Obama perfectly explains Obamaism to Bill Maher

If you are an admirer of President Obama, and maybe even  if you are not, I encourage you to set aside 37 minutes to watch this remarkable exit interview he gave to Bill Maher.

Maher, who sometimes espouses some views that are considered outrageous by some and uses language that is likewise not for the faint of heart, is on best behavior during this interview, either out of respect for Obama or because he had to negotiate some promises on tone to get the interview, which occurs in the Oval Office.

My own admiration for Obama has grown steadily over the past eight years. I try to grasp some non-racist reason why so many Americans seem to believe that the country has moved in the wrong direction in so many ways over these last eight years. For me, the opposite is the case.

It’s ridiculous to believe that everything good or bad that happens in the country is because of something good or bad the president has done. Our political culture sometimes has trouble grasping this. But Obama is the best explainer of Obamaism, and he has seldom explained it more clearly and calmly than in this interview.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/06/2016 - 09:26 am.

    Here it is

    It is absolutely true that Presidents have limited influence on what happens in America and, in fact, economy is one of the things they affect the least, thanks to the nature of capitalist ways it works. But they do have huge influence on international affairs and social fabric of the society so those are two totally non-racist reasons I believe Obama is a bad president.

    First, the world is obviously so much more dangerous now than it was 8 years ago. Regional wars, terrorism, instability, territory grabs, you name it. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions displaced and the world is struggling with refugees, terrorism, and fear of a new cold war – all because of hands-off approach of Obama. And it is understandable: if no one respects or fears America, the dominant force for good for long time, bad guys do what they want – and they do not want good things.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/07/2016 - 07:58 am.

      The change in the world should have been clear the moment the planes hit the towers on 9/11. You had to ignore all of the flare-us in the world before that, and then ignore the “in your face” of the 9/11 attacks, and then ignore the failure of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the failure to establish a democratic government in either place, and the growing discontent in the remainder of that part of the world, and ignore the fundamental importance of the Palestine/Israel conflict and then blame it on the person who came in 8 years later. And, by all means, ignore the the failures of the proponents of the New American Century.

      Nice analysis !

  2. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/06/2016 - 09:27 am.

    Second

    And second, Obama had a perfect chance to significantly improve racial relations in America. All he had to do was to say: look, there is no institutional racism in America – I am a president, Ms. Rice and Mr. Powell were Secretaries of State, and Mr. Holder will be my AG. If I can do it so can you so it is all in your hands so study and work hard and you will succeed. Instead, he fell into the same old trap, for whatever reasons, pitting races against each other and reinforcing the stereotypes thus taking us well back in time. Sure, there are racists in America, just like there are anti-Semites, but it does not affect anything in the big picture. It’s enough to see young people interactions in schools and colleges – they do not care about the others’ race but emphasizing it all the time in politics and media prevents them from becoming truly color blind and keeps people back.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/06/2016 - 08:52 pm.

    No and no

    “Obviously a more dangerous place than eight years ago”? It’s by no means obvious that events which have resulted from the disastrous war launched under false pretenses by President G.W. Bush and his neoconservative planners have made the world MORE dangerous than it already was when they stared this poorly planned, if not criminal, preemptive war. Any President who inherited this mess could only do what he or she could to mitigate the disastrous effects for this country and get us out as honorably as possible. This Obama has done to his credit even as events which have since developed prevented him from doing what might have otherwise done.

    Second. Many, maybe most, white Americans do believe Mr. Gutman’s second point- a myth really- that the USA has conquered racism once and for all with Obama’s election as President and others like Powell and Rice who held high offices in Republican administrations. He blames Obama for “pitting races against one another”. I don’t think that pointing out that racism has not died out in our society when the circumstances call for comment on it qualifies as “pitting races against one another.”

