The True Believers over on the Left are awash in a sea of insecurity, anxiety and unhappiness these days. Their Anointed One, their Savior (and no, I’m certainly not talking about Jesus, although the individual I have in mind does seem to think he can walk on water), has turned out to be not quite as unsullied, ideologically, as they imagined. In fact, they are questioning something that was previously accepted unquestioningly – Obama’s birth certificate. Oops no. They’re still not questioning that. What I meant to say was, they’re questioning Obama’s credentials as a True Believer himself.
Salon.com writer Glenn Greenwald is arguing, in fact, that Obama isn’t really a big fan of leftist (they call them “progressive”) outcomes. He points to Obama’s agreement with last week’s budget deal, as well as the President’s launch of a third Middle East war, as signs that Obama is (gasp!) more interested in getting re-elected than he is in real Hope and Change™. He says Obama is moving to the center, maybe even to the… Right!
“Adopting ‘centrist’ or even right-wing policies will always produce the same combination – approval of independents, dilution of GOP anger, media raves, and continued Democratic voter loyalty – that is ideal for the President’s re-election prospects.”
Well, he’s partly right about the strategy. If Obama really were moving to the center or right (which he is not – more on that below,) he might defuse some GOP ire, and he might gain the approval of the more mushy-headed independents who think that being as close to the middle on any given topic is somehow morally superior to having an actual conviction. As for continued loyalty from the media or Democratic voters, that’s a no-brainer no matter what Obama does. The “legacy” media and Obama are Best Friends Forever. And Democratic voters… well, let’s just let Greenwald say it himself – because he’s pretty angry that 2/3 of Democrats supported the budget deal:
“Why would Democrats overwhelmingly support domestic budget cuts that burden the poor? Because, as [fellow Lefty blogger Matt] Yglesias correctly observed, ‘just about anything Barack Obama does will be met with approval by most Democrats.’”
Of course it is! If they don’t approve, they’re racist! DUH.
(As an aside, Greenwald also points out that these alleged centrist policies keep corporate and banking money on Obama’s side, “where it overwhelmingly was in 2008.” Hey, Glenn, thanks for stating that so clearly. I’ve said it numerous times but nobody on your side seems to believe me.)
Anyway, I’m not sure if Greenwald is really buying his own “maybe Obama was never our True Leader” schtick, or if he’s just playing with smoke and mirrors because his analysis utterly ignores the reality of Obama’s first term – both the next couple of years and the last couple.
Face it – the man was elected on a hope and change and transparency and we’re-going-to-do-things-differently and we’re-going-to-bring-folks-together platform. Anyone not completely dumbed down by their public school education had reason to question these vacuous platitudes, but clearly the “great conciliator” was presented to us over and over again by the media, the Democrats, and the larger Left.
The media pointedly and thoroughly ignored all evidence that Obama was most likely a card-carrying socialist, and they and the Democrats made sure that anyone who questioned his “centrist” tendencies was an object of harsh mockery. This has been painstakingly documented by Stanley Kurtz in his outstanding piece of reportage, Radical-in-Chief. Obama’s voting record (the leftiest-possible), his associations (lefty terrorists) and his background (immersion in far Left organizations) was whitewashed and glossed over.
But the far Left knew what they were getting, which was exactly why they were so excited!
He came to Washington and immediately started acting exactly like a socialist. He rammed through Obamacare, pushed unprecedented spending, and told Republicans to piss off (“I won”).
We come to today. With less than two years to go in his term, an American public that is in some cases openly hostile to him, a new GOP House, and Tea Partiers putting up one helluva fight against both him and any RINO-types he may have courted in the past – he has to back off. We all know he risks an ignominious personal defeat in 2012 (since he just had an ignominious group defeat in 2010) unless he backs off his alliances with the far Left, and again woos his “centrist man-in-the-middle let’s-all-work-together” image.
Greenwald’s right about the crass political move. He’s wrong about the motive, if he really thinks Obama’s not interested in the leftist agenda. I have no doubt that Obama is cravenly ambitious. All one has to do is research his early election behavior to know that he’ll stop at nothing to win. Greenwald’s correct that Obama is a political animal.
But this alleged move to the center, or to the right, is as unsubstantial as fairy dust. Obama’s putting on an act, again – it’s his wildly successful election persona. And it is a necessary “evil” he must endure in order to have a clear playing field in 2012. Does anyone really think that the man behind the biggest lurch this country has ever made toward socialism is really modifying his ideology? Of course not. He is merely attempting to stay in the game. He can’t win it if he’s not in it.
But this time around – both recent history and his behavior should illuminate the socialist behind the persona. And speaking of cracks in the persona – being forced to play a role he doesn’t like may be the motivation behind his recent well-documented testiness.
So, Mr. Greenwald, you can rest easy. Dear Leader is still a True Believer. He just has to throw a few (meaningless) bones to the Bitter Clinger side – so that he can ultimately achieve his Higher Purpose. Take a deep breath and relax. Your leftist dreams are still within grasp.