Political Pistachio

Blog Home of the Writer and AM and FM Radio Host, Douglas V. Gibbs.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Command and Control: The Liberalism of Barack Obama

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Liberalism has become a bad word, so members of the left are trying to call themselves progressives, again, a term abandoned a while back because it had gotten a bad rap as well.  Today's hard left liberal progressive socialist Marxist commie bastard is now even trying to convince you that not only is it unfair to call them a liberal, but in reality they are not so liberal at all.

In an article by William Shapiro, in an effort to try to prove Barack Obama is not quite as liberal as those crazy, right-wing, extremist maniacs (like me) seem to think, Mr. Shapiro compares Obama to other people, who are not considered to be liberal, to prove that Obama is not liberal - even though the guy is the most liberal president this nation has ever seen.

William Shapiro admits that the man that is President Obama is decidedly more liberal than Candidate Obama back in 2008, or Candidate Obama in 2012 - which goes to show you that like all other liberal democrats, Obama understands that blatant liberalism does not get you elected.

Shapiro concedes in his article that it is truly liberal that Obama is moving in the direction of gun control, supporting the gay agenda, and pushing the myth of man-made global warming (uh, I mean Climate Change - the democrats are real good at repackaging their liberalism with new names and definitions to throw you off their trail).  Desperately seeking to build upon his gain on the female vote, Obama has also taken the stance of killing women overseas by supporting the lifting of the ban of women on the front lines of combat - while still supporting we pull out of the wars we've been in because of the horrible killing of women and children in foreign countries.  Amnesty, I am sure, as is Shapiro, is the next big liberal move by Obama.

But he's not really as liberal as he seems, urges Shapiro in his piece of journalistic bull crap.  In fact, President Barack Obama has a great many things in common with folks that march around with an (R) after their name, including the conservative hero of the right-wing loonies, Ronald Reagan.

In fact, according to Shapiro, like ol' Ronnie Reagan, Obama is a transformational leader seeking individual rights and equality.  This is right in line with the "white-bread politics that elected both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to two terms.  Rather than defying the demographic and attitudinal shifts that produced the America of 2013, Obama embodies them."

Hold on a moment, while I steady myself after that onslaught of hilarity.

Okay, ready.

The liberalism we are seeing now, we are assured by Shapiro, are simply a returning of the favor to the liberals that got him reelected to a second term, despite a dismal first term (which was probably dismal in the mind of William Shapiro because it wasn't quite liberal enough).

An excuse for Obama's gun control stance is then thrown at us, since Obama is an "urban president" shaped by the rough streets of Chicago.  "Unlike, say, Bill Clinton, Obama never came from a place where guns are equated with hunting rather than violent shootouts. Remember, during the 2008 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, Obama in a private fundraiser derided rural voters who 'cling to guns or religion.'”

Like most liberals, Shapiro doesn't seem to understand that the Second Amendment has pretty much nothing to do with hunting, and everything to do with repelling a tyrannical central government. 

Shapiro goes on to tell us that gun control is an issue dictated by environment.  Political geography matters, he writes. "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be the nation’s most zealous proponent of gun control, but it is hard to describe this billionaire plutocrat, who endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004, as a dangerous left-winger."

Ah, so since Bloomberg has lots of money, and had an (R) after his name, before he decided to become an independent, and because he supported George W. Bush, who was a self-proclaimed conservative, his ideas on gun control must not be very liberal.  And since a person who Shapiro says is not a dangerous left-winger is willing to stomp all over the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, Obama doing it is not such a liberal thing to do, either.

Never mind that Bloomberg's actions are very liberal, regardless of that now tossed aside affiliation with the Republican Party.  And remember, people like Shapiro thinks Bush was the epitome of conservatism, because of Bush's claim to be a conservative, even though his domestic policies often were anything but.

Then Mr. Shapiro lets Obama off the hook on immigration, too, for Obama's stance on immigration is not liberal at all because members of both parties share his desire to open the borders, and give amnesty to the law-breakers that have marched across our sovereign border by the millions.  Heck, what Obama said matches a piece of legislation that John McCain helped write, and was blessed by both George W. Bush and Karl Rove.  And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it, too, and surely they aren't a bunch of rabid left-wingers.  Therefore, because of those kinds of associations, Shapiro reasons, the hard left stance on immigration that Obama has taken is not so liberal after all.

