Bronze-level articleBarack Obama

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Want a serious biography? The Other Wiki has an entire category dedicated to Barack Obama — this article mostly focuses on the crap people have said about him, including us.
If President Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent mullahs in the world, but not with House Republicans, maybe he is not the problem.
Jon Stewart
When you have a president who shares a good chunk of his policies with his predecessor, you've gotta ask: What's the real reason he's getting so much flak from the right?

Barack ☭HUSSEIN☭ Soetoro[1] "You didn't build that"[2] Obama II (born in Nairobi, Kenya Honolulu, Hawaii, August 4, 1961) is the 44th President of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, he is also apparently a devout Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, gay, Satanist, atheist, Martian, Egyptian Antichrist.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Obama is the first self-identified African American to be elected to the presidency, a turning-point marking the end of racism in the United States.

In October of 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his stunning success in not being George W. Bush.[12] He disliked the title very early on.[13]

A lot of Americans are wary of Obama as they do not believe — and may never believe — he is actually an American. This fear of an ethnic "other" is compounded by a fiery political climate in which some critics have called him a socialist, "Kenyan anti-colonialist,"[14] or a reptilian, soul-sucking Visitor Queen set to infest the world population.[15]

Contents

[edit] Background

Barack Obama was ("allegedly") born in Hawaii, where he spent his childhood. His mother married Lolo Soetoro, so he also spent some time in Indonesia from 1967 to mid-1971. He later studied political science at Columbia University in New York City and law at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Prior to his election as President in 2008, Obama had previously served as a community organizer, Senator for Illinois, and a member of the Illinois State Senate. Obama was introduced to the world during the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when he gave a keynote speech that aspired to post-partisan solutions.[16]

President Obama's wife, Michelle, is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law. She formerly worked in hospital administration, and has promoted the "Let's Move!"[wp] campaign to fight childhood obesity.[17] The couple have two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

[edit] Actions as President

Bill O'Reilly: Are you the most liberal president of all time?
Obama: Probably not...when you look at some of my policies in a lot of ways, Richard Nixon was more liberal than I was.
—February 3, 2014 on Fox News[18]

President Obama's term in office has been distinguished by starting with a deep recession that left unemployment above 9% for more than a year, a political environment of steadily-increasing vitriol and obstructionism, and a general continuance of Bush-era policies in national security and trade. The largest shifts in actual policies that have occurred have been with foreign policy; while the U.S. did engage in military intervention in Libya, it was a markedly different style of attack when compared to the full commitment of Iraq and Afghanistan.[19] This was of a piece with the inclusive rhetoric espoused by President Obama, as well as with his generally centrist (centre-right by European standards) approach — the dreaded socializmz never materialized.[20]

Obama has been criticized for getting the federal budget deficit to unprecedented levels, forgetting that the budget for 2009 was actually a series of continuing resolutions that kept spending at roughly the same as Bush's era.[21] Keeping in mind the fact that Bush did not include war spending as part of his budgets,[22] and the fact that the majority of debt is due to the recession, Obama has managed to decrease the overall rate of deficit spending, though obviously it's still present.[23]

[edit] Fulfillment of campaign promises

Democrats view Obama's presidency as an improvement from the previous Bush-era domestic and foreign policies. However, while promising hope and change, a large number of his campaign pledges remain stalled or completely broken. PolitiFact, which tracks how many promises Obama has kept, has found that by February of 2014 the President had kept or compromised on over 370 promises, while he had outright broken about 120.[24] Some examples:

  • Early in his campaign, Obama promised to abide by the voluntary spending limits required for public financing, but then went "never mind" when he saw the shitload of money he was raking in.[25]
  • Obama said that he would not go after medical marijuana dispensaries, but then did so, a sign that the War on Drugs won't die anytime soon.[26]
  • On January 22, 2009, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay within a year and for those incarcerated within to be dealt with as quickly as possible.[27] No change has occurred and Guantanamo continues with little reduction in inmates (and it's not helping with a large amount of red states disapproving).[28] Some abortive attempts at moving them to other states or countries have met with very limited success — essentially, no one wants them.

