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It doesnt matter who the next US president is

  • 04-11-2019 11:01am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭


    Its a symbolic position. (Not just that, but the symbolism of the role greatly outweighs its actual powers).


    There are too many checks and balances to facilitate 'rogue' presidents.

    I've lived through the 'feelgood presidents' (particularly Obama, but basically any Democratic Party president as far as the Irish press is concerned), and the rogue presidents (George Bush, Trump) as well as the geriatrics.

    The only difference it makes is 'how they make you feel' - as for policy, the average joe really couldn't say what one president did or another president did, apart from Bush invading Iraq.

    So who cares.

    Or alternatively - lets just stop pretending it matters.


«1

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,722 ✭✭✭✭RobertKK


    People get sold a narrative on what to think.
    The fact is the US has not have had a good president for a very long time. We ended up with Trump because Obama was so bad, more wars but loved by the liberal media who turned a blind eye to all his failings as president.
    It is easier to see what a bad president Trump is, but people let their bias influence so you have people who must love war who think the sun shone from Obama - he did good on Iran and climate, but US foreign policy overall was just a massive failure with supporting the wrong sides in Libya and Syria. They even supported the Muslim Brotherhood and I will be very generous here to the MB, very generous...they turned a blind eye to the sectarian attacks on the Coptic Christians, but the US under Obama had continued to support this regime.

    The Pentagon plays a massive role, but the president does have a say that matters.
    The biggest problem with US presidents have been their willingness to war and make things worse - they have the final say, and while I can praise Obama for certain things he could influence and criticise other areas, Trump has an aversion to war which one can argue is good or bad which does have an impact.
    Obama was only a feelgood president to those who were prepared to ignore the overall disastrous foreign policy. It could be argued it led to Brexit as he and the west supported the wrong side in Syria, yeah we really needed to support the Islamists against the secular Assad...Assad is not great but its like Libya and how it was made worse by thinking it could be made better by supporting an unknown.
    All this aided the migrant crisis which was used in the Brexit referendum and which led to immigration and the EU seen as the problem.

    It is a long long time since the US had a good president, but they do have a meaningful say on things.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    I take your point re wars. However to be fair to Obama he inherited a situation.

    And yes, you could argue the most tangible impact on our lives of US president actions in the past 20 years has indirectly been the stream of refugees into Europe.

    Good / Bad President - what does that mean?

    Looking at it another way - in what way would the US be any different if we'd had 6 completely different individuals as president in the past 30 years.

    And I know that's a 'what if' situation.

    But I just don't see meaningful any way that presidents have shaped what ordinary life in the US is today, outside of what you refer to - the military. Reagan maybe, not any of the others.

    By contrast say in Britain, Thatcher and Blair had huge impacts on society as did for obvious reasons David Cameron and Boris Johnson.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    Checks and balances like the Hatch Act or Emoluments clause become redundant if partisanship ensures one side decides to ignore blatant violations of said checks. You look at the votes for the Nixon impeachment, where voting was overwhelmingly in favour of an investigation. The recent equivalent vote was 100% along party lines. That's hugely telling.

    As with Brexit, what Trump is demonstrating is that in a highly charged, super partisan political environment, much of British & American democracy depends on informal agreements to adhere to and obey the political contracts that ensure some semblence of transparency and unity. The era of Trump is showing these agreements to be paper-thin if the man at the top basically says "I'm bigger & too important", while his base prop up the opinion polls - the only ACTUAL metric preventing republicans from responding to these issues.

    (I'm not going to generalise here about democratic norms because Irish, German, Spanish, French etc equivalents have their own checks and balances; our own constitution is pretty heavily codified and arguably a lot harder for rogue Leaders to just ignore core tenets of governance.)


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,981 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007


    Trolling or demonstration of a complete lack of knowledge on the topic.... which is it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    Jim2007 wrote: »
    Trolling or demonstration of a complete lack of knowledge on the topic.... which is it?

