Obama – The Centrist Republican

Glenn Greenwald hit the ball out of the park with his recent article at The Guardian. I have never seen a political article in a long time that has so hit the nail right on its head as this one has.

In essence, Glenn argues that Obama has governed so much from the mainstream Republican perspective in areas of foreign policy, wall street, corporatism, etc., that he has essentially taken much of the steam out of the Republican momentum. He says that the Republicans current dilemma is “how to credibly attack Obama when he has adopted so many of their party’s defining beliefs”.  On the issue of corporatism, he asks “How do you scorn a president as a far-left socialist when he has stuffed his administration with Wall Street executives, had his last campaign funded by them…?”

Like it or not, Glenn is basically right. For instance, on the matters of foreign policy, for all their yaking about being different than Obama, the GOP front runners (except for Ron Paul) basically offer a hearty “Amen! And do more of that!” to Obama’s foreign policy. When the question becomes, for instance, Obama’s habits on assassination, the majority of GOP contenders in the debates instantly become staunch defenders of Obama.

Here is a gem of a quote from the article:

  • “It is in the realm of foreign policy, terrorism and civil liberties where Republicans encounter an insurmountable roadblock. A staple of GOP politics has long been to accuse Democratic presidents of coddling America’s enemies…being afraid to use violence, and subordinating US security to international bodies and leftwing conceptions of civil liberties. But how can a GOP candidate invoke this…when Obama has embraced the vast bulk of George Bush’s terrorism policies; waged a war against government whistleblowers as part of a campaign of obsessive secrecy; led efforts to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs; extinguished the lives not only of accused terrorists but of huge numbers of innocent civilians with cluster bombs and drones in Muslim countries; engineered a covert war against Iran; tried to extend the Iraq war; ignored Congress and the constitution to prosecute an unauthorised war in Libya; adopted the defining Bush/Cheney policy of indefinite detention without trial for accused terrorists; and even claimed and exercised the power to assassinate US citizens far from any battlefield and without due process? Reflecting this difficulty for the GOP field is the fact that former Bush officials, including Dick Cheney, have taken to lavishing Obama with public praise for continuing his predecessor’s once-controversial terrorism polices. In the last GOP foreign policy debate, the leading candidates found themselves issuing recommendations on the most contentious foreign policy question (Iran) that perfectly tracked what Obama is already doing, while issuing ringing endorsements of the president when asked about one of his most controversial civil liberties assaults…..The core problem for GOP challengers is that they cannot be respectable Republicans because, as Krugman pointed out, Obama has that position occupied. They are forced to move so far to the right that they render themselves inherently absurd.”

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