|God, guns, and freedom|
|Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner|
|Persons of interest|
“”The Dow was at 7,949 when he took office. Now, it's 12,000-and-over. Corporate profits are at their highest ever. If he's a socialist, he's a lousy one. He could not be less threatening if he was walking home with ice tea and Skittles. So, the question remains, how can you guys be so unhappy with Obama when I'm so unhappy with Obama?! You think you got coal in your stocking? I wanted single-payer healthcare, a carbon emissions bill, gun control and legalized pot. If you get to carry around all this outrage over me getting that shit, shouldn't I have gotten it?! So, just admit it. This isn't about what Obama is. It's about what you need him to be, because hating him is what gets you up in the morning.
|—Bill Maher in his "New Rules" segment on the May 25th, 2012, edition of Real Time with Bill Maher|
Barack Hussein Obama II (born in Honolulu, Hawaii, August 4, 1961) was the 44th President of the United States. He was the first ever African American president in U.S. history (although he’s actually mixed race). Wingnuts accuse him of being a secret Muslim, atheist, closet homosexual, native Kenyan, and/or communist.
Prior to assuming office, Obama worked as a corporate lawyer, voting rights activist, and constitutional law professor. He was the 16th US president who graduated from an Ivy League college. Obama assumed office during the 2007-2008 US Housing Crisis. Centrist Democratic economists, including Paul Krugman, argued Obama's fiscal response to the housing crisis was too conservative and ultimately subpar. The lack of legislative response to the predatory and casino-like real estate market resulted in housing displacement, followed by a second, unreasonably high housing-price bubble starting during Obama's second term. This arguably priced out at least an additional 4-10% of the non-elderly from owning a place to live, a problem which still exists to this day.
Anti-authoritarians from the left and right criticized the Obama administration as giving unconstitutional power and/or unwarranted information access to federal surveillance and 'anti-terrorism' programs, much like Obama's predecessor. That aside, the Republican Party mostly embraced anti-intellectualism to criticize Obama. Coupled with an aging voting population for whom social issues of the day were difficult to relate to (and, in turn, the intellectuals who championed these ideas), the population was primed for anti-intellectualism. Add in eight years of Obama's dithering in the White House (of which some isn't his fault), and you end up with rather fertile ground for "strong man" politicians who promise to get things done. You can see the emergence of an opportunistic alt-right media as a successful dissemination of this idea.
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. He also got a huge boost from the fact that white people like to make the President black in science fiction as an indication of how far-flung it is (as a sign of uninterrupted Whig lineage). Lots of Americans were looking for a change in 2008 after losing all the gains of the 90's, so they voted for the President of the Future.
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 which aspired to bi-partisan solutions, oh the irony. In October of 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his stunning success in not being George W. Bush. He disliked the title very early on.
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!" campaign to fight childhood obesity. The couple have two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Actions as President
|—February 3, 2014 on Fox News|
Bill Clinton tried to assemble a dream team, without much regard to loyalty. The result was a really leaky ship; everyone tried to influence policy by using the media to float trial balloons, embarrass rivals, and prioritize their careers even if they had the same agendas. This had the added effect of magnifying every scandal he was involved in. W. by contrast prized loyalty over all else. The result was scandals that never touched him directly, but lots of wrong-footed policy attempts as well. Trump actively pitted his own people against each other, leading to factional infighting, paranoia, authoritarian tendencies from his yes-men, and general bad blood between everyone. Obama, instead, seemed to have found the right mix of loyalty and competence. There are very few leaks, the federal bureaucracy is actually doing its job, (legitimate) scandals are close to nonexistent, and he has gotten an awful lot done in the face of an obstructionist Congress, often via Executive Order. His more notable achievements include overturning enhanced interrogation, creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, brokering a thaw with Cuba, passing a nuclear deal with Iran, blocking states from de-funding Planned Parenthood for political reasons, instituting overtime pay for federal workers, outlining the Clean Power Plan to cut greenhouse gases, killing Osama bin Laden, increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 for federal contract workers, upholding net neutrality, and spearheading the Paris Agreement over climate change.[note 1]
Barack Obama's presidency began 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, Wall Street regulation (i.e. none), and free 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, for instance, it was a markedly different style of attack when compared to the full commitment of Iraq and Afghanistan. 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 — despite having a very liberal voting record as a Senator, the dreaded socializmz never materialized.
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. Keeping in mind the fact that Bush did not include war spending as part of his budgets, 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.
A mixed bag
Democrats viewed 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 were stalled out until he left office or completely broken. PolitiFact, which tracked how many promises Obama kept, has found that by leaving office on January 20th, 2017 out of 533 promises, the President had kept or compromised on 404 promises, while he had outright broken 129. Some examples of the latter:
- 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. Considering Citizens United was just around the corner...
- Obama said that he would not go after medical marijuana dispensaries, but initially had done so. However, the Obama justice department eased enforcement of the federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana use had been legalized.
