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Response to Paul Krugman

vastleft's picture

[no-glossary][/no-glossary]Krugman notes, and not for the first time, that Obama is a conservative.

My response, now in NYT's slow-moving approval queue:

Since we've established that Obama is a conservative, may we never again see a post here that ponders why Obama "caved," why he's "spineless," why he "compromises," why he "doesn't stand by his principles," why his actions on a particular policy are "disappointing," etc.?

He's a conservative. That's why he does what he does.

Yet so much headscratching ensues in left-of-center outlets when he reliably does and says what a conservative does.

In some future time, the widespread amnesia and/or denial on this point may rival the myths of Sisyphus and Lucy-and-the-football for recurrent futility.
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Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Let's see if it makes any impression...

It's baffling how many times I've had to remind people who, by their own previous writings have demonstrated that they understand that Obama is a conservative, still complain about Obama's spinelessness or wishy-washiness that it's not lack of courage when he's trying to achieve what he wants to. That is a thought that seems to elude people, even some, like Krugman, who weren't all that fond of Obama to begin with.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

A good one from mickrad:

I respectfully disagree. Obama's health care plan was indeed that of a moderate conservative - the Romney Dole plan, in essence.

However, on invading and bombing countries, Obama is a far right nutcase. He's bombing and invading Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, at least, and is continuing fighting in Iraq and escalating the fight in Afghanistan.

On fiscal matters, Obama is farther to the right than Reagan. Obama's ratio of spending cuts to tax increases was 83-17; Reagan's was roughly 50-50.

On shredding the Constitution, Obama is the most right wing president we've ever had. Obama has ordered the assassination of American citizens - not even Nixon, not even GW Bush, did that.

So, in sum, Obama is a far right Republican. It's not just his health care plan - it's his endless wars and his entire presidency.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

And if they somehow kill people we don't have the divine right to slaughter, do you think they'd rather be murdered by Michele Bachmann? Heck, no. They're lucky, and they know it, I'm sure, given the gentle hand of the Peace President.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

recommended. thanks for taking on krugman. great economist. but a useless political analyst.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

If the worst thing you can say about something is that they're "conservative"... what does that get you?
Partisan Republicans don't think its an insult (vs. calling someone "gay") and partisan Democrats won't believe you.

But words like spineless, weak, coward, liar, wimp, gutless--- these are insults that resonate across the political spectrum . So you can watch Fox News with your parents and share a bonding moment, "you know Dad, that Obama is such a gutless wimp."

While hardcore Obamabots have already drunk the Kool-Aid and should be left to wallow in their filth until they expire; as for other Democrats, its easier for them to admit Obama's a wimp (especially compared to Hillary, Bill, Kucinich, Edwards, etc) than to admit he's a conservative. So just go with it.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

(as Henry Kissinger might say)

So far as I can tell, people are rarely persuaded by changing their minds. They're persuaded because what you're telling them jibes with what they already believe. In some cases its impossible to avoid creating cogitative dissonance, for example Modern Monetary Theory is hard to explain because its ( as JK Galbraith said of how banks create money) so simple it repels the mind.

As for Obama, very few people think he's a conservative so you have to change their minds to get their agreement. However most everyone agrees that he's indecisive and dishonest. After all, if he was a no-BS conservative, he'd have been upfront in his opposition to the public option during the campaign and continued to denounce it once in office (leaving aside that the PO was like something Temple Grandin would design to herd Medicare for All supporters into the slaughterhouse with no fuss or muss).
Instead, Obama was campaigning in support of a public option (weak tea for all!) then after he's in office, lied about doing any such thing.

Its gutless to deny your own words and its beyond dispute that he was lying. Seems to me hammering on those points is easier case to make than he's really a conservative who totally owned the gullible liberals who nominated him-- a point which partisan Democrats and Republicans, for their own reasons, are loathe to admit.

I should point out that probably the best way to critique Obama on policy is the tack Ron Paul took, calling him a "corporatist".
"The question has been raised about whether or not our president is a socialist," Paul said. "I am sure there are some people here who believe it. But in the technical sense, in the economic definition of a what a socialist is, no, he's not a socialist."
"He's a corporatist," Paul continued. "And unfortunately we have corporatists inside the Republican party and that means you take care of corporations and corporations take over and run the country.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The "gutless/spineless" riff fundamentally shores up the notion that Obama is a man of good intentions and weak fortitude. That is untrue, and it's the essence of why Democrats continue to support the man, hoping that with the right gust of wind and adrenaline, he'll stir up the courage to do the right thing.

Truthiness rots everything.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Its gutless to deny your own words and its beyond dispute that he was lying. Seems to me hammering on those points is easier case to make than he's really a conservative who totally owned the gullible liberals who nominated him

He's a con artist. That's not such a difficult thing to understand, though it's difficult to admit when you're among those who have been conned. Nevertheless, it's a fundamentally simple proposition - he's a conservative who tries to convince gullible progressives that he's one of them. I've been calling him a con artist since before I was sure what the con was. At first I thought it was mere corruption, but he is also philosophically a conservative.

As a con artist, his lying isn't about being gutless. He's dissembling to make us think he's something he's not. It still seems to be working for a lot of progressives.