Where was the youth vote? - Macleans.ca

Where was the youth vote?

POTTER: No one bailed on Obama as pathetically as young voters

Where was the youth vote?

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

If there is one thing that captures the sad decline of Barack Obama’s place in youth culture, it is the changing nature of his treatment on YouTube. Forget about making “Yes We (Still) Can”—Will. I. Am was busy last month making R-rated videos with sultry R & B singer Nicki Minaj. Comedian Sarah Silverman was too preoccupied with tweeting about her menstrual cramps to encourage students to head back to Florida for “The Great Schlep 2.0.” As for Amber Lee Ettinger, aka “Obama Girl,” the viral-video hottie who had a famous crush on Obama back in 2008—well, she was last seen back in March, as a contestant on Shear Genius, a reality show about hair cuts.

No, in the days leading up to last week’s crucial mid-term elections in the U.S., the most prominent sign of the President in social media was a parody rap video called Head of the State, featuring an Obama look-alike called “Baracka Flacka Flames.” In the video, Obama was played by the comedian James Davis, who bragged about how “I brought you change, nigga” while a Michelle look-alike danced behind him, smoking and drinking.

This is what it has come to. In two short years the man who brought genuine hope and a sincere promise of change to Americans, who was portrayed in works of pop art as everyone from Superman to Jesus, has been reduced to a gangsta-rapping cliché, shouting lines of desperate boastfulness as his support crumbles.

Obama’s comedown was inevitable. Not, as many people have suggested, because expectations were too high and his agenda too vague. Rather, he was brought down by the conflict between two immutable forces in American politics: the fantastically fickle and short-sighted youth vote, and a political system designed to prevent precisely the sort of transformative change he promised.

It is important to remember that in 2008 the Democrats didn’t sweep the House, the Senate, and the Presidency by convincing a mass of independents and disillusioned Republicans to come over to their side. What gave Obama his margin of victory was the huge cohort of new voters he was able to attract. This coalition of electoral virgins included blacks, immigrant Asians and Hispanics, and suburban women, but the crucial element was the stampede of young people into the voting ranks. The election of 2008 saw the second largest turnout of youth voters in American history (after 1972, when the voting age was lowered to 18), with over 50 per cent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 casting a ballot. And two-thirds of them voted for Obama.

Apart from the black community, large chunks of the Obama coalition bailed on him last week, but none did so as pathetically as the young voters. They didn’t just go Republican. Instead, America’s youth, clearly not sold on this democracy thing, reverted to stereotype, and didn’t bother voting at all. Youth turnout was about 20 per cent, a significant decline even from their lazy showing in the 2006 mid-term election.

A number of factors conspired to turn the kids off the man whose image—as captured in the once iconic, now ironic “hope” poster by Shepard Fairey—once hung in dorm rooms across the nation. As soon as he took office, Obama found himself preoccupied with a legacy agenda over which he had little control, in particular the global recession and a growing quagmire in Afghanistan. When it came to pushing his own issues, such as health care, he quickly ran up against the realities of the American political system. Obama himself seemed to realize just how institutionally hamstrung a president is: at a press conference he held the day after the Democrats lost the House of Representatives and hung onto the Senate by the barest of majorities, he said: “‘We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things got done.”

Retail politics everywhere is messy, slow, dirty, and dull. But it is all the more so in the United States, where parties are weak and the entire system is designed to make sure that even a president who controls both houses of Congress is forced into endless horse-trading to get anything done. Progressives in America have a choice: they can either do as Obama suggests, and fundamentally change how things actually work, or they can accept the need for a great deal of patience. The first is never going to happen. And neither, if the kids have any say in the matter, will the second. As one college student put it in a piece about the absent youth vote published in the New York Times, “It’s not the fad anymore to be politically knowledgeable and active.” Or as another student put it in the same Times article, “He made young people feel important, and then he got into office and there was no one talking to us.”

Except Obama’s promise was never about what he would do for people who voted for him, it was about what his supporters could do for themselves. “Yes we can” was not a pledge of political hand-holding, it was a call to collective action.

The members of the “millenial” generation have been accused of being a self-centred and politically apathetic cohort of cool-hunting technology addicts whose central claim to notoriety is that they have the attention span of a puppy dog on Red Bull. In last week’s mid-term elections, they did their level best to prove their critics right.


