The Top 5 Myths About The Obama Administration

The Top 5 Myths About The Obama Administration

From insatiable demands to produce his birth certificate to allegations that he’s a secret Muslim, it seems like Barack Obama simply can’t catch a sanity break in the lunacy of American politics. The truth is that every president and presidential candidate always faces a slew of conspiracies and half-truths on the path to election or re-election. Going beyond its numerous scandals, the Clinton administration was dogged by allegations that they just straight up killed people. George Bush was constantly accused of secretly orchestrating 9/11 and allegations of an illegitimate black child effectively sunk John McCain’s 2000 presidential run.

Regardless of a candidate’s political views, they deserve to be judged in a place scientist like to call “reality”, instead of a region several light years away known as “Political Theater”. So let’s walk through and debunk some of the most pervasive myths about the Obama administration.

The Myth: If he had been born in Kenya, he wouldn’t be a “Natural Born Citizen” and therefore couldn’t be president.

Any sane person should be thoroughly exasperated by the Obama Birth Certificate faux-scandal. It’s embarrassing, borderline racist, and distracts us from real issues, like this week’s episode of Glee. The fact remains, however, that only natural born citizens of the United States can be President. If by some elaborate farce Obama actually was born in Kenya, he couldn’t be president. It’s very explicitly stated in the Constitution.

The Truth: No one knows what the fuck “Natural Born Citizen” means

In the case Minor v. Happersett the Supreme Court basically admitted that they had no idea what this phrase meant, saying “The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens”. There are reams of Supreme Court cases regarding the minutia of what it takes to be considered an American citizen, but given that the office of the Presidency is the only one that specifies a “Natural Born Citizen” requirement, there are so few legal precedents to go on that no one is quite sure what would happen if an American born to American parents abroad tried to run for the office. Panama-born John McCain got a free pass only because in United States v. Wong Kim Ark the Supreme Court explicitly stated that a child born to American parents in US territories was considered a natural born citizen. But again, no one knows for sure because this precedent has never been tested in court with a specific relation to the Presidency.

So where does that leave this conspiracy that Obama was born in Kenya and is Muslim as All Hell? Apparently in 2009, the Congressional Research Service (colloquially known as Congresses Think Tank) got really sick of all this bickering and issued a report stating: “it appears that the most logical inferences would indicate that the phrase “Natural Born Citizen” would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘at birth’ or ‘by birth’”. That is to say, even if Obama had been born in Kenya, he was still born to an American mother and therefore (based on well-established precedent) at birth he would still be considered a citizen and eligible to run for president. But then again, this has never been authoritatively settled by the Supreme Court, so maybe we can just stop arguing about it because Glee is about to start.

The Myth: The Healthcare Bill will force Americans to buy a government health insurance plan and explode the deficit.

To hear the rhetoric surrounding Obamacare, one would think this was the most expensive, job-killing, make-work, socialist program since the Works Progress Administration. Some of the more extreme critics claim that forcing citizens to buy health insurance is an unconstitutional grab for increased government power. Apparently these people have never paid a tax.

The Truth: Americans can buy whatever healthcare they choose, as long as they buy something. The jury’s still out on whether this healthcare plan will increase or decrease the deficit, but it certainly won’t cause it to balloon.

Nowhere in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are citizens forced to do anything except pay a fine if they refuse to purchase health insurance. This unfortunately sounds very much like the government forcing people to do something simply because the government thinks it’s best. But this is America damn it! The government can’t make me do anything, it’s in the Constitution… along with that part that says the government can totally force you to do things, one of which is pay your goddamn taxes, which is effectively all this mandate is.

As for blowing up the federal deficit, the Congressional Budget Office—a nonpartisan body—estimates that healthcare reform will actually reduce the deficit by 143 billion from 2010-2019. These numbers are heavily disputed, but in light of the high cost of Bush’s Pharmaceutical Plan — which came in well below their high estimates — even pessimistic numbers for the costs are hardly budget-breaking.

The Myth: He passed a wildly unpopular stimulus that gave money to banks and the wealthy.

Whether you’re a Keynesian or an Austrian economist, Democrat or Republican, poor or… uh less poor, you probably hate the stimulus bill. It’s hard to find a single person outside of Goldman Sachs who believes we should reward corporate greed and that we can spend our way out of a recession.

The Truth: The stimulus is actually very popular in its constituent parts, no money went directly to any large banks and many economists believe it was actually not big enough.

“The Stimulus” has become such a boogeyman of a word that it often obfuscates what was actually included in the bill, namely unemployment insurance extension, infrastructure projects, and oh yeah, tax cuts. Each of these provisions, when polled separately, enjoys majority support among Americans. What most people are thinking about when they say “Bank Bailout” is actually the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or “TARP”, which was recently fully repaid with interest. As for the plan’s effectiveness in fighting the recession, there is a healthy, long-running debate as to whether such stimuli are actually effective, but Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, among many others, believed the stimulus was actually far too small.

