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Obama 2012 takes off as rivals 'hit treacle'

Mark Mardell | 15:41 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Obama_flag_march_19.jpgThe 2012 presidential race is on. Kinda.

At the moment, it feels more like a wade through treacle - so slow is the pace of President Barack Obama's opponents. Mr Obama can be unambiguous that he is going to run because they are all showing varying degrees of hesitancy.

If the president is to get back into the White House he has to leap a number of obstacles: an economy that is so sluggish that there are constant worries it could go backwards and supporters who may be unenthusiastic about sending more troops to Afghanistan, bombing Libya and failing to close Guantanamo Bay prison. There is also huge uncertainly in the country about health care and much more we will be looking at in detail.

But the strength of opposition doesn't seem, at the moment, a particularly high hurdle.  To British eyes, the primary system is one of the most curious parts of American politics.

The elite of British political parties have only grudgingly and slowly given the power of choosing their own leader. The principle of "one member, one vote" has been slow in coming. 

Elections for leaders rarely grip in the same way as American internal elections. While any American can easily register as a Republican or Democrat and have their say about who represents them, in Britain being a party member still seems an effort of will.

Twenty-five pounds ($40) per year may not be much to play your part in conservative politics in Britain, £12 may be a bargain to have a say in the Lib Dems and it's only a penny (for those under 27) to join the Labour Party - but it still costs something.

There's a feeling that being interested in who becomes your PM or MP isn't enough. You have to be willing to sit in draughty village halls on wet Wednesdays listening.  

The biggest difference is perhaps not in just who is involved, but how late in the political cycle the choice is made. This has a real impact. Every party leader, good or bad, has an image, policy likes and dislikes and personal ticks that colour voters approach to the parties as a whole.

The British public has years to get to know Ed Miliband and decide what to think about him leading a Labour government. Here in the US, the opposition is currently either faceless or hydra-headed. There is no obvious front-runner, and any prediction about who will be the Republican candidate in 2012 is nothing more than an informed guess.

Mr Obama v Michele Bachmann would be quite a different contest to Mr Obama v John Huntsman. 

Republicans get to choose, late in the day, exactly what they want their party to stand for.

The influence of the Tea Party suggests any candidate will be economically conservative, but beyond that, it is impossible to predict very much. The candidates are so unenthusiastic about firing the starting gun, the first big debate at the Reagan library in California has been put back from next month to the autumn.

Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump seem almost certain to have a go. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, John Huntsman and Mitch Daniels seem less sure bets. And, of course, there are plenty of other names out there.

Mr Obama is starting the race now to make sure that whoever challenges him, his organisation will be ramped up and ready, with big bucks at its command.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Mark Mardell ought to get out of D.C. and see what the level of Obama support is elsewhere in the U.S.; it's a big country.

    Aesop's fable of the Hare and Tortoise springs to mind.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    The idea of a shorter campaign period such as you enjoy in the U.K. sounds like nirvana to me. Thirty days ought to be enough for even the average Republican voter to make up whatever that is that he calls his " mind."

    That said, I hope the GOP will give us a candidate this time selected for entertainment value, in that there's no chance of getting one selected for substance.

    And that's why I'm rooting for Haley Barbour! Sound as the dollar, safe as houses and not yesterdays bad news like The Divine Ms. Sarah! Whatever his other shortcomings, Haley can tell a joke!

    Otherwise, the President's let us here on the left down a time or two, but on balance has done a pretty good job. There are more than a few Democratic congress persons though, that need to be hung from the sour apple tree.

    These are my personal views, and not necessarily those of the Democratic Party.

  • Comment number 4.

    1. At 17:24pm on 4th Apr 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:
    Mark Mardell ought to get out of D.C. and see what the level of Obama support is elsewhere in the U.S.; it's a big country.
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    Well of course the article is intended to start a debate. Let's see how this thread goes, as rather than enlightening us Brits with your views, it does seem that the US contributors often just end up mudslinging.

    Shall I raise my Palin to your Terry Jones (and no that is not a Monty Python reference).

  • Comment number 5.

    William Johnson-Smith ought to get out of the FOX-News and Tea-party caucus noise-chamber and see the real world outside. US is really a big country indeed.

  • Comment number 6.

    There are really no Republicans who can challenge Obama at this point. He isn't perfect, but he has done a remarkable job turning this country around from the Bush disaster. For example, when Obama took office, the US was losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now the economy is gaining jobs. That's one of the many reasons Obama is enjoying relatively high approval ratings for this period in a term and destroys every single Republican in head-to-head match up polls. The Republican hopefuls are all has-beens, totally nuts or completely unelectable...or all three. I will be voting for Obama and I think it'll be another landslide! OBAMA 2012!

  • Comment number 7.

    You only mention the other potential candidates every other media writes about.
    Gary Johnson will get my vote for the Presidency. Just check his record.

  • Comment number 8.

    And that's why I'm rooting for Haley Barbour! Sound as the dollar, safe as houses and not yesterdays bad news like The Divine Ms. Sarah! Whatever his other shortcomings, Haley can tell a joke!





    Actually Barbour wouldn't be half bad.

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm glad to see that other parties are being careful and selective about whom they pick to run against Obama. We need someone of substance to vote for - a real choice. The reality of this country is presently very dark. Just like so many Brits have expatriated, many Americans don't feel like this is our country anymore. I did everything right, as far as a good education, maintained long-term employment, was financially responsible, etc. I ended up incurring a huge loss on a home I'd owned for almost a decade, because the neighborhood went bad. I'm capable, intelligent and qualified and cannot obtain employment, because the USA only wants cheap labor, not intelligent employees who can contribute insightfully. Americans are completely against all these wars Obama keeps starting and this unbearable debt burden he has created. Unless we elect a business-savvy president who is prepared to enact radical measures, this country will fall. The truth of the matter is that Obama has about a 20% approval rating; he has zero business acumen and many are questioning his motives. If someone can name one good thing he's done for the USA, please let me know. I'm disillusioned and disgusted and have never been so uncertain about the future...

  • Comment number 10.

    Well, William Johnson-Smith, the moose, bears and other wildlife out in Alaska might be keen to get Sarah Palin outta there for good so that they can live a little longer.
    And a certain Ralph Nader twice spent an awful lot of money getting strictly nowhere.
    Anybody with a nice white dentally flossed smile will of course get onto the GOP ticket, but watch out for those little ol' tea party ladies who will knock them off the pedestal with Nannygates, doggygates, schoolgates, parkingticketgates etc etc

    Most of the good'uns give up at the first sign of paparazzi trouble.

    The hare and the tortoise was only a two-party race to start off with. With America's tea parties it's going to be a lot more democratic on the Republican side.

    Much more fun when two Democrats slogged it out against each other, remember the Obama vs Clinton slugfest? Which Republican hopeful has even 10% of the guts to survive a battle like that? Answer - none of them.

    Quite frankly, Obama will run rings around any Republic opposition right now. So why can't the US invent a brand new party - or really give the Greens some edge? Otherwise the whole race is going to be boring, run in first gear and possibly run on repeats with Hollywood star supporters providing the only sound bites.

  • Comment number 11.

