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  • Policy: how Obama has been different from Bush

    by Sunny
    18th November, 2009 at 8:42 am    

    This was forwarded to me in an email, so I can’t take credit for its compilation. But it offers a list (I’ve taken out some small ones) of how the Obama administration has been different to the Bush administration. For all the haters out there… etc etc.

    Foreign policy
    Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
    The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
    The US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards
    The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
    Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
    The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
    Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
    Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

    Science / Environment
    Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
    Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
    Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
    New federal funding for science and research labs
    Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
    Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
    Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

    Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
    Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
    The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
    Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House and on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
    Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
    The FDA is now regulating tobacco
    Built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office!

                  Post to

    Filed in: Current affairs,The World,United States

    13 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      Blog post:: Policy: how Obama has been different from Bush

    2. Energy Section

      Policy: how Obama has been different from Bush: How things change. 2 hrs ago >> 2 hrs ago >> Wow. N..

    3. several

      @Stranahan Oh I've been paying attention to both the positive and the negative. Partial list for you:

    4. several

      @crankymate examples re previous tweet: and

    1. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells — on 18th November, 2009 at 1:18 am  

      Next up - sarah palin, idiot or insane ?

    2. coruja — on 18th November, 2009 at 2:12 am  

      A better analysis of why he is so ineffectual is here:
      “The pattern of the major announcement, the dilatory follow-up and the tardy self-defence has shown an alarming consistency in his administration. Obama ordered the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay as the first act of his presidency. Eight months later, Guantánamo remains open and unsolved, the date of its closing has been postponed, and the question of what to do with the prisoners has become the most explosive of all the matters that confront Obama’s authority.”…

    3. leon — on 18th November, 2009 at 5:34 am  

      The US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

      Hmmmm they all sound good but without looking at the detail I wouldn't just run with them.

      The above is a great example of what I mean. It looks fantastic on paper but read up and you'll find that having no formal policy doesn't really mean much. MI5/6 doesn't either but that doesn't stop it's operatives standing in one room while another countries (Pakistan do this for us) intel agents torture someone, then come into the room asking what questions we'd like asked. Does anybody really believe that the CIA doesn't do anything similar?

      On a related note, how about the use of predator drone attacks? A recent one killed 70 odd people, these are directly ordered by Obama. They are a real contributor to increasing hostilities and recruiting for AQ/Taliben or any 'terror' group that doesn't like the US. Bush did that too.

    4. Shamit — on 18th November, 2009 at 8:24 am  

      Sunny - you did not have to tell me that you did not compile this list. Its got way too many errors for that.

      I think this list is bakhwaas. because it does nothing but add fuel to republican fire and also the far left who are not happy with him. For example,
      I don't know how meeting and greeting foreign leaders be highlighted as achievements when there is 10% unemployment in the country and around 50 million children going to bed hungry.

      Also some of the things are simply erroneous - such as detention facilities - only those facilities that are directly run by the US Federal Government including covert ones may be closed down - but extraordinary rendition is still a US Government Policy. He has not yet deployed any additional troops in Afghanistan.

      Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information - There was never a blackout on the number of war casualties - however the ban was on showing coffins returning home. Even today, the family members of the fallen soldiers have the final say -

      Now the actual achievements are not being even mentioned on this list — I dont have time to write all of them but I would try to give a gist.

      More importantly, it does not talk about the real achievements of this administration in lending a helping hand to those facing financial difficulties, reforming education (a major major plus) not only at the secondary level but also at the higher education level - it does not talk about the energy infrastructure grid investment and the jobs that are being created - and the committment the President and his team has shown to small businesses. It does not talk about how the President is acting like the President of the US where he is supporting reform efforts by Republican Governors such as Jindal in Louisiana amid cacaphony from the far left. More importantly, he has steadfastly focused on delivering actual infrastructural reforms through the States and he has got Governors of all types backing him on this.

