Obama is not a liberal

obama-stands

There has been some hyperventilating and pearl-clutching among the kool-aid kultists over the Weblog nomination of The Confluence as “Best Liberal Blog.”  The PUMA haters have their panties all twisted because they think our refusal to support Obama means we can’t possibly be liberals, despite the fact that we consistently support liberal policies and ideals.  In fact, we reject the wimpy label of “progressive” and proudly declare that we are old-school FDR-style liberals.

How can support for Obama be the defining characteristic of a liberal when Obama himself is not a liberal?  Let me repeat that: Obama is not a liberal! If you don’t believe me, then ask Jane Hamsher, or Matt Stoller.  Better yet, ask Obama:

“Oh, he’s liberal, he’s liberal,” Obama said, mimicking his critics. “Let me tell you something. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics. That is common sense. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure [our soldiers] are treated properly when they come home . . . . There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare. We are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country, but we’ve got more uninsured. There’s nothing liberal about saying that doesn’t make sense, and we should so something smarter with our healthcare system.”

Obama has invented a phrase for actions that smack of politics-as-usual: okey-doke. Of the liberal charge, Obama thundered: “Don’t let them run that ‘okey doke’ on you.”

If Obama denies being a liberal, why shouldn’t we take him at his word?

But you endorsed McPalin!” the PUMA-obsessed stalkers cry.  “No liberal would EVER endorse a conservative!”  First of all, no one at The Confluence endorsed John McCain and/or Sarah Palin.  We did object to dishonest and misogynistic attacks made on them, and some of us, after much soul-searching, decided that John McCain was the lesser of two evils.

Secondly, from The Audacity of Hope:

That Reagan’s message found such a receptive audience spoke not only to his skills as a communicator; it also spoke to the failures of liberal government, during a period of economic stagnation, to give middle-class voters any sense that it was fighting for them. For the fact was that government at every level had become too cavalier about spending taxpayer money. Too often, bureaucracies were oblivious to the cost of their mandates. A lot of liberal rhetoric did seem to value rights and entitlements over duties and responsibilities.

…by promising to side with those who worked hard, obeyed the law, cared for their families, and loved their country, Reagan offered Americans a sense of a common purpose that liberals seemed no longer able to muster. And the more his critics carped, the more those critics played into the role he’d written for them—a band of out-of-touch, tax-and-spend, blame-America-first, politically correct elites.

The last time I checked, Ronnie Raygun was the epitome of a conservative, the anti-FDR.

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