I like Obama. He's smart, even-tempered and seems genuinely concerned with the state of our nation.
But one thing he is not, is a liberal.
Wednesday's budget speech proved this once and for all. Obama is a realist. He is a pragmatist. And he is also to the right of every republican president we've ever had, except for the last one.
Obama has laid out a budget that Reagan would have been proud to call his own. It relies heavily on spending cuts with only about 1/4 of the deficit reduction coming from the taxation side. For those Reagan worshipers who think Saint Ronnie never raised taxes, he did. Quite often actually.
You want to see a liberal budget proposal? Check out this one.
Haven't head about it? No surprise there. Our so-called liberal media hasn't reported anything from the actual liberal point of view in over 30 years.
But that doesn't make the ideas any less legitimate.
Is it really that radical to push for a progressive estate tax? Or for taxing capital gains the same as earned income?
Is it so extreme to believe that US corporations should actually pay a few bucks in taxes on income earned abroad? Or that oil, gas and coal companies should be weaned off the succulent teat of government subsidies?
Is it really nuts to put a small tax on financial speculation, so we can afford to pay for the next bailout when (not if) it comes?
Is it absurd to want a public health insurance option, to compete with overpriced private insurance? Is it extremist to try and stop drug companies from overcharging consumers? Is it kooky to try and ensure that doctor's are paid properly for their services?
Is it so fucking crazy to think that a country which pays more for defense than nearly every other country combined should try and scale back a bit? Maybe we only bomb every other country in the middle east.
And finally, is it beyond the scope of reason to think that in a country where more people have reality shows than actual jobs, the government should consider creating real work through investment in infrastructure and education?
None of that seems all that crazy to me. Especially when you consider it will all result in our deficit being eliminated in 10 years.
This is a truly liberal approach to government. And it's an approach that is not even being considered by our so-called 'socialist' president.
It's hard to blame him, when you see how much attention has been given to the 'conservative' budget put forth by congressmen Paul Ryan. This is a budget so callous and so unrealistic it should be dismissed as some kind of joke. In fact, it was released so close to April Fool's Day that many wondered if it was in fact, a hoax.
So, how can Obama be a liberal? It would be political suicide. Shit, you can hardly be a mainstream conservative anymore without being labeled a commie sympathizer.
Which leads us back to what Obama actually is—a smart guy just trying to do the little bit he can to keep the country from being completely overrun by extreme anti-government zealots.
Now, I realize that this measured, defensive approach doesn't have the bold, sexy appeal of "The New Deal' or "The Great Society" programs put forth by previous, more progressive, Democratic presidents.
But Obama's work may eventually prove to be more historically significant than either one. Assuming of course, that he actually succeeds.