Where was the youth vote?

  1. Good read.
    Sad, but true. Looks like all the negative attacks have paid off – The youth reverted back to apathy.

    Still – I can't help but wonder what things would be like for someone like Obama if he came to power during stronger economic times…

    • I doubt negative ads had anything to do with young voters staying home. I suspect they're not all that engaged in the political system to begin with.

      It was heady, idealistic and "cool" to get a black man voted into the presidency. Once that was achieved I think younger people figured they'd accomplished something monumental…then went back to apathy having little interest in the muck and mire of day-to-day operations of the state.

      • I'm sure there is a wide range of factors at work, and I don't doubt for a second that negative adds contribute to that sense of apathy. By nature, a negative ad plays on fear, which is pretty much the opposite of "hope". I don't at all disagree with what you say too…

        • I call Obama "The Manchurian candidate" not because he has being brain washed but because he was the best PR, the US had at their disposal.

          I always thought it was a mistake to elect him at this point in time, Hillary had a better chance, first because she knows Washington inside and out, tough lady, in my personal opinion, she had a better chance to deal with the economy, health care, Afghanistan, etc, he had a better chance waiting, being her VP perhaps, Obama had the luxury of time, America did not.

          I love Obama, I really believe that genuinely he is a good man, he was (is) an american Mandela and had so much to do in that country, I believe he could of made huge changes, bring people together! But he got ahead of his game, will have a hard time getting re elected (I believe he will though!) and his true message will get lost, I think he is wonderful, and hopefully he can turn things around!!

          • I disagree, he took time out to be on The View.Who does that, only a democrat,They are so Hollywood.

          • I agree with you, what was he thinking!!!

            I've already got killed by posters here for complaining about that before!!

          • John McCain was on the View. So was Bill O'Reilly. It doesn't hurt anything but your argument to be honest.

          • Bill O'Reilly is a media figure, not the president. If you recall the only time McCain appeared to have a chance in 2008 was after his "Celebrity" media blitz. Obama gets into trouble when he appears more interested in being a celebrity than running a government. It would be a good idea to lay off this stuff until he's campaigning for re-election.

          • I know scrolling up and down can be so tiresome, but if I may first bring to your attention the text of the comment to which I responded, specifically, "he took time out to be on The View.Who does that, only a democrat,They are so Hollywood," I'll then suggest that there is absolutely no need for your splitting of hairs. So congratulations on so completely exemplifying your name.

          • Hillary would be focusing her schemes on being head of the local PTA were it not for her incredibly accomplished husband.

            Whatever the strength of his publicity machine, he was still the best candidate in the primaries and election.

          • That was really well said. I don't really see eye to eye with all of his policies, but I agree with you that he is genuinely a good man.

    • "Still – I can't help but wonder what things would be like for someone like Obama if he came to power during stronger economic times… "

      he'd still spend thecountry into financial oblivion, it would have just taken a little longer.

      • In strong financial times people do not tend to vote for a nyone that is even remotely socialist. It is only in bad times like after a few years of republican theft that people look for hope. Unfortunately the average voter has a shorter attention span than a gnat and expected instant change. The whole system is designed by the rich to look out for their best interests which means basically the status quo. There is no chance of significant change in the US until the system is fixed to work for the majority of people instead of the elite.

  2. Maybe they were too busy being authentic

  3. Make excuses all you want for Obama.

    People didn't really know what they wanted, just something different than what they were getting. And now they see that something different is actually worse: socialism.

    There was nothing the democrats could say. "Yes we can believe in socialism?" Yeah right.

    • You realize that Obama has been right of center on everything right? War in Afghanistan – More trops, Healthcare reform – copied Bob Dole's 1994 alternative to Clintonare, Financial Reform – good intentions then severely watered down behind the scenes. Those are just a few examples; I think the problem with misunderstandings like yours comes from a shift further to the right, so that now what we call the "center" is what Barry Goldwater would have considered extreme. Read "Conservatives without Compassion" written by a aide in the Nixon and Ford whitehouse's to realize how bad the current Repubs that got in with Gingrich have become. Obama's policies can be criticized effectively without lies. So please don't call him a socialist, and if you do, preface it with "Like Ronald Regan, Obama is a socialist.." because they're not to far off ideologically so far. IMO he needs to go hard left, and call out those repubs that lie. The only thing is, they won't have a Q&A session with him because they did that once during healthcare reform and got slaughtered.

