5 Things People Hate About the President (Which Are Bullshit)

Categories: Random Ephemera

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White House photo by Eric Draper
"Now, Barack, you're gonna be tempted to look at the comments under Yahoo! News stories. Please, don't do that. They take the nuclear launch codes away from you for a week if you do."
If you spend even a modicum of time on the Internet, you will discover that the President is very, very much disliked by a very large group of people. I don't mean Barack Obama, by the way. I just mean the President.

Since America in general has the collective attention span and memory of a goldfish that has run out of Adderall, it's easy to look at the ridiculous collection of increasingly weak puns on Obama's name (Obamafail? Seriously?) and assume that this is particular to the current sitting executive. Those of us with access to Google can find you any number of equally lame charges directed at George W. Bush from his day.

The fact is that the President is a big target no matter what majestic butt cheeks warm the chair in the Oval Office. Much of what people dislike about the President is well-founded, but even more of it is just ignorant bullshit masquerading as righteous indignation. Things like...

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U.S. Air Force File Photo
5. The Cost of the President's Vacation
One of the best stories that the news media love is to trumpet the cost of a presidential vacation. Here's Fox News frothing with rage over the Obamas' $16 million Hawaiian holiday with Oprah Winfrey in Maui, followed by trips to Africa. If you're not sporting an outrage-boner yet, consider that George W. Bush and his wife spent at least four times that on goodwill missions to Africa and $20 million flying to their Texas ranch.

That seems like an ungodly amount to spend on a vacation, but those numbers are highly misleading. Here's a breakdown on presidential travel standards that makes for some fun reading, but I'll sum it up for you. If the President is on official business, then, yes, the taxpayers pick up the tab. If he's on vacation, as much as any President is ever really on vacation, then the chief pays for everything except for travel. That last bit is the most important.

The President and First Lady always fly military aircraft for security purposes, and always within guidelines set by the Secret Service and the Air Force. Those guidelines are not determined by the President and he has no control over their costs. If the travel is for personal or unofficial reasons, the President must pay the equivalent of an airline ticket price as reimbursement for the ride. There's a complicated formula that divvies it up if travel is a combination of state business and personal pleasure, but in the end, the "million" part of the price of travel is nothing the President can do anything about.

Stories like those are meant to spark a nice, wet round of "You should be working on the economy instead of wasting millions of dollars on travel!" Funny thing about the President and the economy...

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4. The Economy
If you're like me, you've spent the Great Recession feeling like someone shot you in the unmentionables and cackling madmen have been trying to stop the bleeding with every dollar in your wallet. Or maybe you're a well-off person who suddenly can afford only one gold-dusted panda fur coat unlike that bastard Johansson in marketing, who has two. I'm not here to judge, unless you're part of the second group, in which case I hope someone replaces your underwear with fire ants. Back on topic: Why can't the President fix the economy?

Being mad at the President over the economy is kind of like being pissed off at a frozen iPhone and dealing with it by throwing rocks at Steve Jobs's grave. Most presidents can't do much about the economy at all. First of all, when it comes to the economy, the way we measure it means that it takes months or years to understand what is even going on at any given moment. Sure, we get a jobs report every month, but the next month it's going to be immediately updated or changed to reflect a more in-depth review of the data.

Take a look at unemployment under Bush and then Obama over here. Everything literally looks fine until one day you're suddenly dropping 100,000 jobs a month. Then, while everyone's running around like Chicken Little, things start getting better...then a little worse...then a lot better...then a little meh...and so on.

What exactly is a President supposed to do with the economy in a capitalist system? He can raise the minimum wage for federal employees, maybe install a new Federal Reserve chairman if the previous one feels like leaving (most Presidents inherit a Fed chair rather than appoint a new one), but aside from that, there is little he can do even indirectly.

The best thing the government can really accomplish in this regard is to measure it, hope to see a positive trend and try to figure out why that happened. On the other hand, if you're talking about the Russian economy, the President can apparently get a lot more done.

This story continues on the next page.


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14 comments
DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

It's amazing that facts are ignored by purposefully misinformed morons.

Patrick Russell
Patrick Russell

Sad thing is that most "Obama Haters" really have no factual basis for their hatred of his policies....is progression in the opposite direction of an increasingly ass backward society that keeps proving time after time it needs more direction a bad thing?? They cling to the inevitible ghosts of the rapidly dying Conservative Ideal because Conservative mommy, daddy, Rush Limbaugh and Fox news tells them to blindly hate Obama! Think outside the box...it's not 1950 anymore.

Jesse Santillano
Jesse Santillano

NM the haters. Keep up the great work, Mr. President! Liberty and Justice, for ALL!

Armida Blue
Armida Blue

I don't like Obama and none of my reasons are on the list.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Even as a dyed in the wool Democrat, I do think he could have and should have done far more to work with Congress as Clinton did before him. Aside from that quibble your points are valid.

Mark H. Rogers
Mark H. Rogers

People don't like his Policies, not his politics........

arrodiii
arrodiii

Did I accidentally get onto the Economists' webpage?

pro_NFL_scout
pro_NFL_scout

I also support our president. And while I commend you for writing this post, you're a little short on facts. It might help to cite some to support your assertions –as this comes up as nothing more than a puff piece. e.g. Fact: at his current rate of .09 per day in office, president Obama is projected to issue the fewest executive orders since Grover Cleveland.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@didnotkatie I've never read that article. Also, even if I had read that article I fail to see how it is plagiarized. 

DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

@gossamersixteen Hard to work with people when they're stopping at nothing to undermine you and make you look like an ass.

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