      On foreign policy his biggest achievement so far has been able to change the tone and move away from a containment policy but sharing the burden of resolving crises with other partners including China, Russia etc etc. He is tough on countries such as Pakistan as his ambassador to India made some very interesting comments as did his Secretary of State earlier on her visit to the country; If you want our dollars you gotta play by our rules and she pretty much implied “don't bullshit me and insult my intelligence”

      Anyway I could write a thesis on this stupid list but I would leave it there. I am a fan of Obama and he has made some excellent progress on many areas but lets not give ammunition to the nutters on both sides. And anyone who prepares a list must have some ideas about what they are talking about -

    5. The Common Humanist — on 18th November, 2009 at 8:59 am  

      I think Obama is turning out rather well. Inherited the worst situation on taking office in US history (FDR is comparable of course but he didn't inherit a two front war in 32) and has prevented a second Great Depression. The US Economy will come good pretty soon.

      He is faced with a fairly conservative (in the small c) electorate, a Democratic Party that has genuine differing schools of thought and background (as opposed to the now almost uniformly far right robotised GOP) and a hysterical right wing noise machine (Tea Parties etc) where ignorance and stupidity are badges of honour. My British Conservative friends are baffled by the US Right and its reaction to the moderate OBama.

      I think that fundamentally there are some Politicians who work on a fundamentally different level compared to the demands of the 24 hr news cycle and media. Obama is one - all about the strategy and getting to the big goals whereas the media whats instant hits and success. Hence the GOP and the Right work themselves into a fury over, say healthcare reform, yet there will be comprehensive reform and the GOP have painted themselves into yet another corner. Andrew Sullivan is a very good source for that kind of analysis (as is the Marbury blog).

      Obamas biggest problem is he is a patriot who believes in the Constitution and he expects everyone else in the House and Senate to step up to the plate with him and do their jobs. Not so sure a portion of the Dems are capable of that. They need big D shaped wins - healthcare, jobs and the like if they are to win in the mid terms and for Obama to be re-elected - I think they are waking upto that but I look at Dems Centrists and wonder - what do you think, Mr Bayh, will happen if you don't work with the President? Everyone will lose, particularly an increasing number of Yanks without healthcare of any meaningful stripe.

      So Obama - learning on the job, doing well, could do with portions of his party to find their balls however.

    6. Fojee Punjabi — on 18th November, 2009 at 9:35 am  

      I just feel like he's sounding more and more like some sort of dictator every day that I see a press release from his office.

      He's basically imposing his own ideals on the world, as well intended as they are, and I fundamentally disagree with his use of legislation to make his own ideals come to fruition.

      P.S. Sunny you're sounding like you have a very heavy chip on your shoulder these days…

    7. Shamit — on 18th November, 2009 at 10:15 am  


      “Now, what is also true is that each country in this interconnected world has its own culture and its own history and its own traditions. And I think it's very important for the United States not to assume that what is good for us is automatically good for somebody else. And we have to have some modesty about our attitudes towards other countries.

      I have to say, though, as I said in my opening remarks, that we do believe that there are certain fundamental principles that are common to all people, regardless of culture. So, for example, in the United Nations we are very active in trying to make sure that children all around the world are treated with certain basic rights — that if children are being exploited, if there's forced labor for children, that despite the fact that that may have taken place in the past in many different countries, including the United States, that all countries of the world now should have developed to the point where we are treating children better than we did in the past. That's a universal value.”

      I have a hard time equating what you are saying and what the President is doing and saying. He said those quoted remarks, off the cuff, when asked by a student in Shanghai.

      With regard to driving legislation - it is his Constitutional Duty to do so - and I quote from the Executive Powers of the Article II of the Constitution
      “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
      he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;”

      Now he is doing just that and he has a mandate no matter what Hannity and Beck think.

      I remember 1993 and 1994 too vividly and saw what the republicans did to President Clinton - Not because they disagreed but because they did not want him to win and thought killing healthcare would kill the re-election chances - but they were wrong.

      This time they may not get the perfect bill on healthcare but they need to railroad it if necessary -

      50 Million children are potentially sleeping hungry and most of them have no health coverage. Now, I think everyone would want to change that - wouldn't you. So where's your problem again?

    8. asquith — on 18th November, 2009 at 11:25 am  

      Let us not forget one of his earliest achievements, the thing that really made me think he was going places.…

      Plus the Sotomayor nomination, something no right-whinger would have done.

    9. MaidMarian — on 18th November, 2009 at 2:25 pm  

      No mention of healthcare.

      Sunny - bottom line, Obama wants exactly what every first term US president wants, a second term. Putting noses out of joint comes later.

      The ugly truth is that change comes later.

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