Fancy Rats

Diary of an Indulgent Rat Owner

Fancy Rats

Fancy Rats
December 31
In no particular order, I’m a writer, Beethoven groupie, and editor, spending most of my time reading in my flat overrun by my rats, Georgia, Minnie and Olivia. I have a book on flashers, Exposing Phallacy, soon to be published by Zero Books. The best insult I’ve ever heard is “buckle-bunny wannabe” and the best thing I’ve ever eaten is the raspberry cheesecake in Gaia on Leith Walk. I have a sunflower on my back and Laodamia down my thigh. I do most of my writing at


MAY 19, 2010 6:57AM

Does Anyone Out There Like Barack Obama?

Rate: 20 Flag

I'm British and live in the UK where the only major coverage of the man we've had is of the apparent euphoria when he was elected, the Nobel Peace Prize (we were as bemused as everyone else by that), and questions of his nationality.   That and him gazing into the middle-distance on his book covers.

Judging from Open Salon - and other interactive sites like facebook, where people have badges on their profile pages counting down the days until he's out of office - no one has anything but contempt and dislike for him. 

Criticism of one's politicians and political systems is a democratic right (and a luxury few nations possess) so I appreciate the right to do so and hope that there will be a great deal of it in the UK now that we have a Prime Minister for whom the majority of us did not vote - many voting for the opposing party, not because they particularly wished them to get into power, but as a means to vote against the man who now rules our country.  Our government was created through political deal-making rather than the public's vote.

Unless you've had a similar experience - perhaps equal to the sham of an election that got George W. Bush into power (as it was reported here) - presumably enough people voted for him to make him President.  Are their voices not being heard, have they all turned against him, or is it that their posts just don't happen to make the OS cover or editor's pick?

Is it a race issue - the man being half African-American - disguised as an ideological one or has race nothing to do with it?  Does anyone out there like the man?  At present, the opinion pieces create the image of a nation massively opposed to the ruler of their country yet unable to do anything about it.  It would make a refreshing change to hear from those in favour of the man.  If, indeed, there are any.

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I'm a believer. He is intelligent, compassionate, and deliberate. He could not possibly have cleaned up the incredible debris left by the past administration without doing unpopular things. The problem, in my opinion, is not with Barack Obama but with fairweather Democrats who are disappointed that he is not taking care of their issue first and intransigent conservatives who would hate whatever he did. There is also a problem with people who have no interest in gaining any depth of understanding about anything from Global Warming to single-payer; they just parrot whatever they hear. There is also a HUGE problem with Congress, and it is not something that one man can fix single-handedly in a year, no matter how smart and charming he is, or how pure his motives. I do think he could do better on gay rights, and I hope he does.
I think it does not matter who became president..They would be taken to the stocks with critism for no matter what.I am glad I am not president.
rated with hugs
I think it does not matter who became president..They would be taken to the stocks with critism for no matter what.I am glad I am not president.
rated with hugs
You make an interesting observation, and I've noticed a similar trend. For me, I like him well enough, but I'm not sure exactly what that means. You mentioned George W. Bush. Sometimes I think that when I look at that "hot mess" we had for 8 years and then you see an intelligent, if not somewhat aloof, well-spoken man in the same position, there's a sense of relief. But at the same time, he seems a bit too innocuous, whereas Bush just kind of piled through and did whatever the hell he wanted - and hey, he got what wanted in a lot of ways. I think Linda has it right - no matter who is in office, they will still be criticized for something.

Good point to bring up, rated.
You make an interesting observation, and I've noticed a similar trend. For me, I like him well enough, but I'm not sure exactly what that means. You mentioned George W. Bush. Sometimes I think that when I look at that "hot mess" we had for 8 years and then you see an intelligent, if not somewhat aloof, well-spoken man in the same position, there's a sense of relief. But at the same time, he seems a bit too innocuous, whereas Bush just kind of piled through and did whatever the hell he wanted - and hey, he got what wanted in a lot of ways. I think Linda has it right - no matter who is in office, they will still be criticized for something.

Good point to bring up, rated.
You make an interesting observation, and I've noticed a similar trend. For me, I like him well enough, but I'm not sure exactly what that means. You mentioned George W. Bush. Sometimes I think that when I look at that "hot mess" we had for 8 years and then you see an intelligent, if not somewhat aloof, well-spoken man in the same position, there's a sense of relief. But at the same time, he seems a bit too innocuous, whereas Bush just kind of piled through and did whatever the hell he wanted - and hey, he got what wanted in a lot of ways. I think Linda has it right - no matter who is in office, they will still be criticized for something.

Good point to bring up, rated.
Wishful thinking is the byword of modern thinking. We wished Obama to be a man of principle when in fact he's nothing of the sort. He simply puts a better face on the ugliness and if you look around you will in fact find people very happy with having just that.

