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Mtl_zack's avatar

Could Barack Obama (or someone similar) be decieving us?

Asked by Mtl_zack (6730 points ) December 17th, 2008

He gathered the entire population into one movement, applied a catchy slogan and promised to help a country that would be willing to accept almost anything in its present state. Many of his future policies seem “too-good-to-be-true” and would require a shitload of dedication, which is very hard to come across these days. What if he was actually evil, and this is just a persona?

This reminds me of a discussion I had in class about Nelson Mandela. He pardoned all of his friends who fought against the British and who were terrorists (and by today’s standards are terrorists) and appointed them to his cabinet. He offered the people hope and the people were willing to accept almost any solution. What if he actually had a secret agenda?

I’m just trying to be the devil’s advocate for a second and show the other side of things.

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23 Answers

jasongarrett's avatar

It is absolutely impossible that any politician would ever attempt to deceive the electorate, or to fail to deliver on campaign promises.

Mtl_zack's avatar

Oh, and remember, Hitler was elected and his views were politically correct at the time.

tonedef's avatar

It could be said that he was elected in part because of the deplorable condition of the economy, but he began that campaign when that wasn’t the case. Although personality cults are often associated with dictatorships, having a charismatic leader by no means portends that that you’ll soon be living in a dictatorship.

And the programs that he is proposing to dig us out a little are strangely familiar. A well-liked president who was smeared as a socialist proposing the creation of jobs through massive national infrastructure projects?

We’ve seen it before, and we’re not living in a dictatorship. In the infinitesimally small event that Obama really is a megalomaniac bent on world dictatorship, there are plenty of things that could stand in his way, like the legislature, or the judicial system.

susanc's avatar

Nelson Mandela was a terrorist and said so. That’s what it took. That and the mass shooting of demonstrating children, etc., plus never giving up – him and everybody else.

Sure, Obama may be a tool of the Communist underground or a special agent sent by
Pakistan. Time will tell. We voted for the person we distrusted the least.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@tonedef: There are limitations: his democrat senate, which dalepetrie theorizes about in this post as having 60 or more seats, very close to controlling a country. Don’t the democrats already have majority in the house? So, Obama has control of ALL of congress, and he has a very democratic cabinet. He would have to get some republicans in the cabinet, but with a few scandals and their resignation, everything would be fine for him.

His infrastructure could lead to more dismay. Look at the definition of infustructure. Look at point 1. “the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization.”—it idn’t say that it had to be good infrastructure. Now look at point 3: “the military installations of a country.”. Could Obama be using a different idea of infrastructure than our idea?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Actually only 51% of Americans voted for him. I wouldn’t exactly call that, “gather[ing] the entire population into one movement”.

Also, your comparison with Nelson Mandela pretty much falls apart on inspection it relies solely on cabinet appointments, and Obama has already chosen most of his cabinet, many of whom were his former political rivals, such a Hilary Clinton, and none of them are terrorists.

Furthermore, have you ever read the book he wrote more than 20 years ago, before he had anything to do with politics, Dreams from my Father. His so-called “persona” of a compassionate, insightful, intelligent person who wants to reform hasn’t changed, and that would take some serious foresight, to predict becoming the president in 20 years when you haven’t even ever been involved in politics.

dalepetrie's avatar

Actually La chica gomela, not to split hairs, but it was 53% (Bush only got 51% the seond time and 49% the first time).

Jeruba's avatar

Of course it’s possible. And Obama knows enough about how things work to pull the right strings.

However, I have recently finished his book Dreams from My Father and am now reading The Audacity of Hope. I am well impressed by his apparent candor and self-knowledge and (in the latter book) by his analysis of recent political history. Both books were written long before his presidential campaign, and there are plenty of things that I’m sure his handlers would have advised him not to commit to print if this election had been anticipated. So, to the extent that writing for publication can reveal a person, I think we are seeing a relatively honest view.

I can understand why some were and are wary of him. Yet that willingness to expose himself to criticism is part of what gives me confidence. Another big part is the comfort I take from our having elected someone who actually has a (to me) realistic view of the chains of cause and effect that brought us to where we are now politically. Above all I want someone in that office who actually understands what is going on, whether I personally agree with his take or not. Of the two of us, Barack and me, I think he is much better qualified to be president, and I am willing to trust that.

