What can you say about a Democratic President who
finally publicly acknowledges that when it comes to the economy and fiscal issues, in general—you know, those little issues that were foremost in American voters’ minds in 2008, 2010, and again this year—he’s more of an old school, “moderate Republican?”
As Bruce Bartlett (who just did an outstanding job over at Moyers & Co., along with Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith, explaining everything any self-respecting, old school Democrat needs to know about the fiscal cliff), a former senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration notes, farther down below, one really doesn’t have to say too much when President Obama does such a great job of explaining it to us, in his own words…
Obama: More Moderate Republican Than Socialist
By JORDAN FABIAN (@Jordanfabian)
Dec. 14, 2012
President Barack Obama believes that if he were president 25 years ago, his economic policies would make him a moderate Republican.
During an interview with Noticias Univision 23, the network's Miami affiliate newscast, Obama pushed back against the accusation made in some corners of south Florida's Cuban-American and Venezuelan communities that he wants to instill a socialist economic system in the U.S. The president said he believes few actually believe that.
"I don't know that there are a lot of Cubans or Venezuelans, Americans who believe that," Obama said. "The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican…."
Bold type is diarist’s emphasis.
Here’s Bartlett from Friday’s Fiscal Times…
How Democrats Became Liberal RepublicansWell, all I can say is: “Thank god ‘Democrats’ are still winning elections for the White House!”
By BRUCE BARTLETT
The Fiscal Times
December 21, 2012
Many on the left are puzzled by Barack Obama’s apparent willingness to support dramatic reductions in federal social spending. It is only because Republicans demand even more radical cuts in spending that Obama’s fiscal conservatism is invisible to the general public. But those on the political left know it and are scared.
Yesterday, left-leaning law professor Neil Buchanan penned a scathing attack on Obama for abandoning the Democratic Party’s long-held policies toward the poor, and for astonishing naiveté in negotiating with Republicans. Said Buchanan:“The bottom line is that President Obama has already revealed himself to be unchanged by the election and by the last two years of stonewalling by the Republicans. He still appears to believe, at best, in a milder version of orthodox Republican fiscal conservatism – an approach that would be a fitting starting position for a right-wing politician in negotiations with an actual Democrat. Moreover, he still seems to believe that the Republicans are willing to negotiate in good faith.”
Others on the left, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and others raise similar concerns. They cannot understand why Obama, having won two elections in a row with better than 50 percent of the vote – something accomplished only by presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan in the postwar era – and holding a powerful advantage due to the fiscal cliff, would seemingly appear willing to gut social spending while asking for only a very modest contribution in terms of taxes from the wealthy.
The dirty secret is that Obama simply isn’t very liberal, nor is the Democratic Party any more. Certainly, the center of the party today is far to the right of where it was before 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected with a mission to move the party toward the right. It was widely believed by Democratic insiders that the nation had moved to the right during the Reagan era and that the Democratic Party had to do so as well or risk permanent loss of the White House…
Then again, if the only way a “Democrat” can get elected to the White House these days is by implementing old school, “moderate Republican” economic and fiscal policies—and coming out and specifically stating this on television after he’s re-elected for a second term--then what does that tell us about the state of our country’s
one-party two-party system?
(In addition to Bartlett’s Fiscal Times’ piece from Friday [see link, above], I strongly encourage you to read Buchanan’s piece over at Justia.com, from Thursday: “How Many Times Will Speaker Boehner Save President Obama From Himself? The Budget Negotiations Show That the President Is Still a Center-Right Politician Elected by Center-Left Voters.”)
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I’m an old school (i.e.: pre-Clinton, and mostly "former"), Democratic political media operative whom the Boston Globe, in October 1980, described (along with about a half-dozen other folks) as being “…born Democrat[s] and christened a few days later…”
So, given all of the above, it’s no wonder that I’ve been an outspoken critic of the administration’s economic policies.
Lately, I’ve made comments within the community about (at least) opening up a constructive discussion as far as facilitating blog policy changes that enable
any more reasoned commentary regarding third-party politics.
But, the more I think about it the more I realize that, given greater truths regarding who’s really running the show in D.C., perhaps all we really need to do is focus more upon supporting a real two-party system, instead. You know…a Democratic Party that is truly focused upon moving forward; rather than just using the word as a slogan; while some party leaders engage in political kabuki that is really little more than a well-financed, stealthy effort to turn back the clock on the cornerstone, progressive accomplishments of past Democratic administrations—from F.D.R. through Johnson.