    • Because that is SO much worse than what the Americans have now right?

    • This post tells us one thing: Ryan doesn't know what socialism is.

      • socialism sucks

    • Your right: Corporate Socialism!

      Socialism for the bankrupt banks, for the incompetent car makers of Detroit, for the crooked insurance companies, for the HMO"s, for big-pharma, for the subsidies for corporatized agribusinesses, and for the military-industrial-surveillance complex that has a budget of over 1-Trillion dollars every year!

      Of course, mentioning that and the fact that America is not a democracy, by any meaninful definition, that gerry-mandering makes most congressional districts de facto one party areas, and that corporate money through misleading and false advertising distorts any intelligent discourse, would be too much.

      Instead lets have red-baiting commentary bereft of reality.

    • Blah blah blah…

      Fact is Obama's the closest thing America's had to a socialist president in a long while. Leading America into it's highest debts, by far, while at the same time trying to drag down the American people already struggling with more payments to make, now in the form of forced healthcare.

      Rather than just saying it's not socialism or some crap, why don't liberals start defending their beliefs instead of just letting it get dragged through the mud? We know you want to control people's lives through rules, regulations and taxation, and just give it all away, we know this… so why don't you start defending it? I know you can't defend it but as liberals you should at least try.

      • For starters: I'm a liberal. The debt and financial woes derive directly from a war that the Republicans got the US into and the near-depression recession we're still reeling from derives from the rapaciousness of the Bush family and their friends…people like Enron…swine who are/were only out for personal profit…at the expense of others livelihood.
        Secondly: Dont be so bloody daft…Obama's not a socialist! A socialist to you is some kind of a dirty word. Obama is more of a Humanitarian; one who actually cares that everyone gets equal access to good, life-saving healthcare. You want to call that 'socialism'…I call that having a social conscience…caring for your fellow man (especially those who are poor and genuinely need help). Calling Obama a "Socialist" proves that you're intellectually lazy; someone who can only repeat the right wing talking points. Most civilised countries (except the US) care about their citizen's health and provide this care for the good of all. What's particularly good about that is, nations dont supply health care on a profit basis…only businesses do that. A nation's health ought to be the concern of its politicians, because, clearly, a for-profit corporation sure doesn't give a pantload whether you live or die…if your medications are too expensive…to them it's time to say 'bye bye' so you dont ruin their profit margin. Such foul examples of humanity! So Ryan…are you delusional or just plain stupid?
        I'm not particularly religious, but as I understand the man, Jesus, I remember the question "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD) …the answer is: it certainly would not be like Jesus to let those too poor to afford proper healthcare…just die. Do you, or anyone else for that matter, really need to know anything more than that!? Work on growing your puny heart and your flaccid mind, Ryan.

        • Don't force me to give anything. I will decide what I give and I will decide with what moral standards I shall give. Forcing people to give is not at all charitable and is instead robbery. If you want to support healthcare, donate. But if you cannot afford healthcare then you should not be forced to pay for it.

          • Correction: if you don't *want* healthcare, then you should not be forced to pay for it.

      • He's also the closest thing the US has had to a giraffe president in a long while – but he isn't one.

  4. It's the usual brain-dead analysis from the left.
    1. blame the voters.
    2. blame the democratic process and pine for a dictator
    3. claim that if Obama did even more damage, everyone would love him
    4. do anything except blame Obama, who enjoyed more power than almost any president in history and used it to alienate the voters
    Another poor piece of logic from Potter.

    • There's a few things incomplete in what you say.
      1. The (non)voters are blamed because they have lost faith in the democratic process and have bought into the feelgooderies of Tea Party politicians. And those are the ones who voted.
      2. Pine for a dictator? Well, this is a crucial point of all American politics these days because there is an expectation that democracy is simply voting a guy in and he can do all that change by himself. Doesn't work that way. As FDR explained to voters back in the '30s people needed to GIVE him the constituency to enact change. People were not concentrated on financial reform's shortfallings and the Obama administration's own short and narrow perception because their media never GAVE them that concentration and focus.
      3. Who the hell has claimed that?
      4. EVERY president since Theodore Roosevelt has enjoyed more and more powers. This is not a Democratic or Republican problem but a problem of a foreign policy presidency and unitary executive theory. This, by the way, holds exclusively to foreign policy. The president is hamstrung otherwise on domestic policy issues.

