[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Obama - Just Another "Liberal"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama - Just Another "Liberal"

A very good column by Michael Gerson which nails Obama pretty much to a tee:
Elected on the promise to transcend old arguments of left and right, Obama has systematically reinforced them on domestic issues. A pork-laden stimulus. A highly centralized health reform.

Eight months into Obama's term, American politics is covered in the cobwebs of past controversies. Obama has supporters, but he has ceased trying for converts.

This should surprise no one. Obama did not rise on Bill Clinton's political path -- the path of a New Democrat, forced to win and govern in a red state. Obama was a conventional, congressional liberal in every way -- except in his extraordinary abilities. His great talent was talent itself, not ideological innovation.

And given the general Republican collapse of 2006 to 2008 -- rooted in the initial unraveling of Iraq, the corruption of the Republican congressional majority and the financial meltdown -- Obama did not need innovation to win. Only ability and the proper tone.


Obama, once again, relies on his political virtuosity to prevail. But he lacks the ideological tools to win unexpected allies and poach support in the middle. His main argument remains: ``I won.'' That may be enough to muscle through a comprehensive health reform bill (though I doubt Obama has changed the challenging political dynamic in Congress). It is not enough to realign American politics or change its tone.
Gerson ist's exactly 100% supportive of the current GOP either, so it's not just mindless hyper-partisan GOP blabber.

Check the column out here.


Blogger Jonathan said...

Not a liberal or even a "liberal". More a fascist or Stalinist. Whatever one calls him he is operating outside of the American political tradition.

1:38 AM, September 15, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Yes, Obama is a Stalinist. Leftists are either government employees on the take or naive idiots (btw Jonathan, what happened to your principled "no taking sides"?). Tea partiers represent the view of the center-right majority, just like the Christian Right before. Talk radio has nothing to do with it, Beck and Hannity are just writing posters pro-bono.

What happened in the past two election cycles must be some kind of fluke. Somehow the evil MSM have hypnotized honest Americans into supporting something they don't believe in.

Robert, why don't you close this thread as well? Jonathan has got it all figured out.

9:12 AM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

No, I'm leaving this one open. It's Rick's continued avoidance of discussing the issues that I finally grew tired of after 18 comments.

Word to the wise: stay on point or this one will shut down too. I don't have time to go back and forth with the same tired arguments on multiple threads that go nowhere and demonize an entire group of like-minded people for the actions of a few.

9:31 AM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

Word to the wise? I've asked very specific questions -Grassley, tea partiers- repeatedly with no answer other than "you do it too". I got limited time as well and we are not getting anywhere. Maybe 0 comments on most posts or a Greek chorus ala Babalu suits you better. As far as I'm concerned, a closed thread is a closed door.

10:45 AM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

I've been more than patient and have tried to explain myself as well as possible, not only in these recent threads but in others over the past few weeks. No reasonable person can/should be expected to baby-sit and respond to a dead-end thread for more than 2 days. Quite frankly, most people's tolerance is much lower than mine, but even mine has a limit. My comments are open to anyone and everyone, which is more that can be said for other blogs, including some of which you frequent and participate in on a regular basis. Talk about closed doors!

If our discussions reach a dead-end with little or no agreement, then so be it. The opportunity to provide ample discussion is the only thing I feel I should provide.

It's funny how you and Rick invoke Babalu in many of the comments here. If you want to discuss a post I put up there, fine. Otherwise, if you have issues with them, bring it up with them there, not here please. Stop using this blog as a sounding board for everything you dislike about Babalu Blog.

11:29 AM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I don't know, Robert. Rick and Alex are performing a valuable service by complaining about Babalu. If they ever stop complaining...

5:32 PM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

btw Jonathan, what happened to your principled "no taking sides"?

Who said anything about not taking sides? Of course I take sides. What I said was that not everything is a matter of sides and that ideas and arguments should be evaluated on their merits. In this case the question is what kind of person is Obama politically. There's nothing wrong per se with characterizing him as a fascist or Stalinist. The question is whether the evidence supports my argument. You and Rick keep trying to dismiss it without addressing it or by saying "Bush was one too". I listed points in support of my argument, in the other comment thread. There's also the fact that he allied himself with Bill Ayers, a self-proclaimed communist, and he is taking sides with Castro, Ortega and Chavez against democratic Honduras. Maybe, in some universe, this is all simply the behavior of just another moderate leftist, but that doesn't seem to me to be the most likely explanation.