- 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. No change occurred during his presidency, however, and Guantanamo will probably never close. Some abortive attempts at moving them to other states or countries have met with very limited success — essentially, no one wants them. The fault of this is largely from Congress that specifically disallowed any funding for closing the facility. Obama did manage to reduce the inmate population to 41 but regretted failing to close Guantanamo in a letter to Paul Ryan.
- Called for a more transparent government and promised that his administration would be the most transparent. Except the Obama administration has targeted more journalists for surveillance and more whistleblowers for prosecution than any other in US history, singling out those who have played major roles in exposing the crimes of the US government, like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning (He did eventually commute her sentence), or Edward Snowden.
- Despite opposing police brutality vocally, the Obama administration has set records in its efforts to militarize law enforcement agencies through conduits such as the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which in just four years handed out record amounts of military equipment to local police forces. His Justice Department under Eric Holder has supported police officers every time an excessive-force case has made its way to arguments.
- Despite promising to soften immigration policies, he's given one billion dollars to private prisons who detain asylum seekers. He also deported more illegal immigrants than any other President in history, with over 2 million deportations under his watch, often through conducting raids on families of women and children, who are often seeking refuge from violence.
On the other hand, Obama fulfilled many of his promises on other issues, mainly foreign policy and gay rights:
- On May 2, 2011, al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan during an operation ordered by Obama.
- On February 27, 2009, Obama set the date of the Iraq War's end to be August 31, 2010. 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.
- On December 28, 2014, the Afghanistan War was officially and formally declared over by President Obama... while keeping over 20,000 defense contractors, some 25 bases around the country, and looking to expand the total number of US troops by another 5,000.
- 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. This actions was shortly followed on February 9, 2009 by the lifting of restrictions on stem-cell research.
- 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 many legitimate failings (such as the lack of a public option, which Obama did not as enthusiastically support as he did in his campaign, and the preservation of private insurance) 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. 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 and that the only people who have really benefitted are the trial lawyers (to whom the Democrats just happen to be beholden), because it's taken all kinds of legal action to figure out what in God's name many of its provisions even mean. His support of the passage of the 2014 Omnibus bill (nicknamed Cromnibus), which has a clause that removes Dodd-Frank, is also rather questionable.
- He has told his Attorney General, Eric Holder, to cease defending DOMA, 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, sparking a gay rights revolution in the United States.
- In 2011, the restrictions in the DADT policy were eliminated, and gay and lesbian soldiers are allowed to serve openly. The military was even ordered to allow gay marriages in public buildings if straight marriages are allowed there.
- 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. Somehow we made it through 8 years of Obamunism (in which tax rates were the lowest they've been since the Truman admin) but Hillary was going to bring on the econogeddon.
On March 23, 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, became law, having both massive support and criticism. In brief, the law lowers health care costs, holds insurance companies more accountable, provides more health care choices, and enhances the quality of health care for everyone. However, it is not a true universal health care system. Supporters hoped and critics feared that it would evolve into a true government-run system.
In mid-2016, President Barack Obama wrote an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) urging Congress to do more to curb the rising costs of healthcare. He noted that the lack of competition among regional health insurance plans warrants the "public option," or a government-run insurance policy that competes with existing private insurance. He pointed out that the number of uninsured Americans has dropped from 49 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2015[note 2] and that the rate of growth in healthcare spending has slowed thanks to the ACA. This article draws from a comprehensive review of Obamacare the President requested from his staff in 2015.[note 3] A random survey conducted in 2009 by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that 63% of doctors support giving patients a choice between public and private insurance, 10% favor the public option only, and 27% private insurance only. Therefore, almost three quarters of medical practitioners support the public option. Given that American public support for it ranges from 50% to 70%, medical professionals are even more supportive of government-run insurance than the laymen. American doctors already have experience with government-run healthcare, that is, Medicare, and they generally like it.
Human rights and civil liberties record
“”No, no. I have been practicing… I bowled a 129. It’s like — it was like Special Olympics, or something.
|—President Obama "joking" about killing brown people on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 2009|
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), — 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. 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. Drone warfare became a central element of American military policy during the Obama administration, a practice which critics have called into question.[note 4]
President Obama orchestrated 10 times more drone strikes than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Under Obama, drone strikes frequently caused hundreds if not thousands of civilian deaths, including children and whole families on account of collateral damage, and much of that was due to how any "military-aged" male was thought of as a target, even if said "military age" is just anyone who was 18 years of age. Obama received massive backlash from human rights activists and organizations for the "disposition matrix," otherwise called the kill list, which was the program used for dubious legal justifications that nobody really bought into. His CIA Director, John Brennan, was directly involved in crafting the kill list, allowing the president to basically assassinate anyone suspected of being a terrorist overseas. Under Obama, "signature strikes," when the United States kills people whose identity it doesn't know,[note 5] were commonplace, and it earned the lovely nickname of "crowd killing." Double taps, where a second strike is made immediately after the first attack, were used to kill first responders repeatedly. Children in such countries as Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia all grew up afraid of clear skies because clear skies usually meant a drone strike would follow at some point. His deputy CIA director and deputy national security adviser, Avril Haines, was herself personally involved in covering up torture, spying on the Senate for investigating the CIA, and ordering strikes that would lead to numerous civilian deaths. When Biden became President, and he chose Haines to be Director of National Intelligence, droves of Obama administration officials came out in support of Haines despite her sordid history, including Brennan himself.[note 6]
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. 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. 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).