    "5. At 17:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, Chris M wrote:
    William Johnson-Smith ought to get out of the FOX-News and Tea-party caucus noise-chamber and see the real world outside. US is really a big country indeed."

    I don't watch Fox-News nor have I anything to do with the Tea-party caucus and yes sure it is a big country indeed.

  • Comment number 12.

    The British public has years to get to know Ed Miliband,
    ----------
    Ed miliband ? Ed Miliband ? is that the FM frequency for that radio station that plays constant tunes from labors glorious past,better known as loony tunes...









    Come on give me both barrels,this forum needs to be livened up :)...

  • Comment number 13.

    While its probably true that the GOP challengers are in disarray, there are plenty of obstacles for Obama. The still failing housing market is one which has many Americans disgruntled. For those that haven't been foreclosed on, many still sit with negative equity, unable to take advantage of some of the better lending terms and interest rates. I am in the process of buying a short-sale - basically 30% wiped off the value from when the current owners bought in 2005. Budget deficits, higher inflation (including gasoline) and lack of any wage growth have caused many to struggle.

    While Obama isn't to blame for all of that, his administration will still be made to be accountable. The GOP did an amazing bait and switch job during the mid-terms and anyone who underestimates them or their ability to get a message out that Obama has either caused or sustained the current economic situation is fooling themselves. If house prices can rise before the next Presidential election then his second term is almost certainly assured. Americans vote with their wallets, and right now, their wallets feel empty.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ MM

    "Mr Obama is starting the race now to make sure that whoever challenges him, his organisation will be ramped up and ready, with big bucks at its command."

    Sometimes it feels like he and his team have been all set and ready since the results of election day 2008...

    @ #10

    "or really give the Greens some edge?"

    Nope. nowhere past a few campuses and "greenie" conclaves. They are far to narrow in view (and sometimes too idealogical) to do anything on the federal level at the curernt time from what I hear. There are quite a number of third parties, all wrapped up in the mysterious "independant vote", but they are all ... well... either quite small or too regional at this point save the Tea party.

  • Comment number 15.

    its a shame that the voters who will chose the leader of the western world are so ignorant about europe.

  • Comment number 16.

    #12

    ukwales,

    The debut album is dull and repetitive. I much prefer the Steve Miliband.

  • Comment number 17.

    At 18:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, john gibbins wrote:
    "its a shame that the voters who will chose the leader of the western world are so ignorant about europe"

    John,
    Are you aware of a small thing call the Schengen Agreement? Unlike citizens of the EU, who can simply pack up and move to another EU country, Americans are virtually banned from living in EU countries. After 90 days, we are forced to leave. If there were a more feasible platform in place, perhaps that would promote more understanding. It's not a lack of willingness, it's just impossible to learn without living there.

  • Comment number 18.

    Its the 'curse of the Tea Party' coming back to haunt them - they welcomed them on board in the midterms for the extra votes but now the GOP have some really deep divisions on a whole range of issues its going to be difficult for them to pick a nominee that pleases everyone. Impossible actually. I just hope its Palin or Bachman for comedy value, if you put both their brains inside a peanut shell it would still rattle.

    Why anyone would vote republican is beyond me anyway. 'Fiscal conservatism' means cutting education, health, clamping down on workers rights, a billion here a billion there - all they had to do was let that tax break expire last year for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and it would have generated close to trillion dollars in the coming years but they wouldn't even consider it. How the people who vote for them can't see their loyality is to the super rich and the corporations i have absolutely no idea. They are a joke and the smoke and mirrors used to such great effect last year is starting to wear off.

  • Comment number 19.

    @ RobinRR

    "I did everything right, as far as a good education, maintained long-term employment, was financially responsible, etc. I ended up incurring a huge loss on a home I'd owned for almost a decade, because the neighborhood went bad."

    So you want the federal government to stop your neighborhood going bad? Gentrification and change always happen, and if you didn't recognize it and lost out financially, is that Obama's fault?


    "I'm capable, intelligent and qualified and cannot obtain employment, because the USA only wants cheap labor, not intelligent employees who can contribute insightfully."

    Blame the corporations and their culture for that, not the government. Have you applied at google?


    "Americans are completely against all these wars Obama keeps starting"

    Yes, lets get back to the old days when that never happened - and Obama just keeps on doing it time and time ag... oh, well, errr, reluctantly once anyways.

    "...and this unbearable debt burden he has created."
    I mean, how good was the country's economy when he took over! He just frittered all that away...


    "Unless we elect a business-savvy president who is prepared to enact radical measures, this country will fall."
    Someone business-savvy enough to want cheaper labor?


    "The truth of the matter is that Obama has about a 20% approval rating"
    Source please.


    "...he has zero business acumen"
    You elected a C-in-C or a CEO?


    "If someone can name one good thing he's done for the USA, please let me know."

    Healthcare. Not being Bush. Stabilised economy.


    "I'm disillusioned and disgusted and have never been so uncertain about the future..."
    Well, I suggest you either move out of your neigborhood, or better, get involved in it, help turn it around - try to confront some of the problems there, speak with neigbors and locals, start some community events, take some responsibility. You'll probably make some good connections in the process, land a decent job and hopefully you'll feel a lot more positive as a whole. Or you could leave all that to the next president, whoever it is. Good luck, I hope you turn it around.

  • Comment number 20.

    re. #15. At 18:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, john gibbins wrote:
    its a shame that the voters who will chose the leader of the western world are so ignorant about europe.

    ---------------------------------

    One might also say its a pity Europe isn't more relevant to the voters in the rest of the western world these days. Perhaps because Europe lacks a single leader to represent them? (And from what we've seen of European leaders who wanted that role that may be a good thing.)

    Actually, it is a shame our people aren't better educated about Europe and it's history. Of course if they were you might find them even less sympathetic to Europe's perspective on issues. A lot of people's ancestors immigrated here to get away from Europe and it's wars, feuds, corruption, tyrants, social restrictions, heavy taxes and other problems. Personally, I cringe every time I hear someone here start a sentence with "Well, in Europe they...", it's usually a prelude to a suggestion for raising taxes or telling us how we should live our lives. My usual reply is "well, move to Europe then" but for some reason that usually gets a very indignant response.

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 - RobinRR

    ". . . Americans are virtually banned from living in EU countries." Absolute rubbish. Try telling that to my American clients who are welcome here. Yes the paper work is a bit tedious every five years but, that aside, it is all very straight forward. Contrast that with a particular client whose Brazilian wife can come and go from here at will but is forced to jump through hoops every time she wants to enter the country where they have had a family home for more than thirty years. Schengen is all about mobility within the EU and has absolutely nothing to do with excluding Americans (or anyone else for that matter).

    In contrast, consider the American attitude of dithering when it came to allowing EU citizens into the States. As a Brit, I can come and go as I want but my Hungarian partner requires a visa. We are both EU citzens. Nobody throws Americans out after 90 days. All they ask is that they show good reason for being here. Tourists are welcome short term, business people long term. Is that unreasonable? No less so than your attitude to us. Schengen, by the way, it a Treaty, not an 'agreement'.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19 - Papa_Tom

    "You'll probably make some good connections in the process, land a decent job and hopefully you'll feel a lot more positive as a whole. Or you could leave all that to the next president, whoever it is. Good luck, I hope you turn it around".

