Der Spiegel: How Obama Disappointed the World

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    Aug 11, 2011 12:49 AM GMT
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,779043,00.html

    As America's first black president, Barack Obama electrified an entire nation. But now that the nation is in crisis, he seems unable to connect with the people. He wanted to change America and restore its reputation in the world. But now his opponents are dictating the country's political course.

    When Barack Obama was elected almost three years ago, the country seemed intoxicated. The world allowed itself to be carried along by this wave of enthusiasm, and by its hopes for a new, more peaceful America. A crowd of 200,000 people came to hear him speak at the Victory Column in Berlin; Kenyans spent the entire election night dancing in front of their television sets; in Japan, the residents of a fishing village named Obama celebrated his victory; in Gaza, where hatred for America is normally the prevailing sentiment, there were exuberant parties; and in London, Madame Tussauds wax museum handed out free tickets.

    Obama's election was the self-affirmation of a nation that wanted to prove that the American dream was still alive. Not voting for Obama would have been cynical, timid and un-American.

    The world also had high hopes for a changed America, a country that would be less militaristic than it was under his predecessor, George W. Bush, and one that would pursue smarter policies, both in dealing with the Islamic world and on issues of environmental protection and climate change.

    This wasn't just wishful thinking on the part of his voters or his foreign admirers. In fact, it consisted of tangible promises Obama had actually made. Again and again, he talked of uniting the country and even healing the planet.

    And? Did he make good on those promises?

    Last week, both houses of the United States Congress approved a lazy compromise shaped by pre-election political interests. In doing so, they averted the threat of a government default, but only because no one could be sure that it might not lead directly to the collapse of the US and possibly the global financial system. The president was not even one of the main players anymore, and his fellow Democrats had already abandoned demands he had previously described as essential. Gone was the spirit of "Yes, we can." Now it seemed as if the rating agencies were dictating America's fate. The country that Obama had set out to lead to new heights now seemed to be immersed in frustration, faintheartedness and mutual finger-pointing.

    Approval Ratings Plunge

    The financial crisis that Obama inherited has changed America. Many citizens have been overcome by feelings of frustration and rage against people like the Wall Street elite, who continue to make money while the middle class have lost their homes and jobs. According to opinion polls, 54 percent of Americans say they have had to change their lifestyle, their American way of life, while a third of Americans say they are furious with the banks, the politicians and Obama.

    Obama's approval ratings have plunged, with only 40 percent of Americans now saying they are satisfied with his performance. In April 2009, shortly after his inauguration, some 68 percent of Americans were still on Obama's side.

    All that remains of the great hopes Americans and the world had pinned on Obama, inspired by his stirring campaign speeches about change and renewal, is a battlefield of unsatisfactory and contradictory compromises. Obama, who just turned 50 and was once a symbol of youthful change, suddenly seems old and worn out, as gray as his hair has become.

    His decline in popularity has also destroyed the hope that Obama could bring new momentum to America and the world. With the debt-ceiling debate, the right-wing Tea Party movement has taken both Congress and Obama's presidency hostage. It is no longer the president who determines the issues and sets the tone of the debate, but a small, radicalized group of unashamedly amateur politicians who have declared the government to be their enemy. As the Tea Party gains stature, Obama loses credibility. Musician Harry Belafonte, once an ardent Obama supporter, has talked of his disappointment with the president. "He has only listened to the voices that shout the loudest, and it's all those reckless right-wing forces," Belafonte told CNN. "It's almost criminal."

    The clash with the Tea Party has highlighted Obama's shortcomings. His opponents have everything he seems to lack. They are loud, confident and uncompromising, sticking to their principles while he repeatedly hesitates and delays. In the US midterm elections, dozens of Tea Party candidates managed to get elected to Congress by capitalizing on the rage of people who Obama had failed to connect with.
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    Aug 11, 2011 1:39 AM GMT
    Der Spiegel's slant, obvious here, is definitely left. Their characterization of the Tea Party could have been written by the DNC, MediaMatters, or Kos. They characterize politicians elected by mainstream Americans who only want to reduce the size of government and cut its deficit as "a small, radicalized group of unashamedly amateur politicians who have declared the government to be their enemy." Pure rubbish, but music to the left wing here.
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    Aug 11, 2011 1:56 AM GMT
    Despite some people's characterization of this as a "hit piece", I don't disagree with much it.

    I fear that Obama is constitutionally incapable of taking advantage of the increasing disapproval of the Tea Party and the Republican Party by taking the fight to them.
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    Aug 11, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidDer Spiegel's slant, obvious here, is definitely left. Their characterization of the Tea Party could have been written by the DNC, MediaMatters, or Kos. They characterize politicians elected by mainstream Americans who only want to reduce the size of government and cut its deficit as "a small, radicalized group of unashamedly amateur politicians who have declared the government to be their enemy." Pure rubbish, but music to the left wing here.