The Myth: Obama got Osama Bin Laden or Bush did all the work

To hear liberals fawn over the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden, one would think that Obama was some sort of warrior god king who personally went to Afghanistan and hip-checked Osama straight to a special part of hell. To hear conservatives sputtering response, one would think that the policies of George Bush handed Osama over on a golden platter in January 2009, and it was only Obama’s sobbing liberal sensibilities that delayed bin Laden’s death so long.

The Truth: They’re both kind of right, but it’s complicated.

As it turns out, the intelligence that ultimately led to Osama’s death came from Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM as he’s known among lazy journalists), also known as that guy we tortured the shit out of (apparently). So clearly Bush’s balls-to-the-wall Jack Bauer approach to fighting terrorism was finally vindicated, right? The truth is more complicated. KSM only volunteered useful information after we stopped torturing him. While he was being waterboarded, all he did was lie like a rug.

So clearly only after Bush’s draconian policies were reversed by Obama did anything useful happen in the hunt for Osama. Well again, the truth is more complicated than that. Despite the fact that we are the United States of F-You, we can’t really just go into any country we want and start killing people. The only reason we were able to infiltrate Pakistan (a nuclear armed country of 170 million people by the way) without sparking World War III is because of the close relationship maintained through numerous hardships by the Bush administration from 2001 until the present. And it was Bush who put General Stanley McChrystal on the path to being the commander of the forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s more restrained policies, modeled after those of General Petraeus, arguably increased support among Pakistanis for US intervention in the border regions—or at the very least allowed Pakistani officials to save more face while protecting the valuable US alliance. On the flip side though, even if all Obama did was pull the trigger on the operation, as this article details he was the one who would have suffered tremendous fallout if something had gone wrong. We can argue till we’re blue in the face about which politician is responsible, but the only person who we can unreservedly say is responsible is the Navy SEAL who pulled the trigger.

The Myth: He doesn’t believe in America/American Exceptionalism

Ever since Michelle Obama’s unfortunate quote in 2008 that she just started believing in America once Barack started winning, the Obamas have been dogged by allegations that they secretly hate America and don’t believe in American Exceptionalism (whatever that means)

The Truth: In two years, Obama has mentioned American Exceptionalism more than George Bush did in eight.

Let’s put aside for a second the weird presumption that absolute blind faith in America is a prerequisite for elected office (to be fair, America is pretty awesome). From his State of the Union, speeches in the Muslim world, and his most recent speech on Libya, one would think that Obama had the most ragingest America hard-ons in politics today. The only people who talk more about how awesome America is are the people accusing him of not talking about it enough. And far from simply saying “America, Fuck Yeah” and assuming everyone knows what he means, Obama has repeatedly laid out a careful, intelligent case for why America can fight two-and-a-half-wars, suffer the worst economic collapse in recent history, and still manage to dominate the world market while killing the world’s most infamous terrorist like it ain’t no thing.


Brian White is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He spends his free time sapping the productivity from Randian Supermen.


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  1. novenator says:

    It’s a bit scary to think how much control the plutarchy has over the media when they will regurgitate right wing talking points about the ARRA (stimulus bill) over and over, when in as noted every individual component of it enjoys broad support. Yet when TARP II passed (Tax Assistance for Rich People, ie. extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich), which cost *more*, there was hardly a peep from the MSM. The rich and powerful, with their conservative allies dictate the narrative. Turn off your tv and radio.

  2. Sneaky says:

    So this article mocks critics of healthcare who say that it is an unconstitutional move on the government’s part and then turns around and declares it truth that the healthcare bill requires people to buy healthcare. It is indeed unconstitutional to force citizens to purchase something. Of course the moron who wrote this equates punitive fines to paying taxes (that’s called the 16th amendment for taxes, nothing says anything about levying fines for not buying stuff) while at the same time completely missed the part where the constitution is a document to limit gov’t power not allow the gov’t to do whatever they want.

    The complete lack of knowledge about economics is amazing. Correct that it was not big enough to do what it was supposed to do, that would have required around 5 trillion, but as noted you can’t spend your way out of debt. However, it is misleading to say no money went directly to the banks. The banks and Wall St. are making out like gangbusters on the back of the indirect money they are getting from QE. TARP was a joke sold on the lie that it had to be done because the idea that the massive monopolistic entities such as Goldman or AIG break up and their assets be picked up by smaller, responsible entities was too much for the corrupt to bear. These assets have not been repayed in full, they just traded one monetary asset for another and made it look like they repayed it, its a sort of money laundering via the Fed. In the end all we have is a bunch more debt and still hardly any economic growth to show for it…and if you don’t think adding millions more onto the gov’t healthcare roll will somehow save money you are as naive as those who believe they can spend their way out of debt.