    Big hearted, broad minded and generous. We need a few more folk like you in this world.

  • Comment number 23.

    This American ex-pat will vote for Obama as many times as she can.......

    He is the FIRST President to try and overturn the horrible, insane capitalistic health case system in the USA. A Republican would not bother......

    He had an albatross to deal with from the previous president...and he is slowly but surely helping out. He is BRIGHT (can't say that for the last 2 Republican presidents) and is doing as best as he can.....

    I just wish the USA would have better tv media like the BBC, and a decent healthcare system.....

  • Comment number 24.

    re. #19. At 19:22pm on 4th Apr 2011, Papa_Tom wrote:
    "If someone can name one good thing he's done for the USA, please let me know."

    Healthcare. Not being Bush. Stabilised economy.

    ------------------------
    You've got to be joking. Instead of health care reform we got a health care plan that is even more costly than the system it replaces, diverted money from Medicare, still leaves millions uncovered according to the GAO's figures, and is based on an unconstitutional usurpation of power to fund it.

    Not being George Bush? Not being somebody else isn't an accomplishment, its a simple fact of existence. Besides, he already got a Nobel Prize for that so that's covered.

    A stablized economy? Oh, you mean "stabilized" as in "still in shock but the bleeding is under control and we can move the patient now"? He poured trillions of dollars into subsidies for Wall Street, the banks, and the auto companies while leaving millions of homeowners still swamped by mortgage debt while the banks foreclose on homes at an unprecedented rate. The unemployment rate is still way higher than he promised his stimulus package would make it. The average American has been saddled with a collosal debt that they, they're children and they're children's children are stuck paying off while the bankers and brokers got their taxpayer funded bonuses for running their companies into the ground. And to finance all this he has put us in hock to our greatest commercial and military rivals, the Chinese.

    And while he was doing all that he managed to drag us into yet another overseas military adventure, this time with American forces being led not by our own commanders but by NATO.

    Be assured I intend to thank the president at election time.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ #18

    all they had to do was let that tax break expire last year for the wealthiest 2% of Americans and it would have generated close to trillion dollars in the coming years

    Thats one estimation. You can be sure that extra 2% that we might have received as tax money would have been thrown in another set of tax free investment vehicles instead.

    @ #19

    ""If someone can name one good thing he's done for the USA, please let me know."

    Healthcare. Not being Bush. Stabilised economy. "

    Health care is not that great really considering how many groups/states/etc opted out. Expansion of a mediocre system with an added layer of beaurocratic nonsense on top.

    Not being Bush is not a special achievment. Its like telling a thief that he is a model citizen because he is not a serial killer.

    Stabalized Wallstreet, yes. Economy.... not too sure yet.

  • Comment number 27.

    8. At 18:05pm on 4th Apr 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    "Actually Barbour wouldn't be half bad."

    Now if you go around spreading that sort of thing around, there's no chance in hell that your average Republican will vote for him! There for All Bad or secession.

    I'm hoping for some real focus on important things like school prayer, gay marriage
    and putting a stop to Darwin and his monkey-propaganda in our schools!

  • Comment number 28.

    "15. At 18:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, john gibbins wrote:
    its a shame that the voters who will chose the leader of the western world are so ignorant about europe."

    What a lot of people in Europe don't understand is the U.S. is made up of a myriad of cultures, that the U.S. is also made up of different states with their own laws and taxes; it's a federal system. Most Americans don't travel outside of the U.S. and as a result are insular and conservative. If you look at history the U.S. didn't want to get involved in either world war and now after the debacle in Iraq and the mess in Afghanistan, Americans are again questioning whether the U.S. should now be getting involved with Libya.

    It can be also be asked if indeed the leader of the Western world is the U.S. president, why are so many Europeans ignorant about America?

  • Comment number 29.

    Mardell: Twenty-five pounds ($40) per year may not be much to play your part in conservative politics in Britain, £12 may be a bargain to have a say in the Lib Dems and it's only a penny (for those under 27) to join the Labour Party - but it still costs something.
    --------
    Its very strange how in your country you have to pay to be in a political party- it certainly roots out the rich from the poor with the varied amounts, in a somewhat elitist roundabout way...isn't getting your vote enough?

    In America, some people donate, but most don't spend even a penny...
    -----------
    Mardell: The candidates are so unenthusiastic about firing the starting gun, the first big debate at the Reagan library in California has been put back from next month to the autumn.
    ---------
    They know people will get bored quickly to hear the same candidate's speech over and over again; when they find the person they want, it will make it more exciting if it is closer to the date rather then too far, which also it gives the Dems less time to build up political strategies, if they don't know who they are up against yet...
    -------
    Mardell: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump seem almost certain to have a go. Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, John Huntsman and Mitch Daniels seem less sure bets. And, of course, there are plenty of other names out there.
    -----
    At first I ruled Trump out, but now he seems to be making gains by actually emphasizing with the people; he doesn't need the money, so we know he's wanting to be President for power, but perhaps and hopefully to actually help us, because he knows if the Middle class is doing good, America is doing good...

  • Comment number 30.

    At 19:29pm on 4th Apr 2011, threnodio_II wrote:
    #17 - RobinRR

    ". . . Americans are virtually banned from living in EU countries." Absolute rubbish.

    Well, threnodio, there are blogs all over the internet about this. I have sourced one such site below. Outside of working for an international company and transferring abroad, or marrying an EU citizen, I have been unable to find any way for an American to move to an EU country. In addition to what you see below, there is much more dissuasion, because the literature says that EU countries are required to show why they are unable to find an EU citizen who is qualified for the vacant position, prior to hiring a non-EU citizen. If I am wrong in this regard, then, by all means, correct me!



    Schengen Agreement
    The Schengen Agreement establishes the following basic rules:


    A non-Schengen citizen is allowed to spend up to 90 days in one or more Schengen Agreement countries.

    Once a visitor has been in one or more Schengen Agreement countries for 90 days, he or she must remain outside ALL the Schengen countries for at least 90 days. This means that you can stay in the Schengen Agreement area only 3 months out of every 6 months.

    Special Schengen visa is needed for stays over 90 days.

    http://www.euro-dollar-currency.com/schengen_agreement.htm

  • Comment number 31.

    Re. 24., Scott0962

    Healthcare - it's not perfect i agree, but considering the obstacles put in place with political motivations, it's a bloody good start. Healthcare is as much a right as the one about bearing arms whether that piece of paper says so or not.

    Not being George Bush - you got me, i was being facetious.

    Stabilized the economy - the USA is still a meaningful economic force in the world, and that was by no means guaranteed when Obama took over. I can't understand how anyone can be angry with Obama over the economy, he inherited it, and the unbalanced, unfair system. The only alternative to supporting the banks and corporations was to let the whole system fail and start again, which I'm sure you'd agree would not be painless.

    Overall, given the system he has to deal with and the rulebook he's been given to play by, he's done a good job. Of course, in an ideal world things would be different, but you can't blame him for that can you?

