Obama-Patriotism-Moving Center Memes

What Daniel Larison said contra our old pal Jonah Goldberg. 

I do however have to take (partial) exception to some of what Larison says in this post on Obama’s supposed moves to the center. 

On gun control, there are passages in Audacity of Hope that are consistent with the views he expressed post-Heller (a Bloomberg-like rational middle:  i.e. keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, stricter background checks, while the individual right is upheld).  No doubt Obama being earlier in local Chicago (read urban) politics emphasized the gun control side of the equation, but it was not out of line with what he is saying now. 

On NAFTA, I thought during the primary campaign he and his crew were accussed of giving the wink-wink nod nod to the Canadians showing that all of his criticisms of NAFTA were in fact political pandering (to the left) and now when he says more positive things about NAFTA he’s tacking right, thereby meaning his original anti-NAFTA were what he originally believed.  So which is it?  Or perhaps it’s the same guy who voted against CAFTA and thinks that what we are calling free trade (which is not free in absolute terms ever) pays insufficient attention to environmental, labor regulations, etc.  You may think that is good or bad policy, but doesn’t seem that inconsistent to me.  He thinks free trade (so-called) which is always government brokered in these nation-nation deals should emphasize other things than what it so far has.     

And even with public financing there are decent responses that would defend his basic consistency (no doubt with some politicking involved).  They would involve that he pledged to aggressively pursue a comprehensive deal with his opponent for a public financed system that would include 527s, RNC/DNC ads, and method of financing.  And arguably the system of small donors via the internet has in fact created a de facto new system, one I would think more conservatives (at least anti-McCain Feingold types) would support.   

FISA was weak–it hurt him that the new class of House Dems in swing districts voted overwhelmingly in favorite of the bill and Pelosi (Obama’s biggest suppoter among superdelegates) pushed the thing.  It’s still up in the air whether he works to revise the legislation again in the next cycle.  i.e. Pass the thing now because Bush will be constrained by some law and then reform it later.  Or he just wants the wiretapping to himself. 

And this welfare reform stuff is weak too (point Larison).  But the others I just don’t see this whole “moving to the center” thing.  Even with the new expanded Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Dept., that’s goes all the way back to his community organizer days/theory of governance as well as his 2006 speech calling Democrats to not be afraid to embrace faith issues.   

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] C.J. Smith responds with some interesting points, but I think he is confusing Obama’s general policy record on […]

  2. […] Politics, US-Domestic | Tags: Barack Obama, Centrist Democrats |   Daniel Larison responded to my earlier post responding to his post […]


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