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Hope or humility: Obama's high wire act

Mark Mardell | 21:26 UK time, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

President Obama.jpg
President Obama was elected on such a wave of optimism and expectation that he can hardly have dreamt that his first State of the Union address would have to amount to a fightback speech.

It's his chance to "speak to America", as the phrase goes. But there are so many Americas, so many competing hopes and fears, that he has an awkward trick to pull off. All presidents, indeed all leaders in democracies have to speak to competing audiences. But it is particularly true for Obama, just over a year into his presidency.

He would want to boast of more success than he's had. The plan was to pass his flagship programme of healthcare reform by Christmas at the latest. Now its floundering in the doldrums, with no clear passage ahead.

He promised to close Guantanamo bay prison, his own dead line has come and gone, with one powerful commission recommending that some prisoners should be held indefinitely without trial.

His party has lost all the serious electoral races this year, two in supposedly safe seats.

But nothing matters more than the way Americans feel about their own prosperity and his handling of the economy.

The administrating says it has saved or created up to 2m jobs. But unemployment is around 10% rather than the promised 8%. The fall in his popularity has been swift: matching the fall in Ronald Reagan's ratings to an eerie degree of exactness.

Barack Obama won't mind if his ratings also match Ronnie's in the third and fourth years. The economy is all, but he can't afford to lose the trust of the nation in the meantime.

So these are the main balancing acts for the man on the tightrope.

Hope v Humility
The president probably has to sound regretful that things aren't better and perhaps admit to a few mistakes. But not to too many. He has to show a degree of humility and understanding of the anger that exists, without seriously accepting the blame. That would undermine the sense that he is still the embodiment and executor of the people's hopes.

Swingers v the base
The president has both disappointed some core supporters and some swing voters, the first for abandoning liberal principles, the second for cleaving to them.

Activists feel he's let them down on Afghanistan, health care and gays in the military. When activists stop being active and become mere supporters, it drains the life out of campaigns. You can bet if activists become mere voters, more luke warm supporters stay at home.

But those in the middle, swing voters, matter even more, and some voted for President Obama because he promised to bring a new, less partisan spirit to Washington. He has to square the circle.

Care v scare
The president has stressed how important it is for the economy and for the security of many Americans to reform the healthcare system. He can hardly back away from this central promise, a dream of liberals in the USA for a century.

Yet there is no doubt it has become politically toxic. Some fear big government. My hunch is many, many more are just confused about what the competing plans mean for their bank balance. Another circle to square.

Rhetoric v reality
People want a stronger economy, and more jobs. The president can promise to do more, try harder. But there's a danger in making more promises that look like pie in some distant future sky. If the promises are grounded in real measures, they will cost money. That will further worry those who feel cash has been thrown at the problem to no avail, increasing a huge deficit.

If the president's speech sounds like a laundry list, it will have failed, and he is not one to make that sort of mistake.

The tone, possibly a single sound bite, will be more important. I am not the only one who'll be counting the number of times he says "fight" and "people". But in the end, the measures he announces to deal with the state of the economy will determine his fate more than rhetoric.

When the speech begins, I will be live blogging.

Comments

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  • 1. At 10:10pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

    [1:47:47 PM] *Msg from Gen. Sarath Fonseka's daughter - Let all ur friends know.. We are stuck here. Can't get out. Gajaba unit (Sri Lanka Army – Gotabaya Rajapaksha) as been surrounded us. We need the people to know.. Also the Sirasa (www.newsfirst.lk Sirasa TV, Sirasa FM) has been surrounded too so they can't say anything. Plz now is the time we need all the people...
    breaking news! Gajaba regiment of the SL army has surrounded the hotel Gen. Sarath Fonseka and the other oppsition leaders are in.
    *They are not allowing any of the media personels to come in as well. the election commisioner is under house arrest and The election results are being cheated by giving an extra 50% on the ...votes plz forward or sms this msg and let everyone know abt this pathetic sit.[1:50:30 PM] Story that is coming through from various sources, is that Elections was rigged and that Basil Rajapakse (Brother of Mahinda Rajapaksha) was running the elections with Election Commissioner not allowed to do anything. Ranil Wickramasinghe and Sarath Fonseka under house arrest at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel (Trans Asia). Please spread the news via face book and twitter because mainstream media is also probably restrained

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  • 2. At 10:19pm on 27 Jan 2010, Sara Linder wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 10:29pm on 27 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Guantanamo and such things do not matter, except to a handful of people who like to keep track of things that don't work out as "promised."

    I want to hear about the domestic economy, how has it improved, and what we need in the next year to improve it further. And I want to hear about the progress we have made in destroying the power of al Qaeda to do harm to us, and when we will (for the most part) be out of Iraq militarily. Also, what alternative strategy will replace the failed health care plan. That's all that matters to me for the State of the Union address.

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  • 4. At 10:30pm on 27 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    By the way, in American vernacular, "swingers" is not the same thing as "swing voters."

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  • 5. At 10:54pm on 27 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The election of the first African American President of the United States could hardly have come at a worse time. For all the false hope people had a year or so ago, the reality of a man who is charasmatic, highly intelligent, but utterly inexperienced and unprepared to be the leader of a naton in serious trouble has begun to take its toll. America did not get into trouble during President Obama's administration. But his lack of knowledge about how the economy works, lack of understanding of how the larger world works, and the incompetent people he has surrounded himself with have not headed the nation out of the forest. The best spin you can put on it is the unprovable claim that things would be even worse than they already are had he acted differently. In fact it is hard to say if anything anyone could have done would have made things any better. The magnitude of the problems are staggering.