Don't forget, William Shapiro reminds us, Reagan raised taxes (even though he did so only because the democrats promised to cut spending and then reneged on the deal), and Bush expanded the social safety net by adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare (a move that pissed off conservatives because that was quite the liberal thing for Bush to do).  Meanwhile, Obama acted just like one of those guys from the GOP when he dramatically increased troop levels in Afghanistan.

You see?  Obama can't be so liberal, claims Shapiro.  Not with that kind of republican company and not-so-liberal actions.

Heck, the drone attacks shows he's not so liberal, either, because it is making other liberals mad.  If you make other liberals mad, determines Mr. Shapiro, then it must not make you quite so liberal after all.

You know, just like when Hitler said his socialism was nothing like the socialism of the communists, so Europeans decided that must mean that Hitler's socialism is on the Right, while communism is on the Left, even though they are both socialism, both totalitarian in nature, and both tyrannical.

Shapiro goes on to tell us that from an economical stand-point, Obama is not so liberal either.  Obama himself has said that his policies, if enacted back in the 1980s, would make him a moderate Republican - and if that is what Obama says, it must be true, and that must mean he is not a raging liberal on his economic policies, either.

Shapiro goes on:  "How liberal is a president who signed the 'fiscal cliff' legislation that made permanent the Bush tax cuts for roughly 99 percent of Americans? How liberal is a president who at various points in his budget negotiations with the Republicans has toyed with raising the eligibility age for Medicare and cutting back the inflation adjustment for Social Security? How liberal is a president who allowed the Wall Street masterminds behind the economic collapse to go unpunished for their flagrant misdeeds?"

Even in Obamacare, argues Shapiro, which is very liberal on the surface, hides non-liberal nuggets.  After all, Obamacare is a compromise, because Obama was not so liberal as to chase "single-payer" nationalized health care, like his liberal brethren were calling for.  Heck, even Republican Romney pushed a similar plan in his own State of Massachusetts, so that couldn't possibly make Obamacare as liberal as them crazy ol' conservatives make it out to be.

In conclusion, Shapiro explains that Obama's liberalism has been tempered by centrism.  Obama isn't just some mindless liberal that the conservatives make him out to be - he's a man of the people that contains positions that encircles all ideologies.

I was expecting a messianic label to be place on Obama next, by Shapiro.

When I first read that article, after I finished puking, I could only shake my head.  The whole premise was awry.  Shapiro misses the whole point.

Liberalism is the term we use today.  In all honesty, the term has changed over the centuries.  To be liberal is to challenge the system, to be less mainstream, and maybe even be a little radical.  The Founding Fathers were considered to be quite liberal in their day, but their political standards were nothing like that of today's liberal.  We use the term "liberal" today only because its current designation is a label consistent with progressivism, statism, socialism, and the like.

Ideology is the premise, but even that can be misleading, because an ideology is what people believe it to be, and if the definitions shift, even that can undermine the truth.

For argument's sake, however, I am going to assume you know what I mean by terms like liberalism, conservatism, and ideology.  If you can't grasp all of that, then maybe you should go to a website that is more for folks with simpler minds, like the Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, Daily KOS, Mother Jones or MoveOn.org.

For those of you with a stronger mind, or liberals with an insatiable curiosity about conservative writings, liberalism, or the degree of liberalism, or of conservatism for that matter, is not based on who did what, or what party designation is after a name.  It is all based on ideological factors, which are governed by our understanding of the political spectrum.  Since we never had a monarchy, or a state religion, let's toss aside the French political spectrum that the liberals like to hold on to, which is based on support for the monarchy in power and established religion versus change and secularism, and use something a little more American.

The American political spectrum is based on the amount of government control applied.  The more controlling a central government, the more to the left it is.  The less controlling the government is, the more to the right it moves.  In other words, the spectrum is based on a scale of the role government plays in our lives.  The far left is going to be big government, or totalitarianism.  The far right will be no government, or anarchy. To the left is 100% government, and to the right is 0% government.  Using that scale, the Constitution, which takes a big government idea by creating a central government in the form of the federal government, and then takes a small government idea by placing limitations on that government, is actually dead center.  That is why as a constitutionalist, I call myself a Classical Centrist.

