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The Obama Years And The Silence of the Fans

Imagine the outrage if an American President slammed his predecessor for being too soft on immigration.

Imagine he said he was signing an Executive Order ‘to reverse years of neglect at the border’.

He goes on to praise the fact that under his leadership ‘We are deporting record numbers of criminals and other deportable aliens’ and talks about a tide of illegal immigration.

To stem the tide his Executive Order strengthens the laws which prevent Federal contracts from going to businesses that knowingly hire illegal workers, after all, as he says ‘American jobs belong to American workers’ and he is ‘…determined to restore the rule of law to our Nation’s immigration system.’

Well, by now you might already be organizing your protest. You’d be a bit late mind, given that those were the actions of President Bill Clinton in 1996. At the time, I don’t remember a murmur of dissent from Concerned of California and Horrified of Hampstead.

But that was a long time ago.

OK, perhaps we can look at 2014 when the sitting President oversaw a refugee system which allowed 105 Syrian refugees to seek shelter in the Land of the Free. 105.  Outraged? Well at least President Obama did crack open the big heart in 2015 when more than 1,000 Syrian were given shelter from a worsening war about which he did nothing except issue red lines and then pretend he hadn’t. In 2016 there was substantial help for the Syrian refugees, but it was too little too late for many.

Of course, by then he’d already enacted a 6-month suspension of allowing in Iraqi refugees. That was back in 2011. But in his last year in office, the President who had overseen a massive increase in drone strikes abroad, and deported more Hispanics than George Bush, doubled down on 8 years of tough action.

His Department of Homeland Security beefed up the 2015 Visa Waiver Program and added ‘Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.’ The existing countries were Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria.  Sound familiar?

Now, apart from the Iraqi ban none of this is as draconian, nor indeed as ham fisted, as the White House’s dismal display over the weekend to get its story straight, nevertheless this was pretty tough stuff and had it been enacted by someone whose name begins with T and who has an unfortunate manner I suspect there may have been global howls of protest and indeed letters written to the Times. (other newspapers are available).

But no. Silence. The great and the good are often so locked into their world view, and narrative,  of selecting outrage according to the person who carries out the perceived crime, that they stood silently by as Obama unleashed the dawn raid squads to deport Hispanics and drone the villages of the North-West Frontier.

So, by all means clutch your pearls to your throat and call for the smelling salts before gathering at a protest to show your solidarity against these draconian measures taken by a vain, blustering ill-informed man.  But remember, if you’re asked ‘What did you do in the Great Push Back War Daddy?’  reply – ‘Well, for 8 years I did absolutely nothing.’







10 Comments on "The Obama Years And The Silence of the Fans"

  1. Well said Tim. Be interesting to see how many followers you lose over this.

  2. Not me, this site is one of the best things on the Internet.

  3. One small point. From what I can tell, there wasn’t a 6 month suspension on Iraqi refugees, but rather their visa applications were put through extremely rigorous background checks which slowed down their admittance to the US to a crawl. In practicality it shares similarities to a suspension as the numbers admitted during that period were so small, but is arguably ideologically different, especially as it was a reaction to a specific event – two Iraqis being arrested in Kentucky on charges of plotting to ship weapons to insurgents in Iraq.

    See here:

    I agree with the overall intent of the article, but thought this was worth mentioning!

  4. “clutch your pearls to your throat and call for the smelling salts” – Tim, really? I’ve always respected you and acknowledge that you know far, far more about world affairs than I do, but reducing those whose opinions you disagree with to a caricature is a slippery slope and will do nothing to win them to your argument.

  5. It’s too easy to get distracted by the usual Twitter petitions and pussy-hat wearing protesters. Much of what we’re seeing in America is the futile huffing of the Left who realise that they won the popular vote yet are now entirely shut out of Washington.

    That much said, I think it’s unfair to compare what’s going on with any other presidency bar Nixon’s. Look at the hard politics. The real serious criticisms aren’t about the nature of the ban but the manner of its implementation. Trump’s 31 year old adviser, Stephen Miller, has come in for special criticism for not circulating the text of the executive orders to the departments that would be expected to implement them. Trump’s cabinet have also been bypassed, as have the Republican leadership. Maybe this is all deliberate — Steve Bannon apparently has a plan to destroy the conservative establishment — but it’s also chaotic and, arguably, quite frightening. There’s a tone emerging from the White House that is more telling than anything. I notice this morning that Trump accused the acting AG of ‘betrayal’. This is getting so very Nixonian. The protests are a distraction from the real fights that are taking place inside the American government and around the Constitution. It’s also compulsive viewing and fascinating.

  6. To be a Leeds United Fan is to be doomed to walk the path of perpetual unpopularity. To know that hope is a mirage, disappointment the inevitable reality. Great work. Keep it up.

  7. I listened yesterday to some of what Clinton said at the time and it was calm and measured. I think language is important when making announcements and a President on Twitter saying “There are a lot of bad dudes out there” is not something people are used to. He is galvanizing a lot of people with his populist approach.

    One of his Tweets yesterday said “Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!” Who would not disagree with that? That one Tweet was retweeted 57,000 times and liked by 213,000 people. He is using Twitter like no other President has before and this adds to the frenzy for those who both like and hate him.

    I would agree with David it’s about the tone and the chaotic way it was done but I agree a lot of this is hysteria and some whipped up by the media. News programmes have become almost obsessed by dissecting every move or Tweet by Trump. BBC News ITV News Sky their programmes are largely devoted to Trump with most other news buried. Then if you watch News night or turn on the radio it is all about Trump.

    I guess it’s much the same round the world. My brother flew out of Los Angeles on Sunday and he said the atmosphere at the airport was different to normal and a bit chaotic.

    Agree there is some selective rage going on which has been hijacked by groups on the left with an agenda and who want to see Trump impeached but feel there are various factors at play as this is a President the like of which we have never seen before

  8. I wonder how foreign outrage is going down with the US voter, only the single poll so far on the measures. I would imagine it would help Trump more than hinder him.

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