    The United States is not coming out of a recession, it is in a depression and it appears to be getting worse not better. The hoped for improvement in the economy just doesn't seem to be happening. The official unemployment rate doesn't even begin to reflect the real impact the depression has had on people's lives. The unofficial rate is actually acknowledged to be 17% when people who have given up looking for jobs, who have been out of work for an extended time, or have been underemployed working reduced hours or in jobs not nearly up to what they should be earing are taken into account. Even that estimate of 17% is low. For an economy that depends two thirds on consumer spending that is a disaster. One reason this has happened is that President Obama and his advisors have focused on protecting and saving the banks from the consequences of their criminal recklessness over the last two decades. The door to this recklessness was opened by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and in the White House and championed by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. The economy needs an immediate massive infusion of cash, preferably in one huge dose to jolt it back to life. And it needs protectionist tarrifs to keep that cash circulating within the United States, not dissipated abroad. It needs to start forcing large corporatons to bring the industries and jobs they've exported overseas during the last 50 years back to America and to keep them here. It can only do that by making their survival dependent on it and that means shutting the American economy off to foreign imports. The claim that Smoot-Hawley had anything to do with the depression of the 1930s is a lie business schools have perpetrated to rationalize getting around American labor, consumer, and environmental laws and building codes. This has allowed below subsistance wage workers in foreign countries to compete on a level playing field with American workers within the US. In such competition American workers don't stand a chance.

    As bad if not worse is the reality that a very real military war is being waged against the United States by a uniquely organized, very determined, highly clever, utterly ruthless, religiously driven enemy which has no regard for human life. The various components of this enemy whether in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, or anywhere else is as great a threat as America has ever faced but it is being treated like a criminal organization akin to the Sicilian Mafia rather than as a true nation without borders. The failure to use the full array of weapons available to America as effectively as it can without consideration for whether or not it can enlist the cooperation if not the help of other nations puts its very survival in jeopardy.

    As the reality of America's plight becomes inescapable, the progressing deterioration of its situation becomes more manifest, optimism is rapidly being replaced by anger, even rage. And where has President Obama been in all of this? In Copenhagen discussing global warming, cutting back room deals to get his ill conceived health care plan jammed through Congress having been kept secret in Senator Reid's office for six weeks until just before the vote, contemplating the tea leaves over how many troops short of General McChrystal's minimum estimate for what it will take to avoid losing in Afghanstan during the next year and how to rationalize the discrepency, planning to put terrorists on trial in US criminal courts where they have every chance of charges against them being dismissed, bringing captive terrorists on to US soil where if they escape they will do whatever they can to kill as many Americans as they can before they are recaptured or killed. Kowtowing to America's enemies like Iran, alienating its allies like Poland, The Czech Republic, Israel.

    What is the state of the American nation? The truth is its government is financially bankrupt, its population is frightened and angry, its security in grave jeopardy, its leadership clueless, corrupt, and ineffective. It is a nation in trouble even if the government won't admit it. The only hope that the Democrats will have in November if things don't somehow get substantially better between now and then is to convince Americans that things were just as bad under the Republican administration. But Americans usually have short memories so there isn't much hope there. This could be the opening curtain on President Obama's final scene, a brief tragedy in one act.

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  • 6. At 10:55pm on 27 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    4 gary....

    same in the UK (I'm told!!!)

    Mark should no better ..... or perhaps the swingers are upset they got no stimulus ;-)

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  • 7. At 10:58pm on 27 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"He promised to close Guantanamo bay prison, his own dead line has come and gone, with one powerful commission recommending that some prisoners should be held indefinitely without trial."



    And thanks to the infanint wisdom of the Supreme "Court," it looks as if the camp itself doesn't remain open indefinitely, then at the very least that "comission" will get its wish. And if by some miracle it doesn't, it'll be able to buy, with unlimited funds, that result. I know that the economy is the most important domestic thing, but the closure of Guantanamo Bay is the most important foreign policy-related thing. And once the economy gets back on a more sound footing, the world's attention will once again shift to that irreparable stane on our international reputation. And if Guantanamo Bay isn't closed, or at the very least in the feverish process of being closed by then, then the world will only be reminded of how its hopes got lifted for a better, kinder, gentler America on the international stage, and how, yet again, they were dashed. So along with fixing our economy, we aught to try to fix our international reputation, so as not to anger anymore people than we have already angered.

    Justice for all?

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  • 8. At 11:06pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I want to hear about the domestic economy, how has it improved, and what we need in the next year to improve it further. And I want to hear about the progress we have made in destroying the power of al Qaeda to do harm to us, and when we will (for the most part) be out of Iraq militarily. Also, what alternative strategy will replace the failed health care plan. That's all that matters to me for the State of the Union address.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Be patient.the challanges america faces will not be met in a short time.but they will be met..there. this is the answer.to your domestic issue..America should know that the government is trying to islolate alqaida and necessary steps are already being made in afghanistan, pakistan and yemen..that takes care of your alqaida question. Americans troops will be brought back from iraq as promised, however a few thousand who will remain there will not combat role. they will provide training to the iraqi military so that it will be able to fight it itself. That takes care of your military question..As far as health bill is concerned it will be persued and passed in some form or the other.

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  • 9. At 11:21pm on 27 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    GH1618 #3: '"Guantanamo and such things do not matter, except to a handful of people who like to keep track of things that don't work out as "promised.""


