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1-22-10

Oh, Lordy Lord, Has it Been a Year Already? Obama has Done Lots of Stuff, Has any of it Worked? Wanna' Know What We've Learned? Well, Let's Do it, uh Break it Down.

Barack Obama, the nation's first black president elect was sworn into office a year ago & tried to change the landscape of partisan politics in America. But, so far, he's reminded me a little too much of the Blackberry Storm & Windows Vista, both claiming really cool things which seem to be just on the horizon, but not quite delivering to this point. The problem with this analogy is, generally, with a new smart phone or operating system, the manufacturers are able to release new versions as they work all of the bugs out until they perfect it, finally. But, with Obama, unless he changes the way he thinks or @ least views the needs of America, we'll have to settle for Obama V.1, which could be fine in the end, but the jury is still out as far as I'm concerned. The O.E.M. of Obama doesn't offer any kind of warranty in case something happens & this one doesn't work right & you can't return him to Fry's Electronics even with a receipt. A year ago, he came roaring into office determined to not only begin the daunting task of fixing the America that Bush just completely screwed into the ground, but to wipe away all of the Beltway's partisanship & unite both the Democrat & Republican parties to work in concert because that's exactly what we all needed in this country & ironically, 1 year later, we still do. His 1st act in office was to announce his intention to close Guantanamo Bay so that the U.S. image in regard to torture can begin to heal finally, but then we start hearing that the govern-ment is buying a prison in Illinois to house a lot of the detainees, which was one of the primary reasons @ least half of this country opposed it. No one wants to have suspected terrorists being held right here in America, that's why even though the entire country has known about GBay for years, there wasn't a massive uproar until the Abu Ghraib scandal brought all of the torture talk to the forefront of international news & gave Obama one of many major platforms to build his campaign on. Talk on that front has been quiet lately though as Obama has been having to deal with other things, so since no one knows when we'll hear about it again, we can't call that promise a success or failure yet.

Grade: Incomplete

As we all know, there was not any bigger platform for Obama than the collapse of the U.S. economy that was largely caused by the policies of former president Bush, so that's what Obama focused on next. With an Obama Knows Best attitude, he literally jammed his economic recovery plan down everyone's throats in the form of the massive financial stimulus package that even though economic conservatives said it would never work, in less than a year, the economy is showing signs of a major recovery. Obama has to feel really good about that but there's so much other crap going on, he hasn't had time to enjoy that victory. & many don't view it as anything more than a moral victory, take the people of Massachusetts for example, a state that is generally a hotbed of progressive & democratic thinking & political philosophy, elected highly conservative republican Scott Brown to fill the seat occupied by Ted Kennedy for decades!! Obama & all of his boys are reeling from that one, let me tell you folks...REELING, I said! But, they should not panic yet, the Democrats still hold a majority & if they go about things in a pragmatic & intelligent manner, they'll be able to get a lot of things done. Given the Democratic Partys' history the last 9 years or so, I have to say, yes, I said that out loud, knowing how it sounded. But, what we cannot forget as a nation of people who don't appear to be sheep or cattle is that Obama is merely still trying to contain the massive damage left behind by the last administration while @ the same time, face an enormous amount of opposition & get zero help from republicans, who simply do not give a flying fuck about us regular Americans. If they did, they would @ least come up with some alternative plans other than tax breaks for the wealthy that we will have to pay for later. Sorry, we don't want your high interest loans, thanks just the same. & all the tea partyers opposing everything he's doing to try to stem the tide of economic collapse aren't really helping either. You know, I was completely opposed to going into Iraq, but guess what, I still get to pay for it. The AIG, bank & auto bail outs still leave a very bitter taste in America's collective mouth but economists & people with measurable intelligence obviously still remember whose economic policy failings created those massive future tax hikes, so no more beating about the Bush on that one. & again, for all of you who still don't get it, even though you probably aren't even reading this, Obama didn't cause these problems, the asshole you all still seem to have a loyal hard on for did, Lil' Bush himself.

