Friday, April 18, 2014

Theme: Barack Obama

  • On March 16, I joined some twenty-five children, aged about eight to thirteen, who had gathered with Palestinian peace activists in a house in Hebron city to write letters to President Obama on the eve of his visit to Jerusalem. March 16 was the start of the third Selma-to-Montgomery march, led by Martin Luther King, in 1965.Read more
  • Barack Obama's updated version of the so-called war on terror has received a free pass from most US political and legal scholars. To be sure, civil libertarians and liberal voices on the editorial pages of the New York Times have pilloried Obama for his failure to fulfil what appeared to be heartfelt 2008 campaign promises to reverse his conservative predecessor's controversial counterterrorism policies.Read more
  • In Gawker's, wry estimation, most of the U.S. simply didn't "get" Richard Blanco's inaugural poem "One Today." In the Washington Post's absurd trollgazing account, Blanco's poem merely signals the "death of poetry." Perhaps this is because the Post imagines the polity as something more like a giant Nielsen Family than a potential readership.Read more
  • Well, one important thing to keep in mind is that in the 65 events that I did, at each stop I would tell them that we must bring Reaganism to a close – McCain and Palin were the last moments of Reaganite policy (unregulated markets, indifference towards the poor, stagnating wages) – and that if Obama won, I would break dance in the afternoon and be his major critic the next morning. That’s how I ended every speechRead more
  • The Washington Post ran the recent headline “Polls show widening racial gap in presidential contest.” They were not alone, CBS News dug up Emit Till: “Will white men sink Obama?” Suggesting the emphasis on women “swing voters” has been a miscalculation for the Obama campaign.Read more
  • President Obama has been given a new life line. Forced to take politics out of his campaign, he can take a break from defending his record for two days. When an incumbent president is forced by emergency events to stop talking politics, he always enjoys the glow emanating from the Oval Office.Read more
  • Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night's debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn't, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama "won" the debate, but it will have minimal impact on altering the fundamental dynamics of the race.Read more
  • A little more than four years ago, the phrase heard throughout the world was the catchy “Yes, we can.” A rallying cry of the best sort—devoid of any referentiality—“Yes we can” could refer to both anything and nothing at the same time. Not as if catachrestic metaphors ever got in the way of political campaigns. In fact, one might argue that coupled with the fact that it was uttered by a charming, charismatic, person, this was rhetoric at its best.Read more
  • “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, then chief of staff to President-elect Obama, said in November 2008, describing the opportunities for reform presented by the financial meltdown.Read more
  • The 2010 election galvanized the GOP. The party won seven new places in the Senate, as many new governorships, and took the seats of 720 Democrats in state legislatures, giving it complete control in twenty-nine states. Read more
  • As the race for the Republican nomination warms up, it is too early to tell who would head the party's ticket next Fall. But there is more to understanding politics than predicting the horse racesRead more
  • Of all Obama’s appointments, the most damaging to his credibility with liberal supporters were Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, the chief economic adviser and the secretary of the treasury. Geithner has the air of a perpetual young man looking out for the interests of older men: an errand boy. The older men in question are the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, AIG, and the big banks and money firms. Geithner at the New York Fed had enforced – or, rather, let flow – the permissive policy on mortgages that Summers pushed through in the last years of the Clinton presidency. Summers himself, renowned for his aggression and brilliance, came too highly recommended for Obama not to appoint him. The new president credited his adviser’s belief that there were only a few persons in America who could undo the harm of the mortgage crisis, and it happened that they were the very people who had caused the crisis. The Obama economic team, with its ‘deep bench’ of Goldman Sachs executives, might have done better if mixed with economists of other views like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman. Obama knew little economics, however, and he took the word of the orthodox. It would have been wiser, from a merely prudential standpoint, to consult Summers behind a screen. But Obama has always craved legitimacy in a conspicuous form.Read more
  • In a conversation with the AV club, Bob Woodward discusses his latest book examing Obama’s role as Commander in Chief.Read more
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