james debate
james debate

Monday 2 February 2009

Who would have known all those months ago that my cheap Obama button that I bought would turn into the must have fashion accessory of the year, and possibly this one too. This is a perfect example of the sort of hype and fanaticism that has swept the planet with regards to Obama. However at the end of the day he will be remembered for how he performs as a President, so let's look back on his first week and a half in charge and see how he's done so far.

president obama

After his groundbreaking campaign and unprecedented level of grassroots involvement, it was imperative that Obama find a way to carry this spirit over into his Presidency, and it is to this effect that the new website is designed, heralding a new style of open, transparent governance. It is also here that Obama delivers his weekly youtube address, earning him very strong comparisons to FDR and his fireside chats.

One of his first actions as President was what can only be described as 'the bleeding obvious', essential though it may have been. So universally despised is Guantanamo Bay, which has become a symbol of the hatred that has been directed at the United States these past eight years, that whoever became President would have closed that thing down as soon as possible, and put an end to the barbaric torture techniques used by the military. That there is anyone in the country who would justify the use of such techniques is one of the nation's greatest embarrassments of the last hundred years. The facility is being closed over the course of the next year so that care can be taken with relocating the inmates to suitable facilities.

After this came Obama's big gesture for the environment, indicating that America finally realizes how important it is to act NOW. He has allowed states to individually decide fuel emission standards, which means that states can forcibly impose stricter standards than automobile companies would have wanted. He also set in motion his grand plans for introducing clean energy cars and hybrids to the country and making them the dominant presence on the roads within just a few years.

On top of this, Obama's big stimulus package has passed in the house and now moves onto the senate. Many baulked at the ambitious plan to have the package ready and approved by mid February, but now it all seems very likely. Indeed if Obama can pull this off it will be incredibly impressive and a major coup for his administration at this early stage.

However the most important thing Obama has done, he did even before he was sworn in. All of a sudden the most hated nation on Earth is popular and respected again. The world newspapers are full of headlines like "The Day America Became Cool Again" and "Welcome Back America".

Suddenly our Government is stressing a commitment towards actually co-operating and working WITH other Nations, rather than treating them like inferior forms of life, starting with Obama's unprecedented extension of friendship towards the Middle East, live on Middle Eastern tv. "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist" is the official line from Obama's now legendary inauguration speech.

This new approach is paying immediate dividends, with Iran responding to Obama's message with warmth and friendship, in a situation which until recently seemed bleak. On top of this Russia has backed down in it's very scary and controversial cold war-esque plan to install missiles in Kaliningrad to counter the proposed US anti missile shield, which they don't trust is really for 'defensive purposes'. This concession is very unexpected and a massive boost for the recently rapidly deteriorating relations with Russia, and he specifically cited Obama's 'new approach' towards foreign relations as the reason. McCain probably would have bombed them by now...

So not bad for one week eh? Hell compared to Bush's entire first term it still looks pretty good.

So how are the GOP responding to their new marginalized position? Not well. For starters they've gone and elected this man as their new chairman. When a party that has next to nil black people in their ranks, has never pushed for equal rights since the days of Lincoln and has a very large racist following, when they elect their first ever black chairman, immediately after their complete trouncing by the first ever black President... well one could be excused for thinking they're being a bit cynical in their approach.

Sarah Palin was forced upon an unwilling John McCain as a token woman, someone who they thought would steal votes away from disgruntled ex Hillary fans and women. Needless to say pretty much every woman was insulted by this insinuation and we all know how that ended up for them. Nevertheless they have continued in this fashion. Immediately after their defeat they began suddenly tipping every single minority in their ranks to become their next presidential candidate, hoping to recreate that Obama magic. Bobby Jindal was first, and now Steele has been put in a prominent position.

At the end of the day, the GOP clearly still thinks Americans are all idiots who will be impressed by intentionally picking minorities just for the sake of getting the minority vote. As awful as Bush's administration was, at least you could say that the GOP campaigners were clearly very good at what they do, but this is just becoming a parody. Embarrassing.

Steele has wasted no time in making an impression by giving a speech full of buzzwords like 'awesome' in a lame attempt to appeal to kids (getting even more embarrassing isn't it?) showing how the GOP really is out of touch with America and has no clue what it is that makes Obama so appealing. Using words like 'awesome' won't do it i'm afraid... On top of this Steele has become the first politician in America to actively speak out AGAINST bipartisanship. Because clearly co-operation between our politicians is bad, and the government works best when at each others' throats and trying to undermine each other. This is, of course, the most retarded thing anyone has said in a long time, but he said it nonetheless.

Steele has therefore encouraged all Republicans to shoot down everything the Democrats do, starting with Obama's stimulus package. However what he clearly hasn't noticed is just how small the Republican presence in our government is these days. This may just be too obvious for a Republican to realize, but in situations like this, acting like a bitter spoilt kid and throwing ones 'toys out of the pram' is really not going to get you anywhere. Instead, the masses who recently voted against you are going to see you as unprofessional, arrogant and not working in the best interests of the voters themselves, which is a sure way to get yourself voted out next time round. In short, if the Republicans don't grow up and start working with the new government they could well suffer even worse losses next time. Perhaps senate minority leader McConnell's prediction of the GOP devolving into a regional party is pretty accurate after all.

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