Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
17 views
17 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018
76 Views

The Obama presidency – here’s where the story begins…

Robin Kolodny, Associate Professor of Political Science at Temple University, Pennsylvania, and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex speaks to The Badger about Obama, his policies and assassination.


Election night:

Firstly where were you for the election?

I was in the American Embassy in London.

And what was your reaction?

Happy, but mostly relieved that the polls were correct. Glad that the Congress went Democrat as well.

The man:

Should we be sceptical that Obama, as is often accused of Blair, will turn out to be all spin and no action?

That’s a difficult question. The system prevents him from making huge changes as he needs Congress and they have very diverse interests to protect. I predict wide policy steps in foreign policy and civil rights for gay Americans but the level of changes will be milder than some will want.

How much of a radical will Obama be?

Not that radical at all. Remember that he campaigned as mainstream democratic, and unlike Hillary Clinton he is not promising national healthcare but healthcare that supplements the private sector. There will be no wholesale nationalisation, just temporary measures to ensure the system stays afloat. Generally the Democrat party is much more to the right compared to what it was thirty years ago.

Obama celebrates presidential victory, but what exactly will his victory mean? (photo: Dailynews.com)

Key People:

Who are the key people around Obama? Has he chosen well?

Its still too early to say with a lot of posts not announced yet. The one key announcement so far is Rahm Emanuel a Chief of Staff. He was close to the Clintons and has a much more direct management style – basically he thinks he’s right a lot! The flipside of this is that he will keep Obama focussed and I was impressed that he picked someone who no one can push around. More generally there is a lot of back-room jockeying to go on. The temptation for Obama is to take fellow senators that he knows well and has worked with before but he can’t drain the senate of its best people. And he promised to bring change so he needs to pick people from outside the normal sphere of politics, like Michael Bloomberg [the billionaire Mayor of New York] or for me, offering Al Gore Secretary of Energy is a no-brainer.

Economy:

Does the worsening economy make it a bad time to take over?

Yes and no. It’s bad because the problems are so serious and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The American manufacturing collapse is the most immediately-pressing issue and the knock-on effects are huge. But it’s a good time as well, because after all, the American view of Bush’s presidency is so bad that the only way is up.

The global economic crisis will both give him options and tie his hands. It will mean that he can force China to improve its human rights as Americans won’t care if there are less disposable goods they can’t afford. But at the same time it ties his hands on aid. The piggybank is empty and Americans won’t care about starving Africans if they can’t afford to warm their homes!

The policies:

What will the foreign policy of an Obama government look like?

Well for one he won’t be wearing the ‘world-policeman shield’ so prominently – certainly not the same unilateralism that we saw in the last eight years. He has no choice but for a sharp departure in Iraq and Afghanistan – expect Joe Biden [vice-president] to be leading the way on that, and rightly so.

The economic crisis will mean he has to be more respectful of the President’s impact on markets, and I genuinely believe that Obama has a consistent philosophy of humanitarianism.

Will he be able to through everything he wants even if he doesn’t get the 60 majority in Senate?

Of course not but he will get a version of it. In the US all laws from the President are transformative, and what the President sends to Congress is only the starting point. The more a policy is domestic-orientated, the more it will be changed. Something like healthcare or energy policy will be pounced on by politicians from all wings.

Obama looks set to veto Bush laws on stem cell and oil drilling policies. Is this the start of an uprooting of the Bush government’s laws?

Clinton did it too with the family medical leave act. It’s a great way for a new President to indicate a clean break from the last guy. Rewrite a new bill and sign it on the first day of his Presidency. The main thing for Obama now is the budget – its due on February the 1st and is the product of 18 months’ work by Bush’s advisors.

He has only 11 official days to change it [after taking the Presidency on January 20th] so will be working his hardest to get in there before then.

Race:

Does Obama’s victory mean the final victory for race relations?

Absolutely not. It’s a significant victory, yes, and it’s the dawn of a new era. But the same day that American’s voted in a black President, the state of Nebraska outlawed positive discrimination! It doesn’t wipe out prejudice, it doesn’t deal with residential segregation and it doesn’t deal with the fact that most American prisoners are black. It’s a turning point but he is not the messiah – he cannot do everything that the black community want. In some ways just having a black family in the White House is the best thing he can do to break stereotypes.

Environment:

How will Obama deal with environmental concerns better than Bush?

Well, will he deal with them at all? Whatever he does on the first day he will be doing better than Bush. He’s not purely willing to cede to business demands. There may be lots of bold, new initiatives. For example, the collapse of the US manufacturing industry means Obama has more power; he can say “you want to be bailed out? Then all your cars have to be hybrid in 5 years.” He probably won’t be that bold, but it’s possible.