On the other hand, Obama has fulfilled many of his promises on other issues, mainly foreign policy and gay rights:

  • On February 27, 2009, Obama set the date of the Iraq War's end to be August 31, 2010.[29] As of December 2011, virtually all troops have left and the war is "officially" over. (Keep watching this.) The number of troops in Afghanistan sharply spiked in his first term nonetheless, as Obama pushed military spending to all-time highs, though after the death of Osama Bin Laden troops are expected to withdraw soon.[30]
  • On January 30, 2009, the abortion funding "gag rule" (preventing any clinic anywhere in the world that receives US funding from mentioning the evil abortion word) was rescinded, along with other Bush-era executive orders.[31] This actions was shortly followed on February 9, 2009 by the lifting of restrictions on stem-cell research.[32]
  • With regards to health care, President Obama extended the S-CHIP program, and enacted the Affordable Care Act (or "Obamacare") on March 23, 2010, with the aid of united Congressional Democrats. The Act, a fairly conservative implementation of universal health care, has been widely criticized on the left for perceived failings (such as the lack of a public option, which Obama did not as enthusiastically support as he did in his campaign) while attacked hysterically from the right.
  • The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill signed on July 21, 2010, "comprehensively" regulated banks and insurance companies, ending the Bush-era financial bailouts and stopping "too big to fail" banks. This remains one of Obama's most popular legislation, with over 60% of Americans approving.[33] Nevertheless, even if it's popular, it doesn't mean it's a good thing, as Dodd-Frank only slightly regulates the banks. Many critics have said that Obama could've done much more.
  • He has told his Attorney General to cease defending DOMA,[34] even though the then Republican-led Congress said they would fund the defense of DOMA themselves. In 2013 the Supreme Court finally struck down the law's most contentious clause.
  • In 2011, the restrictions in the DADT policy were eliminated, and gay and lesbian soldiers are allowed to serve openly.[35] The military was even ordered to allow gay marriages in public buildings if straight marriages are allowed there.[36]
  • In 2012, Obama was able to raise taxes on the extremely wealthy back to Clinton-era rates, though he failed to get rid of the Bush-era tax cuts for people who earn between $250,000 and $400,000.

[edit] Human rights and civil liberties record

"No Such Agency" no more.

Obama has mainly been criticized for disappointing actions concerning human rights in the War on Terror. For example, on January 23, 2009, a mere 72 hours after taking office, Obama authorized an armed strike against a village in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan — an ally of the United States (although the area being bombed, the "tribal belt," is not under control of Pakistan's government),[37] — because the Pakistan Taliban Movement in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) had launched a campaign to discover local informants for the Central Intelligence Agency and had killed 40 of them. He has consistently continued this approach to dealing with foreign terrorists, arguing that drones are safer for Americans.[38] Drones have also proven dangerous for Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both of whom were American citizens living in Yemen who were killed by a drone strike on September 30th, 2011. Though both had been deemed terrorists, this action has been criticized for possibly violating the Fifth Amendment.[39] Under Obama, drone warfare has become a central element of American military policy, a practice which critics have called into question.[40]

In other questionable actions, on May 26, 2011, Obama signed an extension of the PATRIOT Act, which has been criticized by the left and civil libertarians as allowing violations of the Fourth Amendment.[41] In 2013, news agencies confirmed that he has continued the levels of mass surveillance that was encouraged by his predecessor, as enabled by the Act.[42][43] Similarly, on December 31, 2011, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which codifies the President's authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects without trial (there is currently a dispute over whether it changes existing law or not, due to apparently contradictory passages in the bill on the matter).[44]

