Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ronald Reagan Adviser: Barack Obama is a Conservative

While the Christofascists/Tea Party base of the Republican Party continues to suffer from a virulent form of swamp fever that makes rational though impossible and makes those afflicted unable to grasp objective reality, there remain a few sane Republicans - they are a dying species - who remain in touch with reality and can see for themselves that the policies favored by Barack Obama are actual conservative policies.  Or at least they were before the Christofascists/Tea Party crowd infected the GOP with the equivalent of mad cow disease.  Among those still able to see reality is former Reagan administration domestic policy aide Bruce Bartlett, who maintains that Barack Obama is in reality a conservative.  A piece in Salon looks at Bartlett's comments.  Here are highlights:
President Barack Obama “has governed as a moderate conservative,” former Reagan administration domestic policy aide Bruce Bartlett writes in a new essay for the eclectic American Conservative magazine.

Bartlett, an economic policy expert who left the Republican Party amid disgust with President George W. Bush’s fiscal policies and backed Obama in 2008, contends that a look at Obama’s track record reveals a president who’s basically a liberal Republican of yore. From the beginning of his administration, Bartlett argues, Obama has charted a center-right course on both foreign and domestic policy issues.

Populating his administration with hawks like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama has presided over new military engagements abroad while overseeing a draconian crackdown on national security leaks at home, Bartlett notes.

Meanwhile, Obama has pursued “very conservative” fiscal policies, Bartlett writes, signing a stimulus package that was far smaller than what experts and advisers like Christina Romer found would be necessary to really prime the nation’s economic pump. Moreover, Obama has conducted himself like a deficit hawk, “proposing much deeper cuts in spending and the deficit than did the Republicans during the 2011 budget negotiations,” when a deal eluded the two parties. And don’t buy into the the GOP “harping” that Obama hates business, Bartlett cautions. The president, he says, “has bent over backward to protect corporate profits.”

What about the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement? That, too, is evidence of Obama’s conservatism, Bartlett writes. Observing that Obamacare’s market-based approach drew on a model put forth by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney . . 

While Bartlett doesn’t see viscerally anti-Obama conservatives as likely to acknowledge the president’s conservatism, he concludes that philosopher and activist Cornel West “nailed it” when he recently declared  to Salon that Obama has given the country “a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency.”

Read Barlett’s full essay here.  It would be nice if the GOP could return to what it once was.  Sadly, unless and until the Christofascists/Tea Party elements are driven from the GOP base, it is foolish to think that the party can regain sanity or be reformed from within.

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