We didn't elect change, we just elected a change of masks to make us feel better. Obama is an empty but pretty suit. He's the Mariah Carey of Presidents. He doesn't sing with soul but he sings as if he had one - which seems close enough for a good many folks who like being deceived.
Thanks so much everyone. You're right - it doesn't matter who gets into power, they'll always be subjected to criticism by someone because they can't please everyone (or anyone, it sometimes seems). That's healthy and I'm thankful it's a right we have in our countries. It's really interesting to hear the other side, though, from people who don't think he's out to destroy the entire country.
I'm one who still likes him. I too live in the UK and during the Bush years I got to the point of barely recognizing my country. Lots of Americans say they don't care about this but our standing around the world was in serious decline. Obama, I hoped would address those issues. I'm upset by two groups of people: 1, the liberals who have seemingly written him off because he hasn't done enough and 2, the very scary far right who virtually call for his assassination. I believe the latter group are not rational and are in fact racists. He's not perfect but I believe he can help move this nation if we work with him and give him time. I'm beginning to wish that the US had something like the BBC, a high quality news organization which is duty bound to be unbiased rather than the polar opposites we have now with Fox News at the extreme right pushing the interests of...? But the BBC is publicly funded by taxpayers, socialized television if you will, so that's never going to fly in the States.
I'm not entirely sure what led you to believe that no one -- here or elsewhere -- likes Barack Obama.

That being said, perhaps the difference between Obama supporters and Bush supporters is that those who favor the current president also have a healthy sense of angst and disgust when they feel their voices aren't heard. The support for Bush seemed more and more like a case of blind fealty.
Im a supporter. I can't quite believe he wants to unite the country. I would take the right wing and abolish them to Texas and set them adrift. But he seems to want to work with them. He gives me hope that the world will be ok. In four years he will have more grey hair and wrinkles but his youth and fitness carry him on. I like to see the way the UK conducts politics. You seem open and passionate in your discussions. We seem so hateful and bitter. The far right has taken over the Republican Party and it isnt pretty. I just hope Obama gets another four years.
I am very much a supporter, and like redwriter34 I'm not sure why you think he is so disliked here. The election was thrilling and brought politics front and center in this country like nothing else in my memory (I'm in my mid-40s). However, I think many folks have a very skewed view of the Presidency and what can be accomplished by that office alone. For 8 years Bush/Cheney really drove this country off the cliff, but they had Congress in the backseat with them, cheering at every turn.

For the first year and a half, I think the Obama administration has done a fairly decent job in office, but there is much much more work to do. Unfortunately it cannot be instantaneous, nor can it be done without the other branches of government. And I think this is getting through to voters in their zeal to oust the incumbents.

As a side note, anytime I hear someone bitch and moan about the president, I just ask them: where do you think this country would be now if McCain/Palin had won? At least we have a highly intelligent man that is surrounded by very smart folks -- on both sides of the political spectrum, I might add.

Change may not be happening fast enough for our liking, but it is an ongoing process that will take years, maybe decades, to heal.
I like Barack Obama. Ann did an excellent job of explaining things. If people were better acquainted with the issues, I have no doubt they would be more reasonable in their opinions. Needless to say, there are those who will never like him, no matter what he does and some of that dislike is driven by racism.
It is always funny to me to hear people complain about the bailouts...another example of just plain lack of knowledge. I wrote a post to try and help spread a little understanding about the concept as it relates to American history. You may want to give it a glance when you have time. I think you'll be surprised.
It's not so much that I don't think anyone likes him - it's more that those who dislike him seem to make a lot more noise with the result that I've hardly heard anything from people who do like him. Thanks for rectifying that.
texas and carolina, I like obama. I'm pretty sure I always will...but one of the problems I think is that in this country we think liking or disliking is enough...

we have extremely serious problems that got way worse under bush. the problems would be true whether I "liked" or "disliked" bush. and, to be honest, obama took office and did things that are hard for me to like. such increasing the number of drone strikes in pakistan. civilian deaths in afghanistan are currently rising. also, increasing troop levels in afghanistan with no clear idea why we're there (his explanations don't give any more depth than bush's did to "fight" al qaeda...but for how long...and are the Taliban our friends or our enemies...and Karzai's government is one of the most corrupt in the world...and yet he's our "ally"????)....of course its not at all surprising, but still (because we did "like" him so much) yea, disappointing...

On the other hand there are small things Obama does that I appreciate. Health care reform needed to be done...I don't know how messy it still is. It has a long way to go but at least it was started. And Obama surrounds himself with more competent people than bush did. this makes me feel more secure.

I wish in a way that politics weren't so much about liking or disliking though. The truth is that I'll work as a volunteer again to make sure Obama's elected to a second term--even though he isn't perfect, he's still deeply better than the opposition. But I think you're right in that expectations of Obama (and maybe too much "liking" and not enough actual listening) may have been too easily inflated/deflated. that seems to be the nature of our political beast.

