Obama's budget: This guy's a liberal??



If you believe the exaggerations of the far right about Barack Obama, you really need to come down to earth. And if you’re one of Obama’s 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 he’s 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. It’s 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 Bush’s massive tax cuts to the uber-rich, thereby increasing the deficit by $858 billion. If Obama’s 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. You’d 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 Obama’s budget.

It’s ever thus in politics. Those with the gold get more gold, and those who are relatively powerless — racial minorities, women’s health issues, the country’s growing economic underclass — get the shaft. Obama is simply carrying on that age-old tradition. Call his cuts what you will, but just don’t 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.

Today’s 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 don’t 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 right’s neverending cries about “the liberal press,” it rarely questions the way conservatives frame the nation’s 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.

Right-wing fantasy of Obama. Meanwhile, he's cutting services to the poor
  • Right-wing fantasy of Obama. Meanwhile, he's cutting services to the poor

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