Okay, now regardless of what the politicians "say," let's take their "actions" and rate them based on that scale.

In 1817, James Madison vetoed a public works bill which would have allowed the federal government to fund the creation and maintenance of roadways and boatways.  He felt the Constitution did not allow the federal government to have authority over roadways and boatways, making his decision one that resulted in less federal involvement in the lives of the people and States.  Constitutionally, the roads and boatways were left to the local governments to keep up.  Madison's decision, based on today's understanding of the political spectrum, was a not-so-liberal thing to do.

During Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency, The New Deal created a plethora of federal government programs that inserted more government into the lives of citizens.  Regardless of the good intentions, or the ultimate failure of those programs, the reality is that The New Deal enabled federal intrusion in our lives not seen before.  His actions were an increase of government at the federal level in our lives, making The New Deal the more liberal thing to do.

When George W. Bush created his "No Child Left Behind Act" during his presidency, despite Bush's claim that he was a conservative republican, and despite the (R) party designation after his name, the action increased federal government influence in our school system, making it the more liberal thing to do.

Now, let's stop for moment.  Let us remember that the Constitution is dead-center, and that though we want to keep the federal government from increasing its influence in our lives, the federal government does have the authority to take care of external activities.  So, things like actions during wartime are based more on perception than the political spectrum.  For example, Woodrow Wilson, a progressive democrat, is the president that decided to segregate the military. Until Woodrow Wilson made that decision, our military was actually not segregated by governmental decision.  If segregation occurred, it was because of the decisions made by the members of the particular unit, and so forth.  Since Wilson's action was perceived as limiting the rights of the people serving, where the government was basically telling them who they could serve with, it is seen historically as the more liberal thing to do.  When Bush increased the number of troops in Iraq, which people felt was needed to wrap the conflict up, it was seen as a non-liberal thing to do.  When Obama increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, though on the surface that would seem like the non-liberal thing to do, many folks believed he took that action not because he thought it would help the effort, but because he was trying to shape public opinion.  If that was his motive, then it was a more liberal thing to do.

Bloomberg's decision to use government to force stricter gun regulations on New York City, despite his past party affiliation, or that he supported Bush in the past, is an obviously very liberal stance.  Raising taxes and signing amnesty was no doubt a liberal action by Reagan, but that did not make him a liberal because of the circumstances.  He did not sign those bills because he wanted higher taxes or amnesty, but because he had been promised conservative actions of spending cuts and border security by the Democrat Congress - which they failed to deliver.

In the end, Obama's record is decidedly liberal.  Obamacare increases the involvement of the federal government in the healthcare system.  Just because it isn't single-payer, it doesn't make the health care law any less liberal.  In fact, it is worse, because the Affordable Care Act is designed to kill the private health care industry, and leave single-payer as the only remaining option.

Obama's stance on gun control is very liberal, because it increases government involvement regarding our right to keep and bear arms.

The very fact that now government is taking action to track whether you have health insurance or not, so that it can enforce its mandate that all people carry insurance is very liberal.

The claim by Maxine Waters that Barack Obama has a database on everything about every individual is not only very liberal, but borders on totalitarianism on the political spectrum.

Despite William Shapiro's assurances, Barack Obama, and today's Democrat Party, for that matter, is very liberal, and teeters so far to the left that they are becoming a tyranny.  Evil, however, does not announce what it is.  Darkness appears as light.  Liberalism, or whatever you want to call it, does not claim to be what it is so that it can snake itself into our lives.  If the democrats announced their true statist intentions, the American People would reject liberalism.  Of course Shapiro says that Obama is not as liberal as we seem to think he is.  He's a part of the propaganda.  He's a part of the scheme to sneak statism into control.  Either that, or he is a mindless follower of liberalism spewing the talking points without being able to think beyond the tip of his nose.

The reality is, Barack Obama is very liberal, and the democrats are all about Command and Control.  Until we are willing to admit that, we will be unable to combat it.

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