5:52 PM, September 16, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Jonathan: Don't put words in my mouth. I've never said Bush was a fascist or Stalinist. And if "associating" with strongmen makes a President a strongman, let's go down the list of the ones that Republican presidents have associated with over the years. We can start with W reestablishing relations with Mohmar during his 2nd term in the White House.

And Robert, I invoke babalu here because the [reasonable] arguments that you make here are in direct contradiction to what is said there. It's as if I had my own blog about how reasonable we needed to be in our political discourse and then the next day I contributed to the Democratic Underground. They are a prime source of the extremism that we're discussing here.

I still don't know if you agree with Jonathan's views that we have a Stalinist or fascist sitting in the Oval Office and overseeing the daily operation of this country. I don't suppose I have to, but it just is rather strange that you claim a moderate tone and then co-write and guest post with folks whose views you seem to claim are the exception rather than the norm in the conservative movement.


8:00 AM, September 17, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

Rick: When I do post at Babalu, which is quite infrequently, it's almost always something Cuba-related. Therefore, there should be no contradiction in what I state here vs. there, since I rarely cover domestic political issues over there like I do here. And my role at Babalu is as a contributor, not an editor. Therefore, I don't have to agree one iota with what others write there (not that I always don't, but just making a statement of fact). My posts and comments over there stand on their own.

I think Obama has socialist tendencies, no doubt. Fascist/Stalinist? I would have to think about that further but I think there are legitimate reasons to believe some tendencies may be there.

9:12 AM, September 17, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Fair enough. Thanks for the discussion.


7:59 PM, September 17, 2009  
Blogger Jonathan said...

OK, Rick, I shouldn't put words in your mouth by saying that you responded to my argument against Obama by saying Bush did it too. Then you go on to say:

And if "associating" with strongmen makes a President a strongman, let's go down the list of the ones that Republican presidents have associated with over the years. We can start with W reestablishing relations with Mohmar during his 2nd term in the White House.

It looks like you are confirming my point.

Anyway, you still haven't responded to my argument. Not that you have to. But if it's really absurd to suggest that Obama is a fascist or Stalinist, my assertion should be easy to refute. It's not like he's a demagogue with a history of working with extreme leftists and involvement in far-left causes...

And you misunderstood or mischaracterized (probably both) my other point, which wasn't that Obama "associates" (your word) with "strongmen" but that he ALLIES our country with communist dictators. Why do you think Obama is doing this?

(BTW, we reestablished diplomatic relations with Qaddafi because he renounced his WMD programs and gave us a lot of intel on other countries' WMD programs. Qaddafi did this because we invaded Iraq. You knew that, right?)

11:22 PM, September 17, 2009  
Blogger Rick said...

Jonathan: W was one example of many. You know this. Every president, Republicans and Democrats, have associated, to some degree, with shady world leaders in order to get things done. To make the President some kind of radical leftist because of who he has to deal with as President is rather silly, don't you think?

The characteristics of the President that you set out somewhere here recently in your support of him being a fascist could be applied to other Presidents as well [not just Bush]. Cult of personality? Every president has cultivated some type of magical persona in order to get elected. Some, like Reagan and Kennedy, are still "worshiped" long after their deaths.

The bottom line, Jonathan, is that you will continue to see President Obama a certain way no matter what he does or says. Or no matter what I say, for that matter. You have your mind made up, as do millions of other Americans, and nothing is going to change it.

That's fine because this is America and you're allowed to believe anything you want. And in three years, you'll be able to express your sentiments in the voting booth. It's what makes this country so great.


8:01 AM, September 18, 2009  
Blogger Robert said...

If I may interject for a second...

Sure, every president has associated and/or aligned himself with shady leaders in order to accomplish tasks that were beneficial to our national interests. That's reality, and sometimes we have to get our hands dirty, so to speak. In WWII, we were on the same side as Stalinist Russia. They were instrumental in stopping Hitler and fascism from spreading. As Jonathan mentioned, Qaddafi's will to do harm was pretty much crushed by Reagan, therefore he was much more willing to cooperate with us even though he remains a despicable character. We aligned with Afghanistan in the 80s, probably knowing that the seeds of the Taliban were already present. The result of this was USSR's military defeat.

The difference, as Jonathan points out, is the benefit (or lack thereof) of Obama's siding with Chavez, etc. regarding Honduras. Who exactly is that helping, other than Chavez and his cronies?

8:56 AM, September 18, 2009  

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