    By the way, on a different topic, if anyone wants to see how a country can run in a Tea Party world, Belgium's had no government for a very long time. Of course, neither has Sudan...

  • Comment number 32.

    The system is even more "curious" than you acknowledge here, because the rules vary from state to state. A few states do not have primaries, using the caucus instead. In some, one party may have a primary while another party holds a caucus.

  • Comment number 33.

    @RobinRR #9
    "all these wars Obama keeps starting"
    Would you care to educate this Brit as to all the wars Obama has started? Afghanistan and Iraq started in 2001 and 2003 respectively, so I don't think you can pin those on him.

    As for Libya, I thought us (the UK) and France started that one. The Obama administration was more or less dragged in kicking and screaming at the last minute. If I understand correctly, the US has already ended its combat role in Libya.


    @Scott0962 #24
    "this time with American forces being led not by our own commanders but by NATO. "
    So not entirely different to other NATO operations that the US has been involved in then such as Kosovo

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm not really sure where the Republicans get this reputation as the fiscally conservative party. I found the below link interesting - every Democratic president since World War 2 has run a surplus, and every Republican president since Nixon has run a defecit. The Reagan and Bush figures are through the roof.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

    Obama will no doubt be the first since WW2 to run a defecit of course short of some miracle but there is clearly a pattern of the Republicans making a complete mess of the economy and leaving it for the Democrats to clean it up (and take the criticism). People really need to remember the catastrophy he inherited from Bush, 2 wars an extra 4 trillion in debt and the worst recession in living memory, i really don't think going from that to a budget surpless in the space of 2 years was ever going to be realistic. The Republicans can beat the fiscal drum but there is very little evidence to back them.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ #31

    "if anyone wants to see how a country can run in a Tea Party world, Belgium's had no government for a very long time."

    They had a beer and pommfritz revolution. I am ok with this. :D

  • Comment number 36.

    Ahh, Papa Tom, #19, you're just not getting it. My neighborhood went bad in the course of a year because so many jobs were lost and people turned to crime. I was forced to sell my house or live there in fear. I DO blame the corporations for outsourcing so many jobs, but I blame the government for not enacting trade tariffs and protectionism measures, such as those enacted by FDR. Corporations run amok with no admonishment. I have applied for a gamut of positions - Do you realize that many jobs in the Midwest are starting at $10/hour, an unliveable wage when apartments rent for about $1,000/month. The college education is thrown by the wayside; if you don't want the job, somebody else will take it... Obama promised in his campaigning that he would pull all of our troops out of the Middle East, but he didn't. He simply relocated them and then started this debacle in Libya. Congress wasn't consulted, nor were the American people. That's not the way we do things in this country. Although the country's economy was teetering, we weren't printing money like confetti, running up a deficit when we have virtually no income, because we've outsourced so many jobs. And again, the American people weren't consulted. We need a President who is business savvy enough to save the country...simply that. If you want this healthcare sham that was thrown together behind closed doors, you're welcome to it and if you think the USA has a stabilized economy, I suggest you come here for a short visit.

  • Comment number 37.

    What I dislike most about the nomination system in the US is the length of the season. I don't pay any attention to electoral politics in odd-numbered years. I think we are entitled to a break.

  • Comment number 38.

    My fear as someone who sees Obama as a disaster that Trump will go the narciastic Nader/Perot route and give Obama the Presidency

  • Comment number 39.

    Papa Tom: "Well, I suggest you either move out of your neigborhood, or better, get involved in it, help turn it around - try to confront some of the problems there, speak with neigbors and locals, start some community events, take some responsibility. You'll probably make some good connections in the process, land a decent job and hopefully you'll feel a lot more positive as a whole. Or you could leave all that to the next president, whoever it is. Good luck, I hope you turn it around."

    That's great advise!

    Pate-in-Surrey: "This American ex-pat will vote for Obama as many times as she can..."

    Once is enough.

    William Johnson-Smith, there are plenty of people in Europe who do understand the structural & cultural differences between us. This blog is a place to sort out those differences, get a few laughs, and the occasional tongue lashing.

  • Comment number 40.

    #30 - RobinRR

    "A non-Schengen citizen is allowed to spend up to 90 days in one or more Schengen Agreement countries.

    Once a visitor has been in one or more Schengen Agreement countries for 90 days, he or she must remain outside ALL the Schengen countries for at least 90 days."

    How convenient. The period of 90 days is no coincidence. It is a period of time in which it considered reasonable for any administration to determine whether or not there is a legitimate reason why someone should stay longer. Simply looking at my contact list on my phone, I can find a dozen or so Americans who have very good reasons for being here and have had no obstacles put in their way. Every five years, they are expected to renew their residency. Several of them have chosen to retire here and all they are required to demonstrate is that they have insurance and pensions which mean that they will not be a burden on the social security systems of the host country. Those who are still working are allowed to opt into the social welfare system. My wife, who was American, chose to do just that and, when she became very ill received all the benefits afforded to nationals.

    What you say about visitors is absolutely correct but it is not true that obstacles are deliberately put in the way of people with sound commercial or personal reasons for remaining here. 90 days is not an unreasonable period in which to either take your tourist photos and go home or come up with a damned good reason for staying. This city is absolutely full of American students - most of whom are delightful and welcome. Do you seriously believe they get thrown out every 90 days?

  • Comment number 41.

    "Mr Obama is starting the race now to make sure that whoever challenges him, his organisation will be ramped up and ready, with big bucks at its command."

    --- With our prayers behind him -- and God and the flag at his side --money is irrelevant as he takes us with him on the road to the American dream and freedom.

    --As Lucy et al would say ?

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 18, If you want to know why anyone would ever consider voting Republican (as I used to do) then a good read on the subject is "Deer Hunting with Jesus". It gives you an insight into the massive con-job that is delivered by the Republican party, right wing media, religious institutions and others who step on the backs of the working (or not working) poor to keep them in their place and persuade them in droves to vote against their self-interest.

  • Comment number 43.

    re. #31. At 20:08pm on 4th Apr 2011, Papa_Tom wrote:
    Re. 24., Scott0962

    Healthcare - it's not perfect i agree, but considering the obstacles put in place with political motivations, it's a bloody good start. Healthcare is as much a right as the one about bearing arms whether that piece of paper says so or not.

    ------------

    No, Papa_Tom, you are wrong. That "piece of paper" (actually parchment) means what it says. If we want to make health care a right then the proper way to do it is to amend the constitution to make it so--something Obama and his Democrat allies didn't even attempt because it would have meant an extended debate on the issue and they were in a rush to get something through Congress before they lost their majority. I'll give them credit for good intentions but the method they chose was wrong and nothing, not even health care, justifies a consitutionally suspect expansion of government power to achieve it. We are a nation of laws and if we start cutting corners on them we would soon be just another dictatorship with a rubber stamp legislature.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just wait until the first Republican primary debate, when someone asks AGAIN "How many of you don't believe in evolution?" and just watch how many Republicans raise their hand (remember last time?). You don't want our primary system Britain. Most of the time it results in candidates who appeal to the rabid, idiot fringe of either party. The most effective thing it does is kill pragmatism and compromise in Congress since all the shiftless politicians who have the desire to run for President are terrified of loosing popularity of the party "base".