[edit] Trade policy

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a global trade deal that the White House is attempting to pass at the end of 2013 well, eventually. It would establish a free trade zone from Vietnam to Chile, encompassing 800 million people and nearly 40% of the global economy. While the push against protectionism is admirable, the text of the treaty has been negotiated behind closed doors and kept secret from most of Congress, and more than 600 corporate advisers have access to the measure. WikiLeaks has revealed why: SOPA-esque copyright legislation.[45]

[edit] Various smear attempts

[It needs] to be reminded, after these numbing years, of just how berserk our era has been. There was a time when calling the president un-American was a beyond-the-pale transgression; now it’s not even news when a news anchor or an elected official does it. Birchian conspiracies once left to fester at the lunatic fringe of our politics have encroached onto center stage. It sends a shiver to recall that this president once had to stand in front of cameras in the White House briefing room and insist that, yes, he was born in America.
—Elbert Ventura (Makes the 90s' look tame, eh?)[46]

[edit] Islam

Many people have tried to claim Obama is a Muslim (which, as Colin Powell rightly pointed out, shouldn't be a smear, but, alas, it is in practice), since his father (who was African) was before he became an agnostic, or even an atheist.[47] However, Obama is a staunch Christian and often injects Jesus and God into his speeches. The myth of Obama's connections with Islam originated during his original campaign for the United States Senate. Ironically, there was a Muslim member of Congress elected only two years later: Congressman Keith Ellison. The Religious Right happened to target the wrong man.

Even if he was a seekrit Muslim, his lifestyle as POTUS would suggest that he'd be quite a poor one.[48] Of course, instead of realizing that the fact that even if Obama WAS a Muslim, it shouldn't even be an issue, and getting on with their lives, they spend their hours listening to his out-of-context speeches.[49]

[edit] Birthers

See the main article on this topic: Obama citizenship denial

Additionally, many attempted to discredit the Obama campaign by insinuating that he was not born in the U.S., a requirement for any U.S. president.[50] Given that there is no evidence for him being a Martian, Muslim, gay or Communist, this has been the last refuge of those who, frankly, just can't stand that a black man with a foreign name won an election.[51]

[edit] Marxism

Either we throw Barack Hussein Obama and his corrupt, Godless Marxist/Socialist anti-American cohorts out of office or we face the real probability that our Constitutional Republic will cease to exist. That means the end of our Bill of Rights, including no more Second Amendment, no more Free Speech, no more Right to Assembly, no more Liberty.
—Some idiot[52]

Some of Obama's more paranoid opponents attempt to make the supporter of capitalism look like a Marxist by quote mining him, completely ignoring such glaring counter-evidence as the fact that he advocated for bailing out certain large corporations instead of nationalizing them. This is the same stuff that FDR had to go through.

In his first run for the State Senate, he received the endorsement of the "New Party," a highly obscure Marxist outfit that was aiming to reintroduce electoral fusion on a national level.[53] Of course, no one outside the moonbat community actually noticed this until the wingnut community, scraping the dregs for any excuse to use "Obama" and "communist" in the same sentence, happened upon it. Therefore, the New Party is most known today for the right-wing fit this nomination provoked. The nomination is so obscure that, by Wikipedia rules, it cannot be mentioned in the article on Obama.

[edit] Lack of phony patriotism

Obama was criticized by right-wing "patriots" for not putting his hand on his heart while singing the National Anthem.

Unlike many in the political arena, Obama does not routinely wear a flag pin in his lapel,[54] possibly because he can remember which country he's President of without having to look at it every few minutes. However, he did wear one given to him by a veteran at a 2008 campaign speech[55] and continued to wear one sporadically throughout the rest of his campaign, notably at major political events.