      Your certitude denotes thoughtlessness.

      • 1. You have no idea why non-voters didn't vote. Who cares? You don't blame the voters. That's like blaming the customer. It's ridiculously stupid and pointless.
        2. More silly excuses.
        3. Potter
        4. you've totally missed the obvious. Obama had control of both the house and senate. No president in decades had that kind of power. Your point is irrelevant in comparison. He used that power to pass legislation that nobody wanted. Hence the electoral disaster that followed.

        • You can blame the customers easy. See, when a customer buys something that doesn't work, is it just false advertising? Or perhaps does a little personal responsibility come into play and that customer should have researched the situation in which this product enters into, what that product says it will do, and what it actually does.
          On the second point I was quite actually agreeing with you.

          On your last point it seems you've skipped over that Bush had both senate and house and that was this decade.

          Saying that, this doesn't mean you can't blame Obama. I wouldn't stop you from blaming him, as I blame him too. But I want you to see the larger picture. "Legislation that nobody wanted" is a slogan, and it isn't true. People wanted health care reform though not all of them. In much larger numbers they wanted financial reform but they did not get it. Why is that, do you think?

  5. I am always amazed at Canadian interest in US politics. Why don't we just stop pretending that we are a real country, let Quebec go free, and the ROC can join the US so that we can vote for a president?

    • Canadians tend to be interested in American politics because (1) we are inundated by their media; (2) they are our closest neighbour and biggest trading partner.

      American politics plays a bigger role in our everyday lives than that of any other foreign nation – and in certain arenas, arguably plays a bigger role than even Canadian politics does. The mouse lying next to the elephant pays attention to the elephant not out of a desire to BE the elephant so much as to avoid being crushed BY the elephant.

      The last thing I want is to be American (OK, maybe not the last thing, but it's not high on the list) – but I'd be a fool not to be aware of America's impact on my day-to-day life.

    • hmm actually a healthy dose of Canadian calmness wouldn't hurt the american political system. and its not as if we have much real culture or independent value system to speak of. not a bad idea i think.

  6. An alternative theory — nothing kills enthusiasm more than someone implementing crappy destructive (or at least counter-productive) policies and programs…and misleading people along the way.

  7. Voting for the President is a lot easier than voting at the mid terms.

    It's undeniable that the hipsters have given up on Obama since they thought that he would make schools free and dismantle the Pentagon. Good riddance to those, we need less stupid people and more informed people.

    Obama definitely failed at reaching out to the Republicans. Sure the Republicans have no ideas and no plan but it's the President's job to get things done. It's easy to argue that there was nothing he could do but it's still his responsibility to do so and with the responsibility comes the praise for achieving and the blame for failing.

    He also really let the Republicans have his way with him by allowing them to make his image rather than make his own. The damage done by this immesurable since even some people in Canada demonstrate an incredibe inability to define Obama by what's he's done rather than by how the opposition says he is.

    • It's misleading to state that Obama failed at reaching out to the Republicans. The Republican leadership made a calculated decision oppose Obama at every step and brand all of his policies as socialism. This strategy largely succeeded, and they now have the House.

      The one area where this strategy really failed, in their opinion, was that they were not able to stop healthcare reform (however necessary it was). Never mind that the healthcare reforms passed were based on the reforms in Massachusett's under the Republican governor Mitt Romney.

      "At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama's Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton's in 1994."
      David Frum – http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo

      • Then it's Obama responsibility to find a way around that: make it clear to the population that the Republicans are not looking to get anything done. He's the leader, it's his responsibility to make the country move forward.

        He failed at that. the blame isn't all on him, but he still failed.

  8. Who cares? Not voting is a perfectly legitimate choice for people to make. They may not feel informed enough to make a decision (and they're often right), they may not think their vote matters (and they're right), and so on. Young people in particular have good reasons to not vote.

    They don't pay taxes, don't draw from social security, and tend not to get sick. The state is far less relevant to their everyday existence (even education, the one institution that does matter, is largely governed by the states and many are either not in school or at private universities).