  • Comment number 45.

    Obama has no chance to be reelected. He has betrayed those who voted for him last time. Not only he has not ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he has started the third one. He has become more warmonger than George Bush. No wonder he was upset when he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Besides, he has continued all the policies of previous Republican Presidents. It is unforgiveable.
    I don't think that any liberal will vote for him. The best option is that someone progressive chanllanges him as Democrat candidate.

  • Comment number 46.

    Rearrange these words how you like:

    Chimps.
    Tea.
    Pot.
    Party.
    Chocolate.

  • Comment number 47.

    As far as I know, Europeans don´t have an easy time getting a ´long stay ´ visa for the USA either.

    If the 90 day European visa is correct at least it may slow down the ´traditional´ cultural American brain-drain ---- to Prague, Paris and Berlin.

  • Comment number 48.

    #45 MaryMagdalane

    "--- I don't think that any liberal will vote for him. The best option is that someone progressive chanllanges him as Democrat candidate."

    ---is there anyone to the left of Jesus you have in mind ?

  • Comment number 49.

    #40 Threnodio,

    Of course I don't think that students are tossed out of the country. I'll make my final point and then be done with this. All I meant to convey is that an American adult, even one with means, cannot simply say, "Gee, I have plenty of money and proven skills and education. I think I'll go live in Europe and stay there until I find employment. Maybe it will take me 6 or 8 months, but that's okay, because I have enough money to support myself." This is a common idea that Americans entertain (I've seen it on endless blogs), and is prohibited by the Schengen Agreement. Since it is a common idea and not a doable one, many Americans never have a chance to live long-term in Europe. 'Nuff said!

  • Comment number 50.

    I live in America's liberal enclave, otherwise known as Vermont. In 2008, we were the first state to go for Obama. In 2011, it is easy to sense a great deal of liberal disappointment with our President.

    Much of this has to do with the way none of the major players in our economic meltdown—OK, let's call it what it is, a depression—has been punished for the great collective harm they did to this country. Sure, they got a pass to trash our economy from the Bushies. But Obama was in charge as the smoke cleared and we could see clearly who had cheated us out of our future. And nothing was done to make sure this does not happen again, as it was after the crash in 1929.

    Not only have we lost our entire middle class, the corporations (aka, the ones who are really in charge around here) still run rampant.

    Bob Dylan once sang that when you steal a little, they call you a thief. When you steal a lot, they make you a king. The financial leaders of this country stole a whole economy and they are kings, laughing all the way to their banks with their millions of dollars in bonuses approved by the Obama administration.

    I wouldn't be too comfortable with the idea that Obama is inevitable because the Repubs are so silly and inept. I think the real story here is that the liberals won't pony up with donations the way they did in 2008.

    And that they will stay home on election day.

  • Comment number 51.

    "39. At 20:36pm on 4th Apr 2011, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:
    William Johnson-Smith, there are plenty of people in Europe who do understand the structural & cultural differences between us. This blog is a place to sort out those differences, get a few laughs, and the occasional tongue lashing."

    And there are plenty who don't.

  • Comment number 52.

    Threnodio

    RE: #47

    --sorry forgot Budapest ! (and others)

  • Comment number 53.

    Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Tim Pawlenty etc and all the other Republican candidates are simply wets and they are going to wet their pants come the election. They endorsed the Republican governors who are taking away the rights of the American workers by abolishing the collective bargaining rights of the workers. They spared no one, including the teachers, the police and the fire-fighters. Who will vote for them? They have indirectly campaigned for Obama and the democrats.

  • Comment number 54.

    Please, can we have Sarah Palin back in the fray? Perhaps I can finally confirm my belief that Africa indeed borders Alaska...nobody else seems to believe in me.
    Ah..these days she's supposed to be brushing up tidbits of India, so we should be discussing hunting for yetis instead...

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    9. At 18:07pm on 4th Apr 2011, RobinRR wrote: “Americans are completely against all these wars Obama keeps starting and this unbearable debt burden he has created.”

    So much for the “I did everything right, as far as a good education...” What are all these wars that Obama has started? Don’t you mean all the wars the Republican George W. Bush started? If you want to criticise this president for not ending Iraq and Afghanistan sooner, then do so, don’t blame him for starting them.

    If “All these wars” means Libya, he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it, and he made getting out quickly a major point of his decision. It looks to me like President Obama is the responsible adult compared to the GWB wannabe shoot-from-the-hip cowboy gunslinger.

    While we are at it, who exactly created this debt? Wasn’t it the same careless Crawford Town Idiot who started those wars, George W. Bush? This FOX propaganda line won’t work on anybody with an ounce of intelligence who has been watching these things closely for the last 16 years.

  • Comment number 57.

    WJS, I completely agree. Just don't make the mistake of thinking all Europeans are ignorant of how we do things.

    To everyone else, I like the idea of Pres. Trump, but is it plausible?

  • Comment number 58.

    re 43. At 20:53pm on 4th Apr 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "a good rebuttal of my previous point - scroll up for full text"

    Ah, I was talking about human rights, not that obsessive "parchment" brouhaha. Some non-Americans may think that giving people the right to carry a firearm over the right to healthcare a little, well, neanderthal.
    I'm not sure I've heard that the way it was brought into legislature was unconstitutional, but I take your word for it. I agree that credit should be given for intention, and that the correct rules should be followed :) - this non-partisanship is fun, eh?

  • Comment number 59.

    re. 36. At 20:24pm on 4th Apr 2011, RobinRR wrote:

    "a slightly emotional tract with a few new points" ...lets look at some of them.

    "Ahh, Papa Tom, #19, you're just not getting it. My neighborhood went bad in the course of a year because so many jobs were lost and people turned to crime. I was forced to sell my house or live there in fear."
    I refer you to my previous answer to this.

    "I DO blame the corporations for outsourcing so many jobs, but I blame the government for not enacting trade tariffs and protectionism measures, such as those enacted by FDR. Corporations run amok with no admonishment."
    Fair enough, I agree with a lot of that, except the protectionism bit.


    "I have applied for a gamut of positions - Do you realize that many jobs in the Midwest are starting at $10/hour, an unliveable wage when apartments rent for about $1,000/month. The college education is thrown by the wayside; if you don't want the job, somebody else will take it..."
    I live in Vancouver, BC, in the top 5 most expensive cities in the world. I sympathize with you, but I don't put the blame at the feet of Obama, he inherited the mess and is making a good effort to walk the tightrope and clean it up, within the crappy parameters he has to work in.

    "Obama promised in his campaigning that he would pull all of our troops out of the Middle East, but he didn't. He simply relocated them and then started this debacle in Libya. Congress wasn't consulted, nor were the American people. That's not the way we do things in this country."
    i agree with the first bit. Libya isn't his, though. As someone mentioned earlier, he was dragged in kicking and screaming. Does congress have to ratify NATO action, or just unilateral US action? How useful would consulting the people be in this sort of situation... "Say Mary-Lou, we got a referendum here bout bombing the crap outta some place called Kazkarstan, waddaya say?" (pinch of salt available on request).