    Really. You think that those people who believe in our constitution, in its ideals, in its promis, in its laws, are just a "handful of people?" You think that they, as your post incinuates, are either a bunch of blood lusting Republicans looking for an excuse to attack the president or spineless lilly livered liberals convinced that the only way to defeat those who seak to do us harm is to surrender to them by surrendering the very ideals that the terrorists hate so much and that we claim to hold so dear? Perhaps in part. But I should think that the vast majority of those who care about Guantanamo's closure are those who don't want to see our constitution slip away, and thus our country descend into a totalitarian dictatorship that would make Nazi Germany look like the nation so eloquently aspired to in Marton Luther King's '"I Have a Dream" speech. Who want our nation to, for once, live up to that image of us as a city upon a hill, a shining beacon of light and hope for the world that many of our presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, have presumed and claimed us to be throughout the decades. We can't be that so long as Guantanamo Bay remains open. We just can't.

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  • 10. At 11:40pm on 27 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Who want our nation to, for once, live up to that image of us as a city upon a hill, a shining beacon of light and hope for the world that many of our presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, have presumed and claimed us to be throughout the decades. We can't be that so long as Guantanamo Bay remains open. We just can't.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes. You can. gauntanamobay is not important, what happened inside it and what it represents is important and you can build close and destroy it and rebuild it and destroy it again, if you do it thousands of times even then it will not take away the damage it has done..Its closure will satisfy the americans as it will give them the false sense of whatever you have written above...but it wont change a thing to the people who were put there, and the countries where these people came from..if it should be closed than it should be made a tourist attraction place like those nazi camps, where people go to see the atrocities of the then supreme and beacon of light civilization...

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  • 11. At 11:41pm on 27 Jan 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Hope v Humility:

    Accept blame and give none, it's your job now. Offer solutions. Everyone already knows when this all started.

    Swingers v the base:

    Forget politics. Beg, borrow, and steal any good idea you can find. Fix the economy and you fix your political problems.

    Care v scare:

    Health care? Are you kidding me? He should just say he gave it the good 'ole college try and came up short, maybe next year. His only thoughts should center around fixing the economy.

    Rhetoric v reality:

    Rhetoric only goes so far and I think people are beyond talk now. They want to see results. Hopefully, he has several meaningful proposals that can help jump start the economy wrapped in an uplifting and positive message.

    Examples could include extending unemployment and COBRA, big tax cuts for all businesses, aggressive Federal spending on infrastructure and other construction projects, and lower payroll taxes. Fix the economy and worry about the cost later. The important thing is to spend the money on big solutions that can easily be recognised and measured.








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  • 12. At 11:48pm on 27 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    If the terrorists must be imprisoned on American soil (I see no rational reason why they should be) then an excellent place to build a replacement prison for GITMO would be in a remote area of Northern Alaska. Escape from such a prison by those who are not well trained and equipped to survive it would mean certain death.

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  • 13. At 00:03am on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    If the terrorists must be imprisoned on American soil (I see no rational reason why they should be) then an excellent place to build a replacement prison for GITMO would be in a remote area of Northern Alaska. Escape from such a prison by those who are not well trained and equipped to survive it would mean certain death.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    how many times has ramzy yosef or sheikh yasin tried to escape from the jail in newyork? how many times that discared 9/11 hijacker in florida has attempted to escape? americans first make up this impossible fanciful scenario and then treat it as if its the ultimate truth

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  • 14. At 00:06am on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Just in case someone does make gauntanamo bay a tourist attraction, I want to say loud and clear that it was my idea and I hereby declare patent right on this idea.

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  • 15. At 00:14am on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    colon..:

    An assisted escape such as we've seen in other places where al Qaeda, Taleban, other terrorits, even criminal gangs are caged is not uncommon. The odds against a successful al Qaeda mission to Northern Alaska going undetected and being successful are next to nil. An excellent choice. Another might be in the middle of the Mojavie desert. If the desert sun doesn't get escapees, the rattlesnakes will. Still Northern Alaska has the best advantages for an escape proof prison. Why would anyone not want it to be escape proof...unless they had hopes they'd escape.

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  • 16. At 00:21am on 28 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    If the terrorists must be imprisoned on American soil (I see no rational reason why they should be) then an excellent place to build a replacement prison for GITMO would be in a remote area of Northern Alaska. Escape from such a prison by those who are not well trained and equipped to survive it would mean certain death.

    Marcus, mind your own damn business - okay? I've lived in Alaska for decades and the last thing we need are more religious nutcases in our state. We're loaded with them already.. the Wasilla gang,the local teabaggers, etc. and you want to add Muslim nuts!

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  • 17. At 00:32am on 28 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    You have to score goals if you want to win this game. I love it when sports commentators say that.

    12, 13 - In AK they could pipe in the new Palin sponsored Palin published Palin radio show featuring Palin...except that we are against torturing the prisoners now.

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  • 18. At 00:32am on 28 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Obama who I voted for is gutless. The worst president of my lifetime is without a doubt George W Bush, the weakest thus far is Obama. I can recall Truman.

    It makes no difference what he says tonight, he'll just be spewing more hot air.

    With a country as dumbed down as this one is and corruption so transparently obvious and a totally outdated governing system, maybe the generals ought to rule for awhile.

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  • 19. At 00:36am on 28 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    When the speech begins, I will be live blogging.

    What really is the point of that? In a couple of hours or so we'll be able to see or read the entire speech. I've never understood why television anchors feel the need to report "live from" wherever it is and blogging during the President's address seems to me quite unnecessary - we'll get it just as quickly as any other viewer or listener.

    #5. MarcusAureliusII: "The magnitude of the problems are staggering."

    Always one to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. If Jesus Christ were President there would be something wrong with his work.

    #12. "If the terrorists must be imprisoned on American soil (I see no rational reason why they should be) . . ."

    In what other nation would you have them? I see no rational reason why any other country should house prisoners of the United States.

    Nevertheless, Alaska is not such a bad idea, in the same way that Dartmoor Prison was supposedly escape-proof because of its remote location.

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  • 20. At 00:45am on 28 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Most Americans won't even listen to the State of the Union. It's not as important as the press is making it out to be.

