OPEN CALL; three questions from the Financial Times

Ordinarilly, I don't pimp for major financial publications, but this was too good to resist. I hereby open up an OPEN CALL on the following three questions:

1) Orderly decline in empire and its management. What is your verdict on Barack Obama in this respect?

2) Great social reformer or a great disappointment? Which one is the fairer verdict on the presidency of Mr. Obama?

3) Donald Trump was not an accident, but the long culmination of long term trends in politics and society.  Discuss

I believe in the power of the collective! Now is the time for everybody to at least leave a comment here on #1, #2, or #3. Please put numbers 1,2, or 3 in front of your comment.

Or you can write your own essay. The intellectual salon is now open and running!

Views: 113

Comment by Zanelle on September 6, 2016 at 9:34am

I like that you have faith in this open salon.  It isn't like the long discussions, rants and dust ups of Open but Our has its moments and that is about all I can take.  Nice little pond.  

Question One...I think Obama has made his own Empire.  He was a wonderful King and I will miss him but his aloof management style and the fact that he didnt legalize pot piss me off.  

Question Two...I don't think he made a great reform.   Things seem pretty much the same as always but he isnt a disappointment either.  It is a tough job being President and he can be proud of what he tried to do.  Nation building, health care, economic security...those are challenges and he stepped up.  

Question Three...Donald Trump is definitely what the Republican Party deserves.  This nation doesnt tho and I hope he fades away.  He exposed some dirty laundry that we need to clean.  I dont know if Hillary can do that tho.  More of the same.   I can understand why people want change and look to Donald.  He would be a wild ride for sure.

Comment by koshersalaami on September 6, 2016 at 9:57am
1. That's probably a fair assessment. In his case, it may be too soon to tell.

2. He pulled off health care. That's his big personal accomplishment, aside from keeping us out of more trouble, which may be a bigger one. In terms of gay marriage, he got on that bandwagon; he certainly didn't drive it. He avoided a lot of discussion of race. I'm not sure that helped.

3. I'm surprised that's even a question. The GOP made their bed and a lot of the leadership was so much more into manipulation than actual principle that I think it didn't occur to them that their public might take what they were saying more seriously than they were. If you push resentment constantly, you get the politics of resentment, which is what Trump personifies.
Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 6, 2016 at 9:58am

1.President Obama has done his best to find a way to make the US government serve the people.  From day one the Republican Tea Party wingnuts have done their best to destroy him.  Despite their efforts Obama has managed to clean up the economic mess and two wars that he inherited from George W, Bush and accomplished most of what he set out to do.

2. Taking all of this into account his eight years in office have been neither successful or disappointing.  The combined efforts of the US Department of Justice and the Federal Courts along with Obama's use of Executive Orders have accomplished social reform, but there's still a great deal of work yet to be done.

3. Donald Trump will likely lose and there's a chance he'll take down the Republican Party with him, but the American voters' desire for divided government will likely continue.  HRC will be lucky to be elected and luckier still if the Dems take a majority in the Senate.  Two years after her inauguration I expect that the Republicans will regain control of Congress and we'll be right back where Obama started.  I doubt that she'll be re-elected to a second term.  Hopefully her nominees to the Supreme Court will be approved in 2017 and 2018.

Comment by nerd cred on September 6, 2016 at 10:49am

1) This is an issue only if "decline" means we aren't taking the lead in all occasions for war around the world. For that matter, in starting and expanding new ones. We still  have the biggest, most powerful military and economy. Former Warsaw Pact members are still eager to be admitted to NATO - to be under our umbrella. That China and the little thug from the Philippines make the effort to inflict petty insults on him seems to indicate we're still pretty important. (The Philippines, hard to believe.That part may indicate their president is just a jerk. I hear he's expressed regret for what he said about Mr. Obama.) My verdict - he's reined it in in ways that benefit but haven't constructively harmed us.

2) Mr. Obama entered the presidency with his agenda already written to a greater degree than almost any president (excepting Lincoln, FDR, the founding generation and possibly Wilson because of WWI) and with unprecedented opposition. Yet he can take credit for the first implementation of modern medical coverage leading toward comparability with the rest of the developed world - that alone is enormous. Lily Ledbetter and gender equity in employment compensation, two reasonably liberal Supreme Court Justices who have made possible at least impediments to voter restriction and marriage equity. And preventing a second Great Depression can probably be counted as at least contributing to social reform. So while he may not have accomplished as much as we would like, he did more than probably anyone else could have under the same conditions. I'm not disappointed.

3) If the "long term trend" begins with Nixon's Southern Strategy, no question. If it only begins with the Tea Party then "long term" is an overstatement. But yeah. The Republicans have been building race conflict since at least Nixon and added xenophobia with the Tea Party. They have developed a segment of society that has only one concern respecting government: cut taxes and make no rules that restrict me but impose rigid, punitive ones on everyone I don't like. That's just a tiny  nutshell version but gets at the core.

onl - are you going to use our answers in your own to the ft? ;-)

Comment by old new lefty on September 6, 2016 at 11:58am

I plan on formulating my own answers. With #1, I'll look at the comparative decline of other empires.  With #2, I'll talk about the complex structures shaping American government.  And #3, yes, I'll be referring to Richard Nixon.

Comment by Ben Sen on September 21, 2016 at 10:32am

1) "Decline" of the empire is a bunch of hogwash.  American corporations are making money hand over fist but have gotten away with not sharing it.

2)  He enacted the most significate step in providing nationalized health care since Johnson created Medicare and Medicaid, despite fierce opposition at a time in his presidency when it made him the most vulnerable--before his re-election.

3) If Obama hadn't been a man of color there would have been no Tea-Party and no Donald Trump.  He is the product of the reactionary element within the electorate, which is always present.


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