“”My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. You guys have an acute public relations problem that’s turning into a political problem. And I want to help…I’m not here to go after you. I’m protecting you…. I’m going to shield you from congressional and public anger.
|—President Obama to Wall Street.|
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 one reason why: SOPA-esque copyright legislation. He is fast-tracking the trade deal, meaning he is forcing it through Congress without debate or amendment - just up or down votes. He takes "personal offense" whenever someone criticizes him for withholding information about the deal to the public, and he forces Congressmen not to share the details they know from the deal to anyone else, including staffers.
So why the secrecy? From what WikiLeaks revealed, under the TPP, corporations would sue governments for "encroaching on expected future profits." The TPP sets up ISDS tribunals, staffed by corporate lawyers wholly unaccountable to any electorate or system of legal precedent. These tribunal corporate lawyers will rotate between advocating for those same corporations and as judges determining rulings, with no requirements for the lawyer-judges to be impartial, reveal conflicts of interest, or recuse themselves in instances of direct conflict. There is no internal or external mechanism to appeal the tribunal members’ decisions on the merits, and claims of procedural errors would be decided by another tribunal of corporate lawyers.
The tribunals have discretion to determine the amount of compensation governments must pay investors and the allocation of costs, such as the tribunal members’ fees. A proposal that appeared in the 2012 leak of the text to standardize hourly fees for tribunal members at the lower end of the range of fees currently paid (about $375 per hour, compared to the $700 per hour that some tribunal members receive) has been eliminated. This can mean literally every single accomplishment Obama would have up to this point will be overturned by an unaccountable corporate-aligned group of lawyers and judges who will gut any and all regulations protecting labor rights, worker rights, union rights, environmental rights, even basic human rights, for the sake of making an extra dime.
Several Democratic Senators have said Obama has spent more time and effort lobbying for this monstrosity than for any other policy, including the Affordable Care Act, or Dodd-Frank, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or net neutrality, or ending the Iraq War.
Where FDR once said "I welcome their hatred," Obama asked "How can I help?"
The fact that Wisconsin elected Trump (of all people) would seem to be proof that many traditional Democrats felt Obama let them down. One might hypothesize that that's because his focus was always more international than domestic but, for whatever reason, there was a sense that Obama never truly felt the country's pain or took steps to alleviate it. A couple of examples of his seeming obliviousness are: individuals making the minimum wage in 2009 lost 11.2% in buying power as a result of inflation over the course of his administration, and (2) the generally recognized failure of the HAMP program to prevent foreclosures during the period of high unemployment from 2009-10. The enrollment program failed largely because it was left to the discretion of mortgage servicers, a group who had already been discredited and who represented the biggest obstacle to stopping the wave of foreclosures, namely because they profit from kicking people out of their homes.
The recession Obama inherited began more than a year prior to his entering office. (This hasn't stopped mainstream conservative figures, like Rush Limbaugh, from attempting to convince as many people as possible that Obama caused the recession.) That said, Obama has been criticized by the reality-based community for not doing enough to combat the recession. For example, the stimulus bill he proposed to Congress, which Congress enacted, was probably half as large as it should have been. Part of the reason it was so small may have been because of Obama's decision to put Larry Summers, who probably is partly responsible for the recession, in charge of finding the right figure. Another reason why the stimulus was so small was because Congress didn’t want a bill bigger than $800 billion. The three moderate Republicans in the Senate and several centrist Democrats all said that they wouldn’t vote for a stimulus bill larger than $800 billion. This means Obama couldn't have gotten a larger stimulus bill passed even if he wanted it. Furthermore, as the first Congressional term of Obama's presidency continued, Obama failed to use the bully pulpit to induce the Senate Republicans to stop filibustering counter-cyclical policy. On the other hand, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel did shove his naked self in the face of House blue-dog Democrat Eric Massa, which isn't nothing.
Despite Barack Obama's insistence for a green economy, he failed to get major climate legislation passed. He promised to pursue further legislation towards reducing emissions, and in 2014 expanded the EPA's powers to crack down on coal plants — a move that was deemed "modest" but could "provide a template for future regulation." Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, stated in the past that he believed in global climate change, but changed his opinion on the matter. However, in 2017 his successor, Donald Trump announced that he intended to undo Obama's environmental legacy by, among other things, withdrawing the US from the Paris accords on climate change, making the the US the only non-signatory nation.
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?)|
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 Kenyan) was one before he became an agnostic, or even an atheist. However, Obama is a staunch Christian and often injects Jesus and God into his speeches. Indeed, one of the early controversies was over his, ahem, pastor, Jeremiah Wright. 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 before Obama became president, and from a mid-Western state no less: Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. 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.