Grade: Incomplete

Then there's the whole health care system reform thing that, by the time the bill is finally passed, it's not going to bear any resemblance to what Obama had in mind in the first place. & now since Scott Brown is in place, it's going to be tougher to push any kind of reform through since the Democrats lost their supermajority status in the house, thanks to a lackluster campaign by Martha Coakley, who had won the mid December primary by such a large margin, she assumed she was a shoe in, & what do you know, she wasn't. Thanks a lot, Martha, how big of a check did they cut you to tank that election? I hope it was worth it. Just 1 month ago, Obama & the Democrats were riding high after voting to push through his health care expansion plan & it looked as though nothing was going to stand in their way, until last week that is. Did I already thank you, Martha? Oh yeah, I did. Anyway, now, the entire plan is probably going to have to be overhauled again in order to have any kind of chance of passing, which could be a good thing because not very many people were happy with the plan they announced last December, anyway. Make no mistake, Scott Brown is in town specifically to defeat this health care bill, so the house Democrats are going to have to become extremely crafty for it to have a chance. I will go out on a limb here & say that a bill will pass, probably sometime this summer, but it will be so watered down, it won't cost the taxpayers as much & not be able to nearly cover the wide range of uninsured people Obama promised would have health insurance. In other words, the insurance & pharmaceutical lobbies are going to be just fine. Obama had also promised to have the negotiations for health care reform legislation broadcast live on C-SPAN but he allowed them to be conducted behind closed doors instead, effectively shutting out every one from seeing any of it. &, If Obama gives up like Clinton did on reforming 2 industries sorely in need of it, I will be extremely disappointed. Although, I will still be happy about him pushing through embryonic stem cell research, that was a good one. Kudos, but don't make that the sole highlight of your presidency.

Grade: Incomplete, bordering on an F+

So far, the only thing close to being able to truly grade in Obama's 1st year is his foreign policy, which has been @ least semi successful. He has done a great job of improving the world's opinion of America & in doing so, garnered the Nobel Peace Prize even before he did whole lot. But, 1 thing he did do was make it clear that the U.S. is now a diplomacy 1st super power, & that has made a great impression on the world as a whole, including North Korea. Long gone is the fiery rhetoric which was so prevalent in the Bush administration. In it's place is a whole new & @ times, almost apologetic language that is making the international community sit up & take notice. Obama is letting everyone know that even though we have the ability to enforce our military will on the world, we would much rather talk things through 1st & that we are truly lamenting all of the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rummy/Wolfowitz myriad war crimes & nastiness perpetrated on the world the previous 8 years. America seems to have gained the world's respect again excluding radical Islamic extremists who hate Christianity & Judaism who will probably always believe they are in a holy war against, so Obama will no doubt be unable to change that. As far as Iraq goes, he came into office promising a swift but well thought out withdrawal but we've seen no concrete plan as of yet & he's adding more troops in Afghanistan in an effort to bring that multi billion dollar debacle to a close. It'll most likely be a while before we see the results of that, so we'll keep waiting. Though he hasn't really accomplished anything really concrete, @ least we know we won't have a successive War President, prompting me to actually lay a grade on him with regard to his foreign policy policies.

Grade: B- bordering on B

Overall, it's hard to get a real gauge on the results of Obama's 1st year even though millions of Americans have already condemned his policies as trying to thrust big government on us. But, I believe that trying to remedy everything Bush screwed up in the 1st year, while ambitious, has proved to be a little unrealistic. I've said many times that he's tried to spread himself too thin & I really think we are seeing the aftermath of that. What we have to remember, however, is that Bill Clinton's economic policies didn't really start showing any results until after the 2nd year, & by his 3rd year, he was assured a 2nd term. By the time he left office, not even the most old guard of conservatives could argue that his policies brought America back to the old time prosperity after W.'s father put it in the toilet. Even though a lot of people have reached the conclusion that Clinton was the greatest president in American history, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while it was none of anyone's business, tarnished most everything he did his entire 8 years in office, oh well. But, as bad a president as H.W. was, W. was 10 times worse & it's going to be 10 times harder to repair the damage, especially in the face of such wild opposition. & things have not gone smoothly in many aspects of what he's tried to do but I still think he has the right idea of a nation united following it being torn apart so I am going to continue to root for him & hope he remembers the promises he made that got him elected & not just try to line his pockets thinking his bid for 2012 is already lost. If that were the case, I guess you could start calling me a Libertarian & in 2012, & for the 1st time since I've been old enough to vote, I won't have a candidate in the election that has a chance in hell of winning. Now, in reading this, you may be of the opinion that I am waivering in my support of Obama, but I would have to say that you are wrong in your estimation. It's going to take some pretty major missteps for that to happen, & when I say major, I am in fact talking W. sized missteps. I'm talking about getting us into a couple unwinnable wars, damaging the world's image of our country & killing the economy the way Mr. George W. ThinkTank did. In other words, our entire way of life would have to completely fall apart following Al Qaeda taking over America for me to admit that McCain/Palin would've been a better combination, & I don't see that happening. We're counting on you Obama. You got yourself into this mess by getting elected, let's see if you can get yourself a 2nd term. Personally, I don't believe acting populist will do it, but hey, maybe that's just me. &, remember, even if you are a socialist, that's not what we voted for.So, good luck to you & may God have mercy on our souls.

Overall Grade: Incomplete