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  • 21. At 00:55am on 28 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    The best Obama can do is to say hold on, the best is coming. That the unemployment numbers showed, are from a different poll, and a non reliable source. Being that things, economically, are so bad for Americans, there is hope. This is what occurs; Not too many
    sales, products from china, cars, imported goods and non essentials. This in turn would reflect as a deficit in buying contract clauses. Then not wanting these things to lose initial value and depreciation, these things would be shoved sown our throats in a government subsidized effort to invite sales, to those who could still afford it. Then in the absence of real results, The us would ship these items to us almost free of charge. Creating a national bailout to any who suffered lack of projected profit,100%.
    By the same process, fast forwarding our debt to our great, great, great grandchildren. I'll take the Nissan 380 please and a house by the lake.
    Almost forgot, bring the diggers to my house, the golf course goes on the east side.
    My vasectomy is scheduled for the day after.
    As for the Taleban, that is too costly to continue and it is cheaper to wait till they step over the border. Columbia is a differenet story, we will buy them out for 14 dollars and a few beads and once Venezuela is our neighbor we will make them an offer they can't refuse. Rain Forrest, make them a member of the g20, lend them a couple billion dollars and we have timber for construction of new Green homes right here where we stimulate the economy.

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  • 22. At 01:38am on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    woolfie;

    I've been to Alaska. The entire human population of Alaska is no more than a flyspeck compared to the size of the place and a third of it lives in Anchorage. For anyone who has never been to Alaska it is enormous beyond comprehension and as empty as it can get. Having your next door neighbor 60 miles down the road is no big deal. I'm sure a prison could be sited in Northern Alaska hundreds of miles from the nearest human habitation. Wolves, grizzly bears, moose, and in the winter which starts around October and doesn't end until May it's often 40 to 70 below zero Farenheit and only about 5 hours of daylight each day. If you don't have the proper training, equipment, know where you are going and how to get there, then on your own you have no chance to survive at all. If we have to put them somewhere on American soil, what place could be better?

    Canard, what's wrong with keeping them in GITMO? The story that GITMO or Abu Gharib creates more al Qaeda terrorists is an out and out lie. There was no Abu Gharib or GITMO when the WTC was bombed in 1995, when the embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanganikya, or the Cole was bombed or on 9-11. They will always be able to recruit all the crazy misfits they need to wage their insane war on us.

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  • 23. At 01:38am on 28 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    If there is one thing Barack Obama has shown since he entered the national stage is his ability to convey hope and confidence. He is an accomplished orator and a very astute politician, he wouldn't be where he is if he wasn't. I expect him to deliver an inspiring speech in which he may acknowledge setbacks, without acknowledging failure. I expect the focus of his speech to be where it should be: the economy and unemployment.

    Obviously, this is a defining moment for the administration, but the same can be said for ALL members of Congress. While all the focus has been on the Democrats the last couple of week it may not be long before the American public realizes that obstructionism is a worse option than trying new approaches or pursuing solutions, no matter how daunting or challenging they may be.

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  • 24. At 01:46am on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ranter;

    "I'll take the Nissan 380 please and a house by the lake."

    It had better not be a Toyota or you might wind up driving it into the lake. Toyota will be forced to recall about 6.3 million vehicles sold in America for defective accelerator pedals that stick. It isn't even clear if it's safe to drive them to the dealer instead of having them towed. (If you have AAA towing is free.) So much for the myth of Toyota's invincibility when it comes to quality and engineering.

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/21/autos/toyota_recall/

    "Toyota Motor Sales USA is recalling 2.3 million vehicles to correct a problem that could cause the vehicles' gas pedals to stick."

    "This new recall is separate from an on-going recall of 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to correct a problem in which the pedals could become stuck under a loose floormat."

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  • 25. At 01:52am on 28 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    We ought to pretend to be happy, if only for the sake of others?

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  • 26. At 01:52am on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Will this be "a defining moment for the administration" or a last gasp? This State of the Union Address may turn out to be just one more of his campaign speeches. There has been plenty of focus on Congress where the Democrats have been able to act with impunity in both houses. Until now they have been unstoppable. This is exactly why Massachussets elected Senator Brown to go to Washington and why he has gotten the nickname "41." It is explicit job to stand in the way of the current health care bill and send it to the trash bin where it belongs. Then if and when there is still stomach for it, Congress can start all over again on a bi-partisan bill members of both parties can support. And this time with no back room deals. Besides, there is real doubt that the current bill is even constitutional on at least several gournds.

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  • 27. At 01:57am on 28 Jan 2010, herb wrote:

    We have been asked here in the us,what we want to hear in Obama's State of the Union tonight--which I won't be watching or listening to by the way--I have composed the following as a possible Legacy for this fellow:
    Obama’s Legacy

    THE SHORTEST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS ON RECORD----90 Seconds

    Here’s what should happen to create this Legacy

    1) Be introduced as a courtesy to any sitting president
    2) Respond with his best narcissistic manner. Thank the people for electing him president a year ago with no acknowledgments, even to his wife.
    3) Admit reality; we must move forward as a Nation. Continue to be the strongest nation in the world with democratic principles.
    4) Walk away from the podium and off the stage.

    This is the best legacy this president can give to his country. He has nothing positive to contribute here.

    Remember, You heard it here first !!!