    • Soldierboy says:

      Absolutely correct! The proponents of healthcare “reform” promoted the penalties as “fines” to get around saying it was a tax increase/new tax. Then when called on it in court (VA -v- USA) they told the court it was a “tax” to say it was legal under the 16 amendment. The court denied that switch and said it was unconstitutional to require private citizens to buy something they do not want/need. The Feds are now appealing and it will end up in the Supreme Court eventually.
      I like the whole argument that it is no different that the requirement to buy auto insurance. But, you are only required to buy it when you CHOOSE to operate an automobile on public roads. You only must carry enough to cover whoever/whatever you destroy that belongs to others. And, It’s a STATE requirement, not a Federal one, so the 10th Amendment does not apply to it, so if you don’t like the requirements in your state you can move to another without leaving The USA.

  3. Soldierboy says:

    Who killed Osama?
    Yes, President Obama authorized the raid, AFTER waiting 16 hours to confer with PR advisors on how it would look for a Nobel Peace Prize winner to do.
    Yes, President Bush authorized interrogation methods that are not pretty, which may or may not have provided usable intelligence.
    Yes, a US Navy SEAL pulled the trigger.
    Who is ultimately responsible for the death? OBL is! He started a war with the US, planned and led multiple attacks on the US and its interests, killing thousands Americans (including Muslims). He was NOT assassinated, he was killed in a military action against an enemy of the US. Frankly, OBL could be said to have committed “suicide by military.”

  4. Steve 13 says:

    This clown is as partisan as they come. Do yourselves a big favor and begin the long road of supporting a 3rd and 4th party. Common sense is what will save America (simply following your moral compass & doing the right thing). Neither the left or right are capable any longer. Democratic party died with Kennedy and the Republican with Reagan.

  5. Giovanni says:

    “So clearly only after Bush’s draconian policies were reversed by Obama did anything useful happen in the hunt for Osama.”

    Correction – Obama continues Bush Draconian laws. He even reauthorized the Patriot Act itself and will do so again. I disagree with torture like any clear thinking American, but get your facts straight – Obama is as Draconian

    I’m not voting for Obama for the same reasons I would never vote for Bush. However, the lowest point in this article was actually citing Krugman as an ‘award winning’ economist.

    I don’t follow the birther issue the same reason I don’t follow the 9/11 truth issue – b/c even if it’s true, there’s nothing I can do about it. I might as well put my resources into showing them how the Federal Reserve is wrong, along with people like Krugman for example.

    @Noenator: TARP was passed by both parties in Congress. The Media isn’t liberal or even right, it is owned by both parties and their corporate/lobby leaders.

    You even tried justifying forcing Americans to purchase healthcare by citing taxes. Obnoxious.

  6. Chris says:

    Why did Obama spend 2 million dollars in legal fees to make sure the birth question never showed up? (not saying hes not born here, but theres been alot of evidence that makes you question)

    Stimulus : almost ~1,000,000,000,000 was a waste. There are ~311,497,779 as of 5:05 6/6/2011, Instead of wasting it, should of gave up to ~1,000,000 to every LEGAL American citizen, or household. Then to some other government groups and departments. (transit etc.)
    This would be like jolting up a old battery. Then the Government working with and not against big Companies will help sustain a “Stimulated Economy” . With ~999,968,850,221 Saved to not be spent.

    “America can fight two-and-a-half-wars, suffer the worst economic collapse in recent history, and still manage to dominate the world market while killing the world’s most infamous terrorist like it ain’t no thing.”

    Dominate for another two years? How about letting us drill, earlyer, 3 years ago,(if you want to go further, how about 7 years ago, when the senate democrats were against drilling in our own reserves). Foreign dependency for oil is not good. We need to tap into our own reserves, we need to be self dependent for many other things. We need a president who does not back stab one of our biggest allies. Or a President that bends over backwards for other world leaders and groups.

    Furthermost this is the reality of the Liberal/Progressives. Historically Socialistic States have high unemployment, drive away capital investments and result in lackluster economic growth. It will not get better.

    ‘Reject the Democrat Party and its members who quite frankly are to stupid to recognize this. Why the recovery has failed despite the Trillions input into the economy is quite simple’

    “1) Significant increase in Regulations and Control over our daily lives.
    2) Manipulation of Markets by Government Intervention.
    3) Increased Taxes and Fees.
    4) Restrictions and Bans on Entry to Markets.
    5) Reduction in States Rights and establishment of Big Brother Federal Government.
    6) Transporting Employment to other counties on purpose.
    7) The lack of any Common Sense regarding Green Technology
    8) The lack of any Common Sense regarding Environmental Issues.
    9) Over influence of Big Labor transferring wealth to their Hierarchy (including govt unions).
    10) Undue transfer of wealth between major segments of population.
    11) The lack of understanding and diminishing of the importance of the Productive Segments of our economy.
    12) An Education System that is Clueless regarding what made our country great.
    13) An Elitist group of Tenured Economics Professors who absolutely refuse to accept History and current performance as proof that they are wrong.
    14) A National Media who long ago lost their objectivity.
    15) The Class Warfare regularly practiced by the Democrat Political Class.
    16) Massive Budget Deficits that accomplish nothing at all.
    17) Lessening of importance of Citizenship over Illegals. “

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