    Potter is primarily concerned with the youth vote for his own shallow reasons – young people reliably vote for the Democrats. Indeed, that seems to be the only time when people are concerned about non-voting.

  9. The youth voted for Obama because he was viral marketed like an Ipod. When they quickly learned he wasnt what they were led to believe they switched back to what they were doing before…carousing and ignoring. Obama was a successful product launch using new media. Youth bought it because they thought moveon.org and wearechange, Huffington and dailykos et al were "not the man"…they were wrong. Obama has always been a scam, for hard core Dems, he wasn't Hillary, for the youth he was just another failed product that didn't live up to hype or billing..

    • He's all fluff and no substance.

  10. Obviously, the problem was that stupid and fickle 'youth' vote. It couldn't have been that over the last two years Obama has been outed as a vacuous lightweight….a pretender to the throne, thrust into the most important position in the civilized world by a fawning and complicit media.

  11. Currently Obama is running neck-and-neck with contenders like Clinton, Bush-1, and Carter for title of worst President of the last hundred years. That he has sunk so low in the polls, despite the constant and continuing swoons in the mainstream media over his every word, is a tribute to the innate good sense of the American electorate. The fawning press managed to cover up his shortcomings before the election, but they can't cover up all his weaknesses and failures as President, although not for lack of trying. He's proven himself to be a racist tyrant, who both associates with other racists and tyrants, and appoints them to high positions.
    America hasn't "turned" on Obama. Obama "turned" on America; he did so well before he was elected President, but a worshipful press kept that hidden from the public for long enough for him to be elected. But after seeing him in action, the public is wising up.

    • Yeah, Clinton was such a failure. That alone, even had you not conspicuously excluded W from your list, would adequately demonstrate where you're coming from, and how seriously to take your typing.

  12. Probably one of the biggest reasons the youth didn't vote in the midterms is because its not as "sexy" as electing a young black president and voting for "change"/"hope. Lets face it Nacey Pelosie Nis not a "sexy" candidate. Its hard to get excited voting for old boring politics. There was no t-shirts with candidates faces on them, no youtube vidoes, no one from popular cultural advertising who their voting for. Obama to0 isn't as "sexy" or exciting as he was in 2008
    The sad fact is most young people don't care about politics and are not voting on issues like the economy, healthcare, and the military. The main issues being discussed this election year didn't interest the youth vote.
    Also the democratic didn't reach out to the youth vote as much this year then in 2008.

  13. It's most likely that the "youth vote" have simply caught on to the fact that the MSM sold them a dud. Perhaps now the "youth vote" have learned a valuable lesson regarding the dangers of being soled on empty, vacuous slogans and an even more empty, vacuous, dangerously unqualified candidate for President. The dishonest, agenda driven socialists encrusted within the media have lost any credibility they might once have had and will continue to have little or no influence in dictating who to vote for and whom one should hate and fear. This article reads like at least one media stooge of the left has figured that out, but can't hide his anger over this self inflicted impotence.

    • Ah, another who has no idea what socialism is. Obama really seems to draw them out of the caves.

      • Wow! That Kool-Aid sure is strong… perhaps you could wipe the drool from your chin and try thinking for yourself.

  14. The youth sat this one out on their uninformed butts, as they darn well should. As an American college student, I saw a heck of a lot of people vote for their first and as yet only time for Obama more as an American-Idol popularity contest than an informed, policy-based decision. The system chugs along just fine with my peers on the sideline, and this way there's less to distract from CoD: Black Ops and getting crunk.

  15. In a North American culture where instant gratification is viewed as a 'right', there is no surprise that the youth of the U.S. are back to eyeballing their tech gadgets while ignoring what is happening in the room, and missing what progress their vote actually accomplished. If some mindless bimbo doesn't tell them what to do they just keep pressing buttons, waiting for instructions.

    • most likely

    • I hate that damn song!

  16. Has Potter a touch of Jacques Parizeau in him? Besides if another column of political nature needs written, why not something of the home grown variety? How many notable politicians has stepped down in the past few weeks. Mayoral races and future provincial ones.
    Lets cover our house because let's face it. I doubt the Americans care enough to do it for us.