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  • 28. At 02:29am on 28 Jan 2010, herb wrote:

    I like SaintDominick's comment about obstructionists. So right.
    However, This president, although he is much that Saint.. says,he is, a good speaker, etc. his babblings have been rank untruths. For instance, he and his cohorts indicate unemployment to be on the down trend. Government jobs are, but the private sector remains above 10% and rising. His vandetta on the banks is scurrilous. There is more. Listen to our pundits. The conservatives are telling the truth. Obama's policies have failed in spite of his rhetorical prowess. He has lost so much credibility it wouldn't be the surprise of the century that he follows, the peanut man, that being a one term president. We can t afford to repeat his mistakes another 4 years. It has been said that if you want to ruin a nation, spend all its money. He's doing just that.

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  • 29. At 03:52am on 28 Jan 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Marcus said:

    If we have to put them somewhere on American soil, what place could be better?

    How about next door to you? Then you could suffer all the collateral scumbags it would take to guard them and the aura this would create.God,I can imagine the scene if they did bring them up here. Now we'd be more liable for a terrorist attack some would say and they'd probably be correct. So more goons everywhere.Most of them favor a little Hitler type of mustache so they'd be easy to spot as they constantly harassed the locals ... you know-the showbiz affect-to impress gomer.Blackwater types everywhere.Plus the real fact that some Muslim fanatic might just decide to blow half of one of the local malls up as a supporting protest for the boys from Gitmo who are now is incarcerated in Alaska.

    Plus I don't like the idea of once again suffering anymore of the idiocy of George Bush than I already have.He is the one who brought them to Gitmo.Let him and his ilk clean the damn mess up, don't pawn it off on me. How come he just didn't build a brig in Afghanistan? Why bring them to Cuba? Doesn't make anymore sense today than it did then.Just another stupid stunt.

    Canard, what's wrong with keeping them in GITMO? The story that GITMO or Abu Gharib creates more al Qaeda terrorists is an out and out lie. There was no Abu Gharib or GITMO when the WTC was bombed in 1995, when the embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanganikya, or the Cole was bombed or on 9-11. They will always be able to recruit all the crazy misfits they need to wage their insane war on us.

    Your 2nd sentence in the quote above is silly. Totally illogical. Of course they do create more.What you are trying to say is they didn't create 9/11...well duh! Course they didn't.

    The real canard in this whole thing is trying to defeat attacks on America with an army. Makes absolutely no sense at all. How would an army kept this last guy from trying to blow the jet up in Detroit? Or for that matter, how could an army kept 9/11 from happening?

    The best approach to ending terrorist attacks is to read bin Laden's fatwas. Get out of the Mideast and quit supporting Israel.Both seem reasonable to me.No one has ever explained how protecting Israel is in our national interest. It can't be done because not protecting them is what is in our national interest.

    But I would offer the people of Israel this:allow them to immigrate to Alaska when we pull the plug.Like you said, a lot of land-tons of it, and the Jews are normally smart and have capital.Everybody would come out ahead. The Jews, Alaska, the Muslims,and all Americans with the exception of those who profit off of war and misery.

    But none of this will happen, I'm quite aware of that. Idiocy and political cowardice will prevail.

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  • 30. At 04:15am on 28 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The President covered my points (see post #3) and not much else. I'm satisfied. I don't think it was a great speech rhetorically, but it conveyed the message I wanted to hear.

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  • 31. At 04:49am on 28 Jan 2010, Jason wrote:

    The only problem with Obama is that instead of saying "I would like to do X" he says "I promise to do X". If he had all the power in America (and there was no system of checks & balances I'm certain that he would fulfill all of his promises. Obama is pretty much the best politician out there as far as I'm concerned, but he's still a politician.

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  • 32. At 05:27am on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    One more of President Obama's campaign speeches. He's made so many promises that have gone unfulfilled, told so many lies already it is impossible to believe anything he says anymore. There is no reason to hope any of tonight's promises will come true. He spoke about obstructionism but his party has had complete control of both houses of congress since his innauguration. He seems defiant and refuses to acknowledge that the political wind is no longer to his back but is now a very strong headwind. If things continue this year as they did last year which appears to be the course he wants to set, then by this time next year the Democrats will have lost their majority in both houses of Congress. He's on track to be a one term president, the worst failure since Jimmy Who blew into town on anger over President Ford's pardon of President Nixon and blew out on double digit inflation and the hostage crisis in Iran. This one could be far worse.

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  • 33. At 11:08am on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    18 wolf

    "....maybe the generals ought to rule for awhile"


    Yes, but whose generals?

    I suggest some high ranking Dane - they seem to have one of the best standard of living and overall happiness on the planet, so let them have a go.

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  • 34. At 11:11am on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Marcus wrote
    "Canard, what's wrong with keeping them in GITMO? The story that GITMO or Abu Gharib creates more al Qaeda terrorists is an out and out lie. There was no Abu Gharib or GITMO when the WTC was bombed in 1995, when the embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanganikya, or the Cole was bombed or on 9-11. They will always be able to recruit all the crazy misfits they need to wage their insane war on us."


    So Marcus, in your world there is no correlation between the huge increase in support for these terrorists and the actions of the USA since 2003 - including invasion of iraq, abu graib abd gitmo.

    It just pure coincidence that they suddenly got all organised in Iraq and Afghanistan ... nothing to do with US military presence.

    What a strange world you inhabit.

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  • 35. At 12:30pm on 28 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Great charisma, speech, Armani suit.
    He took a swipe at every detractor known. Including the unbelieving public. And not to exclude the illusion of the notion of the constitution, Brown and those who would want progress in their own lifetimes.
    I didn't count the applause but I didn't see any of the military people stand or applaud for the rescinding of the don't ask don't tell. No smiles either. He seeded the female vote for next year. Opened a closed session on health care and advocated for it without the word transparency. 'open'. Our great grand children will be so pleased when they see my tape recording of this state of the union and may yet thank me or curse him or both. I will have to save a working vcr for that event too. He made Pelosi smile like Vanna White. I think he also said the year 2001 maybe I got it wrong.

