I have mixed views on Obama. And I have retweeted links to some of those critical articles.. particularly about the use of drones. And I appreciate you adding these links to this post, because they should be considered. But, I have to admit to some fondness for a President bringing in a public healthcare system, too.
Thanks for responding Blue Milk, I guess I have always seen Obama as a clever way to relegitimise US foreign policy after the Bush Jr years, continuing with business as usual but with a new friendly face. The whole Obama thing is about image and that is why I object to photos like this so much. As for admiring him for the health care bill, even his if domestic policy was impeccable in my books that just doesn’t excuse killing innocents overseas. But his domestic policy isn’t actually that great AND of course domestic and foreign policy are inextricably linked. Think of the kickass public health system the US could have if the insane mind boggling amounts that they spend on war were redirected. Other commenters may find the photos sweet but personally I am reminded of all the shattered families in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere and I feel sick.
I don’t think you can put Obama and Bush in the same category though Patti. I am not defending the pursuit of wars outside the US which I agree is wrong in many ways, but at least Obama is trying to make some changes. Don’t forget that he is facing a very hostile Caucus, some of whom you would have thought would be on his side, being Democrats and all. Universal healthcare in the US and spending defence $ on same would be wonderful, but it just isn’t going to happen. The Republicans and Tea Party just are not going to let it. He may not be all wonderful, but he is much much better than the alternative and as good as you are going to get right now.
Surely the point is not that Obama is the same as Bush but rather that it is sickening to see PR photos of someone who actually kills children being all cute with children. I don’t mean that he kills children in the abstract either. The Obama admin is as shameless about murder as Bush admin was about torture and we know that Obama personally signs off on drone missions which kill kids. Seeing piuctures like this makes me feel physically ill.
Also, I am not so sure as you that there is a difference in category between Bush and Obama. Obama has instituted a more socially just health policy but a) without some sort of reform such as this the demand for “single payer” healthcare would have swollen to irresistable levels and b) it is a massive windfall for insurance companies and, ultimately, giving yet more tax payers’ (workers’) money to the insurance/finance sector is going to CAUSE massive suffering. On the domestic front he does oppose the extension of tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 – and that seems genuine. Much more of his policy agenda is, though seldom remarked, rather Bush-like. The extension of politically repressive security laws and the militarisation of police has continued apace. Obama signed the NDAA (HR 1540) as wells as a number of surveillance extending acts and, of course, a couple of prominent “anti-piracy” acts. Obama has also taken the very high levels of corrupt impunity and support given to financiers and other privileged “revolving door” private interests established in the Bush era and has, if anything, extended them. Forget the hostile caucus, nobody made him choose a neoliberal cabinet,for example. After 4 years the poor keep getting poorer and the rich radically richer and (apart from aforementioned tax stance) all of it is a predictable part of his policy. And he’s given fuck all support to public sector unions.
I haven’t even mentioned the foreign policy yet. The record is far worse than anything I could encomapass here. This link (http://stpeteforpeace.org/obama.html) leads to a list in reverse chronology begainning with last week and continuing back to 2002. It reveals a warmongering mass murderer par exellence who could happily take his place alongside Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. He’s just prettier. Please get over the surface stuff, history is replete with charismatic psychos. If they all looked and acted like villains they’d never get away with it.
On the positive side, if interested in US politics, what about the new Green candidates. Surely the presumptive VP candidate Cheri Honkala, a formerly homeless solo parent who became a housing activist, is a far better role model than Obama. Check out the Democracy Now special on her and pres. candidate Jill Stein @ http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2012/7/13
These photos are ridiculously adorable. I had somehow not actually thought that holding/kissing babies (or, apparently, high-fiving toddlers) was a real thing that really happens for POTUSes? Thanks for linking though, it’s been a bright spot in my day 🙂