  17. Maybe the youth figured out he was just another liar who promised them abundant jobs. With a real unemployment rate of 18% and a youth unemployment rate much higher than that, the man who promised to keep unemployment under 8% turned out to be a fraud. Their mistake in 2008 at the voting booth means another decade in their parents basement. Why shouldn't they feel discouraged about Obama's socialism?

    • Did you come in on the Don't Understand Socialism bus too? Did y'all get a group rate?

      • Thanks for the stupid remark . I perfectly understand socialism. It does not work as advertised and has not worked in a single country or province that it has been tried. It did not work in Russia, Nazi Germany, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. The death toll that Utopia has caused is approaching 100 million. Europe tried a soft version and is now experiencing a sovereign debt crisis. The common cause of failure for socialism is its inability to realize that human nature and concentrated power do not agree. Canada will have its own sovereign debt crisis within 10 years. Yes, I know, fiscal and monetary policy is boring to socialists. That is why your beloved NDP will always be in the backbenches.

        • You're welcome!

  18. " …. the fantastically fickle and short-sighted youth vote … "

    Maybe yes, maybe no. Youth vote that was keen on Obama two years ago now has to buy health insurance even tho they are healthy, in their twenties and not at all likely to need insurance for a long time. Maybe youth vote abstained because they don't approve of legislation passed so far by Dems and refuse to vote Repub.

    And all this talk about why Obama lost fails to mention the huge swing in independents between '08 and '10. Independents recoiled from Obama's love of socialism.

    • At least you aren't new here. But seriously, all the noobs who just dropped in to show that they have no idea what socialism is, are they staying in your basement for the weekend? Did you rent movies?

  19. Youth voters were always going to wake up to the fact that they're going to be job-hunters and taxpayers. Their unhappy choice last time – the gang that already tanked their economy, or the guy who promised hope and change.

    Hope and change sounded good until it came in the form of a mortgaged future on the backs of youth, who now know this guy is just another hack trying to bribe us with our own money.

    I hope they vote to change out every incumbent at every level in every election, until they find someone of substance who takes the long view. Fickle? Darned right.

    Youth said in 2008 they had a right to expect better, and they still do. This vacuous President was a fad and will go the way of 8-tracks.

    • him thats putting alot of hope on america's youth for the next election dont you think? most youth are not concerned about much besides next weekend's party, so asking them to vote in new incumbents is asking them a bit much.

    • What's worse, bribing you with your own money, or just stealing it from you so that people who are already rich can have it instead?

  20. His rhetoric and outright lies have caught up to him. Simple as that. No doubt the most ill equipped President in American history. Does he ever work–he is constantly out of the White House campaigning. Nurtured by a left wing acadamea, he should stay with his kind radicalizing our university students. I know the bulk of your readership are left wing loons but sometimes the truth hurts.

    • "No doubt the most ill equipped President in American history. Does he ever work–he is constantly out of the White House campaigning"
      That's not true – he also plays golf a lot too. By July he had played an astounding 41 rounds of golf (compared to Bush's 24 rounds during his ENTIRE presidency). http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2010/07/16/obama

    • No wonder he hasn't had the time to actually do anything (other then blame Bush) since he has become president:
      "With the excursions lasting on average at least five hours, the president has devoted a total of more than 200 hours to golf, not counting time spent on the White House putting green. That's the equivalent of twenty five eight-hour work days, or five work weeks spent smacking golf balls.
      The former community organizer's 41 trips around the links – a standard of recreational activity well beyond the budgets of most Americans – compares to only 24 total outings for former President George W. Bush, according to statistics compiled by White House chronicler Mark Knoller of CBS News. Bush, whose golf outings were used to help deride him as a callow, lazy, rich boy, played his 24th and last round on Oct. 13, 2003, saying he was ending the practice out of respect for the families of Americans killed in Iraq."

  21. Bets on how many IPs are owned by all the semi-anonymous Obama bashers we're seeing? I'd wager I could count them on one hand.

    Now.. you guys want truth? The massive stimulus saved America from following directly in Argentina's footsteps. Look up your history and learn, people.

    The truth is that democrat candidates who maintained an actual progressive stance were, by and large, elected. Democrats who tried to be Republican-lite got the boot as their own voters stayed home and the Tea Partiers went for the real thing.

