President Obama: A Radical Liberal Moderate Conservative Socialist Corporate Stooge?

obama collageWho is this masked man?

Ask the Professional Left, and they’ll tell you President Obama’s in bed with big business, sold out the 99%, broke his promises about closing Gitmo, isn’t ending the wars in a speedy enough fashion, and hasn’t done enough for the gays.

Ask Republicans, and they’ll say he’s a socialist who wants to turn the country into one big money melting pot and distribute it evenly among the masses, that he pals around with terrorists and, though just a child at the time, was undoubtedly the mastermind behind Bill Ayers’ and the Weather Underground‘s domestic terrorism.

Ask the teabaggers, and they’ll tell you that he’s damn near a communist, the stimulus was a complete and total failure, healthcare reform is going to be the death of society as we know it, and the unemployment rate would have come down anyway.  And he’s not a Christian.  And he hails from Kenya.

Here’s the thing:  Many in this country, when we elected President Obama, thought we were electing a flaming liberal – and it’s my belief that his ideology is left-leaning.  But there’s no trial ground for the presidency; there’s no try-out period; there’s no 90-day training program; there’s no gauging what will crop up today, tomorrow, or next year that may change the game.

President Obama, in his three years as President, has seen it all.  He’s been maligned as a non-christian; he’s reached out to the Muslim community and been branded a terrorist-lover for his efforts; he’s tried to do what he can for struggling Americans, has had to make some unpopular concessions to the teabagging opposition, and has been accused of being in bed with big business; his stimulus, touted by the right as another liberal government give-away program, was branded a failure by conservatives, and at least a moderate success by economists; he didn’t let the auto industry fail, and therefore was accused of taking over American industry; he’s blamed for the failed TARP program even though he wasn’t even in office at the time it was passed; he captured and killed bin Laden and watched former President Bush get credit from the right; he attempted diplomacy far past the time that many on the left felt he should have.

Many on the left, however, couldn’t see the forest for the trees – and missed the strategy that was evolving over the past three years.

The man hasn’t caught a break – and yet, at the same time, he’s managed to walk between the raindrops.  His approval rating is climbing; he’s more popular with Hispanics, by a 3-1 ratio, than Romney; Republicans for Obama (yes, there is such a website) strives to correct the right-wing record on the President’s policies; Rasmussen reports that he’d beat Newt Gingrich 47% to 37% in the 2012 election; in a May three’fer, he released his long form birth certificate, captured and killed Osama bin Laden, and roasted Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, all in the same week; in the recent standoff on the payroll tax holiday and extension of unemployment benefits, he blithely went about his business while the teabagging House Republicans stumbled, bumbled, blustered and finally caved; he’s turned the right-wing game on its head to the point where Americans believe that the staunchly anti-tax Tea Party Republicans are the ones who want to raise taxes; in the recent payroll tax holiday fiasco, he managed to showcase Republicans as the obstructionists, while simultaneously refusing, himself, to make a deal; in the debt ceiling debacle, President Obama maintained his loftier position as the adult in the room, and correctly portrayed the Republicans as dangerous and reckless children hell-bent on destruction; the economy is strengthening little by little, and President Obama is, as he should, finally getting the credit.  Nothing the President has done during the past three years has been an accident; a strategy has been evolving, and we’re seeing it play out.

What the Professional Left views as weakness in the President, I view as his duty to make mandatory concessions; what the Republicans view as socialism, I view as compassion for Americans and a commitment to making our lives better; what libertarians view as the Obama Administration’s unbearable government interference in our lives, I view as President Obama aptly noting that Americans often need to be protected from themselves.

What teabaggers view as a President on a mission to tilt the world left, I view as the necessary work of a man who campaigned for change and is determined to see it through.  What many people fail to see is that President Obama was elected to govern all in this country, not just a little sliver on the far left or a little sliver on the far right.