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  • 36. At 12:34pm on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "So Marcus, in your world there is no correlation between the huge increase in support for these terrorists and the actions of the USA since 2003 - including invasion of iraq, abu graib abd gitmo."

    That's correct. Had al Qaeda not had that tool available to recruit new terrorists, they'd have used something else equally effective. They had no problems before Iraq and they've had no problems in countries like Indonesia, The Phillipines, and other places that had nothing to do with Iraq or GITMO. The alternative is to surrender to them the way the people of Spain and Italy did. Without GITMO and extraordinary renditions, many discovered plots to commit more terrorist acts against Americans would have gone undiscovered and carried out. President Obama is now caught between the reality of that fact he's recently come to understand and his campaign promise to close GITMO. His alternative has made much of America furious at the risks he is taking with America's security to fulfill his campaign pledge. Why he feels the need to fulfill this promise is unclear since he has broken so many others already.

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  • 37. At 1:30pm on 28 Jan 2010, someone11 wrote:

    America should've looked at the problem being in British finance from the 17th century - funding model of the nations turned away from securing property and individual liberties into a way of making perpetual war. The nation state became the Warfare/Welfare state through the invention of perpetual debt financed by customs, excise, and income taxes. Will Obama have it... in him to change the slavery? My guess NO.

    credit default swap “CDS” have jumped for 54 sovereign governments since October by an average of 14.2%. Japan will borrow $480 billion. It will receive only $405 billion in tax revenue. In Portugal's CDS rates rising 23%, Spain's by 16%, and Greece's by 5%. USA has been taken for a ride by Wall St.

    The war's were one way to bog it in deeper in CDS. those who cant see the picture would need to know the benifits of Gov Bonds trading. That means in 2010 the GFC will be the great Sovereign Debt Crises or SDC, another words “the bond dealers to dictates to FREE PEOPLE rules and regulations. Or “Allocate POWER” via sovereign debt.

    Obama has his head full “depression lingers, the debt piles up”. But his move is smart to reduce federal expense in order reduce deficit. But the GOP might have to give him the big foot out. Federal Stimulus Expense does not make people richer, as they will slave it out in taxes in the long run it makes them poor. the taxpayers may be pdoff, but the common man will never really understand what went on, so Obama has to wear it.

    CDS is way of buying insurance against a default in your government bonds. If the Gov can’t pay then its sovereignty is online.

    I see no other choice for the USA to bring the its economy out of th

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  • 38. At 2:50pm on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    9 Nice excuse. I'm with gary on this.

    though it would be hard to find an example of such bipartisanship from the hill.

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  • 39. At 2:52pm on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    33. At 11:08am on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:
    18 wolf

    "....maybe the generals ought to rule for awhile"

    he was banned

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  • 40. At 2:59pm on 28 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    24

    wait weren't you the one that thought the american car industry was never going to fail.
    Yep you were.
    funny how now you have to get all spiteful.

    How many recalls on your great american cars (oh wait Italian now) compared to the toyota cars-and trucks.
    No one claims invincibility that is like you all saying that Obama is not the messiah. you create pedestals.
    I'll tell you I just had the starter coil on a toyota van changed. first time in it's 20 years.
    still going good minimal maintenance and 300 000 miles on the clock.It is real hard to convince peopel to sell them what with already getting 25MPG plus.
    for a 20 year old banner that's not bad

    then look at the second hand market. 4 cylinder toyota trucks hold their value way longer than the V8 american trucks.
    Wonder why?


    still I'll let you get back to planet MA and the 'attack of the French 'episode coming up.

    So laugh but you laugh at yourself really.

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  • 41. At 3:17pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Once there was this tribal elder, whose tribe dwelles way up on the mountains.Back in Reagan times..when the proxy war started producing refugees, the tribe was forced to move to low lands, which they were not used to, the climate was not as cold..so the tribal chief requested reagan that his tribe be allowed to come to Alaska because of the climate..People laughed at his request, but eventually the tribe went back to their original place because to them to be killed by the war was better than to live on the flat land..

    First have the courtesy to have a trial against those caged in guantanamo bay and then talk about their escape..

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  • 42. At 5:03pm on 28 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    The irony of Gitmo is that this base and some other one that were installed in Cuba were illegitimately installed during the coveted invasion of Cuba. This logic that Spain had lost its ability to protect Cuba, led the US to conceive appropriating Cuba and Puerto Rico for itself. PR was just to small and had no real defenses, But Cuba was already fighting with Spain to gain independence. About the same time Castro and Che Guevara mounted the invasion on Cuba and took over. But the bases were already there and would have provoked a war if Castro wiped them out, and he didn't. The war with Spain gave no right to inheriting Cuba. It was the proximity to the US and the lure of a prostitute surrogate that lured the US to insist on the bay of pigs invasion. They lost and Castro wiped the floor with the invaders.
    Russia stepped in and made the deal for the US not ever invade Cuba. So the Gitmo is objectionable to Castro and now has no choice but to have the base as a sovereign eye sore.

    Israel, is the place were the US has stockpiles of enriching uranium and others military stuff.
    Underground and in secret. 'yeah' Israel has perhaps, just as many nukes as the US has, could be more. That is why No other country can be allowed to wipe them off the map. The only way for Israel to be attacked is if they 'Israel' become belligerent to the us and begin bombing without the US approval.

    Which one of us voted for expanding our assets, by the trillion toward world policing and world sharing of the wealth? So much for 'open'.