    I mean seriously, GWB had 8 years to get America deep into the quicksand, yet the trolls here are all claiming how Obama's a horrible president because he couldn't pull America out in two.

    Now, were I American, I'd be concerned with how he did seem to squander his biggest advantage of having control of both House and Senate.. yet he did promise that he'd attempt to unite the House. Ramming through everything he wanted wouldn't have been the way to do that. However, he didn't seem to realize that he's not dealing with people who want the best for America. He's dealing with Republicans who simply want to be in power. How do I know this is what they are? Look at their plans.. they basically planned to cancel anything that might involve the American people paying for the services they were getting, but doing nothing to address those services.

    • "The massive stimulus saved America from following directly in Argentina's footsteps. Look up your history and learn, people."

      The situation in the States and the one in Argentina are different in too many ways to make them comparable. The stimulus softened the blow for a select few. That's about it.

      On the negative side, the 700+ billion stimulus has jeopardized the future recovery of the U.S. economy by putting the country too far in debt. Keynes was dead wrong; you can't spend your way out of a recession. There's a time to spend, and a time to tighten the belt; I guess liberals are too blinded by their own intellectualism to get it. (besides, it's not their money. Funny how a liberal believes the idealism when it's tax money, but practices good conservative principles with their own household income)

      Obama sold out the future with the stimulus and still won't apologize. Heck, he's still under the illusion that it somehow helped stop the free-fall. It's his being out-of-touch that has killed the enchantment.

      • And thus you brilliantly demonstrate the problem that most "conservatives" have.. they can't figure out that there's a critical difference between a household budget and a government. The difference is that the government is there to balance out the household. So you're right. There's a time to spend, and a time to tighten. The problem is that these conservatives never seem to understand that for government, that time is *opposite* that of the people.

        Look at your history. Look at the 30s. We've done this before.. the depression/recession hits, we start a heavy dose of spending, conservatives freak out about how much spending the government is doing when times are so bad and pull it back too soon, and things get worse because they didn't give it enough time to really start pumping the economy.

        The trick is the government spends when times are bad. Ideally by building things that will last into when times are good.. because when times turn good, that's when the government has to start cutting back significantly and raising taxes to pay back what was spent, and, if the citizenry is modestly intelligent, start building up surpluses to prepare for the next bad time.

        Unfortunately, conservatives seem to be idiots there too, and if a government runs a surplus, declares that it's obviously overtaxing the people.

    • The stimulus did save America…it saved America from having to make the difficult choices that would make things better. Now, they are more in debt (and further screwed) once the money runs out. The US doesn't have the benefit that Argentina had of owing money to 'nice' countries who will write-off what they owe.

      • Really? And what difficult choices would that be? The choice to allow credit to freeze solid and thus return to a subsistence level economy and barter system as a vast number of companies found themselves unable to meet payrolls?

        Absolutely they're hugely in debt now. They're a huge country. What's truly amazing though is most of their deficit could be wiped out in 10 years if they simply stopped invading other countries and pissing other people off.

        And what's worse is that nobody else has any better ideas. At least Obama's options are reasonable in that they acknowledge that the things he's doing cost money. His opponents? No concept of that whatsoever.

    • Your last paragraph is crucial. Unfortunately, most of the Rhodes scholars who came in today to subject us to their hallucinations of socialism won't have the patience to read that far.

  22. “‘We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things got done.”

    This is a bit of a worrisome statement. Didn't the founding fathers build a democracy with "endless horse-trading" as a necessary check on the abuse of power? Change in a democratic system should take a lot of work and be incremental. It should require compromise. Slow and steady wins the race.

    Obama has, at times, shown an arrogant attitude that is typical among liberal intellectuals. (the bovine middle class citizens aren't smart enough to make decisions for themselves) It's the "endless horse-trading" that's supposed to keep their agenda in check.

    • Arrogant liberals?

      There is no deeper. more explicit arrogance to be found in American politics than the phony sleazebag "bootstrap" Republicans who suck on the government teat while threatening to drown it in a bathtub — getting their health care while denying it to their constituents — biding their time until they can jump off into a lobbying, commerce, or law firm gig where they can spend the rest of their lives coasting on their rolodex and being bribed by the kings (and occasional queens) of the corporate welfare state while producing nothing of value.