We thought we were electing a flaming lib, but what we got instead was a progressive President with a liberal agenda and a moderate, diplomatic negotiating stance.  ”My way or my other way” hasn’t been in his lexicon – nor should it be.  President Obama is none of the things he’s accused of being; instead, he’s a man who’s committed to Americans, and the quality of their lives, and if he has to make some concessions that his side doesn’t like, he’ll do it, take the hits, get knocked back but keep moving forward.  Determination is his hallmark.

julie driscollWatching him for over three years has shown me a man with a spine of steel, a skin as thick as elephant hide, a highly functioning ability for strategic thinking, an intractable stubborn quality, a mind that thinks long-range, and, when necessary, the willingness to engage in gamesmanship that’s as subtle as it is effective.  What the left views as weakness and the right views as radicalism, I view as brilliance.  Anyone who thinks he’s weak hasn’t been paying attention.

As noted by swampland.time.com, the next bill the President needs to sign, aimed at Congressional Republicans, is the Cut the Crap Act; Republicans won’t out-game this president, and he seems ready to let them know it.

Julie Driscoll
Politics Anonymous

Comments

  1. Aimlessness says

    Julie,

    This column is fantastic! It hits the nail square on the head.

    I have only one comment.

    You desperately need a professional head shot. This one makes you look like your doublewide was just hit by a tornado.

    Get your hair and make up done, and put on something professional looking with sleeves! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Heck you can go to the mall and get it done. Some department store makeup counters will do your makeup for free if you act like you might buy something.

  2. James Seccord says

    The “Professional Left” is this Right Wing administration’s version of “Pointy Headed Liberals”.

    Some of us are old enough to recognize Right Wingers vomiting forth talking points they licked up from a mensroom floor.

    You’re obviously suffering no hardship yourself due to your favorite celebrity crush waging a campaign against poor and working people – and what’s even *more* clear is that you know where your career is.

    Chicago. No doubt, this screed might be part of what lands you your next gig.

    What you’re doing, though, is hurting poor people. And you ought to be ashamed of it.

    • Marta says

      James,
      Ah, Chicago. Of course! The obvious connection slipped right by me. Obama’s former digs. Now with Rahm Emanuel as mayor– Obama’s former right hand man, who so infamously said “fu*k the liberals.”
      You’re right. Sounds like Driscoll’s shooting for a spot on Emanuel’s admin. Good luck with that. I’ve read that Emanuel ‘s temper is more explosive than McCain’s.

  3. Joe Weinstein says

    Obama ‘weak’? Depends on what topic or attitude you are considering.

    He’s weak on standing up for us 99%, or the environment (pretty well let Bush’s cronies keep doing their anti-resources anti-wildlife stuff). Overseas he’s good at ducking stopping the real evil regimes and human rights disasters in favor of endless pointless wars or plucking lower-lying fruit like Gadhafi. In three months he went from grandstanding against climate change to urging not only drilling for more oil but in the most risky and destructive way – the deep sea. One month later came the BP Big Pollution event. He still wants more deep sea drilling – without ensuring any more controls than happened in the BP case. His drug war has gone more ape than even under his GOP predecessors. And he doesn’t care a whit about the federal courts, other than maybe filling a few spots with various sorts of token folks: not only does he do little or nothing to get his judicial nominees confirmed, but indeed for most of the many vacancies he’s never even sent up nominations.

    But Obama is strong for a certain kind of compromise. Compromise between common sense on the one hand and militant evil on the other. Between fairness on the one hand and making sure that the 1% get ever more and government services and effectiveness for the 99% get ever less. Compromise between a standard bipartisan agenda of the late 20th century and the new old GOP agenda of the robber-baron age.

    Don’t confuse Obama himself, and his characteristic behavior, with his current electoral position. Yes, Obama is now in a strong POSITION, thanks to two facts. First, so far – unlike in years like 1968 and 1980 – no leading Democrat has the integrity to provide a real Dem alternative. Second, the Congressional Republicans have worked hard – harder even than in 1994-1996 under Newt Gingrich – to wrest defeat from the jaws of victory for their party’s 2012 Pres candidate. Apparently, the Congressional GOP really wants Obama back in for another 4 years, and all their incredible epithets are intended just to conceal this.

