Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans.
Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.
Here are a few examples of Obama’s effective conservatism:
* His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
* He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;
* He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;
* He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;
* And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.
- Bruce Bartlett, Barack Obama: The Democrats’ Richard Nixon?
Obama is a moderate republican, as I have been saying for years now.
Well he’s definitely not “the Change” I voted for nor would I expect him to be. That was campaign rhetoric and unrealistic.
That said, to say he’s been a “meh” (best case scenario) or a Republican Manchurian Candidate (worse case scenario) for the Liberal Left is pretty spot on. I’m not happy. Then again, he could be pulling Jedi mind tricks on everyone…which is what some pundits seem to be holding out for although I’m not. State Senator, US Senator, and President Obama’s modus operandi has always been speak like a Liberal but act on whatever is the most politically expedient compromise full stop.
At the end of the day, it’s all going to boil down to what Presidents Reagan and Clinton campaigned on: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” and “It’s the economy stupid.”