    "...if you think the USA has a stabilized economy, I suggest you come here for a short visit."
    I have. It's a wonderful place. My 62-year-old English father just got a new job, so I went down to celebrate with him :)

  • Comment number 60.

    I agree with #44 to a point, but the problem isn't the primary system, it's the rabid, idiot fringe on the Right. Both sides have their fanatics, but the Left has been pretty good about marginalizing theirs at least since Clinton. The fanatics on the Right, however, have been steadily gaining power to the point where they have entirely taken over the GOP. The religious zealotry is especially disturbing and it is why I expect the Republicans to loose in 2012. I might give them the chance to try things their way with the economy, but never could I vote for someone who wants to teach creationism as science in public schools.

    Let's face it; we've always had greedy corporations buying influence with politicians (remember the Robber Barons?) while their opponents who champion the workers try to counter them. The economy has always had its ups and downs and we've been in worse wars than Iraq and Afghanistan. None of these things are new nor will they break the country.

    What is relatively new is the wide and growing cultural divide in America. I see the current virulent anger on the Far Right as a backlash against the cultural revolution of the 60s and 70s. There are huge numbers of socially/religiously conservative Americans who genuinely believe their way of life is being threatened and they are fighting back with everything they've got and to h**l with the truth and the country, too. How many Republicans have said they want Obama to fail in solving the country’s problems?

    Make no mistake; the turmoil in American politics isn't about the economy and tax breaks or the haves versus the have-nots. That's why so many people vote against their economic self-interests. Sure, that’s what everyone talks about, but it's not the real point. The GOP promise a return to old-fashioned values where mom stayed home with the kids and dad went to work; where everyone went to church on Sunday and you didn’t say the words abortion or homosexual except in a whisper behind closed doors.

    I don’t know if that world ever really existed, but I know I don't want to go back to it. And as social progressives like me keep marching forward and the social conservatives keep digging in their heels, our social fabric is being stretched like an elastic band to its breaking point. Heaven help us all when it snaps.

  • Comment number 61.

    #56 JMM

    "This FOX propaganda line won’t work on anybody with an ounce of intelligence who has been watching these things closely for the last 16 years."

    --It has worked for the past two years-

    --- and 20 times 1/20 th. of an ounce gives the critical mass !

  • Comment number 62.

    jonyinternational: "They endorsed the Republican governors who are taking away the rights of the American workers by abolishing the collective bargaining rights of the workers. They spared no one, including the teachers, the police and the fire-fighters."

    Translation time! : D
    They endorsed the Republican governors who asked their legislatures to abolish the collective bargaining privileges of civil service (aka government) unions & those with state pensions & salaries.

  • Comment number 63.

    24. At 19:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    “And to finance all this [Obama] has put us in hock to our greatest commercial and military rivals, the Chinese.”

    Another historically false FOX/GOP/TEA Party propaganda attack on President Obama. Who recognized China, not Obama but Nixon [GOP]. And who enabled American businesses to outsource jobs and sensitive technology to China, not Obama but George W. Bush [GOP].

    I am not saying that the intervening Democrat administrations have entirely clean hands, but I know which party has the onus for doing everything for big business, including selling this country down the river. That is the GOP, for which I, being sane, will not vote.


    28. At 19:50pm on 4th Apr 2011, William Johnson-Smith wrote:

    “It can be also be asked if indeed the leader of the Western world is the U.S. president, why are so many Europeans ignorant about America?”

    That’s a good question. But, considering some of the nonsense being spewed about President Obama, indeed on this very site, it is apparent that a lot of Americans are either ignorant of their own country, its history, and current reality, or they are just plain working for the devil.

  • Comment number 64.

    To #56 JMM -

    I DO have an excellent education - two Bachelor's degrees, graduated first in my class. Perhaps I paraphrased ineptly, but that doesn't detract from what I'm saying. If you recall, Obama swore in 2008 that he'd have us out of the Middle East within 16 months. That was part of his campaign platform. Then, he suddenly decided that it was urgent to redeploy our troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, where he got in a little face time under the supposition that he'd need to meet the leaders "he'd be dealing with for the next 8 to 10 years" (no arrogance there). Now, we're in Libya, because Obama decided that it was the strategic and moral thing to do, without consulting anyone else. Was I sleeping when we scrapped the Constitution and brought in a dictatorship? Do the wishes of the American people, en masse, count anymore?

    The funny thing about this blog is that every retort to my assertions contains an assumption that I am a Republican or that I blame Obama for everything or that I liked Bush. Every retort is wrong. I am a free-thinking, independent American who values the Constitution above all else and believes that it's framework should guide all political decisions, beginning with representation of the American people's wishes.

  • Comment number 65.

    After some considerable thought, I'm hoping for a Sarah Palin/Michele Bachman (either order, doesn't matter) ticket.

  • Comment number 66.

    Mark, get out from inside of the Beltway! Most people I know would rather vote for Fritz the Wonder Dog than live through another Obama term. The Republicans may be disorganised at the moment but that will not last. He announced so early to stop a Draft Hillary campaign (or maybe it was ABBO campaign?). Get ready for those chilly winters in Chicago, Mr. President. Maybe the Rahminator will give you a job....

  • Comment number 67.

    Papa_Tom wrote: "Ah, I was talking about human rights, not that obsessive "parchment" brouhaha. Some non-Americans may think that giving people the right to carry a firearm over the right to healthcare a little, well, Neanderthal."

    Ahem, there are quite a few Americans who think so as well, so if we could possibly avoid the national distinctions except where clearly called for...

  • Comment number 68.

    john gibbins @15

    OK, and seriously, what is it we need to know about Europe that you think we don't know? Just a few examples would be helpful.

  • Comment number 69.

    Good grief. Here we go again about how Americans don't know about Europe and don't travel.

    Most of our relatives and many of our neighbors are from other countries. I have relatives all over the world. My grandparents came from 4 different European countries. My father, born in Europe, speaks 8 languages. He settled here, like so many others, for economic reasons.

    And we can travel farther within our own country than many Europeans may travel in their lifetimes.

  • Comment number 70.

    28. William Johnson-Smith wrote: “It can be also be asked if indeed the leader of the Western world is the U.S. president, why are so many Europeans ignorant about America?”

    63. JMM wrote: "That’s a good question. But, considering some of the nonsense being spewed about President Obama, indeed on this very site, it is apparent that a lot of Americans are either ignorant of their own country, its history, and current reality, or they are just plain working for the devil."

    Utterly brilliant! :D

  • Comment number 71.

    #59 Papa Tom,

    It's not a matter of Congress ratifying a Security Council decision. Obama is supposed to consult Congress first. He's not supposed to just "throw our cards in at the NATO table" and then go tell Congress what he did. NATO does NOT supecede our democratic processes. And, all this malarkey he said about how the US is backing out and turning control over to NATO in an attempt to bamboozle and console the populus, when, in fact, the US is the dominant force in NATO. So, we're turning control over to ourselves, in a different sense? Where does this stop? Where do we draw the line? When is it time to recognize that we have to heal our own wounds and regroup on our desperate financial cirumstances before we go throwing our weight around and trying control everything, everywhere?