A lot of Americans are wary of Obama as they do not believe — and may never believe — he is actually an American. Republicans attempted to discredit the Obama campaign by insinuating that he was not born in the United States, and therefore was ineligible to serve as president. While it is true that every president has been born in one of the 50 states, the Constitution outlines that any presidential candidate must be "a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States". So what does this mean? "A Natural Born Citizen is someone born with US citizenship. This includes any child born “in” the United States, the children of United States citizens born abroad, and those born abroad of one citizen parent." "Most Americans believe that the term natural born citizen applies only to someone born on American soil. That is incorrect." While the Constitution doesn't actually define what the framers considered to be a natural born citizen, "[m]ost modern legal interpretations have concluded that you can be a natural born citizen without actually being born in one of the 50 United States." Given that there is no evidence for Obama 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. In spite of these caveats, there is ample proof that Obama was born in Hawaii to a mother who was an American citizen. However, the requirement for a U.S. birth doesn't seem to be an impediment when it comes to Republicans, such as Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, and John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, although at the time this was still territory belonging to the United States. In response to lawsuits challenging McCain's eligibility to run for president, "[a] federal district court in California determined that McCain would qualify as a citizen “at birth.” This means that he was a natural born citizen because he was "born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States” to parents who were U.S. citizens at the time." And while Cruz's father was born in Cuba, "[b]ecause his mother was a citizen of the United States, Cruz has maintained he also is a natural-born citizen of the United States." Makes the whole thing look a tad hypocritical, eh?
He's the Gay!
Some homophobic conspiracy theorists are obsessed with their belief that Barack Obama is sexually attracted to men, perhaps to the point that he only has ever had sex with men. Mary Lou Bruner, a candidate for the Texas School Board, made waves in 2016 arguing that the progress made on LGBT civil rights during the Obama administration was a direct result of "the years he spent as a male prostitute in his twenties." The homophobes' psychological hangup seems related to an obsessive belief that his presidency lacks the muscular masculinity that these troglodytes require. Of course, the plain fact of the existence of Obama's heteronormative nuclear family makes these claims a bit harder to believe, and so elaborate conspiracies have been concocted, the most amusing of which has to be that Michelle Obama is actually a man.[note 7] This then, by loon logic, leads to their children actually being borrowed from the "real parents" to create the illusion of a nuclear family.
“”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 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. 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. Oh, wait, does that mean there's unrelenting liberal bias in Wikipedia?
Lack of phony patriotism
Unlike many in the political arena, Obama does not routinely wear a flag pin in his lapel, 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 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!). Besides, look at the picture and see where his hands are. His love for his country is apparent. However, if we're going by the Flag Code, then everyone in that picture is wrong. Why? The Flag Code states that during the anthem everyone must come to attention facing the flag, and the individuals in the photo are all facing away from it. See how nitpicky and stupid you can get if you strictly adhere to these things? The Flag Code is mostly outdated anyways, according to Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society, home of the original manuscript of The Star-Spangled Banner. According to her, "[T]he bottom line is that you show respect with your demeanor. Whether you put your hand over your heart, hold your hat at shoulder level or waist level, is really in this day and age irrelevant." Yes, the Flag Code still assumes that most men wear formal hats.
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.'"
Among a certain section of the country, it is widely believed that Obama 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 had been a demonstrably poor President. Unfortunately, nearing the end of his first term, Obama's vacation days were half of Reagan's and a third of the time George W. Bush spent at that point in their presidencies. This trend remained unchanged during his second term. If you want to be even more pedantic, the "golfer-in-chief" was either Woodrow Wilson or Dwight D. Eisenhower, who both somehow managed to play 1,000 holes in eight years (in contrast to Obama's 200+). Dumb urban legends die hard, but there may indeed be something to the Ike comparisons.[note 8]
Also, bear in mind that George W. Bush, supposedly acknowledging that many Americans had to make sacrifices during the completely needless Iraq War he started, said that one of the war-time sacrifices he had made was that he no longer plays golf because he thought it would be unfair for the mothers of active-duty soldiers to have to see the president playing golf. Don't get us fucking started!
Abundance of melanin
His other major issues with winning over people include:
- His name terrifies illiterate rednecks:
- His skin color terrifies racist morons
- His alleged use of mind control terrifies quacks[note 10]
- 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. 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.
During his second term, the loon rhetoric began to be ramped up, with pundits on right wing conspiracy sites claiming variously that Obama was planning to install ISIS in America, ban Christianity, confiscate all guns, declare martial law and cancel future elections, and had already built death camps across America (some disguised as shopping malls) fully equipped with the 30,000 guillotines that he had secretly ordered to kill Christians and Republican voters. These not-at-all crackpot claims were backed up with a variety of poorly Photoshopped images and unverified "eyewitness reports" along the lines of "my brother-in-law is in the military and he helped to unload dozens of guillotines at a camp in Oregon" and "you can see dozens of guillotines in the yard of a death camp alongside the Interstate". To the surprise of nobody, none of these things eventuated by the time Obama left office, and there has been no explanation of what has happened to the death camps and guillotines since.
I voted for Barack Obama!
