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Obama Fable #1: That he's a Progressive


I'm joining Taylor Marsh of The Huffington Post in lamenting Barack Obama's lack of an ideological center. Her comments are in response to Obama's attacking of Progressive columnist Paul Krugman after Krugman dared criticize Obama's Health Plan and its "timidity of hope" in a NYT Op Ed piece, early December, 2007.

This is where the progressive canary died in the Obama camp, the point at which we should have recognized that Obama wasn't living up to his aura -- even easier to see now, in hindsight. It's a piece Marsh titled "Barack Obama's Progressive Cannibalism":

For months this has been going on. In fact, I was the first to point it out. Maybe the void of comment is why Barack Obama felt he could get away with attacking Paul Krugman, one of the leading thinkers in the progressive community. It's akin to going after Molly Ivins, but since she's gone, I guess Obama decided to take down one of the only progressive columnists that have our back. At issue isn't just the personal attack on Krugman because he dared to analyze Mr. Obama's health care plan, an analysis that was right on the money. The bottom line is that this proves what I've been saying for over 10 months: Barack Obama has no ideological compass. He doesn't care if it's a progressive honestly pointing out the flaws in a policy plan. All Obama cares about is the aura of him, because he has no ideological center, which he admitted himself, offering the first self-inflicted warning signal that all progressives should have picked up.

Marsh's warning signal is this Obama quote.:

"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 (on ABC's This Week)

Obama is not driven from any ideological center, much less a progressive one, and he employs conservative consensus-building techniques to move the decision-making process. He's less of a progressive than Clinton, and much less than John Edwards.

Where's the Fire in the Belly? Where's the Vision? Where's the Dream?

Obama has no vision or dream, no ideological center from which he leads and is lead. He just dreams of rising to become a great consensus-builder.

He wants to be President, and he has ambition, charisma, and drive, but he's no progressive.

Marsh again:

"Market-based ideas," hmmm, wonder what Mr. Obama is talking about? It's obvious. It's also a warning. Putting Social Security on the table, especially after progressives won that battle during the Bush era, is something no Democrat should swallow. It goes beyond not being an ideologue. It reveals that Obama doesn't care at all about anything Democratic, including one of the most important aspects of what makes us Democrats, Social Security.

So, of course, Mr. Obama has no compunction of going after the leading progressive economist, Paul Krugman, because Obama's loyalty is not to Democratic principles, but to his own agenda, which at it's core can be summed up in four words: Let's Make a Deal.

Obama is making deals left and right in his drive to be King - in his support of nuclear energy, for example. Further evidence of Obama's lack of a progressive agenda lay in the fact that many Republican moderates like him.

Progressives stand to lose a lot with Obama in the White House. Some of Edwards' progressive support moved to Clinton's camp in Nevada, and more will and should follow.

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Comments (2)

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"I intend to win in November 2008, and then I intend to build a centrist coalition in this country that is like what I remember when I was growing up." Hillary in a October interview with the WashingtonPost. Could you imagine Obama saying that?...I wonder why she doesn't use that line any longer.. I guess that it was dropped after Iowa when it wasn't probably poll-tested..That's our future leader, who wants George Bush Senior, with husband Bill, (why not take Dubya too) going around the world telling everyone America is open for business.


I've said it before - the 'Progressive' label has very much lost its luster outside of the self-labeled 'progressives'. Probably the worst thing Hillary could do would be to tout Obama as a 'Progressive' candidate - it'll drive off the uncommitted middle and make him untouchable by folks who'd otherwise think of voting for him.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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