Is Obama Centrist?

Paul Krugman has a thought provoking op-ed today on whether Obama is more like Bill Clinton, triangulation and all, rather than a left-wing Ronald Reagan. What change will he really deliver? He supports the wimpy wiretap bill that essentially grants immunity to the telecom companies. He supports the mad four on the Supreme Court — Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito — along with Justice Kennedy on the death sentence for child rapists. He supports that group again on the gun legalization in the District of Columbia. He keeps talking about rising above both the right and the left and uniting the country, same as Bill Clinton did. And look what Bill Clinton did once he got into office: massive triangulation. Is this what we have in store for us. Many if not most Obama supporters expect him to deliver real change. But I’m worried that he’s simply a centrist in disguise.

In spite of what I’m saying, we’re now stuck with him. Protest votes for Kucinich, Nader, Gravel, Ventura, or None-of-the-Above will simply help elect John McCain. Sheeesh! I is pissed, and frustrated.

Eric Alterman believes Obama must play to win, which entails compromise. See, Is Obama a conservative or a progressive realist?. Eric’s answer is that Obama is a political realist, a consensus politician who understands that he must compromise in order to be electable. Let’s hope Eric is right. But Arianna doesn’t think so, here.

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  1. DD’s avatar

    It’s like Noam Chomsky says:

    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

    Obama operates within the spectrum set by the elites. They’ve approved of him, or he’d never have made it this far. That should tell you all you need to know.

    Obama does not represent “change.”

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Sorry, but I don’t believe Chomsky operates in the real world. It’s so tempting to just sum everything up with these conspiracy theories which explain everything. Nothing in the real world is either black or white. The world consists of varying shades of gray. So, you’re quoting Chomsky to tell me that these debates between Alterman and Huffington, say, are just meant to keep people passive and obedient, that they don’t know it, and that they are being controlled by the “elites”. Sorry, but Chomsky is so far off the deep end that very few take him seriously, and the right wing wing-nuts use him to smear all liberals…. OK, I apologize for these strong words, DD. My object is not to insult you. And I’m willing to admit, really, that of course I could be wrong.

  3. DD’s avatar

    It’s strange that you suggest Chomsky is a conspiracy theorist, since he gives those sorts of people very little consideration, from what I’ve seen.

    You keep saying the world is not black and white. I don’t know where you get the idea that Chomsky says it is. Have you read or listened to him directly, or only third hand from emotional types like me? He’s actually very reasoned and even minded. That’s the point of his critiques of the US, in fact: to present an objective analysis without regard to the limits that are set for us by the chattering classes.

    When we hear a fair analysis of the US, it sounds extremist to our ears. That’s the problem. Open your eyes and stop presuming that we are always on the moral high ground.


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