In yet another horrific public display, Obama was observed not putting his hand on his heart while the National Anthem was being sung (gasp!).[56]

[edit] Obligatory religious nuttery

In his 2006 "Call for Renewal" speech, Obama, responding to secularists critical of the Pledge of Allegiance who had filed suit to have the practice discontinued, declared that "It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God.'"[57]

[edit] Vacations

Among a certain section of the country, it is widely believed that Obama has spent too much time on vacation, playing golf. It is an article of faith for some conservatives that this is yet another way in which he has been a demonstrably poor President. Unfortunately, Obama's vacation days are half of Reagan's (at this point in his presidency), and a third of the time George W. Bush spent on vacation at this point in his presidency.[58] If you want to be even more pedantic, the "golfer-in-chief" was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who somehow managed to play 800 holes in eight years (in contrast to Obama's 150+).[59] Dumb urban legends die hard, but there may indeed be something to the Ike comparisons.[60]

[edit] Abundance of melanin, etc.

His other major issues with winning over people include:

  • His name terrifies illiterate rednecks:
    • Barack (rhymes with "Iraq," also means "blessed" in Swahili — derived from the same Semitic language root as Baruch in Hebrew)
    • Hussein ('nuff said)
    • Obama (one letter off from "Osama")[61]
  • His skin color terrifies racist morons
  • His alleged use of mind-control terrifies quacks[62]
  • His refusal to foam at the mouth or to cater to people's worst hatreds and fears has failed to motivate the extreme left; he continues to blindly stick with this strategy even though his opponents successfully use such methods to motivate their base.