    Attack the post, not the poster.

    Have you something to say?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 33,722 ✭✭✭✭RobertKK


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    I take your point re wars. However to be fair to Obama he inherited a situation.

    And yes, you could argue the most tangible impact on our lives of US president actions in the past 20 years has indirectly been the stream of refugees into Europe.

    Good / Bad President - what does that mean?

    Looking at it another way - in what way would the US be any different if we'd had 6 completely different individuals as president in the past 30 years.

    And I know that's a 'what if' situation.

    But I just don't see meaningful any way that presidents have shaped what ordinary life in the US is today, outside of what you refer to - the military. Reagan maybe, not any of the others.

    By contrast say in Britain, Thatcher and Blair had huge impacts on society as did for obvious reasons David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

    They get to pick the Supreme Court judges which can have a meaningful impac on life in the US.
    Those wars have an impact on US lives in the US.
    The US has a gun problem, and yet we have a president who lets the US population who support liberal gun laws to influence his opinion.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    Has any US president in the past 30 years had as much impact on day to life in the US as Ben Bernanke, Paul Volcker or Alan Greenspan?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,885 ✭✭✭megaten


    I don't think this is true at all. My understanding is that us presdents are now more powerful than they should be because congress would prefer delegating national defense measures to the executive rather than try and make potentially unpopular policy decisions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,726 ✭✭✭FrostyJack


    Tombo2001 wrote:
    Its a symbolic position. (Not just that, but the symbolism of the role greatly outweighs its actual powers).


    If Obama was president during 9/11 Europe , including our country would not have refugees trying to come over in waves due to direct intervention in the Middle East. If Trump was president in 2008 taking over during the worst global recessions in decades, his childish shortsighted economic policies we would probably be in a worse recession now which would have made the World a more dangerous place. Pulling out of nuclear and conventional weapon treaties left right and centre puts us all at risk. This is not going into crazy environmental policies. So in short who is president affects us an awful lot and if someone as immoral but more intelligent than Trump gets into office we are all screwed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,264 ✭✭✭✭kowloon


    I've been genuinely surprised by how much the US president can actually do since the current incumbent took office. Like someone has said on here, he has the teflon factor. Some of the scandals he has been involved in would have resulted in a resignation from previous presidents. Govt. departments have been gutted and none of the high-level positions seem safe for long. The USA can no longer be relied on to stick to agreements from one president to the next with anywhere near the same confidence as before.
    It's not the supreme ruler position some think it is but it's a more influential position than I previously believed, and it has expanded massively over time, going back to the likes of Lincoln and FDR, and once the power of the executive is expanded it's very hard to claw it back. The real difference with Trump is how he's pushing to expand his power, mainly to benefit or protect himself and his circle.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 21,517 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how


    Trump has brought in a significant tax break, has pulled the US out of the Paris accord, has pushed back on climate protection rules and initiatives and tried to dismantle Obamacare.
    All of these are incredibly significant.
    What do you expect a President to do that would be deemed impactful if not the above.

    Before him, Obama tried to steady the ship after the 2008 crash and is largely seen to have done so, he made more progress on universal healthcare than any president in my lifetime, and he presented a stable, thoughtful, cooperative view to the wider world.
    Both presidents saw (have seen) the national debt increase under their watch.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    FrostyJack wrote: »
    If Obama was president during 9/11 Europe , including our country would not have refugees trying to come over in waves due to direct intervention in the Middle East. If Trump was president in 2008 taking over during the worst global recessions in decades, his childish shortsighted economic policies we would probably be in a worse recession now which would have made the World a more dangerous place. Pulling out of nuclear and conventional weapon treaties left right and centre puts us all at risk. This is not going into crazy environmental policies. So in short who is president affects us an awful lot and if someone as immoral but more intelligent than Trump gets into office we are all screwed.

    You may or may not be right about Obama - its not clear that this would have happened. Osama Bin Laden was assassinated under his watch and instruction.