Mtl_zack's avatar

@LCG: The book was published in 1995, one year before he was elected senator. It could have been good PR for him to write that. Also, in 1995, there was a recession where people would accept many false promises in exchange for some success. Also, Bill Clinton, a democrat, was in office at the time.

Mtl_zack's avatar

And as for Audacity Of Hope, it was published in 2006, and Obama was judged by CNN as one of the “front runners” of the primaries in October 2007. Yet again, good PR.

EDIT: Obama announced that he was running for president on February 10th, 2007.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The other side of what things? Define your terms.

To equate Mandela and Obama in the same breath is a disregard of the situations surrounding the backgrounds of these men and the state of their countries at the time of their rise to power.

And the ANC were fighting against the Afrikaners who stole their land, not the British. The Boer War was over a hundred years ago. “Terrorists,” indeed. As if you wouldn’t fight off someone who was trying to kick you out of your own home and enslave you.

Mtl_zack's avatar

I wasn’t trying to equate Obama and Mandela. My skepticising of Obama just reminded me of a class discussion where we were skeptical of Mandela.

Definition of terrorism. Yup, those people were terrorists.

Snoopy's avatar

@Jeruba Both of his books are at least in part for self promotion. That doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer….I just don’t think their publication and the timing of same was a coincidence.

Kudos to him for being progressive enough to use them as a PR tool

Mizuki's avatar

By your own definition, is George W Bush a terrorist?

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

Maybe Obama is a Muslim-Boogieman, or maybe he is the Anti-Christ—woooooooooooooo!

As long as he is not George Bush, anything short of clubbing to death a baby harp seal on the White House lawn, would be OK with me.

Mtl_zack's avatar

That isn’t my own definition. It is the generally accepted definition.

Everyone can interpret everyone else as a terrorist, depending on who is victimized and on the methods used by the movement.

Jeruba's avatar

@Snoopy: Granted, you don’t write books about yourself, recounting your formative experiences, eludicating your philosophy, etc., in hopes of staying out of the public eye and keeping a low profile. He did explain in the first one that he wrote it in response to solicitation from a publisher after becoming the first black president of Harvard Law Review, and it was he who decided to take it as far as he did. Allowing for all that (and having read some number of other books that were also self-promoting in nature), I find his remarkable in their tone of candor, which means to me either that he is extremely good at delivering a tone of candor (especially when the content does not seem to be halo-polishing) or that he is actually being candid, or both.

I still haven’t said whether I believe everything. I am describing what I see.

Also, these books were not thrown together overnight. They were written with care and deliberation. So work was under way long before publication. And I have not found any typos in them so far (still in the first quarter of the second one) and only two or three misuses of words. To me this means that the whole editing and production process was probably handled carefully and at a reasonable pace. Except for rush jobs, it still takes a good year to get a book from manuscript delivery to release, after the writing is completed. This means that the content considerably predates the date of publication.

Mtl_zack's avatar

But if someone was running for president, they would need it to be perfect, because it represents him, hence the perfection of editing.

augustlan's avatar

Well, what if he is deceiving us? We’ll know soon enough, and that’s why there are checks and balances and presidential elections every 4 years. For now, I’m going to trust him : )

mrjadkins's avatar

You mean like the deception of the past 8 years?

Jeruba's avatar

Argh, I wrote in haste above (from work) and didn’t catch the misspelling of “elucidating.” That is just one of those words you shouldn’t use unless you can spell it right. I am going to have to make a blush-pink version of my avatar for use on such special occasions.

susanc's avatar

@mtlzack: you keep going back and forth between “I’m not saying this, I heard it in class” and “but it’s true, isn’t it? I can prove it”. Make up your mind.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’ve thought about the same thing numerous times. i don’t expect him to be perfect, or even as good as he says he will, because he IS a politician, regardless of how genuine or kind he really is at heart or is not. however, on a higher level of deception, hell, you never know. i mean he could very well be someone just as evil as hitler, but with better catch phrases and lots of pop culture support. but you’ve got to take chances. i mean, pick the guy who’s promising good things but could be horrible, or pick the guy who’s promising negative things but could be…horrible?

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