WASHINGTON – If you want one reason why Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection this is it.
If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases. – The Mother of All No-Brainers
Whether he deserves to be reelected by Democrats, progressives and liberals is, of course, quite different from whether he will be. As I’ve written innumerable times, rank and file Democrats continue to support Pres. Obama in huge numbers, with the majority of voters more practical than ideologically rigid. The best news for Obama is that Democrats come home once they see the alternative, which in 2012 don’t even have Republicans excited.
The bookend to David Brooks is Frank Rich, who evidently has finally awakened to the actual Barack Obama, 3 years too late. This was after appalling political analysis that should not only have gotten him laughed out of the opinion racket, but rendered his views worthless. Rich preferred to play games in the primaries rather than learn, then help readers understand Barack Obama’s political philosophy:
But as long as the likely Democratic nominee keeps partying like it’s 2008 while everyone else refights the battles of yesteryear, he will continue to be underestimated every step of the way.
One of the people who underestimated Barack Obama was Frank Rich, but not in the manner he meant. It’s because he chose to play what I call fan politics.
Mr. Rich could have looked at Obama’s Illinois record, his statements about being non-ideological, about being more of a mediator between two opposing views, but he chose fan politics instead, ignorantly blinded by what the outcome could eventually be.
Paul Krugman laid out the economics for Rich and his ilk, but there were many clues, the most important coming from candidate Obama himself:
“I think that I have the capacity to get people to recognize themselves in each other. I think that I have the ability to make people get beyond some of the divisions that plague our society and to focus on common sense and reason and that’s been in short supply over the last several years. I’m not an ideologue, never have been. Even during my younger days when I was tempted by, you know, sort of more radical or left wing politics, there was a part of me that always was a little bit conservative in that sense; that believes that you make progress by sitting down listening to people, recognizing everybody’s concerns, seeing other people’s points of views and then making decisions.” – Barack Obama, 5.14.07 (on ABC’s “This Week”)
Pres. Obama adopting the Republican economic model has set the Democratic Party back, how far and for how long it’s hard to tell. A paltry stimulus, ignoring his mandate for a real jobs moon shot (perhaps on energy), buying into a deficit commission in the first place, negotiating away real health care reform to private insurance and Big Pharma, which rendered important health care legislation toxic, allowing too big to fail to rise and flourish, as well as choosing to duck the tax debate in the 2010 midterms, then caving to Bush tax cut extensions, all of which was by design and during a Democratic Congress. The list is endless, culminating in spending cuts that far exceed what Republicans are willing to do on their side, thereby negotiating with his own Democratic Party ideals, which long ago we knew would never be Pres. Obama’s driving force.
Obama’s position, which he orchestrated carefully, is now where Republicans have placed the new center, which will dog any Democratic candidate and president who believes progressive philosophy is not only more sound, but imperative to save the middle class.
Any Democrat not starting by offering tax cuts and even targeting the safety net will now be considered “extreme” or “far left” by the new center, you know, because Barack Obama did it. Progressive politics then becomes a harder sell. Where that leaves the “professional Left” is anyone’s guess, but it’s nowhere good.
That is unless Obama’s economic Republicanism is abandoned wholesale, which is unlikely when you look at the behavior of elite Democrats today, politicians who don’t understand that by “winning” the Democratic Party is actually losing their identity. Though there are some signs of life in small quarters of Congress, with a few Democrats recognizing that the small differences that used to exist between the parties, Pres. Obama has obliterated, not only on economics, but including on matters of war and peace.
There’s something even more chilling about Pres. Obama’s economic Republicanism. If he’s doing this now, what will he do if he’s reelected, facing no other elections in his future, able to carve the path as he sees it?
It’s not Republicans who should start worrying about Obama’s reelection, it’s Democrats.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.