When I found this article detailing Obama’s shift from the left to the center, my first thought was how strange it is to call it that shift, considering the more accurate track of his movement is left-center to possibly right-center, with the more liberal of his now ex-supporters calling it a shift from center to right or worse. As I was reading through the article, I admit that I was intrigued in the long list of ways the man has moved along, but what really got me was the slew of comments from the peanut gallery. Gems such as:

So the far far far left Obama is now only far far left, and this constitutes leading from the center? Mr. Lillis, I assume your attempt to feign mental illness is a ploy to collect some sort of social security benefit. We are not falling for it.

…or…

Obama does not want to go to the center and, in fact, he is not going there. Reality is forcing him to shift a little bit away from his far-left, America-hating roots. You see, liberals can only reside in fantasyland until they assume ultimate power then, they’re forced to deal in the real world.

I’m not going to cry and moan about idiots calling Obama a Kenyan or that he hates America. That’s a fringe thought process even if it does get a lot of press attention (sort of a right-wing Cindy Sheehan idea). No, what’s interesting here is the incredibly popular opinion that Obama was at any point in his life a “far left” liberal. That has never, ever been the case in anything beyond his admittedly progressive and starry-eyed campaign speeches.

I consider myself a lefty-lib most of the time, although I’m no ultra-liberal. Allow me to list a number of things that would be considered “seriously to the left”:

  • Out of Iraq/Afghanistan ASAP.
  • Cut military spending.
  • Increase minimum wage.
  • Legalize pot and, if possible, all the rest.
  • Gay marriage.
  • No more DADT.
  • Spike taxes on the wealthy and cut ’em on the lower class.
  • Don’t support Israel OR Palestine.
  • Corporations are not people.
  • PATRIOT Act: gone.
  • Net Neutrality.
  • No more Title V funding for abstinence education.
  • Churches aren’t tax exempt.
  • Make legal immigration a smoother process to cut down on those resorting to illegal immigration.

So on and so forth. I’m not going to claim Barack Obama is a conservative, or even a stockyard centrist. He’s definitely liberal, but not particularly far out. Most of what’s up there I consider rational, but I recognize is rather far to the left (especially my drug ideals). The point is that Barry-O isn’t in line with “far left” stances. Make a spectrum and he’d be about a 6 or so, if 5 is center and 10 is crazy.

My point here is that the right’s image of Obama seems to be borne out of the enthusiasm the left had going into the election. Because so many liberals were incredibly supportive of Obama, the assumption is that he’s a liberal messiah here to sweep in an era of FDR-inspired progressivism where we all burn flags in our fireplaces and cook aborted fetuses over them to celebrate our Muslim gay marriages. They aren’t actually examining his policies any more than the rah-rah Democrats did in 2007/2008 when many of them were under the mistaken impression that Obama, once elected, would be the greatest Democrat in history.

The fact is that the left loved Obama because, although his policies didn’t look to be the most liberal lefty in Libland, he spoke with an honesty and strength of conviction that indicated that what he did promise to do would come to pass. When he said we need to end these wars, that Bush-era policies were bad for America, we believed him, which was something we couldn’t say for many of his com(mie)rads.

I’m not even suggesting Obama hasn’t come through on his promises. PoliFact has been tracking him for a while now, and to be frank he’s done a helluva lot better than I would have expected, and not for a second do I regret my vote. Any liberals who are out there crying about electing him need to pull their heads out of their asses and realize how much better he’s doing than any of the alternatives would have. The point is just that Obama has never been a far-left liberal, and yet not only are progressives acting like he promised to be one and is turning his back on us all, the right is acting as though he’s so far left he’s sleeping in USSR underoos and trying to hide this fact under a veneer of faux-centrism.

The fact of the matter is that both sides, both, need to sit back and examine Barack Obama. Chances are the 25% of us that lie on the extremes on either end are blinding ourselves in a fog of idealistic partisanship. That’s going to bite the Donkeys in the ass come 2012 if we aren’t careful.

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7 responses to “

  1. “When he said we need to end these wars, that Bush-era policies were bad for America, we believed him…”

    I probably haven’t had enough coffee to tackle this comment yet, but here goes. Although I don’t regret my vote for Obama in ’08, I’m one of the liberals who need to pull their head out of their ass (and no, I didn’t take it personally you rightwing bastard ;)). I do realize that Obama was better than any of the alternatives at the time, and the teabagger republicans are proving just exactly how bad it could get under a truly conservative president. Like you, I don’t regret my vote for him in ’08, but will not fall for rousing rhetoric this time around.

    There has been too much compromise even before compromise was needed. And yes, I have heard the argument that progressives like me are expecting the same kind of behavior from Obama that we had a tizzy about when Bush/Cheney did it: Determine your agenda and find a way, any way, to get it done. Sure, some people will scream like scalded cats, but fuck ’em.

    Is that a good way to govern? No, but I think it’s the new reality in politics in the US and if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes. Obama is, at best, a moderate Democrat in my opinion and is too, too eager to continue to compromise on every issue.

    I’ve been too busy to dig around too much on this latest round of budget cuts, but I swear if he lets Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security be tampered with to the detriment of the public, especially after extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest among us, that’s it for me and Barry. Sara Benincasa can have him all to herself.

    • “I do realize that Obama was better than any of the alternatives at the time…” FALSE! Two words m’lady, Mike Gravel.

      • I just went out to his website and I’d have to do some serious research to get up to speed on what he stands for and what kind of guy he is. In ’08 I was one of those libbie Dems who believed that if you voted outside the Rep/Dem box you were tossing your vote away. I still believe that, but would be willing to do it at this point in time IF the stakes weren’t so high.

        Unfortunately, nobody in their right mind with a chance in hell of winning will primary Obama in ’12. With that in mind, as little as I want Obama to serve a second term, imagine for a moment Bachmann, Palin, Trump, Pawlenty, Romney or whatever other drooling idiot the Republicans come up with actually being elected president because people like me chose now to make our stand and split with the Democratic party.

        Shit, I’m starting to hate politics.

      • From my outsider POV, I’m thinking that’s what the Republicans are counting on. That people will be fed up with Obama, but if they still are Democrat they’ll stay home instead of voting at all, or leave and vote Independent which might as well be like throwing the vote away at this point in time.

      • I hope you’re wrong, Keth, but that may depend upon how far back memories of voters go. I voted for Nader in the 2000 election, because I’d had it with voting for the lesser of two evils. Eight years under Bush taught me that the lesser of two evils is WAY less evil. To wit, the current composition of U.S. Supreme Court.

      • Ooops, Keth. I’m sure YOU’RE right. I meant to say, “I hope THEY’RE wrong…”

      • No problem. As it is, I think voter’s memories are seriously lacking sometimes. Anything beyond the most recent term people seem to have issues remembering.

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