    Congrats to your father on his new position! I'm glad you view the US as a beautiful place. You should have seen it in it's spendor 30 years ago!

  • Comment number 72.

    To 64. RobinRR:

    I appreciate your frustration, but you do realize that Congress hasn't declared war since WWII, right? We've fought an awful lot of wars since then, so Obama is simply following precedence in Lybia.

  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    Scott0962 @24


    "You've got to be joking. Instead of health care reform we got a health care plan that is even more costly than the system it replaces, diverted money from Medicare, still leaves millions uncovered according to the GAO's figures, and is based on an unconstitutional usurpation of power to fund it. "

    The last time I read about the cost of the health care plan, according to the GAO, it was going to save us money, not coust us more morey. What's your source?

    The constitutional question has yet to be judged. Are you a constitutional lawyer?

    "A stablized economy? Oh, you mean "stabilized" as in "still in shock but the bleeding is under control and we can move the patient now"? He poured trillions of dollars into subsidies for Wall Street, the banks, and the auto companies while leaving millions of homeowners still swamped by mortgage debt while the banks foreclose on homes at an unprecedented rate. The unemployment rate is still way higher than he promised his stimulus package would make it. The average American has been saddled with a collosal debt that they, they're children and they're children's children are stuck paying off while the bankers and brokers got their taxpayer funded bonuses for running their companies into the ground. And to finance all this he has put us in hock to our greatest commercial and military rivals, the Chinese."

    Most of the debt you appear to be talking about occurred before Mr. Obama took office. If I'm not mistaken it was around 4.5 trillion dollars over the eight years of Mr. Bush's administration alone. In fact, with exception of Eisenhower, the debt has increased in every republican administration since Mr. Roosevelt was president. It has decreased in every demoncratic administration beginning with Mr. Roosevelt.

    You really ought to check your facts. They appear not to be reliable.




  • Comment number 76.

    Regarding the whole "Americans don't understand Europeans" and "Europeans don't understand Americans", please, this is gross generalization all around. I know it's true of SOME Americans and SOME Europeans, but certainly not all.

  • Comment number 77.

    "He has betrayed those who voted for him ..." (from MM at 45)

    Not me. I think he's doing a fine job, even though I don't agree with everything.

    "I don't think that any liberal will vote for him." (MM)

    This is the problem with liberals -- their self-destructive impulse.

  • Comment number 78.

    #60 Theowyn

    For those Europeans (and others) who observe America ---the view of America is also frightening.

    It appears that the seeds of McCarthyism have again sprouted --and as you say, with a vengeance.

    The 100´s of thousands who welcomed Obama in Berlin --were there for good reasons.
    They also cried when the Twin Towers fell --but the later (apparent) American societal insanity lost us their hearts. They too were dragged down when the uncontrolled banks destroyed millions of our citizens´ savings and livelihoods --- however unlike us most of them have a safety net to prevent abject poverty.

    Bush, the Republicans and the ´so called´religious ruined this country --and still wave the flag to prove it !

    --- while Europeans and others shake their heads in disbelief -and fear for America´s future.

  • Comment number 79.

    @RobinRR #64
    I'll ignore the goal post shift from your original claim of Obama starting multiple wars when it is disputable he's even started one given that he's got out of the swimming pool after 2 only weeks on one started by key allies.

    On the more substansive point of bringing troops home, assuming your assertion is correct, there is perhaps a gap between the soaring rhetoric of the campaign and, what in reality it is feasible to deliver.

    The US doesn't just have a moral obligation to clean up the mess (and it is mess) you and we created. There is also the consideration that a cut and run would leave the US's diplomatic and military reputation shot for a generation.

    Perhaps you will have to content yourself with the prospect that there is at least a prospect of an end to this terrible adventure?

  • Comment number 80.

    re. #63. At 22:44pm on 4th Apr 2011, JMM wrote:
    24. At 19:48pm on 4th Apr 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    “And to finance all this [Obama] has put us in hock to our greatest commercial and military rivals, the Chinese.”

    Another historically false FOX/GOP/TEA Party propaganda attack on President Obama. Who recognized China, not Obama but Nixon [GOP]. And who enabled American businesses to outsource jobs and sensitive technology to China, not Obama but George W. Bush [GOP].

    I am not saying that the intervening Democrat administrations have entirely clean hands, but I know which party has the onus for doing everything for big business, including selling this country down the river. That is the GOP, for which I, being sane, will not vote.

    ------------------

    Where do you think Obama got all that money to "stimulate" the economy? Wall Street and the American banks were on the verge of collapse, remember? It came from China my friend, the only people who had that sort of cash laying around. We can debate whose fault the huge imbalance of trade and outsourcing of manufacutring jobs to China was but not where Obama got the stimulus and bail out money from.

    Perhaps the sorriest comment on the state of politics in America is the seeming lack of a viable Republican candidate to oppose Obama in the next election. Come on GOP, please tell me Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin aren't the best you can do.

  • Comment number 81.

    "While we are at it, who, exactly, created this debt?" (from JMM at 56)

    Actually, those mainly responsible were presidents Reagan and Bush (the elder).

    http://zfacts.com/p/1195.html

  • Comment number 82.

    #69 AndreaNY

    "And we can travel farther within our own country than many Europeans may travel in their lifetimes."

    --- Yes, America is a very big circle with Fox news everywhere within.

    --- what is that for an argument against seeing and learning about the rest of the world you live in ????

  • Comment number 83.

    Barack Obama, 2002:

    "What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by . . . . weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

    “But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.”
    ======================================

    So, the question is, how is Gadaffi today different from Saddam in 2002? It appears the only difference is that Saddam faced a Republican in the White House, while Gadaffi faces the only person in the world who has never made a mistake.

  • Comment number 84.

    #73 KTubbys

    "The US economy was a pigs ear and Obama did the right thing by investing in growth as it is now showing signs of recovery."

    --- for many Americans there will be NO recovery.

    -- You can be ´young´ without money --but not ´old´without money !

    -- that is what the Republicans and their like are ignoring.

  • Comment number 85.

    73. At 23:36pm on 4th Apr 2011, KTubbys wrote:
    *Shame Bush Screwed It Up For Everyone
    ==========================
    Obama would have been able to implement the significant social changes he wanted, especially redressing imbalances in society.. but there was no money to do so due to the biggest financial crisis since the depression.


    ***********
    Obama promised to deliver things over which he had little control. He simply over-promised. Some realized it then. Some realize it now. Some don't care and still like him.

    A decent Independent will probably give him a run for his money, but lots of democrats would rather have their hands removed before they'd ever pull a lever for a republican.



  • Comment number 86.

    To 71. RobinRR:

    Whoa, calm down, my friend. I absolutely agree that America shouldn't try to control everything and everyone. But as others have pointed out, Libya isn't our show and Obama IS turning things over to NATO - and no, we're not NATO. Please, Libya really isn't costing much in the grand scheme of things (no dead servicemen, no trillion dollar campaign). And we do have an obligation to the UN, NATO and especially our allies - who, let's be honest, followed us into Iraq and Afghanistan. That's 10 YEARS of fighting and counting, so let's keep things in perspective.

  • Comment number 87.