“”By the way, I would have voted for Obama for a third term, if I could. Best President in my lifetime, hands down.
|—Main villain Dean Armitage in the film Get Out|
Making a claim to have voted for Barack Obama before making a sharp turn to the far-right has been part of the atheist professor myth, and is often used in a feeble attempt to make one's odious views appear more palatable, such as in the case of JonTron and Anna Paulina Luna. Somewhat less often, a protestation of "I voted for Hillary Clinton!" is used (e.g., in the case of Gavin McInnes's wife). Such claims are unverifiable — and therefore meaningless — because voting records in the US are kept secret.
Criticism from the left
The American left criticizes Obama for as baiting and switching American workers. Many had high hopes for Obama steering the country away from Reagan, let alone Bush, and Obama himself repeatedly implied he'd implement left-wing policy positions. But not only did this not happen, Obama continued and mainstreamed many Bush era policies and therefore Reagan era policies to the detriment of American labor. Many American leftists and progressives felt he abandoned them without a second thought, and this inaction (at best) contributed to the rise of Donald Trump and the MAGA movement not too long after.
Wall Street cabinet
During Obama's time in office, he hired a disproportionate amount of economic "elites" to his cabinet, angering lefties and especially left-socialists and left-populists. Obama hirings included a long list of super wealthy bankers, insurance company bigwigs, bank lobbyists, former hedge fund managers, and neoliberal policy wonks for cabinet positions. Such people included Neil Wolfin, Mark Patterson, Gene Sperling, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Gary Gensler, and many more.
Obamacare corporate subsidies, and swiss cheese coverage
Obama campaigned for US president during 2008 and repeatedly said he'd help implement a public option healthcare insurance program (aka an opt-in, fully-public health insurance system without means testing or reliance on corporate entities). Obama never even fought for this after taking office, with critics like lefty journalist David Sirota arguing Obama chose to take the public option off the table, and without being forced to take it off the table. Obama instead immediately tried and succeeded to implement a corporate subsidy healthcare proposal that originated from a Republican governor ("Obamacare", previously known as "Romneycare" in Massachusetts). Obamacare arguably protects American consumers, through corporate subsidies, from certain types of price gouging. However, Obamacare asks hundreds of dollars per month from poor income earners, and leaves millions of Obamacare recipients to "health care churning", where the working class and poor are stuck without healthcare in between shifts in income and employment. This becomes especially problematic for the working poor who rely on gig work, where income changes frequently, and therefore their healthcare is constantly interrupted.
Private insurers, whose success Obamacare depends on, have also begun to exit the marketplace, and constantly redesign their Obamacare plans to avoid losing money. This forces millions of Americans to experience yearly healthcare disruption even without a change in income or employment.
During 2020, Obama released a memoir where he implied any interest he had in left-wing theory was a part of a pick-up artist attempt to impress girls in college, including a "long-legged socialist", a "smoothed skin sociology major", and an "ethereal bisexual who wore mostly black". These three girls rejected his advances and friend-zoned him, leaving him a theorycel. After this memoir was published, some online left-wing circles made memes implying Obama became an authoritarian out of resentment due to celibacy during college. Regarding such cynical adumbrations we must remain skeptical in view of the fact that Obama was never an authoritarian in the proper sense of the word. and some of his college girlfriends have released their journals to Vanity Fair.
Bush-era security state maintenance and expansion
Anti-authoritarian lefties such as Chris Hedges were constant critics of the Obama administration. These critics complain about Obama's expansion of Bush-era-style, overaggressive counter-terror policy which erodes at individual civil liberties. For example, a 2012 NDAA Obama approved included a right for the American military to jail anyone in the world it deems a terrorist, and without charge or trial. Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky et al sued the Obama administration over this. The NDAA decision was then paused by a federal New York court. The NDAA decision was again re implemented after decisions by the second circuit court of appeals. The lawsuit stalled after the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Some right-libertarians and Republicans, such as Ron Paul and former senator Rick Santorum respectively, also criticized the 2012 NDAA for the same reason.
Expansion of counterterror into the private sector and professional class involvement
Obama successfully pushed for Bush-era counterterror activities (Department of Homeland security etc) to expand further into private sector contractors, big tech companies like Google/Microsoft, and the professional class in general, through an initiative called "countering violent extremism" or "CVE". "CVE" claims there are scientific markers which can identify when someone is at risk of becoming a terrorist. CVE further states that professional class involvement in said individuals, with direct help from the state, (through subsidies for "trauma therapy", community disruption, and warrant-less surveillance) can prevent terrorist attacks.
After CVE's implementation, the program was criticised by the American ACLU for infringing on the privacy and integrity of law-abiding, marginalized communities, and for targeting innocent, law-abiding individuals for state counterterror intervention. The Brennan Center for Justice called CVE, which has now expanded into academia, a form of "junk science".