Several conservative blogs and commentators, suffering from a huge case of sour grapes over the election, have stated that Barack Obama is a President of affirmative action.[63] This quite idiotic and clearly bitter accusation is completely at odds with observed polling behavior related to race, known as the Bradley effect, where people of ethnic minorities get fewer votes in reality compared to polls.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Obama's Indonesian stepfather's last name was "Soetoro" and because the president chose to go with that last name while he was a kid in Indonesia, some of the nuttier conservatives use it in the belief that it will somehow smear him.
  2. Epically taken out of context. But you wouldn't trust evil Factcheck, would you?
  3. Obama, Romney share their Christian views, USA Today, 21 August 2012
  4. Foes Use Obama's Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him, The Washington Post, 29 November 2007
  5. The Tsuris, New York Magazine, 18 September 2011
  6. "Is Barack Obama a secret…Hindu?"
  7. Is Obama the 'first gay president' as Newsweek proclaims?, Christian Science Monitor, 13 May 2012
  8. "Richard Dawkins — Barack Obama ‘Probably an Atheist’ (Lincoln, Kennedy & Clinton, Too)", The Blaze, 24 January 2012
  9. Conspiracy theory — Obama went to Mars as teen, MSNBC, 4 January 2012
  10. "Obama and Akhenaten", American Stinker, 8 October 2009
  11. "Is Obama the Antichrist?", The Daily Beast, 14 November 2008
  12. The Nobel Peace Prize 2009
  13. Obama camp angry, embarrassed over 2009 Nobel Prize: official, CBC, 15 May 2014
  14. "How Obama Thinks", Dinesh D'Souza. Forbes.
  15. He's laying eggs! Don't let them hatch near the horses!
  16. C-SPAN's Barack Obama Speech at 2004 DNC Convention
  17. Let's Move! website
  18. Is Barack Obama the most liberal president ever?, The Washington Post, 4 March 2014
  19. Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq 2003, CNN, 20 March 2011
  20. Obama the Centrist: Should We be Surprised?, Middlebury College, 9 December 2008
  21. How the Deficit Got This Big, The New York Times, 24 July 2011
  22. Obama Bans Gimmicks, and Deficit Will Rise, The New York Times
  23. Obama’s Spending — ‘Inferno’ or Not?, FactCheck, 7 June 2012
  24. "Obameter", PolitiFact. (Numbers accurate as of specified date.)
  25. Obama skips public finance, The Baltimore Sun, 20 June 2008
  26. Obama Cracks Down On Medical Marijuana, NPR, 12 July 2011
  27. The White House: Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities 22 January 2009
  28. Guantanamo Bay — Still Open, Despite Promises, ABC News, 3 July 2012
  29. Six years after Iraq invasion, Obama sets out his exit plan, The Guardian, 27 February 2009
  30. Obama seeks record $708 billion defense budget for 2011, Reuters, 1 February 2010
  31. Repeal of the "Global Gag Rule", Iowa College of Law, 11 June 2010
  32. The White House: Executive Order 13505, 9 March 2009
  33. Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress, Gallup, 13 September 2010
  34. Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA, CBS News, 23 February 2011
  35. End of 'don't ask, don't tell' is a 'historic day,' says Leon Panetta, Politico, 20 September 2011
  36. Military chaplains allowed to perform same-sex weddings, CNN, 30 September 2011
  37. The Predator War, The New Yorker, 26 October 2009
  38. 'US strike' kills 27 in Pakistan, BBC News, 14 February 2009
  39. Civil rights groups sue U.S. for killing of Americans tied to al Qaeda, CNN, 18 July 2012
  40. The intent is to make killing operations targeted in order to minimize civilian casualties, but an additional result is increased secrecy and problems having to do with international sovereignty. Supporters have argued it as a better alternative than going on full-scale war with another country, while critics view it as a form of sanctioned assassinations. Signature strikes (targeting people based on appearance) and double taps (attacking first responders who try to help those after the first strike) are particularly scrutinized. The additional fact that US citizens have been targeted and killed has raised additional problems of civil liberties and due process problems. Furthermore, he himself claimed that there were little to no civilian casualties as a result of drone strikes, even though on-the-ground reporters estimate that children were killed during drone strikes.
  41. Patriot Act provisions extended just in time, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2011
  42. Al Gore calls Obama administration’s collection of phone records ‘obscenely outrageous’, The Washington Post, 5 June 2013
  43. Obama Has Charged More Under Espionage Act Than All Other Presidents Combined, Slate, 22 June 2013
  44. The White House: Statement by the President on H.R. 1540, 31 December 2011
  45. WikiLeaks publishes secret draft of TPP treaty, The Verge, 13 November 2013
  46. ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics, Columbia Journalism Review, 31 October 2014
  47. Who Is Barack Obama?, Snopes, 7 July 2009
  48. Is Obama a Muslim? Examine the Evidence!
  49. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He-ukB9n9oQ#t=5m51s
  50. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
  51. The White House: President Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate, 27 April 2011
  52. "Conscience of a Conservative"
  53. New Party archive: October 1996 update.
  54. Obama no longer wears flag pin, CNN, 5 October 2007
  55. For One Day Only — Obama's Flag Pin Returns, ABC News, 15 April 2008
  56. Look at the picture and see where his hands are. His "love" for his country is apparent.
  57. Obama’s 2006 Speech on Faith and Politics, The New York Times, 28 June 2006
  58. Presidential vacations: How does Obama compare?, CBS News, 17 August 2011
  59. Carrying On a Presidential Tradition, One Leisurely Round at a Time, The New York Times
  60. Ignore their vastly different roads to the presidency and they're nearly splitting image.
  61. Fox News of all places misspelled "Osama bin Laden dead" as "Obama bin Laden dead."
  62. AASP proves Obama mind control conclusively!
  63. American Stinker again
United States 2008 Presidential election articles on RationalWiki
Topics: 2008 U.S. Presidential Election - Democratic Party - Debate:Religious beliefs and public office - Republican Party - Same-sex marriage - United States Electoral College
Candidates: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Rudolph Giuliani - Mike Huckabee - John McCain - Alan Keyes - Dennis Kucinich - Ron Paul - Mitt Romney
Running mates: Joe Biden - Sarah Palin
Winner: Barack Obama
United States 2012 Presidential election articles on RationalWiki
Topics: 2012 U.S. Presidential Election - Democratic Party - Debate:Religious beliefs and public office - Republican Party - Same-sex marriage - United States Electoral College
Candidates: Michele Bachmann - Newt Gingrich - Mitt Romney - Rick Santorum - Ron Paul
Winner: Barack Obama (incumbent)
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