    Re 2008 - no completely disagree, the economic response was dictated by the Federal Reserve via quantitative easing - the transition from Bush to Obama to Trump made absolutely no impact on the course of policy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,448 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    Trump has brought in a significant tax break, has pulled the US out of the Paris accord, has pushed back on climate protection rules and initiatives and tried to dismantle Obamacare.
    All of these are incredibly significant.
    What do you expect a President to do that would be deemed impactful if not the above.

    Before him, Obama tried to steady the ship after the 2008 crash and is largely seen to have done so, he made more progress on universal healthcare than any president in my lifetime, and he presented a stable, thoughtful, cooperative view to the wider world.
    Both presidents saw (have seen) the national debt increase under their watch.

    No no no - the Federal Reserve managed the response with Obama nodding his approval.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,517 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    No no no - the Federal Reserve managed the response with Obama nodding his approval.

    When I hear a country raised x number of jobs under a President, I don't think that that implies the president identified the need, wrote a job description, an advertisement, screened candidates, completed interviews and awarded contracts.

    The action of the Fed Reserve was done under Obama's watch and with him, as you said, nodding his approval and giving them the authority to proceed.

    That's how management works.

    When people talk about Trump opening coal mines in Pennsylvania, I don't envisage him in overalls and a hard had climbing in to a shaft lift.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,978 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    You may or may not be right about Obama - its not clear that this would have happened. Osama Bin Laden was assassinated under his watch and instruction.
    Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. The US invaded both Iraq and Afghanistan on the basis of 9/11 and at GW Bush's behest. There was a strong opinion at the time that GW Bush was fulfilling his father's unfinished business in Iraq rather than any real retaliation for 9/11. Subsequent revelations about the fake WMD certainly don't deny that hypothesis. So it's very unlikely that any other president would have undertaken the invasion of Iraq at that time. Afghanistan is a different matter, but still only obliquely so.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,192 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    The OP's position is one which I had stated even before Trump got elected.

    My day-to-day life is affected more by the government of Greg Abbott than of Donald Trump. One of the primary functions of the President of the US is foreign affairs (to include foreign military expeditions), prohibited to the States, which is why he gets so much attention abroad.

    However, if it comes to matters of quality of schools, my son's hospital bill, road construction, fire service, sales or property tax, where I can wear my sidearm, where I go vote today (It's voting day where I am, I get to vote on a prohibition on income tax, an increase in cancer research funding, and whether to waive the fee for working dogs to be adopted by their handlers after retirement, for example), criminal justice, my annual NCT-equivalent and car tax, basically everything covered by the 10th Amendment (which is everything not in the Federal Constitution), those are all primarily under the purview of Austin not of Washington DC.

    When it comes to things at the Federal level, be it foreign trade agreements, Indian affairs, the size of the defense budget, inter-state certificate reciprocity, and so on, most of those the President can only do what Congress sends him to sign (or ratifies after the fact in the case of international agreements). He is influential, especially if he refuses to sign something, but he does not get authoritative powers. His (Or her, thinking in the future) executive powers are actually pretty weak. The only thing which is decidedly strong is his military authority, and even Trump has been reasonably low-key on this.

    So, to a large extent, I agree that it matters more the makeup of Congress than who sits in the White House. That doesn't mean, however, that we shouldn't hope to have someone in the Oval Office who actually acts in a vaguely Presidential manner.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,978 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo


    So, to a large extent, I agree that it matters more the makeup of Congress than who sits in the White House. That doesn't mean, however, that we shouldn't hope to have someone in the Oval Office who actually acts in a vaguely Presidential manner.
    Nice low bar you've set there. ;)

    Is it not also possible for the President to change the way government departments operate by nominating people to head them up? Like (for example) the EPA?


  • Registered Users Posts: 21,517 ✭✭✭✭Tell me how


    prawnsambo wrote: »
    Nice low bar you've set there. ;)

    Is it not also possible for the President to change the way government departments operate by nominating people to head them up? Like (for example) the EPA?