Since CVE was first announced, the program involved mindless money transfer between the government and NGOs, resulting in many failed and embarrassing contracts for the government, and those who supported said contracts. As CVE has support from the media, these failed contracts don't command much media attention. CVE has since lost a lot of reputation and government funding. As of 2022, CVE is heavily occupied by "ex-neo-nazis", failed actors/actresses/media-producers, psuedo-intellectual right-wingers, self-proclaimed experts funded by big tech companies like Microsoft and Google, and a large network of sketchy American NGOs which are often countersignaled by their Canadian and European counterparts.
Obama's false reputation as a leftist has resulted in Obama-ist policy to infect left-wing spaces, and nowadays you'll see atrocities such as antifa and feminists defending security state over-reach as long as its in the name of "anti-hate" (to the extent any of these antifa and feminist people, like modern Anonymous, are not direct assets of the American or Canadian government).
Japan–South Korea Comfort Women Agreement
Obama is known to have been involved in much of the Japan–South Korea Comfort Women Agreement, which has been criticized for not fully reflecting the victims' positions to Amnesty International, feminists, South Korean liberals/leftists and comfort women victims. Obama's push for the agreement was partly aimed at keeping China in check by strengthening cooperative relations between South Korea and Japan.
Executive order 12333
Obama issued executive order 12333 shortly before leaving the presidency. This order lets the NSA share raw streams of internet data it collected with the DHS, DEA, and FBI. The NSA collects random info on American citizens with way less oversight than every other federal government project. The Elecronic Frontier Foundation, (a civil rights project for the internet-era) criticized the order as a way for organizations like the FBI to evade its own rules about protecting the privacy of American citizens.
Tiny house movement
A "tiny house movement" was restarted in the USA by a homeless man as a response to housing displacement during Obama's first term. However, during and after Obama's second term, the US went through another unreasonably high housing cost bubble, which as of 2022, still hasn't been dealt with. Thanks to this bubble, if you want to buy a 10 foot long crate-on-wheels for a home, you can be looking at anywhere for $30,000-$170,000 just for the opportunity to live in what took someone at most a few weeks to make.
Obama probably decided to free Manning after realizing that seven years in an all-male prison is enough punishment for a transgender leaker. Between Obama's departure and Biden's election, the Democratic Party was in something of a civil war. The progressive wing is furious with Obama for the
Tony Blair centrist turn he took in office. Obama was open in the fact that he wanted to assume a leadership role within the party after his term was up: he wanted to fix the party and build up a platform for 2020. In order to do that, he needed to mend some fences. By commuting Manning's sentence, Obama made it harder to brand him an uncaring centrist.
In addition, it put the Trump administration in an awkward position. Trump had a strained relationship with WikiLeaks and whistleblowers: on the one hand, he lauded them for getting him elected, but on the other, his base was very skeptical towards them.
- Donald Trump, his successor
- Joe Biden, his sometimes zany Vice President and 46th president
- John Brennan, his CIA Director.
- Hillary Clinton, his first Secretary of State.
- John Kerry, his second Secretary of State.
- 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
- John McCain, his 2008 opponent.
- 2012 U.S. Presidential Election
- Mitt Romney, his 2012 opponent.
- Michelle Obama, the First Lady.
- Center for American Progress
- 2012 Benghazi attack
- Fiscal cliff
- Fun:Barack Obama fly swatting incident
- Ronald Reagan (more conservative, same charisma)
- Is Obama really a lefty? — an essay by a RationalWiki user (228 sources and counting?!)
- Fun:A day in the life of Barack HUSSEIN Obama
- President Obama comes out to Hulk Hogan's theme song[No, not The Onion]
- On March 18 2008, Senator Obama gave a landmark speech, responding to scurrilous attacks by rising far above them and addressing one of the deadly problems in American society. The text and video are available here.
- President Obama gives his acceptance speech (video, text) after winning election as the 44th U.S. president.
- Obama roasts Trump at the White House - In their Frontline interviews ("The Choice 2016"), Trump supporters Roger Stone and Omarosa talked about how Trump resolved right then and there to take the White House keys from him in 2017. Kind of a Richard III moment.
- The President's average day at work.
- Barack Obama on science and Charles Darwin
- Obama's Anger Translator - Four more years...
- Look at my black friend over there.
- Chart: Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Ever
- Blame Obama for absolutely everything.
- The 44 Greatest Barack Obama Facial Expressions
- Obama the conservative
- Barack Obama Presidential Center
- Many would argue he still didn't go far enough, and he received criticism for continuing other Bush era policies (i.e. drones, war on drugs, NSA surveillance, the NDAA, income inequality), but given the alternatives, certainly better than expected given the context of that era of record-breaking obstructionism.
- That's a drop from 15% to 9%.
- This is apparently the first article by a sitting President that gets published by a prestigious medical journal.
- 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.
- See the definition of murder, specifically the definition of malice as "reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life."
- His reason for using them was for their alleged efficiency — he believed the drones would only target terrorists.
- See also transvestigation, of which this was an early (and relatively widespread) example.
- Ignore their vastly different roads to the presidency and they're nearly splitting image.
- Fox News of all places misspelled "Osama bin Laden dead" as "Obama bin Laden dead."
- AASP proves Obama mind control conclusively!
