we all knew that he was reaching high for the stars, and knew that eventually the Presidential and national responsibilities would file a lot of that enthusiasm down.

If the election were tomorrow, I would vote for him. Don't know if I'll feel the same once other candidates pop onto the scene, but that would be a decision for another day.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2498

PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the first, his age, both chronological and political, bothered me, but I voted for him anyway. Now, I think that dismay has increased. He flounders around when it comes to politicking, which, despite the onus that kind of activity generates, is nonetheless almost a necessary ability in D.C., IMO. He simply doesn't have the years in the trenches that would have given him the necessary background, pull, favors, etc., to "politick," and that lack shows.
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Karaa



Joined: 17 Apr 2008
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The US electorate's mind works in curious ways! Laughing

It seems that plummeting approval rates are the destiny for every single recent POTUS: W. Bush 25% at the lowest, Clinton 37%, H.W. Bush 29%, Reagan 35%, Carter 28%... If anything, looks like half of the US voters (those that actually bother to vote) are destined to vote for the wrong guy! Wink

Seriously, I wonder why that is. Are the presidential hopefuls just that good at duping the electorate, is the two-party system to blame, the losing party desperate doing its best to undermine the POTUS at any cost so nothing gets done and all election promises get bogged down, or what is it?

Where I come from, the patern is a total reverse. The next head of the state beats the opponent in a tight, tight election like 51% to 49% (or 50.1 to 49.9), not unlike in the US -- and then goes to enjoy a popularity rate between 62% (the lowest ever) to something like 85%, the mindset being: it's all about a united house that stands strong.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2498

PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know where you are from, but yes, US elections aren't really about selecting the best candidate in most instances. The two-party system is part of the problem, but not all. In the last decades--probably the last 70 years or so--money has become a real problem: No one can get elected in the U.S. without a large supply of it. Probably too, the mere length of campaigns is a problem. We'd probably be better off if campaigns were limited to about 2 months.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of it depends on the economy, and given what I'm hearing about double-dip recession--or as some would say, a deepening of the crisis temporarily eased by the stimulus--I'd say no, he won't get a second term.

To progressives, he has been a huge disappointment. I don't see him reaching for any stars, but I do see him continuing and expanding Bush-era policies regarding warrantless wiretapping, presidential assassination, and military tribunals. Nor do I see him increasing transparency in government (lots of closed-door healthcare deals went on), and he's very fond of using that old revolving door he pledged to shut. The list goes on and on, but the point is that it is become very clear that he said what we wanted to hear to get elected, and he works for the same people that Bush did--the banksters, the military-industrial complex, and the corporate interests that have co-opted our government.

Personally, I think we're headed for some very hard financial times, and it could be that by the next election, we'll finally be ready for some real change, not the fake stuff we bought last time.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
...and it could be that by the next election, we'll finally be ready for some real change, not the fake stuff we bought last time.

And I don't believe he thought he was saying fake stuff when he said it. I really believe he thought he could make a change. The older one is, the more elections they live thru, the more presidents they see take office. And you realize that there's no magic wand that's handed out at the time of inauguration. All the ideas a candidate has or had meets reality when they become president, in the form of Congress and other leaders. It's not always easy to get your ideas across that diverse body. In order to get something from others, they have to compromise on other things. The new President also faces reality, in that he now gets a clear idea of just what he's up against with all the world problems. Now he's got the inside scoop. I bet minds have changed when ALL the facts are laid out on the table. Just saying.

I have to agree with dick, also, when he said there is too much time spent campaigning. There should be less time. He mentioned two months. I would say longer, but not by much.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2498

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, Tee, that he believed what he said during the campaigns. In a way, that was one of the problems. An older hand at the game would have had more realistic intentions, I think.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
An older hand at the game would have had more realistic intentions, I think.

Yes, absolutely. Not that a more seasoned candidate still wouldn't advocate change. The difference, I think, would have been in how he would have delivered the campaign message of change. Oh, well--live and learn, and all that other stuff, for the inexperienced campaigners. Laughing

The trouble with Monday morning quarterbacking is that we really don't know how another president may have handled any of the situations that popped up within the last couple of years, as well as all the inherited ones--worse, better, or similarly? We can guess forever, but we still will never know for sure. The past is what it is--the past.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1446

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that Obama will go down as a great American president, not because he is black, but because so many economists (and I, NOT one, by any means) believed he prevented another Great Depression. (Yep. I've drunk the Kool-Aid). I give him enormous credit for passing ANY health care reform. I like what he says, and think that he came in on SUCH high hopes, that he was bound to fall. On Inauguration Day, I always mentally tell the President, "Enjoy, because this will be the most loved you will be in office, unless you are assassinated." They almost never listen, tho. <G> I think liberals are disappointed at his reserve, but he IS "no drama, Obama," and they kew that. They are also disappointed at what he hasn't done, but they are not giving enough (dis)credit to Congress.