    The President definitely has the ability to make an impact.
    Your question illustrates this with the appointment of cabinet secretaries, granted they have to be approved by congress but congress has long been a place where one side or the other pretty much always sides with the President, depending the party he represents.

    It could be similarly argued that the manager of a multinational doesn't actually do anything but that isn't the case.

    Many good businesses and organisations do run themselves to some degree but only when a manger ensures that that happens, with a weak or absent manager, factions will start trying to diverge and before long performance is visibly affected.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,192 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Sure. But Congress has to approve that person. That works for judges as well, we have now had a few cases where Supreme Court Seats have remained unfilled due to Congress having a bit of an issue with either the President or the Nominee. The record, right now, is two and a half years, the Senate -really- didn't like President Tyler.

    So, again, Congress is more important.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 559 ✭✭✭PostWoke


    Tombo2001 wrote: »
    Its a symbolic position. (Not just that, but the symbolism of the role greatly outweighs its actual powers).


    There are too many checks and balances to facilitate 'rogue' presidents.

    I've lived through the 'feelgood presidents' (particularly Obama, but basically any Democratic Party president as far as the Irish press is concerned), and the rogue presidents (George Bush, Trump) as well as the geriatrics.

    The only difference it makes is 'how they make you feel' - as for policy, the average joe really couldn't say what one president did or another president did, apart from Bush invading Iraq.

    So who cares.

    Or alternatively - lets just stop pretending it matters.


    Imagine being this ignorant about how the world works.

    This isn't Ireland's presidency we're talking about.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,958 ✭✭✭✭hotmail.com


    I think the OP has a point.

    We were told there would be chaos if Trump got elected.

    That hasn't happened.

    Why? Because he's heavily restricted in what he can do.

    And thankfully he seems to want the US to become more isolated when it comes to wars.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 559 ✭✭✭PostWoke



    We were told there would be chaos if Trump got elected.

    That hasn't happened.

    Erm, he has pulled out numerous accords because he gets made fun of by other politicians, and he's implicated with treason charges and paedophiles; what chaos did you want?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,958 ✭✭✭✭hotmail.com


    PostWoke wrote: »
    Erm, he has pulled out numerous accords because he gets made fun of by other politicians, and he's implicated with treason charges and paedophiles; what chaos did you want?

    Chaos to me is a break down in law and order, looting, hyper inflation, extreme unemployment etc etc.

    Not what you've said.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,978 ✭✭✭✭prawnsambo


    Sure. But Congress has to approve that person. That works for judges as well, we have now had a few cases where Supreme Court Seats have remained unfilled due to Congress having a bit of an issue with either the President or the Nominee. The record, right now, is two and a half years, the Senate -really- didn't like President Tyler.

    So, again, Congress is more important.
    True. But the President can keep nominating people and congress can keep rejecting them and the whole system grinds to a halt. In fact that seems to have already happened.


    494562.jpg


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    Chaos to me is a break down in law and order, looting, hyper inflation, extreme unemployment etc etc.

    Not what you've said.

    That's a false equivalency going on there, because clearly any rational person wasn't fretting about looting on the streets (though the uptick in alt right isn't exactly a sterling signal of a calm democracy). I feel like you're holding up an unreasonable interpretation about much of the anxiety over a Trump presidency.

    Today the US officially pulled out of the Paris Accord, while do you think the Kurds point of view might reason on there being chaos? Trump has rolled back numerous pieces of legislation, some of which were introduced post the 2008 crash to prevent future wobbles; meanwhile the environment ain't looking too good, with numerous deregulation such as with the Endangered Species act, among others. Then there's the matter of pulling out of the nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. If it's not being ripped up, Trump is deregulating and softening laws across the board.

    And as I said before, flagrant breaking of Hatch and Emoluments have gone unchecked because previous agreements to be bi-partisan go ignored.

