Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stretch Obama

President-elect Obama has a very difficult first 100 days ahead of him. He is going to be pulled apart in a tug of war between the center-right electorate and the liberal left. It is going to be like a couple of two-year-olds fighting over a Stretch Armstrong doll. Either one of them is going to win and make the other throw a temper tantrum, or he is going to torn so far apart that he will be unrecognizable in four years.

The radical left wing blowhards have already begun to say that he has a mandate from Americans to swerve us to the hard left. MoveOn implied that they put up millions of dollars to help him get elected, so he better do what they say. Monday, the ACLU demanded that Gitmo be shut down. The next day the New York Times uses a hate crime against a hispanic to go after those who want to enforce our illegal immigration laws. The Times is angling for the president-to-be to give pardons to all illegal immigrants.

Left wing bloggers are also getting in the act. David Sirota of and Mark Green of the Huffington Post both wrote articles directed straight at President-elect Obama. They both say that his election is a "mandate" to proceed with their liberal agendas. They claim that the nation has turned into a center-left nation. Is the democratic wave because of a new liberal majority or because he successfully stole conservative ideas from republicans?

Obama ran on a budget and tax cutting platform. The promise to "cut" the taxes of 95% of workers was key to his victory over McCain. He said that he was for the right for an individual to bear arms. These are all issues that republicans have been known for the last 100 years. He didn't win on a platform of "spreading the wealth around", abortions without any restrictions, or legalizing gay marriage. He won as a fiscally responsible spender that would only raise taxes minimally on the rich and would cut everyone else's taxes.

Let me start first with David Sirota of Salon. He said that, "Voters want you (Obama) to go big and go liberal -- and not channel Clinton-style incrementalism." However, that is exactly how he campaigned in the latter days. He gave praise to President Clinton as an example of how he will govern. He basically said that if you loved the 90's, then you will also love his administration.

He went on to say, "What the party gains in strength, it loses in a Republican scapegoat that previously justified inaction. On huge issues -- whether re-regulating Wall Street, reforming trade, solving the healthcare emergency, or ending the Iraq war -- America envisages enormous progress in the months ahead, and Democrats will have no one to blame for failure but themselves."

Well I partially agree with him on this. With a dominant control of Congress and the White House, they can no longer blame Bush and republicans for the country's problems. Let's not forget that the deregulation of Fannie and Freddie's business practices and overregulation of the local bank's ability to deny people loans that could never pay them back was due to the democrats like Barney Franks and Chris Dodd and community organizations like ACORN not the GOP.

As for universal healthcare, it failed the first time that it was brought up by Hillary Clinton in the early 90's. The unpopularity and failure of Hillary Care and Bill's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy led to the Republicans getting control of Congress in 1994. In fact, President Clinton, who is naturally more of a centrist than other democrats, told one of his aides at the time, Dick Morris, that by the end of his second year, he didn't recognize himself anymore.

Mark Green of the Huffington Post continued with the same themes, but he expounded a bit more on social issues. He said, "Polling shows increasing majorities who are pro-environment, pro-choice, pro-expanded healthcare and anti-Iraq war, anti-big business."

No one is anti-environment, but there is also a huge majority that want responsible drilling and nuclear energy which neither are democratic issues.

Abortion is such a controversial issue that even most of those that are "pro-choice" don't agree with it for themselves personally. Even though South Dakota and Colorado denied the heavy restrictions on abortions, many believe it was not because they disagree with the restrictions, but it was because of the people's reservations of being the state that directly challenges Roe V. Wade. They don't want the national spotlight on their respective state.

People have said that they want healthcare reform not government-run healthcare. Earlier this year, Rasmussen did a poll about healthcare, only 29% of people believed in a single-payer system. Forty-six percent of those polled believe that the quality of healthcare would go down, and forty-two percent believe that cost would go up with more government control.

Most are against the Iraq War in hindsight, but most of those that are against it now were for it before the war started. Also, people aren't against big business but against excessive greed and bad management.

I will agree with him that the democrats have had a much better grassroots efforts in getting people to go out and vote for their candidates. However, that doesn't mean that there are more democrats than republicans. They have just been better at getting their voters out over the past two cycles.

Two recent polls dispute their claim that this country is now center-left. The first is a poll by the American Issue Project which polls 300 people each in four of the battleground states: Colorado, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. In the poll 58.6% of people said that the republicans either lost their way or were incompetent. Only 23.7% said that they disagree with the GOP's stances on the issues, and just 9.6% said that they were too conservative. In a Rasmussen poll from earlier in the week, 37% thought that a candidate being conservative was good, and only 22% said it was bad. In comparison, 36% said being liberal was bad, and only 19% said it was good. These polls obviously show that this country as a whole still leans more to the conservative side than liberal.

The democrats have been able to steal the advantage on issues of typical republican strength like cutting taxes and keeping government spending under control. How have they been able to do this? The republicans shot themselves in the foot by doubling the federal deficit and championing earmarks. About seventy-two percent agree with the statement: "The Republican Party used to stand for keeping government spending under control, but not anymore." Over 75% say that they agree with this: "When the Republican Party took control of Congress in 1994, they promised to reform government and clean up corruption in Washington, but they failed to live up to that promise."

This sounds more like a referendum on the loss of core conservative values by republicans more than a mandate on the more progressive policies. By the way that Obama has been talking, he knows it. If Obama has any hope of getting a second term, he must keep his campaign promises to be post-partisan and in the middle like Clinton. If he let's the loony liberals pull him to the left, he will feel Jimmy Carter's pain in 2012.

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