Friday marks Barry O’s last day of his two four year terms as president and earlier in the evening I took a few minutes to think over the past eight years with him in office. So I figure I’ll share a few fragmented, disjointed pieces of my train of thought on Obama…
When he won in 2008 against a “moderate” “Republican” “war hero” with as much credibility as John McCain, I’ll admit I was a little blown away on how that could happen. I didn’t vote for McCain (or Obama), but I didn’t get how a guy like Obama could beat a guy like McCain at that point in our history. It makes a little more sense to me now and I should’ve found the answer in the fact that I wouldn’t vote for McCain. When he won against Mitt Romney, the most unelectable electable guy in America, I was considerably less surprised.
I guess I was surprised he beat Hillary too, although in retrospect the demographics of the Democratic party was shifting in a way that made that possible. Looking back, I get why they chose Obama over Hillary, even though she didn’t quite have the same evil aura over her as she does these days.
I always had a hard time viewing Obama as being black and the idea of the “first black president”. While certainly true, he wasn’t of the black community as we know it in the US. His dad was from Kenya and his mother was from Kansas. He was raised by his white mother & family and probably had little interaction with African-Americans in his formative years. His ancestors weren’t slaves (at least not in the South) and he never had the common experiences of the African-American community.
I remember a conversation I had with a black guy at work about Obama’s race. I told him that I think Obama would be much more at home doing brunch in Portland with white people than he would at a barbecue in Detroit. Now that I think about it, Obama probably had more in common with me, a middle class white guy, than this black guy I was talking to who had a background in inner city Detroit and Cleveland.
Obama seems likable on a personal level, but with strong undertones of condescension and self-aggrandizement.
The guy never really impressed me, either. I once saw someone describe him as someone who’s true calling in life was to be a professor at a community college and that sounds about right. Certainly not a complete fuck-up, but not the first choice for someone to run the country. He just wasn’t a very awe-inspiring guy.
I don’t think he really had any areas where he was particularly bright, like foreign policy, military, economics, etc. No real strong points. Just kinda all around mediocre.
I don’t think he was ready for the job. There’s something to be said for executive experience in some capacity and he just didn’t have it or any real inclination towards it. I don’t think Hillary had a lot of executive experience either, but no one doubted her ability to take the reigns.
Everyone thought that GW Bush was an idiot – except for the people that actually matter in the world. He held his own with world leaders and the movers and shakers of the world. Obama had the opposite – the people who didn’t matter thought he was the messiah and the people that did matter thought he was an idiot. Fortunately for him/us, Obama was likable and I think he received a lot of goodwill from the world in his early years.
He did get to be a better speaker as the years went on.
Did Obama heal America’s “racial divide”? No. Things aren’t much different than they were in 2008 as far as that goes. Overall I don’t think he made things that much worse, but there were definitely points in his presidency where he fanned flames he shouldn’t have or made comments that could be seen as an affront to white America. I’m thinking about that asshole black professor with the trike and the cop, weighing in on Trayvon (although admittedly it is hilarious every time I see “If Barack Obama had a son, he’d look like <black criminal of the day>” in the comments section) and courting Black Lives Matter.
Is Barry O racist towards white people, as many conservatives say? I don’t really think so.
Does he have the same reverence for western culture, traditional America, etc, as we would expect from our president? I don’t think so. I think that he did hold the belief that America should be deconstructed/reconstructed into something more closely resembling a neoliberal wonderland.
Is he a Muslim? No. Is he a Christian? I doubt that, I think that’s something he just uses for political expediency and then downplays it for political expediency as well. We could’ve had our first openly atheist president.
A lot of bad things happened on his watch – with his thumb prints on it. I’m thinking the rise of the surveillance state and the continuation and expansion of the wars, even though he was elected to not do this.
Even though these things would be “evil”, I doubt Barry is an evil guy. I always got the impression that he was an order taker and that’s about it. Sure, all presidents probably were order takers to some extent but at least you can see the other presidents being “in” on it and scheming alongside everyone, not just being told what to do. I doubt he was really 100% on board with everything he went along with. That’s not an excuse for him because yes, the buck does stop with him.
If he were a little less narcissistic, maybe he would have an interesting story to tell about the “deep state”. Admitting he wasn’t in charge would be a blemish on his legacy.
I thought the love affair with him and liberals ended a few years ago when he was “just like Bush” but I’m seeing a lot of nostalgia for him lately from people who have a little more anti-establishment bent. Kind of funny. I think it’s just because Trump is coming in.
It always irked me that when he talked to black crowds he would change his speech to sound more like a black preacher and then when he would talk to white people he would sound like Kermit the Frog. But that’s none of my business (ha).
He did become a better speaker as the years went on and became a little quicker on his feet I thought.
Holy shit, did the job age him!
I don’t really know anything about his daughters and honestly that’s probably a good thing that they were largely kept out of the limelight.
A lot of people think Michelle Obama will run in 2020 and it almost seems like there’s been a PR campaign to improve her image lately. No fucking way that’s happening.
That’s all I have for now on Obama’s eight years…