If you listen to some Republican politicians or Ted Nugent (who had a particularly tense interview last night on CNN with Erin Burnett) President Obama is a socialist taking the USA down the road to being another version of the Soviet Union. However this discussion is absurd not only on the surface but when you explore deeper. A few months ago I wrote about President Obama and socialism while I was traveling abroad and after the Nugent interview last night I was reminded of something Paul Krugman, the nation’s leading liberal voice brought to our attention two years ago.
President Obama was as of early 2012 the most CONSERVATIVE Democrat to occupy the White House since World War II. The voteview blog maintained by UGA Professor Dr. Keith Poole is one of the best sites to gauge voting patterns statistically in Congress and the positions of the executive branch. Poole has created a model to rate Presidents ideology and found that Jimmy Carter was the most liberal post WWII President,while George W. Bush just edged out Ronald Reagan to be the most conservative.
But the great takeaway is the Obama piece. So the next time someone alleges Obama is a socialist, armed with this information it is an easy rebuttal. But facts and empirical studies often make little impact on those deeply entrenched beliefs spun by FOX News and conservative publications. This is similar to the growing ignorance I am finding on the left on many issues as MSNBC’s partisan rhetoric dumbs down the debate and intellect many liberals are showing on critical matters.
The reality as the study shows is that American government has moved further right through the years, with two of the four most conservative Democratic Presidents per this scale being Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The last three Republican Presidents have been the three MOST conservative Republican Presidents since World War II. We’ve discussed in the past on this site the accommodationist posture of the GOP towards liberal Democrats from the late 1930s through the Goldwater Campaign of 1964. These “me-too Republicans” weakened the conservative movement for years and helped usher in a long era of liberal dominance.
My concern today is that we have too many “me-too Democrats,” who are willing to accept conservative principles on the economy, environment and foreign policy. While I admire President Obama some of his administration’s policies have not given me the confidence I would want to feel we are moving beyond this trend.
Going forward hopefully Democrats will realize democracy only works if political parties disagree and have a vibrant debate about the issues that really matter to most Americans.