    The events of the Obama Presidency prove just the opposite to me. If one thing is clear to this white American and many others like me, who is willing to try set set aside their own racist blinders, that Obama’s Presidency was never accepted by the predominately white dominated Republican Party. The leaders of the white dominated Republican Party, which for much of Obama’s Presidency has held both the Senate and the House, swore even before Obama took office, that they would block by every means within their power every initiative by this President. How is any fair minded person to interpret this message? Signaling that they intend to sabotage the governing of the country rather than yielding to the authority of the Presidency which happens this time to be a black man? Wiser heads fortunately prevailed within the higher councils of the Republican leadership for some times during the past 8 years.

    But this sabotage has played well with large segments of the white American population who prefer to blame Obama for the damage their own leaders have brought about. How else to interpret the intransigence of the white dominated Republican Party in the Senate and House to the Obama Presidency? How otherwise to construe this rhetoric and this intransigence other than that the Obama Presidency was an illegitimate Presidency? How otherwise to construe these as a commitment to restore legitimacy by returning only a white male Republican to the oval office? How are not all of the events of the past eight years culminating in one of the most divisive elections in US history not the most compelling evidence of the institutionalization of racism in this country?

  4. Submitted by TJ Jones on 11/07/2016 - 07:24 am.

    Why always race?

    A basic question – if someone opposes President Obama’s presidency, why is the immediate reaction that it must be “race” related? Can it not be an opposition to what is a clear philosophical difference of opinion in terms of how much control we allow the federal government? Why the sweeping statement about the entire Republican party being “racist”? Can there not be disagreement on policy anymore? I truly see no hope for our country when we cannot get past these generalizations.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/07/2016 - 07:52 am.

      Yes, opposition without race is possible. But the number of principled stands absent of racial tones have been astoundingly few. And the power of many of the stands comes from the arousing of the public by the spectre of the “other”–why else the forever reluctance to disavow the birtherism–“he’s taking over our country, time to get angry”. The proof of the cultured atmosphere is the candidate of the right–Trump. He’s winning big poll numbers because he is clearer than all of the others in his campaign against the “others”.

  5. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 11/07/2016 - 10:10 pm.

    Reality

    Statistically, the safest time in terms of terrorism was shortly after quick and decisive Iraq victory. Sure, 9/11 changed a lot of things but that was after 8 years of Clinton… But let’s not talk about that now and see what happened in the last 8 years. In 2008, Middle East was stable (by Middle East standards, of course) and even Iraq was becoming more stable; no civil wars, no talk about nuclear arms in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, no millions of refugees… What do we have now? All of the above plus terrorism in Europe and America, plus Putin in Ukraine, Syria, and Europe, plus China in the Pacific, plus North Korea, plus Hezbollah (with Iran) in Lebanon, plus Hamas in Gaza… Doesn’t that constitute a failure of American foreign policy? Is it possible to reasonably blame it on Bush? Sure, Obama took us out of Iraq one can’t say that “events which have since developed prevented him from doing what might have otherwise done,” because those events were totally predictable.

    Second, I did not say that racism died in America; I said that there is no institutional racism in America and those are totally different things. The first means that there are still racists, of all races, which is an undeniable truth. The second means that discrimination is practically non-existent (and I do know what real discrimination is). Unfortunately, Obama never used himself as an example of what anyone, regardless of the race, may achieve with hard work which would have done more than anything else to minorities.

    Of course, blaming Republican’s dislike for Obama on their racism would be like blaming Republican’s dislike for Clinton on their sexism or their dislike for Sanders on their anti-Semitism. I don’t think they liked Bill Clinton much either… So maybe it is just because of politics and Obama (and now Clinton and Sanders) was just more radical than Democrats before him… Did Democrats hate Romney because he was a Mormon? And Palin because she was … what was she? Let’s stop attributing inferior motifs to half the country. On the other hand, calling that half racist and privileged does not make them happy and willing to vote for those who accuse them of those things without merit: that is why Trump won the primary. As for “birthers” – almost half the country believes that we are observed by aliens now http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/48-percent-of-americans-believe-in-ufos_n_3900669.html.

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