- Obama a Constitutional Law Professor? - FactCheck.org
- Ten years ago today, America met a guy named Barack Obama, The Washington Post
- "The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 to President Barack Obama - Press Release". nobelprize.org.
- Obama camp angry, embarrassed over 2009 Nobel Prize: official, CBC, 15 May 2014
- "Let's Move!". letsmove.gov.
- Is Barack Obama the most liberal president ever?, The Washington Post, 4 March 2014
- Lovena, Jennifer, "Obama demands orderly, tight ship; 'no drama'", Post and Courier (10/19/08 at 12:01 am, last updated 3/22/08 at 6:14 pm).
- "Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It". The New York Times. 14 August 2016.
- "Reshaping Lives, Without Congress". The New York Times. 14 August 2016.
- "OPINION: Has Obama banned torture? Yes and no". aljazeera.com.
- "A talk with Richard Cordray on protecting consumers, five years in". washingtonpost.com.
- Obama Moves To Protect Planned Parenthood Funding, Permanently HuffPost 9 September 2016
- "Obama Explains Administration’s New Rule That Businesses Must Pay Salaried Workers Overtime". cnsnews.com. 21 May 2016.
- Director, Steven Cohen Executive; Institute, Columbia University's Earth (8 August 2016). "California's First In The Nation Climate Plan". huffingtonpost.com.
- "Obama signs minimum wage order". politico.com.
- Times, Los Angeles. "In victory for Obama, court backs strict Internet regulation". latimes.com.
- Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq 2003, CNN, 20 March 2011
- Obama the Centrist: Should We be Surprised?, Middlebury College, 9 December 2008
- Obama: A pragmatic moderate faces the 'socialist' smear, The Washington Post, 14 April 1010
- How the Deficit Got This Big, The New York Times, 24 July 2011
- Obama Bans Gimmicks, and Deficit Will Rise, The New York Times
- Obama’s Spending — ‘Inferno’ or Not?, FactCheck, 7 June 2012
- Obameter: Tracking Obama's promises PolitiFact
- Obama skips public finance The Baltimore Sun 20 June 2008
- Obama Cracks Down On Medical Marijuana NPR 12 July 2011
- Trump administration drops Obama-era easing of marijuana prosecutions Reuters 4 January 2018
- Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities The White House 22 January 2009
- Guantanamo Bay — Still Open, Despite Promises ABC News 2 July 2012
- DCPD-201700056 - Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba United States Government Publishing Office 19 January 2017
- Inside the administration’s $1 billion deal to detain Central American asylum seekers The Washington Post 14 August 2016
- ICE Is Still Deporting Asylum Seekers The Nation 17 August 2016
- Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president. Now he's running up the score. Splinter 7 January 2016
- Six years after Iraq invasion, Obama sets out his exit plan The Guardian 27 February 2009
- Obama seeks record $708 billion defense budget for 2011 Reuters 1 February 2010
- Is America’s Longest War Really Over? Slate 29 December 2014
- Repeal of the "Global Gag Rule" The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice 11 June 2010 (Archived from the original on 31 July 2014)
- The White House: Executive Order 13505, 9 March 2009
- Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress, Gallup, 13 September 2010
- "Here's why banks care about gutting Dodd-Frank". motherjones.com.
- Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA, CBS News, 23 February 2011
- Gay marriage ruling a light against bigotry, Boston Globe, 8 October 2014.
- End of 'don't ask, don't tell' is a 'historic day,' says Leon Panetta, Politico, 20 September 2011
- Military chaplains allowed to perform same-sex weddings, CNN, 30 September 2011
- Schlesinger, Robert, "Under Obama Taxes Reach Lowest Level Since Truman", U.S. News (8 February 2011, 8:26 a.m.). Do these people even look at their own tax returns?
- See the law
- Obama Renews Call For A 'Public Option' In Federal Health Law. NPR. July 11, 2016.
- Poll Finds Most Doctors Support Public Option. NPR. September 14, 2009.
