The Better Man

I remember a sense of great hope at the previous fall of the House of Bush, in 1993. Mr Clinton, we were told, was a breath of fresh air, a ray of hope and sunshine, and so on. And then, several wars, scandals, school shootings and moistened cigars later, we realised he was largely, if not entirely, similar to what had gone before.

It’s also worth remembering that it was Mr. Clinton who sowed the seeds for the credit crash we are currently suffering, by heavily encouraging credit institutions to give loans to people who would not normally get them. And this is the same credit crash that Democrats heartily blamed Mr. Bush for, and even though the man is an enormous cock, we can’t really pin that on him.

obama1Now a new man is in the hot seat. This one looks like he might do something useful. And he has also enormous PR value for the black citizens of the US. But democrat or not, black or not, and nice speaker or not, there is not a great deal of difference he can make.

The US is still ran by lobby groups and big cash; its millitary must still be flexed on occasion to show the world who is in charge; and it will happily slap down its veto at the UN, in defence of whatever illegal actions it deems useful.

So Obama can give an uplifting speech. So could Mr. Hitler. It just remains to be seen if any of those fine words of his will actually be translated into action. I hope so. But from my previous experiences, I will need a lot of convincing.

Still, it could have been the old, angry guy up there today, accompanied by the scary squeaky lady, so that, at least, is something.

(And people, don’t forget volume 2 of the Strange Shores blog carnival, due to go online over at LadyFi on Sunday. Expats, get your blog links in, either to me or LadyFi, or to the contact mail on the carnival home-page.)

/ paddy


10 thoughts on “The Better Man

  1. I think (and hope) you’ll be surprised by President Obama. It’s not about speeches, never has been. This is an intelligent and thoughtful person, unlike any president we’ve had in a very, very long time. He will definitely be heavily constrained by the system, and in foreign policy he will be lacking (I predict), but on the whole, as a U.S. President, this is someone rather special.

  2. Hm, the world needs a leader that gives hope to people???

    Yes, of course, but many radical politicians or most of them developed a cruel dictatorship after some years. Stalin, Pol Pot and Hitler played more or less with open cards from the beginning, but their radical attitude and promises of a perfect society after revolution gave people hope. Then we have those who totally flipped out after 4 years like Idi Amin, Lukasjenko, Fidel Castro, Mao and so on. They couldn’t handle the power and became very paranoid in the end. (yeah Hitler and Stalin also got it). Then we have the west democratic leadership when you just can´t deliver after 5 years and become like Tony Blair and Olof Palme (good for him that he got some glory and icon status by being murdered, people got so sick of him, and of course they denied it after his death).

    So Obamba, right. I think it´s always good to have a politician that has been to many countries in the world and has a good education. That he is not afro-American ( I mean grew up in Alabama/Bronx, hate all whites and talks funny) and actually half African (not his aunts dogs grandfathers wife’s cousin is from Africa so he is African and never had any slave origins, but a wife that can tell him how to handle this Afro-American group) and he has sympathies for all immigrants and white. That is a great start!!!!

  3. tom + American in Norway: Actually I AM rather hopeful, I just hide it well.

    H: I agree, it is a great start. I just hope there isn’t a big terrorist attack that forces him to be “tough”.

  4. I can only agree. Yes – there are huge expectations – inhuman ones even – on Obama’s shoulders, yet change and improvement have to start somewhere. Carrying on downwards in the negative spiral of the last 8 years is self-destructive. A new attitude, a new modern savvy is what this man offers. Finally, a MODERN guy who is young, who can start the process of dragging America back from the brink, who is at least willing to try to help.. that is a start. And let’s not underestimate his PR aura.. Most countries in the world are totally fed up with America doing what the hell it likes and ruining the world for lots of us – here at least we have a more reasonable man who seems open to dialogue and healing…

  5. “Mr. Clinton who sowed the seeds for the credit crash we are currently suffering, by heavily encouraging credit institutions to give loans to people who would not normally get them.”

    The law in question, which encouraged certain types of banks to make loans to minority groups that they accepted deposits from, was passed back in the 1970s. It had nothing to do with the crash. In fact, those particular institutions were largely unaffected by the crash. Most of the bankrupt financial institutions were not affected by that law at all, but they still made loans to people who could not pay them back. Why? Because there was good money in making loans, but not so much in getting them paid back. Most of the financial damage didn’t even involve loans or mortgages, at least not directly. It involved various complex derivatives, many based on top of mortgages and other loans, but many of them completely independent. The institutions that have lost big and are sucking hard on the much loathed government teat were highly leveraged. That is, they borrowed lots of money thanks to Alan Greenspan’s low interest rate policy under the Bush administration. Yes, many loans were made to people who didn’t deserve them, but most of those people worked for high powered investment banks. Their loans dwarf the entire U.S. mortgage market. (That is, you could buy every house in the U.S. at 2006 peak prices ten times over with the money that was borrowed.)

    If Bill Clinton deserves any blame it was that he signed the bill repealing Glass-Steagal which separated the different kinds of banking operations. This is moot now, as all banks which mixed operations are now out of business, but still, it could have avoided a lot of the boom and bust. Glass-Steagal was passed after the 1929 crash, so I get the message that it made a difference.

    Please, don’t buy the Republican talking point that the crash was caused by lending money to blacks or Hispanics or divorced women. That is complete garbage. Loan performance by blacks and Hispanics, at least, has been better than that by mainstream whites, and still is.

    As for Obama cleaning up the mess. Well, blacks have been cleaning up after whites in the US for years. What else is new?

  6. Kaleberg: Thanks for clearing that up! I didn’t know any of that. Didn’t stop me spouting off about it, though! And it’s refreshing to know that it WAS Mr. Bush’s fault after all.

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