    By the way and in regard to Cuba, Fulgencio Batistta, the then non elected dictator in cuba, was a detestable corrupt and ruthless person. Even the US had him on the
    'do not live list.' But this coincided with US interests. Prostitution, gambling and mafia a total Sodom and Gomorrah. All he ever did was rubber stamp any land rights over to the US and this made it legal. The Us after the takeover and during the Castro coop Sent their USS main to Visit. They also sent a commando force to blow it. 266 crew men died on board. Some officers and crew were all Black servicemen. While the remaining high ranking officers were on shore leave, all white. "The hell with Spain they sunk the main" cry was heard and the people, The American people(just not the dead ones on board) were outraged by this. The 1500 Us trained commandos that were sent in to take Cuba again, this time from Castro, were killed or captured, thus ending the infamous bay of pigs invasion. What is a little defenseless island to do when confronted by a Goliath, ask for help is all. So Russia intervened on their behalf. We were almost toast, all of us, we came closer than ever to nuclear war. Destabilizing other countries is our best quality. Why do we want to unite the world, when their is so much to unite right here in the US. Why siphon trillions after trillions from our infrastructure to unite those who like their world just the way it is. WE shoot and beat people to death just for disobeying an order from a cop, not that there was a crime being done, just that the person didn't spread them fast enough. They go home and justify killing a perp. their blue wall counterparts rationalize and support this. When the people do this it is called dissent. What goes on in Washington is a blue wall. We continue to be abused and lied to. We are asked to think of our unborn great grandchildren and their future, just how do we know that if we did just that for them, that the next or even this one administration isn't going to use these funds for more world domination funds. We live today. Lets fix this today, not in 50 years. Heck If i were the president, I could get away with saying that all 4 years.
    And if the people agreed with me then another 4.
    I don't want to pass my debts down to my family, yet living and voting here in America, makes me feel, (sometimes) like I could amass certain small amounts of money for such rainy days like when my kids need something, I could give them what they need. Not 50 years from now! Not 25, not 10. not 5. Accountability and open government or mistrust and distension as is the the right of the people to do. Whether by protest or by claiming the constitutional right.

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  • 43. At 5:06pm on 28 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    privatehousepainter;

    A military tribunal is a trial. But the rules aren't stacked in favor of the terrorists.

    pg, I have never owned a car with an engine smaller than a V8 in my life and I don't intend to start now. My 4.6 Windsor hauls my 4000 pound car around like a kiddy cart and gets 19 mpg mixed driving. With a toyota truck having a 4 cylinder engine, I might be able to haul kids on their sleds...if they aren't going up hill.

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  • 44. At 5:33pm on 28 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    A military tribunal is a trial.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Then get on with military trials. Are you waiting for the trials to make an official request to you to hold them?

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  • 45. At 7:02pm on 28 Jan 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    43 marcus
    "I have never owned a car with an engine smaller than a V8 in my life and I don't intend to start now. My 4.6 Windsor hauls my 4000 pound car around like a kiddy cart"


    Surely you mean 4000 pound "ego" not "car"!

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  • 46. At 01:38am on 30 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    practice need help help ?

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  • 47. At 5:30pm on 30 Jan 2010, John Galt wrote:

    President Obama is set to hand Republicans an unthinkable bonanza of Congressional seats in both houses coming this November.

    All due to the gigantic ego of the President and its fatuous contempt for the American people.

    This is what the political blogger said of the President's attitude:
    "Empty of truth, sincerity and facts. The President seems to have gone back to what worked for him during the campaign, with promises and sophistry and an amazing manipulation of facts, that become a challenge to prove wrong, not for their similarity to the truth, but for their sheer volume and quantity."

    The rest is at http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com

    Presented there with a sub-plot that is as dangerous as is incisive

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  • 48. At 08:06am on 31 Jan 2010, MarkH wrote:

    MM says, "Activists feel he's let them down on Afghanistan, health care and gays in the military."

    It's true the more Liberal activists have felt somewhat let down. But, they too can recognize what has been happening and how difficult it has been to change. Still, they can't be entirely surprised.

    In 2004 the Left supported Governor (and medical doctor) Howard Dean and he said we should leave Iraq and fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Pres. Obama is executing that strategy and has supported Pakistan in several respects. So far this strategy has worked well.

    In 1992 candidate Bill Clinton said we needed to reform health care to achieve several goals including to get our deficit spending under control and to protect Medicare (America's government-run health insurance plan for older people). Pres. Obama has worked with Congressional leaders to create that legislation and it is nearing completion. It became more difficult after the recent election of another Republican to the Senate, but it's still going to be completed.

    In 1992 Pres. Clinton created the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to improve the condition of gays in the military and it did that. Now Pres. Obama is moving forward again to be rid of DADT, but not to move backward.

    In 2008 we suffered a disastrous economic shock and a lot of 2009 was spent addressing that. In the 4th quarter of '09 the economy grew 5.7%. We're still on shaky legs, but as the economy grows stronger and with the aid of JOBS legislation (Congress is soon going to produce) the economy will not only continue to grow, but more people will be employed, earning better wages and spending to create a virtuous cycle of economic activity.

    This has been a challenging year for America, but we've survived and we're working hard to keep climbing up. Hopefully the American people will see the connection in these efforts and realize they should re-elect their current leaders, so they can continue in the direction we've been going.

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  • 49. At 10:36am on 31 Jan 2010, _marko wrote:

    To JG1000 #47

    Can you provide some specific advice and examples about how President Obama could give less congressional seats, have a smaller ego, show less fatuous contempt for the American people, be more truthful, sincere, factual, make fewer and less voluminous promises, use less sophistry, manipulate facts less, have less sub-plots and be less dangerous and incisive?

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  • 50. At 1:05pm on 31 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    47. At 5:30pm on 30 Jan 2010, JG1000 wrote:
    "President Obama is set to hand Republicans an unthinkable bonanza of Congressional seats in both houses coming this November."