  4. Timi Burke says

    The Professional Left are those who spend their time refining exactly how dissatisfied they are with a Moderate, and in this way are a mirror-image of the Far-Right. It is disingenuous for those who fit the bill, to claim distance from it. The Venn Diagram of ‘Professional Left’ and ‘Progressive’ is a very close match.

    Progressives are pure of heart and we are all benefactors of their ‘keeping the flame alive’ through the Bush/Cheney Dark Ages. However, they exhibit a downfall which distinguishes them from the rest of the Liberal Community, and it arises from their transmuting Goals into Demands.

    Such inherent inflexibility results from their laser-like focus on what is the best policy to promote, at the cost of wearing blinders to what’s feasible. I wouldn’t so much mind, except when this singularity of focus prevents real-life incremental advances toward best policies. For example, Presidential Candidate McGovern was the darling of the Ultra-Liberals (as they were called back then) who were warned by Party moderates that he would be ‘too Liberal’ to be elected. In their delirium at the personification of their ideals becoming a Candidate in the race for the Presidency, the Ultra-Liberals could only revel in their fervent certainty that their ideals were right, and therefore would win. Idealists impressing one another with their purity handed America Nixon.

    This mirror-image issue for the similarly-uncompromising Far-Right is to blame for GOP Senate losses by their own Far-Right darlings, Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, for instance. And this doesn’t even get into the Lemmings who prefer to throw away their vote by “standing by their ideals” and, with stubborn self-congratulation, losing Elections with Ralph Naders. Idealists impressing one another with their purity handed America BushW.

    While Progressives suffer from over-estimation of their numeric electoral importance, they are blind to their actual electoral importance: their exuberance for a Black man with Hussein for a middle name is what drove reticent sometime-voters out of the woodwork and to the polls. 2008′s Obama-mania had everyone phoning everyone, “Are you going to vote? OMG you have to vote for Obama!”. Without this synergy, we’d be looking at President McCain and VP Palin. Thank goodness that disaster was avoided, yet the subsequent recoil of Progressives from Obama resulted in 2010′s GOP wins. Idealistic purists turning their backs on Obama the Compromising Moderate, with high dudgeon and much clamor, suppressed overall turnout of Independents /Swing-Voters /Occasional Voters in the Mid-Terms, and will continue to do so, if unchecked, for 2012. Will we be forced into thanking you for Mitt?

    The larger picture is that indulging in such idealism shrinks from the real-life challenge to the Left at this time in history: Elections are being won by the Republican Propaganda Machine, and Liberals of every stripe are called to counter this by educating the Public that our agenda is better. The sticking-point for Progressives, though, arises from a large number of their agenda is de facto too extreme for large-scale palatability to the electorate. Successfully winning-over Middle-of-the-Roader voters would necessitate scaling-back purist notions, which we’ve seen is anathema for too-many Progressives. The shameful result is wholesale shirking of this challenge, as Progressive nestle with one another in their comfortable cocoons, exercising ad nauseum circle-jerks about how the world ought to be if only they could get their Progressive Candidates into high Office.

  5. Tom says

    Julie, Your deffinately a Socialest, an idiot with a degree.
    “‘ People are safe, healthy, housed and fed – and screw the cost”. Easy for a 1%er to say isn’t Julie.

    How about creating jobs, building industry getting the US back to being number one instead of a third world country. Speaking of jobs where are the shovel ready one’s old Barak was touting about. Lets see , Big Government, Bigger Government and if he get’s the next 1.2 Trillion,BLOATED GOVERNMENT. The only shoveling going on in th United States is the hole he keeps digging deeper.
    .
    But thats OK let the good old middle class pay for all of it, after all they they don’t earn enough to even look inside the country club Obama belongs to. Hmm, did I also mention all the vacations he and his have taken that we have to pay for, disallowing us a meager one?

    I for one would like to know just how much this multi millioneer donated to charity. I bet it’s less than 4K.

