I’ve either lost you completely or you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about. I’m talking about how the Republican party has made President Barack Obama the best Republican president since Ronald Reagan.
I know, I know, now you’re saying I’ve truly gone off the deep end. Um, remember, President Obama is a DEMOCRAT, duh…
Well, he was a Democrat. He’ll most likely seek a second term as the Democrat party nominee for office, but when you weigh in on his record thus far, it is hard to make a case that his administrations’ policies are much different than those of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
President Obama’s recent decision to keep the Guantanamo Detention Facility open for detainees goes against a promise he made in the 2008 presidential campaign and has largely drawn great praise from the right as the right (no pun intended) thing to do in keeping America safe from terrorists. In fact, this administration has been more vigorous prosecuting the “War on Terror” than President Bush ever was in the post-9/11 years – from significantly more UAV strikes in Pakistan against suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban safe-houses to the troop surge in Afghanistan, to the continuation of renditions and interrogation techniques that some might consider torture.
On the economy, the administration has largely continued President Bush’s bailout plan by pumping billions of dollars into the pockets of Wall Street – the same Wall Street that essentially fleeced the American public of over $1 trillion in the late 2000’s.
On the budget, Obama and the democrats in the Senate continue to mollify a Republican House that is demanding cuts to the current year budget without staking out a plan that actually would produce an actual budget for Fiscal Year 2010 (which by the way, is over half way done). Oh, and let us not forget, those Bush tax cuts that he was so intent on ending – restored.
Iraq and Afghanistan? Still there. But combat operations in Iraq are over! We still have close to 50,000 US service members in Iraq, still doing a hard job, and an even harder job in Afghanistan.
Now you may say that Obama can’t be a Republican – he ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – Republicans hate gays! If he were a Republican, he never would have ended it. Actually, ending DADT was a politically easy thing for him to do and cost him very little in political capital while throwing a bone to the left wing of his party. All he had to do was sign the Bill that Congress passed. Not to mention the fact that a growing number of Republicans are breaking ranks with the social conservatives in the party on Gay and Lesbian rights. Public opinion polls also show that a majority of Americans were in favor of ending the restriction prohibiting otherwise qualified Americans from serving their country in a time of need.
OK – but what about Health Care, I mean, Obamacare? Republicans would never back Obamacare – he can’t be a Republican. Obama never committed to an actual plan, or components of a plan – instead leaving Congressional democrats to craft and pass it. When the plan was in trouble, even with democrats firmly in control of both houses of Congress, he never came out strongly or forcefully for the key elements of a final bill that he would support. Despite the derisive label “Obamacare,” the healthcare legislation is hardly his and now that it is being attacked by a Republican House majority, he says there are aspects of the law that he’s willing to rework.
But the rank and file Republicans hate Obama – he’s a Muslim, fascist, socialist, communist – and he’s not even American for God sake! He was born in Kenya and raised in an Indonesian Madrassa before immigrating to America in whatever year it was he landed in Hawaii. It’s hard to believe that a majority of registered Republican voters actually believe this. And therein lies the brilliance of the Republican grand strategy.
Republicans have staked out positions (on any issue – pick an issue) that are further and further right wing they’ve ever dared before. Democrats, and even the President, have often adopted a centrist approach to political debate, going in conceding that a liberal, left-wing proposal will never be taken seriously. By starting from the center and trying to compromise with a far right-wing proposal, the end product usually ends up being solidly conservative. As we recently recognized the 100thbirthday of Ronald Reagan, the icon of icons for the Republican party – many magazine covers, including Time, featured the Gipper alongside the current president. This is not by accident – Obama is about as conservative on the political spectrum as Ronald Reagan was in the 1980s.
|Original work by yours truly|
Of course the difference is that in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was a solid conservative, just to the right of moderate. In 2010, the center of the political spectrum has shifted so far to the right that even left of center today would land you where Reagan stood in the 80s.
So you might ask, as I had been asking myself for the past year or so, why if Obama is indeed a closet Republican do they hate him so much and attack him and his policies at every opportunity? Since the president has demonstrated that he will not stand firm on a single issue important to the left, attacking him at every turn just makes him tack that much further to the right to try to mitigate criticism.
Unless the president suddenly grows a spine and sticks hard on principals that are in opposition to his Republican colleagues, just watch the candidates the GOP will parade out in 2012. Not one big name has joined the field of potential candidates – just egotistic personalities like Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, unethical former standard bearers like Newt Gingrich, seriously delusional liars such as Mike Huckabee – the usual suspects and fodder for an election that the real party controllers could care less about winning – their guy’s already in office.
[Golf clap in background]
The best part of the deal for the Republicans is, every time they criticize the President for something silly, like his birth certificate or the worst liberal policy that will destroy America as we know it – they force Democrats to rally to his defense and abandon their own, legitimate, criticisms of the president and his failing to live up to the ideals for which they elected him. The brilliance of the GOP strategy can not be under appreciated and as far as I can tell, it was accomplished without Karl Rove pulling the strings. In one word: Impressive!