The unemployment is so bad that I think that nobody as president could improve it in the short run. There are too many causes. I, personally, have been worried about the deficit for years, as I am about our environmental disregard. It saddens me that my hippie, idealistic generation is bequeathing such a selfish and crippling legacy to our descendants, and I wonder why parents and grandparents are content to do so.

I think whether Obama wins will depend on the Republicans. If they run a Tea Party Wanna-Be, maybe not. If we have another terrorist attack, Obama will be blamed, and will lose. I don't see any Republican who can unite this party, but then, again, Obama came out of nowhere, as did Sarah Palin.

We live in interesting times. Maybe the Chinese cursed us?
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2498

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're probably correct that he at least softened an imminent depression by the bailout. And agreed, the legacy he inherited didn't help him much. But I think that, were he a better politician, he could be more successful. He appears at times to flounder around in that arena, not sure how to proceed both for his own political welfare and the welfare of the rest of us--as with the oil spill and Afghanistan. And by being a better politician, I don't mean his campaigning, but his understanding of the ins and outs of D.C. politics or politics in general.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1369

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The right wing in Congress, especially in the Senate, seem to be bent on preventing ANY progress in government. Their obstructionism gives the appearance that they would rather see the country destroyed through inaction than see the government get improved. With that to contend with, it is a minor miracle when anything gets passed or changed in DC.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
With that to contend with, it is a minor miracle when anything gets passed or changed in DC.

Yes, it has been stressed many, many times to voters that, although the Presidency is a most important position, the members of Congress may be even more influential in getting the kind of legislation you want out there. Again, the more elections you live thru, the more you realize how true this is.

We recently had a primary election here in Michigan. Of course, there was a low turnout, with some exceptions in areas where "hot" issues were on the ballot. But by and large, few people are attracted to primaries in the off presidential election years. And, yet, this election determined who will actually be on the ballot in November in local areas. That sounds pretty important to me. By waiting until November and only voting in that election, you have already restricted your voting choice. Someone else chose the candidates you're voting for.

So to be sure that you are at least doing your part in getting your kinds of issues addressed in the way you want, you have to get the person with a similar agenda into a seat in one of the two houses of Congress, as a representative or senator.

I agree with your above statement, Mark. In my opinion, Obama had high goals and ideals. He was a former senator and should have known better because of the relationship between Congress and President. The President is powerful, but can only go so far in many important issues without the cooperation of the reps and senators.
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TMS



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in no way surprised by his low approval ratings. His fiscal policies are running this country into the ground.

The IMF has declared the U.S. bankrupt. Bankrupt. This is not the inflammatory product of some partisan foundation. It's the IMF, and their numbers are confirmed by the OMB. They euphamize it by calling it a "fiscal gap" and hide it in the back of their report, arguably so the U.S. can save face, but that doesn't change facts. I urge you to read the IMF's report.

I'd be interested to hear who claims Obama saved this country from depression and whether they can offer any cogent evidence for this.

The bailout was the product of the Bush administration. Hank Paulson engineered it. The Obama administration used the plan Paulson and his advisers drafted, despite the fact Obama literally stopped taking his calls immediately after he was sworn in. Paulson's proposed changes for regulating the financial sector constitute the core of the financial industries regulation.

The only bailout Obama was responsible for was the auto industry, which was extremely suspect and underhanded (the secured creditors (not to be confused with shareholders) receiving pennies on the dollar for GM assets, establishing a new corporate form, giving the government bailout money directly to the union in the form of shares of the new entity).

The majority of economists agree (the libertarian economists don't agree with any of this) that Paulson's TARP saved the economy.

Conversely, very few agree the stimulus has done much of anything (except Krugman, the Berkeley Keynesians, Obama's NEC council and other Keynsians).

And there are concrete measures the administration could take to promote productivity (the real ingredient this economy needs for a kick start, not the glib "job growth" that demonstrates a distinct ignorance of basic economics). Granted, it would take a lot of work, but there are tangible solutions.

For the good of the U.S., 2012 and a new president can't come quickly enough.

My vote is for Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana. He's demonstrated an ability most politicians (and voters) have lost--the ability to actually think through and judge his own actions and whether they're effective or not.

