Marginalizing Obama

In a 22 November Washington Post opinion column David Swerdlick argued that President Barack Obama is a conservative. Of Obama’s Presidency he wrote:

“The former president was skeptical of sweeping change, bullish on markets, sanguine about the use of military force, high on individual responsibility and faithful to a set of old-school personal values. Compare that with proposals from his would-be successors: Medicare-for-all, the Green New Deal, free college, a wealth tax, universal basic income.”

“…the former president, going back at least to his 2004 Senate race, hasn’t really occupied the left side of the ideological spectrum. He wasn’t a Republican, obviously: he never professed a desire to starve the federal government, and he opposed the Iraq War, which the GOP overwhelmingly supported. But to the dismay of many on the left, and to the continuing disbelief of many on the right, Obama never dramatically departed from the approach of presidents who came before him.”

“There’s a simple reason:”, wrote Swerdlick, “Barack Obama is a conservative…”

“To be conservative, as philosopher Michael Oakeshott, a movement hero, once put it, “is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.” The former president channeled the sentiment faithfully when he said recently that “the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it…He believes, fundamentally, that the American model works – even if it hasn’t been allowed to work for everyone.”

Ignoring the obvious that Obama proudly championed “fundamentally transforming AmericaObama is anything BUT a conservative. He is precisely what his resume told us he was as a presidential candidate, a radical Saul Alinsky “community organizer”.

As the Blaze’s Giancarlo Sopo observed, Swerdlick isn’t the first to make the outlandish claim that Obama is a conservative, and those claims were soundly disproven in the past.

“Variations of the “Obama is a conservative” argument were made in 2008 and early in his presidency. New York Times columnist David Brooks famously claimed in 2009 that “Obama sees himself as a Burkean” and compared him to Edmund Burke, the 18th century Anglo-Irish statesman considered by many as the progenitor of modern conservatism.”

There is a key difference though between 2008’s claims of conservatism and todays. Circa 2008, the intent was to make Obama more acceptable, or at least palatable to republicans in the hopes of peeling off some of their votes, and gaining their support. Swerdlick, and I predict a growing chorus of Minion Media talking heads, makes the claim to marginalize Obama and blunt his critiques of the Democratic Presidential field.

In recent weeks, Obama’s come out of hiding and warned democrats, to avoid extremism. I would add that he’s really signaling them that it is far better to cloak their intentions as he did.

On 15 November, the AP’s Brian Slodysko wrote “Former President Barack Obama on
Friday warned the Democratic field of White House hopefuls not to veer too far to the left, a move he said would alienate many who would otherwise be open to voting for the party’s nominee next year.”

“There are a lot of persuadable voters and there are a lot of Democrats out there who just want to see things make sense. They just don’t want to see crazy stuff. They want
to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.”

The claim that Obama is a conservative is laughable, yet also insulting, from the
democrat party intelligentsia’s view. For years countless left leaning pundits labeled conservatives as racist, bigoted, homophobic, anti-Semitic and every other vile adjective that popped into their heads at the time. In the Saul Alinsky model, they were giving conservatives the “pick a target, freeze it, isolate it, and polarize it” treatment.

Is Swerdlick’s labeling of Obama as a conservative the beginning of a similar treatment to
marginalize him and thus dismiss his warmings? Or, has the Democrat Party moved so far left that from their new position on the ideological spectrum they actually see radical Obama as right of center?

 

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