    SB while your affectionately talking about the TBaggers, you missed something, You left out the part about the TBaggers being duped by their financiers the Koch Bro's, into protesting for cuts that benefit themselves and about the TBaggers defending the bush tax cuts for the rich against their own interests.




    Aside from all that, Obama should have told Boner, No !! you and your Baggers will get away with no such thing as threatening to cause default by refusing to allow the inclusion of revenues.

    He then should have offered a plan of cuts over ten years of 5 or 6 trillion, starting with primarily ending the wars, cutting the pentagon by 50%, ending Corporate Welfare/subsidies and tax shelters, cutting the costs of Medicare Medicaid by ending the sweetheart deals to INS Corps, Big Pharma, and Medical groups, and many other cuts they've discussed.

    He should have used his bully pulpit to go to the American people and given Boner and his baggers hell for threatening default if they didn't get their way, and excoriated them for refusing to help solve the problem by getting rid of bush tax cuts for the rich and corps. After all nearly 80% of the public were with him on this subject, (but no !! Obama hadn't the spine for that.)

    Then he should have given them 30 days to come to some compromise to include revenues, at the end of which he should have promised to use the 14th amendment to extend borrowing authority so the American debt ratings wouldn't have been affected by the threat of default. But that would have taken balls, or a spine and Obama lacks that to a great degree.
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    Aug 11, 2011 8:49 AM GMT
    Ronald Reagan, made him do it.
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    Aug 11, 2011 11:17 PM GMT
    Well I know Obama not only disappointed many Aussies and Australians, as well inconvenienced the people of Sydney, by their city be put into lock down in preparation for Mr Obama's arrival X2. Yet X2 he did not even bloody show up, wasting Aussie and Australians taxes, and resources, as well the inconvenience to the people of NSW.

    Now he is talking about coming Down Under agin. Will we be 3x lucky, or 3x disappointed, with more of our taxation being wasted.
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    Aug 11, 2011 11:29 PM GMT
    pattison saidWell I know Obama not only disappointed many Aussies and Australians, as well inconvenienced the people of Sydney, by their city be put into lock down in preparation for Mr Obama's arrival X2. Yet X2 he did not even bloody show up, wasting Aussie and Australians taxes, and resources, as well the inconvenience to the people of NSW.

    Now he is talking about coming Down Under agin. Will we be 3x lucky, or 3x disappointed, with more of our taxation being wasted.

    Why does he want to visit? New golf courses perhaps? Much as I prefer him to be away, I'd recommend your Govt not invite him. Who needs him visiting?
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    Aug 12, 2011 12:42 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    pattison saidWell I know Obama not only disappointed many Aussies and Australians, as well inconvenienced the people of Sydney, by their city be put into lock down in preparation for Mr Obama's arrival X2. Yet X2 he did not even bloody show up, wasting Aussie and Australians taxes, and resources, as well the inconvenience to the people of NSW.

    Now he is talking about coming Down Under agin. Will we be 3x lucky, or 3x disappointed, with more of our taxation being wasted.

    Why does he want to visit? New golf courses perhaps? Much as I prefer him to be away, I'd recommend your Govt not invite him. Who needs him visiting?


    We don't need him. But his wife and kids have made it clear and public, that they really want to come down to Oz, but it was all up to him. People complain about the cost of our head Of State coming to visit, but she always shows up!
  • GQjock

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    Aug 12, 2011 11:29 AM GMT
    Der Spiegel's slant, obvious here, is definitely left

    LOL ... oh Margaret ! That's rich

    Rid posts an OP after trawling for anything anti-Obama
    Has Obama disappointed?
    Hell yes he has
    But me and the Commie Der Spiegel's disappointment is that he's veered right NOT left
    Where Obama has gone wrong is his need for appeasement with repulicans who have only wanted to rape pillage and hold hostage the United States of America
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    Aug 12, 2011 3:06 PM GMT
    It is comical to hear Rightwingers attacking Obama ...from the LEFT!

    This was the absurdity of the health care debate. Republicans stirred the Tea Party with cries of "HE'S GOING TO CUT MEDICARE!".

    But of course cutting Medicare spending IS the Republican Agenda(and rightly so, imho).

    This would be the equivalent of Democrats having criticized Bush for not stopping all abortions. That would have been hypocritical, don't you think, considering that we Democrats support a woman's right to her own body.

    Hey Republicans, you don't get to criticize President Obama for NOT enacting policies that your party would NEVER enact.

    Stick with protecting the rich from their tax bills.