I want to be the kind of voter who disagrees with Obama on issues as loudly as I can...especially about important issues like war. But disagreeing with anyone for me is rarely simply about "disliking." I often like the people who I disagree with. Obama is no exception.

I don't know if that explains anything much....
Yeah, there are plenty who like him very much still, especially at OS, and on leftish-of-center sites. Not as many as there were a year ago, though. Bloom off the rose and all that.
I wasn't ever one of them, although I usually don't care one way or another for politicians. He's a political creation, from out of the Chicago political machine, with a sharp suit and nice line of patter, two books to his name and a resume of actual accomplishment in the real world thinner than Callista Flockhart's thighs. I think a lot of people had some hopes for him - after all, Harry Truman came out of a similar political machine, but then he had some real-life experience in a world singularly resistant to personal charm.
This was extremely well written and raised/made several valid points. I agree with most in that it doesn't really matter who would be elected to the office. With there being so much that needs to be fixed black or white would be taken to task.
Personally, I can't remember the last president I truly liked but then I can't remember the last politician I truly believed. For my own vote, I'd like to see someone admit the depth of our problems without promising any magic fix. Maybe he could even go so far as to use a little God given common sense in tackling them. But then I'd probably be the only one voting for him.
Yes, your observations are correct. Obama is always the least experienced person in any room he walks into. He has only divided this country more than can be imagined. His idealogies are loathed by the majority and his arrogance isn't even masked anymore. He's an elitist snob, preoccupied with God knows what while he has more than tripled the national deficit in one year. Slap that on your resume.
Count me in as one of the "likers". He's inherited the worst mess that any president in memory has had to deal with. Two wars, an economic meltdown and the deranged antipathy of folks who did little more than grumble during the Bush-Cheney years. And now some folks are blaming Obama for the demented reactions of the tea party crowd. Or lying that he caused the deficit when almost all of it was in place before he took office.

He's a very smart guy, he understands the US's place in the world very well, he wants to make a better life for most Americans and he discusses issues civilly and intelligently.
Don't take this as a scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) survey. Anyone who isn't madly in love with The One would dare not post a comment here, for fear of being madly flamed by the pro-Obama OS borg.
I now believe this post is real. So, fellow Islander(s), I will let you in on the real deal. Our Fearless Leader is not any of the things these Haoles think ... they have literally and actually no clue whatsoever, but, I am going to tell you as I have the fondest memories of low tide at Staithes as the sun sets ... You see, Fearless Leader is not African-American, he is not from Chicago, he is, not even black at all, he is Hawaiian and he is LOCAL HAWAIIAN and he comes from and is part of something you folks just can't see even though it permeates everything here, even Waikiki where so many have been, but, you just can't see it- how the rainbow works. It is more than that, oh southern states, you see, Fearless Leader is not just Hawaiian, he is BufnBlu. And, amazingly, even though it has been on CNN, Oprah, blah, blah, blah, like I said US Mainlanders just can't figure it out, you see, the BufnBlu, well, it is like the Knights Templar really did escape Malta, then intermarried in Polynesia, seriously, how many Billionaires, pro athletes, powerful politicians, behind the scenes power brokers, amazing artists, the guy who basically put the Internet on the map, and so many you will never, purposely, hear of. So, the Haoles think they have a Black Prez who is the latest figurehead of the "Chicago Machine"- but they have no idea they are being played left, right and center! It is a gas to watch, let me tell you. The problem is, as you ask, "Is it a race issue ..." and the answer is, yes, but not in any of the ways these folks put forward, rather, it is how they express their credulity, white guilt, or in some cases, thankfully, intellectual curiosity as they just can't figure out why Fortune 500 companies spend millions analyzing and trying to duplicate the modern Hawaiian culture, post-plantation, where white guilt has been addressed and the Local Haole stand with us and proud. Until the other 49 states get to this "state" the racist hate continues, and no one has seen it more than I, surfing often in the district of Congressman Ron Paul. So, in a nutshell, another badass Hawaiian is running the show, and, truly amazingly, the only way he can get away with it he knows hot to totally look and act black- No WAY a Hawaiian being himself could get elected! IT IS AN ACT we all can call do over here, see what nobody understands is Hawaii locals are exposed to every culture from all over the US and the world, even Brits, lots of Shepards pie in Waikiki, and UK wind surfers on Maui, so, Obama can literally be anyone he wants to be, and, that puts him even above the other BufnBlu as most of them are stuck in the circle that is them, like the Romanovs.

He is so smart, so Machiavellian, so far advanced than those around them, seeing the whole world the way Ceaser saw the Mediterranean.

Any other questions?