    Somebody [make that numerous somebodies] not paying attention in civics class? It is much more convenient to parrot someone else's talking points than to get those boring facts and then actually think about them, isn't it?

    Unlike certain other presidents [PLURAL, and not just one party] President Obama doesn't appear to act like an emperor, and he does not and can not control the elections or the votes in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

    Saying that his party has a majority is a clever propagandistic misrepresentation because it ignores the "Blue Dogs," a faction more like the GOP than the other Dmocrats. It also ignores the inconvenient truth that not a few Democrats, and most Republicans, are in the pockets [too literally true] of the same special interests [insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry, oil inductry, trial lawyers, etc., etc.]

    As the recent election results show, the population is getting fed up with it, and irritated enough to vote the toadies of the "malefactors of great wealth" out of office. The malefactors [i.e. special interests] have usually had the intelligence to not go so far that a popular revolt would ensue. They seem to have forgotten the lessons of history and/or believe the old adage, "No one has ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people."

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  • 51. At 8:21pm on 31 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "pg, I have never owned a car with an engine smaller than a V8 in my life and I don't intend to start now. My 4.6 Windsor hauls my 4000 pound car around like a kiddy cart and gets 19 mpg mixed driving. With a toyota truck having a 4 cylinder engine, I might be able to haul kids on their sleds...if they aren't going up hill."

    anyone would think you were admitting to be real big.. and not below the belt.

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  • 52. At 3:27pm on 02 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 53. At 9:03pm on 02 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 54. At 3:09pm on 04 Feb 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 55. At 6:10pm on 04 Feb 2010, crash wrote:

    President Obama talked about openness,deficit reductions,he hasn't come close on either one,we have discovered that everything he has said is pretty much a lie.He speaks about controlling costs and spending and comes out with this staggering budget,imagine what it would be like if he had an open check book on health care !!
    Every day he sounds more an more like Jimmy Carter,but the thing you always respected about Carter was his honesty,Obama will never have this as his honesty makes Bush 2 look like a choir boy.

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  • 56. At 8:40pm on 04 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 57. At 9:00pm on 04 Feb 2010, _marko wrote:

    To crash #55:

    (As a spokesman for America) Can you provide some specific advice and examples about how President Obama could be more open, reduce the deficit, expose particular lies and be less like Jimmy Carter?

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  • 58. At 11:23pm on 04 Feb 2010, crash wrote:

    #57

    Okay Marko when Obama ran for office you never heard him mention how he was going to open things up,from that dispicable Bush ?how in the state of the union he was going to go line by line through the budget to reduce spending ?The way he appeases and apologizes for the USA does this not sound very Carterish ?Go back to reading the Guardien paper and read about us horrible capitalists and that should calm your frayed nerves.

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  • 59. At 00:10am on 05 Feb 2010, _marko wrote:

    To crash #57

    Thanks for your reply but...
    you don't sound that interested in outlining many positive policy suggestions.

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  • 60. At 10:48am on 05 Feb 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 61. At 8:12pm on 05 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 62. At 02:46am on 08 Feb 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    First of all, Mark, Obama was NOT elected on a wave of hope! Not in America! Very nearly half the voters voted AGAINST him and were deeply disappointed that he got elected! Of those that voted for Obama, many were voting "against Bush" rather than for Obama. So..the "wave of hope" is just a media illusion. Believe me, for a huge segment of America, it was strictly a matter of "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" once Obama AND his gigantic transition team, and his czars, and his new cabinet posts came to Washington.

    The health care reform that many people thought they were going to get when they voted for Obama was an affordable National Health Service. Something Obama very carefully DIDN'T quite promise, although going so far as to say he backed a government option which would pretty much open the door to nationalizing health care. So, once that got shot down by the Democrats, what was left was essentially Clinton-care...mandatory unaffordable health care insurance.

    Closing Gitmo was looked good on paper...and indeed Obama put his name on a piece of paper just as soon as he had his bags unpacked. However, if closing Gitmo was easy Bush would have done it. The fact of the matter is that there is no real political hay to be made out of Gitmo...it is a mess no matter what the eventual resolution is.

    Jobs...clearly spending tax dollars on road construction will employ some road workers, clearing retrofitting every government building to Platinum LEEDS standards will employ people..but just as clearly this is TAX MONEY...and he isn't fooling anyone. The 1 year funding for police is running out...and the communities cannot afford to pay their salaries. These are NOT real jobs! Obama has no ideas. Asking the consumers politely to please buy more goods didn't work, not with credit cards demanding large minimum payments and interest rates sky high. Pretending the a $5000 credit will pursuade small businesses to hire employees they don't absolutely need is demented. If they need an employee they will hire him anyway and pocket the incentive. If they don't need the employee a one-time $5000 incentive isn't going to help.

    When are you going to realize that Obama is just a community organizer. He points to the problem and demands a government solution! He is NOT a leader.

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  • 63. At 4:20pm on 08 Feb 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I voted for President Obama, not only for hope, but also because he was the furthest from Bush possible. (Both reasons.)

    Many Americans were against the unaffordable health care mandate, which is likely why it did not pass. It felt too controlling by the govt.

    I do think President Obama has got the wrong jobs plan. The USA's economy is beginning to recover, anyway, but his jobs plan will not do hardly anything, but spend more money, without much results.

    I think that we should put all the Gitmo prisoners on a permanent base off the coast of the USA (like Alcatraz was) with only one way in/out (maybe even in Alaska), so they are kept away from the majority of the population and will not endanger our lives by bringing more terrorists. Bringing them to Illinois would be Obama's worst decision yet. If it does happen, it will give Obama a bad legacy for the rest of his life. Bringing the detainees to Illinois is the wrong thing to do.

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