September 10, 2018

Obama Back on Campaign Trail

“Former U.S. President Barack Obama assailed President Donald Trump and Republicans on Friday, urging Democrats to deliver a check on the administration’s ‘abuses of power’ and restore a sense of sanity to politics by voting in November’s elections." Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is generally elated that Obama has decided to get back into politics to take on Trump.

“[Obama’s] reappearance [in] the public square is an important development at a moment when President Donald Trump's governing style has generated tremendous concern about the stability of our democratic institutions. While it is true that ex-presidents often remain out of the public limelight, these are not ordinary times."


“Watching the contrast between Trump and Obama... one couldn’t help but be reminded of how the former president presented an idealistic — even arguably naive — vision of America, one full of hopeful, hardworking, good-hearted citizens eager to come together to solve problems... Whatever you thought of his policy choices, no one can say Obama didn’t regularly call Americans to be their best selves."

Washington Post

“Obama’s return to the public arena... was a wake-up call for what many of us seem to have forgotten — that we alone hold the power to change whatever we don’t like about America... Trump does not pass legislation that gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. He does not get a vote to take away our health care... Those decisions are left to the people we elect to represent us in Congress. And soon, we have a chance to clean house."

Chicago Tribune

“No one does the cool burn quite so deftly as Barack Obama... Will Obama be able to move the coalition that elected him twice — including minorities and young people — to show up for Democrats when his name is not on the ballot? It is an unexpected opportunity. Trump has given Obama a chance to write a new postscript to his own legacy."

Washington Post

Counterpoint: “The shopworn nature of Friday’s rhetoric might give Democrats pause… These tools worked very well for [Obama]... but when others have tried to borrow them, they have found the tools unwieldy in their own hands, and the Obama era gave way to Trump’s election in 2016... If Obama’s high-minded impulses couldn’t prevent Trump from becoming president, how likely are they to unseat him and heal the damage?"

The Atlantic

Regarding the economy, “in the 19 months starting after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the economy has created 3.58 million new jobs — but that is still shy of the 3.96 million created in the last 19 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency. The nation’s economy has grown at a steadily higher pace in the past year than it did during the end of Mr. Obama’s term, reaching an annualized rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. But the last time it was that high was in 2014 — when Mr. Obama was in charge."

New York Times

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right is accusing Obama of hypocrisy and criticizing his policies while in office.

From the Right

The right is accusing Obama of hypocrisy and criticizing his policies while in office.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted (sarcastically): “Pres. Obama is right. It is wrong for a President to use divisive language, such as:
1.  Call all opponents of same-sex marriage bigots
2. Call the Pro-Life movement a ‘War on Women’
3. Call all immigration enforcement advocates racists
4. Call the GOP the enemy of Hispanics”


“Trump is a symptom of the slow-rolling collapse of [civil] institutions, brought about in large part by the disingenuous gaslighting in which Obama engaged for a decade: promoting a better discourse while engaging identity politics, championing supposed honesty in politics while simultaneously presiding over an administration rife with malfeasance... Obama drove the Right mad. Now Trump has driven the Left mad.”

Daily Wire

Regarding his policies, “we can’t pretend that Obama somehow respected the press while his administration actively targeted them... it obtained the records of more than 20 phone lines connected to the Associate Press over a two-month period back in 2013. It also seized records from five phone lines connected to Fox News."

Daily Wire

Obama claimed to have made the world more secure... How easily he forgets his ‘Russia reset,’ his cancelation of U.S. missile defense in Europe, his rush to eliminate America’s nuclear weapons, his retreat from Syria, his open-mic promise to show ‘more flexibility’ to Putin after the 2012 election."


“Economic growth during the Obama years should have been unusually high, since he took office the year after a financial collapse and stabilization. Growth is usually strongest after recessions. But during the Obama years, economic growth averaged only around 2 percent... Annual economic growth is now averaging about 3 percent and the last quarter saw rapid growth at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent... Unemployment for women and minorities is near historic lows, as it is for all Americans.

Fox News

Finally, Obama initially “set out with two goals, publicly to unite the country and privately to unite it under the Democrats... He transparently failed at the former goal—the country is more divided than before—and the only political realignment he engendered was a strange and raucous one that favored the Republicans, who picked up more than 1,000 state legislature, gubernatorial, and congressional seats during his presidency."


“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

You can hang out with pythons while sipping on your latte at this Cambodian cafe.

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