“Obama is the conservative reformist of my dreams. #ToryPOTUS” – Andrew Sullivan (via Twitter)
IF YOU have any remaining doubts about how far right the Democratic Party has been led under President Obama perhaps now you’re finally getting the picture.
Obama’s been aided by the wingnut right in falsely caricaturing him as a radical socialist, which is not only ironic, but a fitting punishment for the haters who’ll likely be stuck with Obama for another four years.
But if Obama is the Democratic Ronald Reagan, which Andrew Sullivan stipulates, by political standards it simply means he represents the moderate Republican in American politics today.
It’s important to remember that Andrew Sullivan’s praises for the President are coming from a conservative.
Progressives have been put down, with this point set to be driven home in Obama’s second term.
Over the weekend, President Bill Clinton on “Face the Nation” talked about the deal being “shopped” by Senator Dick Durbin on the fiscal cliff. This isn’t news.
The stage is set for the compromise of President Obama’s career, if he’s reelected, which today looks likely.
The progressive activist community, for which I have great respect, because I know the commitment behind how hard these people work, chose not to challenge Obama during his reelection on any policy area, even if he had earned it. It didn’t require a primary challenge, which would have ended in a trouncing, but could have effectively been a concentrated policy push for what progressive activists expected in Obama’s second term, with pressure put on Obama to either agree or not.
In rejecting that policy challenge to Obama, progressive activists now face a looming debacle on policy when President Obama and the Democratic Party come together with Republicans to reform entitlements as part of an austerity program that includes President Obama administering the lowest tax rates in his first term since Eisenhower.
The austerity steam has been building for months and it’s very doubtful if progressives can stop it now.
Deficit reduction is on the way and the conventional wisdom (CW) is that America wants to begin by reforming entitlements before doing anything on revenue, military spending, corporate welfare, Wall Street malfeasance or anything else. CW on entitlements permeates the media landscape and is now accepted, with there no way to change it now.
David Brooks proclaimed on “Meet the Press” that Republicans will agree to revenue, Democrats will agree to entitlement reform. The question is if the sacrifices will be equal, which is the least that should be demanded. But what power will progressives have in Obama’s second term to demand remains questionable. Can Senators Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders, joined by the progressive community, stir the masses to action? We don’t know the answer.
The stage is already set for President Obama to join hands with Republicans in a Ronald Reagan – Tip O’Neill type moment that would take the policies of F.D.R. that made the Democratic Party what it became in the 20th century into the 21st century. Obama proclaimed as the savior of F.D.R.’s legacy, but also the social safety net for all Americans, because the U.S. can no longer afford F.D.R.’s original.
It won’t be the end, but it will be diminished, offering an opening Republicans have wanted since F.D.R. created it, which can never again be closed.
We’ve seen the same carving up of unions, as well as teachers’ power through charter schools.
Welcome to the brave new world.
What’s being talked about under the radar this fall under an Obama second term is seen to be necessary, a message now woven into the American political narrative.
Behind the scene progressives are grousing and planning, much like what was heard before the health care debate and we all know how that turned out.
In second terms, presidents have a very narrow window, 18 months or so, before their lame duck status kicks in. It’s why the wheels are already churning. In Obama’s first term, Republicans wanted him to fail, with the word used to describe what they’ll do if Obama gets a second term will be to frustrate him. However, if Mitt Romney gets beat, which is the good bet, Republicans will be thrown so far back on their heels they’ll have to do something or risk further irrelevancy.
However you come down on the policy, we’re looking into history’s crystal ball with Andrew Sullivan and seeing a potential seminal moment in American politics, not only for President Obama, but for the efficacy of progressive activism itself.
But if President Obama is the Democratic Ronald Reagan that means the Democratic Party of F.D.R. and Harry S. Truman is dead. That doesn’t make Obama’s accomplishment any less, in fact, it means he’s ushered in a new Democratic era, accomplishing what his neoliberal godfather Bill Clinton only dreamed of doing.
Considering the GOP will also be dead if Mitt Romney loses, it could also mean a historic political realignment that will have wider repercussions than for just Democrats and Republicans.