So many politicians and voters today won't step outside the bounds of their own polarized party ideology. We all have confirmation bias and pick out evidence that supports our own view--the person who can go beyond this and show true reflection gains my respect.

Plus, Mitch Daniels is a cracker jack at economics and budget. Indiana was one of two states to run a surplus during the recession.

@Tee--I'm not a Michigander, but I have to commiserate with you over Michigan's primaries. I was so upset when I heard Andy Dillon didn't make it. His platform was amazing, and yet it didn't fall within the tight boundaries of democrat idealogy, so it didn't make it. Enough Jennifer Granholm already.
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Karaa



Joined: 17 Apr 2008
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
In the last decades--probably the last 70 years or so--money has become a real problem: No one can get elected in the U.S. without a large supply of it.


Could you elaborate--money is a problem how exactly? Now, I get that it takes money to get elected: campaign material, crosscountry travel (and yours is a big country, long travel distances!), hotels etc.. However, I fail to see this as a problem per se, more like a statement of reality: stuff costs money.

Two scenarios (how money could be seen as the root of all evil in politics) come to mind: 1) Money buys glossy ads that paint a too rosy picture of the product, as ads tend to do; in the U.S.'s case, also ads solely to smear the opponent. Perhaps even more of the latter. In both cases, consumer/voter beware: the ultimate responsibility lies in the electorate, not in the salesman trying to sell his product. If the consumers (voters) waste their money (vote) on a product that sounds too good to be true, shame on the consumers for not doing their homework properly: you get the leaders (& the kind of policy) you deserve. 2) Campaign donations buy access to friends in high places: the interests of a few trump the interests of a whole.

What to do about it then? Place a donation/campaign money cap (like the NHL pay cap) to ensure parity between the teams? Set up a private donations money pool to be diveded between each candidate? Ban private money and make it public financing only?


TMS wrote:
I am in no way surprised by his low approval ratings. His fiscal policies are running this country into the ground.

The IMF has declared the U.S. bankrupt. Bankrupt. This is not the inflammatory product of some partisan foundation. It's the IMF, and their numbers are confirmed by the OMB. They euphamize it by calling it a "fiscal gap" and hide it in the back of their report, arguably so the U.S. can save face, but that doesn't change facts. I urge you to read the IMF's report.


I assume you refer to these passages:

IMF wrote:
Moreover, against the background of a record-high U.S. current account deficit and a ballooning U.S. net foreign liability position, the emergence of twin fiscal and current account deficits has given rise to renewed concern. The United States is on course to increase its net external liabilities to around 40 percent of GDP within the next few years—an unprecedented level of external debt for a large industrial country. This trend is likely to continue to put pressure on the U.S. dollar, particularly because the current account deficit increasingly reflects low saving rather than high investment.

From a long-term perspective, higher U.S. fiscal deficits are especially worrisome because of the precarious financial position of the Social Security and Medicare systems.

Official estimates place the net present value of the programs' unfunded actuarial liability at around 160 percent of current GDP, if measured over a 75-year horizon. But even these estimates understate the financial problems facing these programs because, in the absence of policy action, the programs will be running large cash flow deficits past this projection horizon. Moreover, closing the fiscal gap can be accomplished through a variety of policy measures (e.g., tax hikes, spending cuts, and so on) and at varying speed, both of which have different implications that are not captured by typical actuarial measures.

These considerations have led to a renewed emphasis on estimates of the fiscal gap, which take into account longer horizons and the intergenerational transfers that are involved. Section IV presents estimates of the U.S. fiscal imbalance using an intergenerational accounting framework that encompasses the entire federal fiscal system over an infinite horizon. The results suggest that the fiscal imbalance is as high as $47 trillion, nearly 500 percent of current GDP, and that closing this fiscal gap would require an immediate and permanent 60 percent hike in the federal income tax yield, or a 50 percent cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits. The analysis also illustrates that this gap is associated with a severe intergenerational imbalance, with the burden on future generations increasing further if corrective measures are delayed.


This "gap bankrupt/pink elephant in the room" problem predates the current president, going back to President Reagan. Clinton managed to turn the trend for a while, but if the "fiscal gap" is the measure, the IMF declared the U.S. bankrupt in the early 2000s, before Obama was even a United States Senator.

IMF wrote:
U.S. government finances have experienced a remarkable turnaround in recent years. Within only a few years, hard-won gains of the previous decade have been lost and, instead of budget surpluses, deficits are again projected as far as the eye can see.
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