    Political chaos, environmental chaos, geopolitical chaos, electoral chaos, oh but there's no looting so it's ok. Norms are being eroded, while laws may yet yield future chaos, it's scarcely a stretch.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 559 ✭✭✭PostWoke


    Chaos to me is a break down in law and order, looting, hyper inflation, extreme unemployment etc etc.

    Not what you've said.

    No one suggested what your idea of chaos (anarchy, actually) would happen; unless you have receipts?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    Oh and don't let it be forgotten that Trump himself REFUSED to say whether he'd accept the result if he lost in 2016. He was asked point blank and wouldn't commit.

    That's a remarkable, chaotic grenade to throw into any democratic process in a 1st world country. It's an obscene thing for a political leader to say. That shouldn't be ignored, so if there WAS any hysteria it's because Trump threw the petrol into that particular fire.

    Edit: and even when he DID win, he claimed there were 3 million "illegal" votes and tried to start a corrupt investigation to prove it. Kris Kobachs kangaroo court swiftly kicked into touch.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,958 ✭✭✭✭hotmail.com


    pixelburp wrote: »
    That's a false equivalency going on there, because clearly any rational person wasn't fretting about looting on the streets (though the uptick in alt right isn't exactly a sterling signal of a calm democracy). I feel like you're holding up an unreasonable interpretation about much of the anxiety over a Trump presidency.

    Today the US officially pulled out of the Paris Accord, while do you think the Kurds point of view might reason on there being chaos? Trump has rolled back numerous pieces of legislation, some of which were introduced post the 2008 crash to prevent future wobbles; meanwhile the environment ain't looking too good, with numerous deregulation such as with the Endangered Species act, among others. Then there's the matter of pulling out of the nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. If it's not being ripped up, Trump is deregulating and softening laws across the board.

    And as I said before, flagrant breaking of Hatch and Emoluments have gone unchecked because previous agreements to be bi-partisan go ignored.

    Political chaos, environmental chaos, geopolitical chaos, electoral chaos, oh but there's no looting so it's ok. Norms are being eroded, while laws may yet yield future chaos, it's scarcely a stretch.

    How great are these changes compared with changes made any world leader during their term.

    Any changes he makes can be changed again by his successor , which could be in a year.

    Just as an observer from abroad, it doesn't seem that the fundamentals of US society had changed in the last 3 years. Americans still love capitalism.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp


    How great are these changes compared with changes made any world leader during their term.

    Any changes he makes can be changed again by his successor , which could be in a year.

    Just as an observer from abroad, it doesn't seem that the fundamentals of US society had changed in the last 3 years. Americans still love capitalism.

    Ripping up longstanding treaties like nuclear disarmament is a pretty far reaching decision, equally so crippling environmental laws so TBH I think you're being a little glib and not being honest here. These aren't token gestures or shadow play. That goes double for the recent Syrian decision, easily on a par with Iraq 2 for potential fallout.

    And as you quoted me, I shouldn't have to repeat that the fundamentals of US society include its democratic principles, such as Hatch and the emoluments clause. Or its leaders not threatening to ignore election results. As I said, way back on the first page, much of any democratic country's normalcy depends on the agreement by all actors to go by its standards, and choose to obey its laws. Trump is the head of partisanship gone wild, while making geopolitical decisions with potentially lethal consequences.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 136 ✭✭DreamsBurnDown


    The action of the Fed Reserve was done under Obama's watch and with him, as you said, nodding his approval and giving them the authority to proceed.


    The Fed is independent and neither seeks approval nor is supposed to acquiesce to political pressure. Trump is the first president that I know of to openly criticize them and tell them what they should be doing. Which is quite hilarious, they respond to short to medium trends, not the whims of a madcap "commander-in-chief".

    Obama does get credit however for the $800B stimulus package that dragged the US out of recession in late 2009. Proving yet again that government spending not austerity is what prevents recessions turning onto prolonged downturns.


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