Aloha Kakou
No, I think he's great. People on the liberal/progressive side who say they're disappointed either are being disingenuous or had unrealistic expectations in the first place.
I like him a lot. So much of it depends on expectations, mine are not that high when it comes to presidents. He's not my soulmate, he's a president, with all of the compromises that entails. Criticism is fine and sometimes deserved; Obama-bashing from the left--I have little time for it when so much is at stake and the alternative is so bleak.
He campaigned as a moderate, but he's governing as a far-left progressive in the Saul Alinsky mode. He and his outrageously radical advisors and czars and the old-style leftist cadre in Congress and Senate ignore the wishes of the majority of voters. Enough said.
Arany, that's just nuts, and more than that, it's propaganda, disinformation, that emanates from the right and has no basis in fact.
The American Left has a part of it that are what I call "Principled Losers". They want everything now, like little children who have been promised something from Daddy. Obama has accomplished so much and has been completely savaged by the Right in America which has lost it's collective mind. He is still a popular man and is trying to do so much but the money forces are not going to sit still for change; they like the rigged game the way it is. Obama inherited a huge mess and has had to make decisions that are not politically popular. His popularity is still hovers around 50% despite the nuts on the right and the principled losers that make up about a quarter of the left. The Media in America is hopeless and run by corporations so the coverage is based on who screams the loudest or says the most outrageous things. His accomplishments are ignored.
I like him, though I may not agree with everything he does. I have a great deal of respect for his intelligence and ability. He has been handed a very full plate of crap to deal with, and I believe he is trying to do the right thing. He beats Bush all to hell, that's for sure.
I'm with Ann. He has a lot of baggage to carry from the previous administration, and more piled on with each and every day. In an era of "what's in it for ME??" politics and politicians, he can't possibly give enough, do enough. I wish he were more assertive with some issues (is it really so hard to do away with "don't ask, don't tell"????) but I'm comforted knowing we finally have a thinker in office.
Obama is doing well. He gets criticized because he's willing to listen before talking. I don't agree with everything he does (or doesn't do) but he gets my vote again.

@ Deborah Y - it's just going to kill you when he gets re-elected, isn't it?
Many on the Right dislike Obama because they didn't vote for him. That's normal in American politics, but a new element this time around is the Tea Party movement, which is largely composed of ignorant people who buy into propaganda which paints Obama as a socialist or worse. There's a strong element of racism for many of those folk too.

I voted for Obama in 2008, at least in part because he wasn't a Republican; after 8 years of the Bush administration I didn't think we could take four more years of those people. Sadly, the more time that goes by the more it seems that Barack is a self-serving demagogue and a mercenary who is more than happy to continue or even to expand upon a lot of unsavory Bush era policies. He has proven that he's just as much a servant of the corporate sector as George W Bush ever was, though I will grant you that he's a lot better at seeming like he's not. There are plenty of Obama fans who still think he hasn't had enough time to do the right thing, but they're deluding themselves. He's had plenty of time, and he's proving himself to be exactly what he is - and what he is isn't what I voted for. I guess getting someone like Obama as an "alternative" to Bush is a natural consequence of a two-party system where the two parties are mirror images of each other.
He seems alright but the main problem I have is he tries and be a friend to one and all. If the election was held today I probably wouldn't vote for him(I voted for him in 2008). He had a mess from the previous administration and he's adding his own touches of a mess to the pile!


A lot of us who loathed Bush 43 do like Obama a lot better. But many of us liberals are disappointed because we expect more from him, e.g., public health care, an end to severing troops from their service if they admit to being gay, rejection of nuclear power, prosecution of those involved in Wall Street fraud, and so on. Now he is failing to ask for international help with cleaning up the oil tragedy in the gulf. And BP people have actually invaded the US, blocking US citizens from public land near the shore so they can't see the disaster. Obama is not objecting. And he hasn't spoken out about Armed Israeli troops killing unarmed citizens of other countries. We're grateful for what he accomplishes and depressed about what he does not.
Said simply, YES.

I like having a smart president and the prospect of decent Supreme Court Justice appointments after enduring eight years of sheer right-wing awfullness and disaster, and seeing John Roberts become Chief Justice.

Obama's dealing with a hell of a mess and tremendous opposition as well as right-wing fringe bad craziness with a huge dollop of racism added.
Well-written post and great question. Personally, I can see how you might get the idea that no one in the US likes Obama. A typical day: I turn on the news and hear Republicans screeching epithets, get online and read ridiculous questions about his birth certificate, and then open the weekly paper to read epistles by indignant liberals who can't believe Obama hasn't written an encompassing presidential mandate regarding gay marriage and immigration.
I think Obama is doing a remarkably good job of steering our ravaged country. I like his calm and his dignity and his intelligence. I am a liberal, and I would like to see him take more decisive action on certain issues, but in a nation so divided, a president probably should be a bit middle of the road.