    #72 Theowyn - You're entirely correct. With other military actions, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was alot of banter, consultation with NATO, etc. This was a rushed action. I'm of the belief that Obama circumvented Congress about entering the Libya fracas, so that the Democrats didn't have to vote for a war that the American people don't want. This would further erode their popularity with the American people and what, with Obama popping up to announce that he's running for a second term...

  • Comment number 88.

    Predicting the outcome of a presidential election at this point is just whistling in the wind. Gallup reports an approval rating for President Obama of about 46%. At this point in his first term, President Reagan had an approval rating of 41%. Reagan was considered a popular president, and was reelected. President Bush (the elder) had an approval rating of 85% at this point in his term, yet he was not reelected.

  • Comment number 89.

    re. #58. At 22:26pm on 4th Apr 2011, Papa_Tom wrote:
    re 43. At 20:53pm on 4th Apr 2011, Scott0962 wrote:

    "a good rebuttal of my previous point - scroll up for full text"
    --------------------------------------
    (Um, actually, I didn't write that so why are you showing it as a quote of mine?)
    -------------------------------------

    "Ah, I was talking about human rights, not that obsessive "parchment" brouhaha. Some non-Americans may think that giving people the right to carry a firearm over the right to healthcare a little, well, neanderthal."
    ------------------------------------------------------

    We can debate the finer points of the founder's reasons for enshrining the right to keep and bear arms in the constitution--they had just fought a revolution against a government that had tried to disarm them. And you are of course entitled to your opinion about us but then again you probably don't want to hear my opinion of a government that doesn't trust it's people to own arms or of a people who would allow themselves to be disarmed without a fight.

    --------------------------------------------------

    "I'm not sure I've heard that the way it was brought into legislature was unconstitutional, but I take your word for it. I agree that credit should be given for intention, and that the correct rules should be followed :) - this non-partisanship is fun, eh?"
    -----------------------

    How the bill was introduced was legal within the letter of the law. Basically it was a rammed through Congress without allowing time for debate to amendment on a strict party line vote and in a session that occurred late at night: all technically within the rules of Congress but highly unorthodox to say the least and cerainly a violation of the spirit of the rules set by Congress to govern such things. I have no doubt that Democrats are going to regret setting such a precedent some day when Republicans are control again.

    The real problem with the health care bill was it's reliance on mandating that people purchase health insurance and citing as it's authority to do so the clause in the constitution that states Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. Regulating commerce is one thing, compelling people to engage in commerce under penalty of law is quite another.

    There are some cynical people who believe Obama and his allies deliberately put that in hoping that the Supreme Court would strike it down and thus "force" them to change the plan to something they couldn't sell to Congress even when they controlled it: single payer, government run health care.

    And don't forget that by the Government Accounting Office's own figures the health care reform act will leave up to 16 million people still without health insurance, or that in spite of the accounting trick used to disguise the costs for the first two years (basically, collect the money but don't provide any care) it will actually increase the cost of health care instead of reducing it--which was the point of reforming it in the first place. (And did you notice that the plan won't start until after Obama runs for re-election?)

  • Comment number 90.

    RobinRR, (#64. At 22:47pm on 4th Apr 2011)

    "... If you recall, Obama swore in 2008 that he'd have us out of the Middle East within 16 months. That was part of his campaign platform ..."
    I think you’ll find that Candidate Obama was referring to Iraq when he proposed to “get our troops out by the end of 2009,” not the Middle East. (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/jan/15/debate-transcript/ )

    While one must take a very liberal (sorry) interpretation of his proposal, the last combat unit left Aug. 18, 2010 (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/08/18/ml_iraq_americans_head_home )

    Tens of thousands of U.S. military remain in Iraq, but are not in combat there.

  • Comment number 91.

    quietoaktree, (#78. At 23:56pm on 4th Apr 2011)

    "... Bush, the Republicans and the ´so called´religious ruined this country ..."
    As the country is not ruined, the above is nonsense.

    "... while Europeans and others shake their heads in disbelief -and fear for America´s future."
    Europeans fear for America's future? Pure foolishness. Greece, Ireland and Portugal are bankrupt. They are all European nations. They are all members of the EU.

  • Comment number 92.

    Certainly few European journalists seem to understand American politics. One who made a good effort was Jon Kelly of the BBC during the 2008 election year. I hope he comes back to the US beat next year.

  • Comment number 93.

    quietoaktree, (#82. At 00:07am on 5th Apr 2011)

    "... America is a very big circle with Fox news everywhere within."
    That it probably because it is popular.

  • Comment number 94.

    GH1618 @81

    Reagan increased the debt by roughly 21% over the course of his two tems. George Bush Sr. increased the debt by roughly 15%. George W. Bush increased the debt by roughly 27% over his two terms.

  • Comment number 95.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 96.

    "escaped.." (83) provides the quotation which, in the context of the current action in Libya, illustrates how Obama's approach differs from that of Bush (the younger). Obama is working "in concert with the international community" to contain a petty dictator, rather than mounting a direct (and unilateral) to root him out. There is no comparison in method or in scale between the Libya and Iraq wars.

  • Comment number 97.

    quietoaktree, (#78. At 23:56pm on 4th Apr 2011)

    "... It appears that the seeds of McCarthyism have again sprouted --and as you say, with a vengeance ..."
    Where did Theowyn say that the seeds of McCarthyism have again sprouted (with or without a vengeance) in post #60?

  • Comment number 98.

    82. quietoaktree:

    #69 AndreaNY

    "And we can travel farther within our own country than many Europeans may travel in their lifetimes."

    --- Yes, America is a very big circle with Fox news everywhere within.

    --- what is that for an argument against seeing and learning about the rest of the world you live in ????

    ***********
    There's plenty beyond FoxNews. Not sure why you are mentioning it.

    My comment was not an argument against seeing and learning about the rest of the world; rather it was a comment on mistaken assumptions about Americans. Imagine asking Europeans how many US states they've visited?


  • Comment number 99.

    82. At 00:07am on 5th Apr 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    --- Yes, America is a very big circle with Fox news everywhere within.

    --- what is that for an argument against seeing and learning about the rest of the world you live in ????
    =============================

    And Europe is filled with people who cannot comprehend the freedoms Americans take for granted, like freedom of the press (remember some editorial cartoons you never got to see few years back?) and the possibility of a member of a minority getting elected president or PM (call me when a Turk become German Chancellor or an Algerian becomes President of France . . . . ).

    Even more, why bother with Europe when you have Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, New York, the Gulf Coast, Cape Hatteras, Boston, Lake Superior, Mount St. Helens and the Smokey Mountains, or sitting in a Mexican Restaurant in Flagstaff, a Chinese restaurant in Chicago, a Polish restaurant in New Jersey, German in Milwaukee or Lubbock (TX), Greek in Denver, Vietnamese in Atlanta, Cuban in Santa Ana, Thai in Maine, and my favorite, a Deli in Brooklyn.

    While there is nothing wrong with seeing other nations, those of us lucky enough to live in the USA should also enjoy the variety offered here. There is no other place like it.

  • Comment number 100.

    For those who spend a considerable effort ridiculing Fox News, would the BBC make it without direct government support, and the annual licensing fees?

 

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