There is no question that Barack Obama is one of our most enigmatic presidents. Despite having published two volumes of memoirs before being elected president, we really don’t know that much about what makes him tick. The ongoing debate over the deficit and the debt limit is clarifying what I think he is: a Democratic Richard Nixon. …
… 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.
His point is that Obama is to liberals what Richard Nixon was to conservatives.
Although Republicans routinely accuse him (Obama) 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.
And no matter how much you hated Nixon, if you compare their domestic records on entitlement programs, Nixon comes out ahead. Nixon increased spending on social programs. Obama is cutting it back. Nixon expanded government regulation through the creation of such things as the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies that protected consumers, Bartlett notes. Obama is cutting federal regulatory programs and jobs at a time when jobs are scarce.
I’m not saying Nixon was a better person than Obama. His administration is best represented in Philip Roth‘s “Our Gang,” which ends with a dead Nixon (named “Trick E. Dixon”) plotting to take over Hell from Satan.
But from an economic standpoint, the poor likely stood a better chance with the fiscal policies of a scheming Nixon than they do with the fiscal policies of an acquiescent Obama.
- Obama / Nixon (krugman.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Yet another Economic WTF! Post (skydancingblog.com)
- Nor Would He Even Have Been Elected Had He Not Run to Maverick’s Right: (brothersjuddblog.com)