As we all know, Barrack Obama is a great big, flaming, Islamo-Fascist Socialist who hates white people, is spending America into financial ruin, and is trying to ram Big Gubmint down the lily-white, Christian throats of Real Americans. Or at least, that’s what we’d know if everything we learned came from FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing fever swamps, and the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal. (Great headline for one of the WSJ opinion pieces today: “Alinsky Wins at the SEC.” ZOMG!!! That Alinsky fellow is one powerful dude, for a zombie.)
Of course, those of us who are not insane know that Obama is the farthest thing from a socialist that ever walked the earth; in fact, he’s also not particularly liberal. During the campaign of 2008 I was excited about Obama’s candidacy because of his obvious intelligence (especially in contrast to his predecessor), and because of the historical implications of his candidacy, but I had few illusions about him being a progressive hero. Everything he said and did was aimed towards the center, and his emphasis on ‘post-partisanship,” in the wake of an openly partisan Republicanism that had wreaked so much havoc in so many ways on this country and the world, was disheartening. Still, I had hope that he would turn out to be more of a liberal than Bill Clinton was (and Hillary Clinton would be), at worst, and a stealth progressive, at best.
Ian Welsh has a really good post here (hat tip: Jay Ackroyd at Eschaton) basically explaining that, in spite of all the hand-wringing about constraints about Obama’s ability to push a liberal agenda, in the face of opposition from congressional Republicans, as well as some members of his own party, his inability to deliver on things that the left wants may be more of a feature than a bug:
A zombie argument is going around about why Obama hasn’t accomplished liberal and progressive ends to the extent many would have liked him to:
“Obama can’t do anything because he needs 60 votes in Congress and he doesn’t have them because Republicans and Dems like Lieberman and Nelson won’t vote for his programs.”
This argument is misleading in one sense and incorrect in another. It is misleading in that it misrepresents how things get done in Congress. It is incorrect in that many liberal policies do not require the consent of Congress…
The idea that Obama, or any President, is a powerless shrinking violet, helpless in the face of Congress is just an excuse. Presidents have immense amounts of power: the question is whether or not they use that power, and if they do, what they use it for.
Obama has a huge slush fund with hundreds of billions of dollars and all the executive authority he needs to turn things around.
If Obama is not using that money and authority, the bottom line is it’s because he doesn’t want to.
Putting aside the question of what Obama could have accomplished already, if he wants to help everyday Americans, turn around Democratic approval ratings in time for the midterm elections, and leave behind him a legacy of achievemant (sic), he can still do it. If he wants to.
Plenty of good stuff after the ellipsis. Go read the whole thing, as they say.