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“Thanks, Obama!” is a sarcastic expression used by critics of President Barack Obama to blame personal troubles and inconveniences on public policies supported or enacted by the administration. The phrase is often used to caption animated GIFs in which the subject appears to be struggling with a rather simple task, satirizing those who scapegoat Obama as the cause of problems for which he has little or no influence.
On December 17th, 2009, the conservative political blog Authentic Connecticut Republican published a post highlighting a demotivational poster of a young girl making a “middle finger” gesture with the caption “Thanks, Obama” (shown below).
On March 10th, 2011, YouTuber SecretAgentBob uploaded a video in which a woman threatens a man’s life with a knife, to which he sarcastically responds “Thanks, Obama!” (shown below). The video received over 390,000 views and 2,400 comments within the next two years.
On August 23rd, the “Everything is Barack Obama’s Fault” Quickmeme page was created, featuring a photo of a sullen-looking President Obama with captions listing petty grievances, followed by “Thanks Obama” (shown below).
On November 1st, 2012, Redditor Martholomule submitted an animated infomercial FAIL GIF of a man dropping several items from a food tray and the caption reading “Thanks, Obama” (shown below) in an /r/reactionGIFs post titled “My family’s reaction to the last four years.” The post went on to inspire dozens of derivative instances based on other infomercial GIFs from the /r/wheredidthesodago subreddit.
On December 5th, Redditor filmisbone submitted a post titled “Lately, Republicans blame everything on Obama” to the /r/gifs subreddit, featuring an animated GIF of a man knocking over a snack food bowl. Within two months, the post received over 7,000 up votes and 265 comments. The same day, Redditor kvachon submitted the first post to the /r/ThanksObama subreddit, featuring an animated GIF of a woman having a difficult time using plastic wrap (shown below, right).
Within two months of creation, the /r/ThanksObama subreddit accumulated over 14,500 subscribers and 250 submissions. On December 6th, the “Thanks Obama” Tumblr blog was launched, which highlighted over 60 notable examples from the /r/ThanksObama subreddit over the next seven weeks. On January 11th, 2013, the International Business Times reported that Twitter users were expressing outrage toward Obama’s tax increases on the middle class by tweeting sarcastic comments with the phrase “Thanks Obama.”
International Business Times – Smaller US Paychecks in 2013 Spark Twitter Outrage from Disgruntled Obama Voters