what do you think of Obama?


No President ever admits to a serious failure, and all Presidents inherit positives and negatives from their predecessors, but because Obama campaigned as the Light Bringer who would save America, heal the planet and stop the rising of the Oceans, it is necessary to retroactively heap more condemnation on the past the worse the present gets. (dpmonahan)

I don’t live in the USA, but I do occasionally take a passing interest in its politics. Like most people I know viewing from abroad, I felt slightly anxious about the world when George W Bush had the reigns of power, and breathed a sigh of relief when Obama became president.

Because this blog has evolved to become quite anti-religious in theme, I find I tend to read the blogs of religious people for inspiration. And that quite frequently means exposure to the opinions of US Republican Christians. I think it’s fair to characterise this section of American society as rather anti-Obama.

I tend not to take the political criticisms of this section of American society too seriously, given that the two areas I’ve happened to hear them moan about are two areas I think are key in reducing inequalities within American society.

1. Healthcare. I think it’s amazing Obama has managed to get anything changed against the financial interests of a powerful healthcare insurance industry that annually nets $1 trillion. I expect the changes he implemented are only a small step on the marathon to healthcare equality, but I’m impressed he’s managed to get over the start line. The Republican Christians I read seem to think private medical insurance is the only and best way to provide healthcare for a nation, and seem amazingly ignorant of the huge benefits of universal healthcare in the rest of the developed world.

2. Pre-school education. A huge factor in eliminating educational inequalities could well be the introduction of pre-school education. The Republican Christians I read seem to think pre-school education is an attempt to politically brainwash 4 year-olds (through finger painting and a basic introduction to numbers?) and destroy a woman’s role as home-maker.

But I do wonder if I’m suffering from confirmation bias on this matter. Perhaps I’m only listening to the stories that confirm to me that he’s making positive changes. I know he hasn’t closed down Guantanamo and he’s still using drone strikes – if he was a Republican president I’d most likely be horrified. Instead I wonder if there’s a good reason he’s been unable to effect change in these areas.

What do people who pay closer attention to events in the USA, and especially those live there, make of Obama? Is he laying the foundations for lasting changes to base inequalities in American society, or has he been ineffective and disappointing?