Threats:

And finally, do you think he will be assassinated?

I don’t think so, no. This is not 1960. Since the assassination attempt on Reagan the secret service have improved massively. One test will be where he sends his kids to school. They currently go to a nice private school, but when the Clinton’s moved in to the White House they moved Chelsea from a public [state] school to the incredibly prestigious Sidwell Friends School, as the secret service convinced them that it was necessary for her protection. If when they move to Washington D.C the kids go somewhere with a history of looking after high-profile children then it shows they are worried about attacks.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
17 views
17 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018
Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
20 views
20 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018
Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
25 views
25 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018
20 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
17 views
Artist Focus
17 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018

Rory Hinshelwood studies Zoology with Spanish at Sussex. His brand is called Poplar St., at the moment the brand sell embroidered high-quality t-shirts. Rory works mostly in graphics…

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
20 views
Artist Focus
20 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018

The Badger spoke with Sussex University’s Maayan Cohen about her creative workshop, ‘Bits and Pieces.’ Can you tell us a bit about Bits and Pieces- what’s the…

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
25 views
Arts
25 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

As part of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Undisciplined, Voodoo comes to being as a collaboration between South East Dance and Project O. Project O brings artists Alexandrina…

Arts
20 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

For the concluding show of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Double Bill brings two short performances to The Old Market’s stage: Comebacks I thought of later by Eleanor…

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review
Arts
32 views
Arts
32 views

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review

Georgia Grace - April 24, 2018

Last week at the Attenborough Centre, the phenomenally unique and refreshing dance company Candoco brought to the stage a double bill of performances exploring identity, community and…

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
54 views
Arts
54 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
80 views
Arts
80 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018

I am not advocating that all music, no matter how little talent is required, is by default innovative. I will eagerly admit that much of the bland,…

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
82 views
Arts
82 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018

  Final year English and Drama student Sophie Pester will be taking her original stage show A Glass Half Empty to Brighton Fringe next month. First performed…

What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
69 views
Arts
69 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

This elusive and slightly archaic category, 'the literary canon' seeps into what we know and what we think we know about 'good' and 'bad' literature. On a simple…

For students, where does work end and rest begin?
Features
94 views
Features
94 views

For students, where does work end and rest begin?

Lucy Pegg - April 17, 2018

Print Production Editor Lucy Pegg examines the difficult balance between work and rest for students. In an environment that blurs the line between productivity and recreation, can…

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?
Science
72 views
Science
72 views

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?

Luke Richards - April 14, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been tough for Facebook, as it reels from the public scrutiny it has received over its lackadaisical protection of personal data.…

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show
Arts
113 views
Arts
113 views

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show

Georgia Grace - April 13, 2018

At The Badger we sat down with multi-talented comic, three-time Chortle Award winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Joseph Morpurgo to discuss his show Hammerhead. Following a three-week…

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology
Comment
132 views
Comment
132 views

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology

William Singh - April 12, 2018

99 years ago on Friday, one British general marched his soldiers into an enclosed garden in the vicinity of the holy Golden Temple and sealed off the…

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview
Arts
119 views
Arts
119 views

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview

Georgia Grace - April 12, 2018

Candoco are a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers who, for the past 25 years, have challenged ideas about what dance can be and who gets to…

Voodoo preview
Arts
80 views
Arts
80 views

Voodoo preview

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 12, 2018

“[A] science fiction that addresses the desire, confusion and responsibility felt as individuals, who are also symbols of many long-persecuted people.” (Quoted from Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila…

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring
Lifestyle
162 views
Lifestyle
162 views

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring

Louisa Streeting - April 6, 2018

Sound recordist, Chris Watson, spoke to The Badger about his new installation piece featured in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts until 13 April 2018. From…

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review
Arts
200 views
Arts
200 views

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review

William Singh - March 31, 2018

“This is not a show. It’s something else”, we’re told. Gary Clarke’s dance performance of the life and decline of Britain’s mining communities is certainly something else.…

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year
Lifestyle
206 views
Lifestyle
206 views

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year

Louisa Streeting - March 28, 2018

Brighton will become the hub of craft beer in more than a dozen pubs from April 27-29. The Brighton Tap Takeover returns for a third year bringing…

Young blood promotes brain regeneration
Science
143 views
Science
143 views

Young blood promotes brain regeneration

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

On the "growing old is natural" vs "it should be medically reversed" debate, vampires have crossed the picket line from the get-go and scientists have just proven…

The educational psychology of children with autism
Science
168 views
Science
168 views

The educational psychology of children with autism

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

The scientific field of educational psychology studies the relationship between learning processes and the individual differences in cognitive development, motivation and intelligence. The majority of children are…