      Liberal arrogance, at worst, involves bragging about the weekend they spent working at the soup kitchen with the poors and how satisfying it was to their co-workers on Monday morning. Conservative arrogance is far more advanced and wilfully cruel.

      • "getting their health care while denying it to their constituents"

        How is not providing government health care "denying" it to constituents? How about making it available, accessible and affordable and allowing people to choose their own plan. (or not to have one at all, if they want to risk it.)

  23. Corrupt unions versus corrupt banks and corporations — who does more damage? Discuss.

    Or perhaps you'd rather not.

  24. Possibly today's youth believe political change can happen as quickly you can download a new album or nuke a pizza pop? Sadly, no one wants to believe that changing how things are is going to be painfully slow and require a presidential term as lengthy as FDR's. There is substantial damage done to the American economy, the jobs have been already outsourced for over a decade, boomer's are trying to retire and their armed forces are going to be bogged down for years to come in Afghanistan and quite a few other countries. Regardless, you have to deal with the here and now not long term visionary plans of universal health care. I have very little sympathy for Obama, his strategy was seemingly the house is burning down so let's get the best cable television money can buy.

  25. A few points:
    1. Obama wasn't up for election, this was instead a vote for electing reps to the House and Senate. These elections are fundamentally less of a big deal than the Presidential election and turnout is usually lower in years where there isn't a Presidential election anyway, not to mention that the dynamics of the individual races are often very different than the race for the Presidency.
    2. The Democrats squandered a huge opportunity with their majorities in the House and Senate. It is really hard to get excited about returning a group of people who failed to introduce meaningful environmental legislation, or who made a mess of healthcare reform, etc when they were handed large majorites and completely failed to use them. And, if you want to argue that Obama was a factor in this, it isn't like he's been some kind of angel: he promised to close down Guantanamo, but it is still open; he's pushed to expand the warrantless wiretapping program that was started under the Bush administration, and he's failed to be able to push needed reforms through Congress.
    3. Not voting is a completely legitimate choice when none of the options available are appealing, and it would be entirely understandable.

  26. If the "youth vote" was lured in 2008 by promises that were unrealistic or never intended to be kept (ie. election promises as widely practiced), it is high comedy to blame the voter. At the fundamental level, politicians draw votes by explaining what they will do if elected. If they fail to produce, the fault is the politician's if the voters turn elsewhere or disengage entirely. Calling the voters "fickle and short-sighted" is an incorrect assignment of responsibility. Or is the thesis that voters – once conned – are supposed to stay conned?

    "Yes we can" was one among several empty slogans designed to tug at the emotions of people who temporarily vacated their rational minds.

  27. you do all know that the socialists don't want obama either, right?

    what exactly are you all talking about when you say "socialism"? you're fighting straw soldiers, and you sound stupid.

    • What definition of socialism do you hold? It seems to be hard to find. I suppose that's because socialism is perfect, and nothing perfect really exists.

  28. I miss Bush

  29. The kids voted for him to make things better. Instead he made them worse and just blamed Bush. Kids aren't stupid, they know they have been betrayed by Obutthole – and by his liberal lickspittles in the mainstream media. They are going to bail on you next. Do you think any intelligent but unemployed kid would spend good money on a Maclean's magazine with crap like this in it?

    America now has an affirmative action president and is living the socialist dream: high taxes, high unemployment, and no hope for the youth. Did you ever think that maybe the fact that Obama is giving away the kids' futures to illegal mexicans might have something to do with their actions?

    • actually the sad fact is that the vast majority of youth simply dont give a crap. they were hypnotized in 2008 by fancy youtube campaigns and dramatic speeches. but now as it all winds back into boring business-as-usual politics most youth have simply gone back to partying and getting high. and before you attack me im not pro Obama. i just know that youth aren't as informed as you give them credit for.

    • High taxes? High taxes???

      Seriously, just go away. Aside from everything else offensive in your post, this "high taxes" nonsense is 100% iron-clad proof that you have either no interest in or no ability to say anything remotely close to truth. You are not contributing, sir.

  30. having lived in the states for a large portion of my life . ican tell you there is no comparison between american and canadian politics the republicans are way right of the conservatives and the democrats are by and large a centrist party as opposed to the liberals who are very much a left wing party by comparison