- The Predator War, The New Yorker, 26 October 2009
- 'US strike' kills 27 in Pakistan, BBC News, 14 February 2009
- Civil rights groups sue U.S. for killing of Americans tied to al Qaeda, CNN, 18 July 2012
- Obama’s covert drone war in numbers: ten times more strikes than Bush — The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism
- "The Wildly Insufficient 'Kill-List' Reforms of John Brennan," Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic
- "John Brennan's Kill List," Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker
- "Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens," Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian
- "Secret ‘Kill List’ Tests Obama’s Principles," Jo Becker and Scott Shane, New York Times
- "John Oliver Puts American Drone Strikes Into Perspective: We’ve Made Children ‘Fear The Sky’," Carol Hartsell, Huffington Post
- "This 13-Year-Old Is Scared When the Sky Is Blue Because of Our Drones," Alexander Abad-Santos, The Atlantic
- "Drone strikes: tears in Congress as Pakistani family tells of mother's death," Karen McVeigh, The Guardian
- ""I no longer love blue skies": What life is like under the constant threat of a drone attack," Hyacinth Mascarenhas, Salon
- "Biden's pick for intelligence chief, Avril Haines, is tainted by drones and torture," Medea Benjamin and Marcy Winograd, Salon
- "Biden's pick for US spy chief played a central role in Obama's secretive drone war that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths," John Haltiwanger, Business Insider
- "The Proxy War Over a Top Biden Adviser," Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast
- "The Proxy War Over a Top Biden Adviser," Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast
- "CIA Whistleblower: Biden Intel Pick Avril Haines Approved Obama Drone Strike Kill List, Hid Torture," Democracy Now
- Patriot Act provisions extended just in time, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2011
- Al Gore calls Obama administration’s collection of phone records ‘obscenely outrageous’, The Washington Post, 5 June 2013
- Obama Has Charged More Under Espionage Act Than All Other Presidents Combined, Slate, 22 June 2013
- The White House: Statement by the President on H.R. 1540, 31 December 2011
- WikiLeaks publishes secret draft of TPP treaty, The Verge, 13 November 2013
- "TPP Leak Reveals Extraordinary New Powers for Thousands of Foreign Firms to Challenge U.S. Policies and Demand Taxpayer Compensation". March 25, 2015. Public Citizen.
- Dayen, David, "Obama Failed to Mitigate America's Foreclosure Crisis", Atlantic 12.14.16.
- The New New Deal, Slate, 14 August 2012
- Obama's Anticlimactic Climate Plan, Bloomberg
- Possibly Pommer's Law; possibly pandering to corporate interests for donations, but more so to the base of Republican Party's primary voters and activists who still tend to deny climate science.
- The U.S.’s top spies issue a challenge to Trump’s agenda by Ishaan Tharoor (February 14, 2018 at 12:59 AM) The Washington Post.
- ‘The Stranger’ underscores a broader problem with the way we cover politics, Columbia Journalism Review, 31 October 2014
- Who Is Barack Obama?, Snopes, 7 July 2009
- vlogbrothers, (22 August 2010). "Is Obama a Muslim? Examine the Evidence!" – via YouTube.
- The White House: President Obama's Long Form Birth Certificate, 27 April 2011
- "Republican Texas Board Of Education Hopeful Claims Obama Was Gay Prostitute". ifyouonlynews.com. 18 February 2016.
- "michelle obama is a man - YouTube". youtube.com.
- Malia and Sasha Obama Were Loaned by Their Real Parents so America Would Accept the Fake First Family A Sheep No More 18 July 2017 (Archived from the original on 20 February 2019)
- "Conscience of a Conservative: A very scary thought: Conservative Christians Will Give Obama Second Term". oldironsides-thesilentmajority.blogspot.co.uk.
- "October 1996 Update". archive.org. 6 March 2001.
- Obama no longer wears flag pin, CNN, 5 October 2007
- For One Day Only — Obama's Flag Pin Returns, ABC News, 15 April 2008
- Barack Obama and the National Anthem. Snopes.
- Obama’s 2006 Speech on Faith and Politics, The New York Times, 28 June 2006
- Presidential vacations: How does Obama compare?, CBS News, 17 August 2011
- Presidential Vacations, FactCheck, 28 August 2014
- Carrying On a Presidential Tradition, One Leisurely Round at a Time, The New York Times, January 1, 2014
- Barack Obama and Golf: A Skeptical Analysis, Skeptoid, August 5, 2014
- "Articles: Obama: The Affirmative Action President". americanthinker.com.
- Concentration Camps Disguised As Shopping Malls Being Built Everywhere Right.is 1 July 2015 (Archived from the original on 30 May 2016)
- Why Did the U.S. Government Recently Purchase 30,000 Guillotines? Patriots for America 3 January 2014 (Archived from the original on 8 Novemeber 2020)
- Did the U.S. Government Purchase 30,000 Guillotines? Snopes 30 June 2013
- Get Out (I) (2017) IMDB.
- Punished Shitposting with #JonTron by Sargon of Akkad Live (27 January, 2017) YouTube.
- The evolution of Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for Congress: Much about Luna is new, including her last name and her residence in St. Petersburg. It coincides with her decision to challenge Rep. Charlie Crist. by Josh Solomon (Oct. 11, 2020) Tampa Bay Times.
- Gavin McInnes Writes Letters to Neighbors to Take Down Anti-Hate Signs: The Proud Boys founder wants neighbors to be nicer to him after quitting the group. 'Hate certainly has no place here, and like you I am committed to keeping it that way!' by Will Sommer (Updated Jan. 04, 2019 6:12PM ET; Published Jan. 04, 2019 5:04PM ET) The Daily Beast.
- "The US the big winner in 'comfort women' agreement". East Asia Forum. 7 January 2016.
- A "tiny home movement" was made in response, but these tiny homes too
- Nelson, Louis, "Obama: I want to develop a new generation of Democratic talent", Politico (12/19/16 08:17 AM EST).
- Engel, Pamela, "Top Republicans blast Obama's decision to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence", Business Insider (1/17/17 at 6:02 PM ).