RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

  1. Obama Inauguration Take #2

    January 22, 2009 by superlative

    Apparently he had to do his swearing-in oath again! How sweet! I think he’s only the third president who has had to re-do it.

    I found out though that it wasn’t his fault it went wrong (apart from the first bit where he talked over the Justice man). The Justice got the words wrong, and Obama noticed and hesitated because he knew it was wrong, and then the Justice repeated them STILL wrong, so Obama just said what he was told to, and that’s why they have to do it again. You’d think he could read the words off his card correctly! And on international TV with a billion viewers, in front of your new president too… Tsk, he should be struck off or struck down or whatever it is you do with Justices. Put down? No, that’s pets.

    Oh yes, and having discussed the inauguration with Mum a bit, she informed me that she doesn’t think Barack Obama is black enough to be called black because he has a white mother. I pointed out that in segregated America 50 years ago that probably wouldn’t have made much difference, to which she sort of harrumphed. So take note, Mr President, my Mum thinks you are Not Black Enough. I’m sure he’ll be distraught.


    Also, this is quite interesting as it points out that his second oath was taken without a Bible, and that he and no-one else present seemed to mind. Good! It would be stupid if you had to swear the oath on a Bible, what if you weren’t Christian? We might have to wait another 50 years for a non-Christian to be elected of course, but it’s still nice to know they could take the oath without a big hoo ha.

  2. Obama Inauguration

    January 21, 2009 by superlative

    I nipped off from work a bit early yesterday and got home just before five, in time to see the swearings-in of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. The BBC commentators made a point of remarking during Joe Biden’s oath that it meant he could become president should anything happen to Obama during his term, and it felt a little bit like they were reminding us how close Sarah Palin would have been to the presidency if things had gone differently.

    Then there was some music from Yo Yo Ma and some other famous musicians, which I would have liked to listen to but which I couldn’t hear particularly well because the commentators chose to prattle on over the top of it.

    And then the time came for President Obama to be sworn in. And he fumbled his words, bless! He lept in too early and spoke over the swearing-in man (some sort of Justice I think), and then got stuck on the second line because he lost his rhythm. It was terribly sweet. His inaugural address went much better though with ne’ery a fumbled line in sight.

    What struck me most was the marked change in language to the previous presidency, with lots of words and references that I don’t think President Bush would ever have spoken in a speech. He talked about restoring science to its rightful place, and about combating climate change by harnessing solar and wind power. He said they would no longer accept that they had to choose between their safety and their ideals (bet that didn’t go down very well with Bush and Cheney). And he described America as a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. Just that little reference to the non-religious section of society had a lot of impact for me and was very encouraging. It’s true that you still have to be God-fearing to be elected president, but it’s nice to know that anyone who isn’t God-fearing might get a fair hearing. I also particularly liked the line “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect”. I can’t remember President Bush ever sounding so willing to engage.

    He worked hard too to remind peopel not to raise their expectations too high – there are still lots of problems facing the nation and the world, and they aren’t just going to get better overnight. I think that was good because he could have just ridden the euphoria and said lots of crowd-pleasing things. But instead he also said it’s going to be hard, we’ll have to work hard and make hard decisions, and it’ll take time.

    Of course, it’s just a speech, so you can’t place too much emphasis on it. You have to judge him by his actions and not just his words. But I enjoyed watching it, and I felt like the speech could easily have been directed at and relevant to the world as a whole, and not just the US. I think President Obama has generated an enormous amount of goodwill and hopeful thinking from a lot of people, and I hope that he can take advantage of that (and that it’ll last long enough) for him to make a real difference.

  3. Barack, Hillary and Margaret

    June 5, 2008 by superlative

    It looks like Barack Obama is going to win the Democratic presidential nomination in the US, after a very long and drawn-out battle with Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure if I’m pleased or not, as from the beginning I had favoured Hillary a little over him. I know she is hated by a lot of people (although I’m not really sure why), but he just seems a little young and inexperienced.

    I suppose I was comparing Hillary in my mind a little with Margaret Thatcher, who was also widely hated and still is, as they are among the few women to accede to top political positions (or almost accede to them anyway, sorry Hillary). Despite the general venom that is elicited when you mention Margaret Thatcher to anyone, I actually quite admire her strength and what she did for Britain, although often you’re vilified if you dare defend her. Yes she crippled the trade unions and closed the coal mines, but I’ve never cared for trade unions particularly and the closure of the coal mines was a necessary stage in the globalisation of our economy. We are still benefiting from the world class economy we inherited from that era, when we could otherwise have slipped into economic obscurity. I also think it was very clever of her to stockpile loads of coal beforehand, so when the miners went on strike she could just say “fine, you strike, I’ve got plenty of coal thank you and now I don’t have to pay you”.

    So I wonder if it was that same strength in a woman that makes Hillary so unpopular with some? Qualities that would be admired in a man can be viewed differently in women, and they get perceived as a bitch or a ball-breaker, which is rather unfair. I’d rather have a female leader who can exercise strength and authority when needed than a testosteroney man who’s only interested in posturing and looking macho.

    It won’t matter much anyway, as Hillary is expected to concede on Saturday and we’ll be looking at a Barack Obama / John McCain presidential race. John McCain is rather old, and hopefully that’ll count against him. I don’t want to see another Republican in the White House, George W Bush has been pretty much a global disaster. I just hope that all the campaigning Hillary did to illustrate the failings of Obama won’t actually have been leg work for McCain.

    A lot will depend on who Obama picks to be his vice-presidential running mate, as that position could help bring some of the supporters that favoured Hillary back. An obvious choice is Hillary herself, but she brings a fair bit of baggage including Bill and there’d be a risk the two of them would get more attention than Obama himself.

    And of course, whatever happens, you can’t trust the American public to vote in any rational way. They elected George W Bush after all, and conservative religious whites still hold a lot of sway in American politics. And some won’t want to vote for a black man, which will skew the polls until results day as people rarely say “yes I’m a racist” when asked about their voting intentions.

    Still, at least it looks like the Democratic race is over, and whatever happens in the end we’ll still get rid of that chimp from the White House – thank God for a limit on presidential terms!

    Blogged with the Flock Browser