by John Grooms
If you believe the exaggerations of the far right about Barack Obama, you really need to come down to earth. And if youre one of Obamas die-hard progressive supporters who think that, any day now, the mega-liberal president you thought you were voting for will show up, then you, too, need to get real. The right wing is convinced that Obama wants a European-style, tax-funded health care system, and/or that hes going to make deep cuts in military spending in order to pay for things like wind farms and solar energy and many progressives, this writer included, wish he would do exactly that. Its time both sides shed their delusions.
Obama is proposing a budget that will hit those who can least afford it the hardest just a few weeks after he compromised with the GOP and extended Bushs massive tax cuts to the uber-rich, thereby increasing the deficit by $858 billion. If Obamas budget were passed as is, programs that help the poor heat their homes, allow less-fortunate students go to college, and assist the working poor will be cut drastically. According to a Huffington Post article today, Obama is proposing cuts that would undermine the kind of community-based organization that gave him his start in Chicago. Youd almost think Bill Clinton, another centrist Democrat who was vilified by the right as a tax and spend liberal, was back in the saddle. And, sure enough, some former Clinton advisors are among those who put together Obamas budget.
Its ever thus in politics. Those with the gold get more gold, and those who are relatively powerless racial minorities, womens health issues, the countrys growing economic underclass get the shaft. Obama is simply carrying on that age-old tradition. Call his cuts what you will, but just dont go around saying that this guy is some kind of super-liberal not that the facts are likely to put a dent in the FoxRush crowd's paranoid delusions.
Todays New York Times includes an editorial that supports the view of Obama as a watered down excuse for a progressive, asking, Why do the Obama administration's lawyers continue to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court? The law, signed (of course) by Clinton, denies married same-sex couples benefits granted other married couples, such as Social Security survivor payments.
The problem is that you dont get this kind of view of Obama anywhere in the mainstream press, except perhaps from three or four commentators on MSNBC. Instead, the American media, generally speaking, is so cowed by the rights neverending cries about the liberal press, it rarely questions the way conservatives frame the nations political dialogue. Which is why, despite Obama's newly proposed screwing of the poor, we can look forward to the same old denunciations and the same old moronic cries about our "socialist" president.