Mr Obama finds a small voice

I have been criticised by some of you for daring to mention Mr Obama’s silence on the Midddle East. Let me hasten to remind you that this site was one of the first to identify Mr Obama as a very talented politician who was going places in the race for the White House. I admire his way with words, respect his intelligence and academic ability, and think he is a consumate spin politician. The point I am making is that if someone stands on a ticket for change he needs to be sure he can make changes when he gets into power. I would like him to prove that he not only talk the talk but he can walk the walk. That is what the next few months will reveal.

In the UK today David Cameron is offering real change – change from spending and borrowing too much to spending more wisely and borrowing less, change to lower taxes on earning and saving, change in the way we tackle our broken society, change to the way we try to mend the banks, change in the way we approach the EU.

I am still at a loss to know what changes to expect from Mr Obama. He looks very like Mr Bush with better spin. He said enough yesterday to let us infer he supports Mr Bush’s approach to the crisis in Gaza. We know he wishes to prosecute Bush’s war in Afghanistan more intensively, and will remove troops from Iraq much as Mr Bush is doing. We know he wants to spend and borrow more, as if Mr Bush was not already spending and borrowing collosal sums, and we know he supports Mr Bush’s approach to mending the banks. The two men do not disagree fundamentally about their response to the economic crisis.

Maybe the only difference is going to be that Mr Obama wants more taxes on energy use to be greener. I just wonder how far he will in practise go when the polls tell him just how unpopular such taxes are likely to prove. He may discover that Mr Bush’s idea of increasing rewards to finding and exploiting energy at home had its point after all.

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9 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I have to agree, Mr Obama is much like Mr Blair, an excellent politician.

  2. rose
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    For those who have hopes of a greener president, just cast your minds back to 1997 here and what followed – and that was when the incoming poseurs had inherited the best economic state of affairs ever.

  3. Sam Armstrong
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Obama is simply continuing the line of negotiation begun by Condi Rice in Bush’s administration. There is in effect no policy change with regards to the Middle East.

    Obama should now be suggesting new ways of coping with the crisis in the Middle East since he has already begun organizing his own citizens in the US by providing them with downloadable materials from his website with which they can begin to start holding meetings and begin effecting “change”…

    And as pointed out, he has already chimed in on the economic matters.

    His silence on the Middle East is deafening with the sound of continuity.

  4. Neil Craig
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The worst thing about Obama is that while on most things he does indeed look like Bush but with better spin on the War Against Fire he sounds like & some of his appointments suggest he is going to make a serious attempt to stop CO2 & thus a serious attempt to weaken the US economy. Whether this will affect the catastrophic warming we have experienced over the last couple of days is questionable.

    Hopefully it will turn out that he was merely spinning & has no intention of satisfying his Luddite supporters but even if that turns out to be true it is almost inevitable that he will have to make some token moves in the wrong direction.

  5. Robert Eve
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Can you elaborate what change David Cameron is proposing regarding our approach to the EU?

    Reply: No the Euro in principle, No to the Constitution in principle, and powers back.

    • Robert Eve
      Posted January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Let’s hope he means all powers back.

  6. mikestallard
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Hamas asks, “Why should Jews, of all people, live off our land? Real men, with the aid of Almighty God, should be able to turf them off.” Hence the heroic bombardment of Israel.

    The Jews reply, “The eretz (land) is Jewish, given by the Jewish God to us Jews in perpetuity. We even gave some of this land away, when persuaded by our American allies, and in return have been reluctantly needled into some form of forceful reply. Hence the asymetrical military operation which parallels that in Afghanistan or Iraq.”

    Since this is a religious conflict, children and women (can be harmed-ed) by both sides and this shocks us Westerners. The bleeding children, howling mothers and weeping fathers are either martyrs (Muslim) or human shields cynically exploited by Hamas (Israel).

    We forget the terrible destruction which we visited only a few years back on Tokyo (1/3rd destroyed in one raid by a deliberate fire storm under General Curtis le May), Dresden, Hamburg (first blast bombs to strip the tiles off the roofs, then incendiaries to create a fire storm) and Hiroshima/Nagasaki (flesh peeling from charred bodies, dressed with iodine by desperate medics who were short of supplies).

    Peace= Salaam for Muslims and Shalom for Jews. Both words imply God’s sacred and all powerful will: not happiness for godless Benthamites.
    And, no, not even Mr Blair, not even any American President can fix that.
    We Westerners, you see, “Do not do God.”

  7. Francis Irving
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Absolutely, Obama agrees that exploiting energy at home is well worth while. He wants to exploit the local energy sources which have a volume that can meet demand, substantially replace oil imports and don’t have price spikes – i.e. concentrating solar power, cheap on shore wind, energy efficiency savings, and nuclear.

    It’s all very disappointing for Britain though. It looks like we’re not going to own any of the new energy companies, or electric car companies that will rule the stockmarkets at the end of the century.

    Shame that the anti-capitalism movement is winning after all 🙁 And in such a strange way.

    • Rose
      Posted January 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear. The news that our gas is to be diverted to the continent should wake people up to the folly of our present administration in not having made arrangements while the sun was shining to give us clean and independent energy for the future. Ditto for transport. And food.

      It is not capitalism which has failed, but television democracy and the big government mistakes it encourages.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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