The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How left-wing is Obama, really?

On Sunday, David Frum posted on his blog the question "How Left-Wing is Obama?" He points out that the far Right has been categorizing President Obama as a socialist, even a Maoist, while the far Left has been criticizing him for selling out. Yet Frum fails to answer his own question, so I think I ought to do so.

President Obama is a man who starts out on the far left on most issues. He was talking about pulling out of Iraq when he was not yet President, and he was for a "public option" on health care, as well as positions that can be considered "left" (even though I agree with them, at least to an extent) on such issues as gun control and abortion. But when push comes to shove, he has one agenda: the centralization of power in Barack Obama. So he gives in to Republicans when he has to, in order to get a bill passed, and the Left thinks he's selling out. He doesn't know how to create jobs, so he lets the Democrats in Congress write a jobs bill; he doesn't have the votes to pass a public option on health care, so he lets the Democrats in Congress write a health bill (and ends up with one that neither the Left nor the Right can abide!); and now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Democrats control the Senate, he finds himself unable to do anything because he is totally unable to lead and both houses of Congress are pulling in opposite directions. If Hillary Clinton (at least as far left in spirit, but with a pragmatic streak) were President, she'd probably be able to achieve a consensus in the Congress and get bills to do something — Obama doesn't know how to do anything, and is simply concerned with making himself look good while Congress tears itself to bits.

So the answer is: Obama is very far to the left in his thoughts, but the Obama presidency is ending up with a relatively centrist record. Not because Obama wants to be a centrist, but because he is devoid of leadership skills.

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