  6. Marta says

    Ah, Ms Driscoll, the self-described liberal is back with more of her “liberal” views.
    First posting was on her support for Bush and the war, no matter the cost or “hindsight”.

    Now she attacks the opinions of what she calls the “Professional Left” for being angry at Obama’s tenure. I don’t have a clue what she means by “Professional Left” and I’m not sure she does either, but it’s clearly a pejorative statement.

    Though I’m not part of this mystical “Professional Left” she denigrates, I’m not a fan of Obama anymore. And, despite what Ms Driscoll believes, educated lefties– the real “Liberals”– were vastly more informed about Obama’s background BEFORE we voted for him.

    I, for instance knew that Obama had interned for Storm Thurmond. (did you know that, Ms Driscoll? If you doubt, please look it up) Therefore, I knew Obama was no “flaming liberal”, as she puts it. I thought Obama was a moderate right of center, like Bill Clinton. Though I’m more to the left (a Kucinich supporter) I voted for Obama–enthusiastically. He is extremely bright and well-versed in international affairs– he does know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, unlike most American politicians.

    Despite being cynical about politicians, I almost believed Obama when he said he would close Guantanamo, get a national health care bill passed, blah blah blah. Besides, look at the option: a nearly senile old man with health problems with a physically healthy nut-brain as vice president. Too scary, so not much choice.

    Well, Obama quickly took off his moderate (or so-called “flaming liberal”) mask when, during his first month in office, he appointed Geithner a big Wall Street crony insider, to head the Wall Street Giveaway. It went downhill from there. Obama wasn’t even a moderate Clinton Democrat, he was to the right of Nixon on international policy. But I gotta hand it to him, he was a brilliant con artist.

    Yes, Obama talked a better talk, had a lovely smile, and looked better in a suit, but he was still Bush when it came to shedding blood in foreign oil lands But, since Ms Driscoll supports any war the president approves, and thinks that Iraq had something to do with 9/11, that wouldn’t be a problem for her, would it?

    Do I or most real “liberals” with working synapses think Obama is “weak?” NO WAY! We know it takes a steel will to get to the presidency. But has he sold out to Wall Street, Oil Companies and the Military Industrial Complex? ABSOLUTELY, and long before he got in office. He NEVER caved-in; the fix was in–a big difference. His Swiss bank account must be in the billions.

  7. Dave Blake says

    Just the way I felt, tho with decreasing confidence as it became clear there would be no safety net for underwater mortgage holders like the one for bankers. Now (quietly and just this week, I think) the ex-Constitutional lawyer has signed the defense reauthorization act, with provisions he fought hard for to allow any president to jail indefinitely any American he considers a terrorist on his say-so alone. That’s about enough for me!

    • Yuri says

      Well done Julie!

      On the 2012 NDAA- first of all people need to read it for themselves, realize that Congress would have overridden a veto and probably returned it to the earlier worse version. There are Constitutional protections in that bill for US Citizens, and loopholes and enough leeway to give foreign suspects civilian trials if the President chooses.

      Then people need to read the President’s recent signing statements
      http://www.digitaljournal.com/blog/1637

      The people need to give him a Progressive House and Senate so he can do the Liberal things people want him to do – rather than just complaining and giving it all away to the Republicans.

      People have to ask themselves- do they want America to be better than it was last year and the year before or will they only accept perfection immediately and if they don’t get it will they disengage and whine about how they were ‘let down’ because it wasn’t easy enough for them. They voted once and all their problems aren’t solved. That’s just pathetic.

      Politics is fluid and non stop. If people want Liberal and Progressive action they have to support Liberal and Progressive candidates and incumbents.

      Also keep in mind the President signed an executive order closing Gitmo- and Congress simply defunded the closing. He ended the War on Terror and reasserted the war on Al Qaeda. 28 of 30 top Al Qaeda have either been killed or captured. We finally have a competent intelligent President who gives a damn about the American people- even terror suspects. He’s still fighting to have them tried in civilian courts despite overwhelming opposition in Congress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *