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Author Topic: Huffington Post Blogger says Obama is a fake liberal
Viking_Longship
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quote:
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President Obama's war speeches at West Point and Oslo -- two breathtaking exercises in political cynicism that killed any hope of authentic liberal reform -- I've got only one question: Have the liberals who worshipped at the altar of "change you can believe in" had enough?

There was already ample evidence of Obama's feeble commitment to peace, progress and justice. Ever since he started fundraising for his presidential campaign, it's been clear that the principal change in the offing was skin tone and slogans. One only needed to read "The Audacity of Hope" to see how thoroughly Obama was enmeshed in the neo-liberal orthodoxies of the Robert Rubin-Clinton wing of the Democratic Party. Obama's impeccably establishment party credentials -- that is, his fealty to the Democratic leadership of Chicago and Capitol Hill -- practically guaranteed that he would hew to the status quo when forced to choose.

Even before he announced his candidacy for president, Obama endorsed the Iraq hawk Joe Lieberman for re-election to the Senate; then, when Lieberman lost the primary to the antiwar Ned Lamont, Obama made sure that he was never seen with the official nominee of the Connecticut Democratic Party, a bald act of realpolitik that helped Lieberman win as an "independent." In the U.S. Senate, meanwhile, Obama's voting record on Iraq war funding was identical to Hillary Clinton's.

Liberals, exhausted by President Bush and heartened by Obama's challenge to the pro-invasion Hillary, ignored their new hero's record and fixated on his one major anti-Iraq speech, delivered when he was a state senator. Ironically, it was Clinton who best characterized Obama's candidacy when she said that she and John McCain would "put forth" a "lifetime of experience" while "Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

Indeed, apart from extraordinary ambition, there wasn't much more to Obama than that one speech.

So what's left of the liberal adoration of Obama? The first major defector among the camp followers was Gary Wills, who denounced the Afghanistan escalation as a "betrayal." As Wills astutely noted in a New York Review of Books blog, "If we had wanted Bush's wars, and contractors, and corruption, we could have voted for John McCain. At least we would have seen our foe facing us, not felt him at our back, as now we do."

But Wills seems to be the exception. For now, the leading liberal commentators are clinging to the belief that Obama's blatant doubletalk -- sending more troops while announcing their eventual withdrawal -- is somehow virtuous.

Typical is Frank Rich, who though critical of the troop buildup, doesn't "buy the criticism that [Obama] contrived a cynical political potpourri to pander to every side of the debate on the war." For the former New York Times theater critic, good acting still counts for a lot: "Obama's speech struck me as the sincere product of serious deliberations, an earnest attempt to apply his formidable intelligence to one of the most daunting Rubik's Cubes of foreign policy America has ever known."

That Rich is so impressed by the alleged complexity of Afghanistan and Obama's supposed brilliance speaks in part, I imagine, to Rich's ignorance of American political history. As Rahm Emanuel knows well, milking the role of "war president" (with a backdrop of men in uniform) is a time-tested winner in re-election campaigns, from Abraham Lincoln in 1864, to Richard Nixon in 1972, to George W. Bush in 2004. I suspect that Rich is disturbed that his matinee idol is suddenly being called a poseur by respectable people whom Rich might meet at a dinner party.

In the same vein, Hendrick Hertz-berg, of The New Yorker, twisted himself into knots to present the president as an honorable man. "His speech," Hertzberg pronounced, "was a somber appeal to reason, not a rousing call to arms." Of Obama's "plan," Hertzberg wrote that "the best that can be claimed for it is that it does not guarantee failure, as, in one form or another, the alternatives almost certainly do." From Obama's (and Hertzberg's) self-contradictory gobbledygook, we may be reassured that "if there is no Obama Doctrine, there is an Obama approach -- undergirded by humane values but also by a respect for reality."

Obama's West Point speech was nothing if not a tribute to fantasy. Almost everything he said about fighting terrorism and "stabilizing" Afghanistan and Pakistan was counterproductive nonsense (see Edward Luttwak's recent article in The Times Literary Supplement). As for humane values, it takes more than gall to tell an audience that includes future dead and maimed soldiers that they're going off to fight for a good cause when, in fact, their presence in Afghanistan will create added bloodshed and recruit more volunteers for the Taliban.

Then there's Tom Hayden, the former radical and author of the Students for A Democratic Society's Port Huron Statement, who was a belligerent booster of Obama during last year's campaign. Hayden, too, is upset about Afghanistan, but not enough to cast aside his self-delusion about Obama. Claiming to speak for "the antiwar movement," he laments that the "costs in human lives and tax dollars are simply unsustainable" and, worse, that "Obama is squandering any hope for his progressive domestic agenda by this tragic escalation of the war."

Unsustainable? Tragic? There's no evidence that Obama and his chief of staff see any limit to their ability to print dollars, sell Treasury bonds and send working-class kids to die in distant lands. And what "progressive" agenda is Hayden talking about? So far, Obama's big domestic goals have been compulsory, government-subsidized insurance policies that will further enrich the private health-care business, huge increases in Pentagon spending and purely symbolic regulation of Wall Street.

While Obama was speaking to the unfortunate cadets, I couldn't help thinking of Richard Nixon and his "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War, a plan that entailed a long and pointless continuation of the fighting. Most liberals would agree that Nixon was a terrible president. Yet, for all his vicious mendacity, I think the sage of San Clemente had a bad conscience about the harm he did, about all he caused to die and be crippled.

Instead of shoring up Obama's image of goodness, liberals really should be asking, "Does the president have a conscience?" Because if he does, he's really no better than Nixon.

John R. MacArthur, a monthly contributor, is publisher of Harper's Magazine.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-r-macarthur/more-and-more-obama-seems_b_394341.html

[ December 17, 2009, 08:03 AM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

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aupton15
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I remember hearing an interview with Bill Kristol (between the election and inauguration I believe) in which he anticipated that Obama would most likely be a traditional center-left president. How Kristol can see this coming while the uber-left is taken off guard is a little baffling to me.
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edgmatt
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I'm in agreement with what Daruma might say here...there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats...conservatives and liberals. They are all the same wolf in a slightly different color sheeps clothing.
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Colin JM0397
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Politics and global causes are the new religion. It's quite difficult to admit your religion is false, based on BS, or just completely wrong.

Cognitive dissonance is quite powerful.

IMO, this is simply a symptom of being too close to any one idea/ideal/platform. Such closeness to ideas creates close-mindedness and delusion when what really happens isn't what you think ought to happen. To anyone really paying attention to the overall actions – not the smokescreen of hope & change BS – knew what he was going to do before it was announced:
Support the Federal reserve, support the “too big to fail” businesses, maintain the corptacracy, and maintain our entangling foreign engagements.

The sad thing is these disillusioned folks will probably still vote for him because –while they do seem to be waking up a bit – they still believe the 2-party “voting for a 3rd party is a wasted vote” BS. If we can break that cognitive dissonance, then we might get some of that hope and change. Until then, it's business as usual.

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Viking_Longship
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The best hope for an alternative is a schism between the neo-cons and the Ron Paul Republicans. 3rd parties never have the numbers to be effective and the Democrats and GOP suddenly close ranks and drive out any interlopers.

As things stand now I agree there is little more than a superficial differance between the two parties. That's why presidential campaigns devolve into referendums on the candidate's charachter.

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Colin JM0397
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Stumbled accross this today from links in another thread. Almost prophetic, isn't it?
From Dec 2008: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11315
quote:
The contrast between Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his political activities was clear, public and evident to any but the mesmerized masses and the self-opiated ‘progressives’ who concocted arguments in his favor. Indeed even after Obama’s election and after he appointed every Clintonite-Wall Street shill into all the top economic policy positions, and Clinton’s and Bush’s architects of prolonged imperial wars (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates), the ‘progressive true believers’ found reasons to dog along with the charade. Many progressives argued that Obama’s appointments of war mongers and swindlers was a ‘ploy’ to gain time now in order to move ‘left’ later.

Never ones to publicly admit their ‘historic’ errors, the same progressives turned to writing ‘open letters to the President’ pleading the ‘cause of the people’. Their epistles, of course, may succeed in passing through the shredder in the Office of the White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.

The conjurer who spoke of ‘change’ now speaks of ‘experience’ in appointing to every key and minor position the same political hacks who rotate seamlessly between Wall Street and Washington, the Fed and Academia. Instead of ‘change’ there is the utmost continuity of policy makers, policies and above all ever deepening ties between militarists, Wall Street and the Obama appointments. True believer-progressives, facing their total debacle, grab for any straw. Forced to admit that all of Obama’s appointments represent the dregs of the bloody and corrupt past, they hope and pray that ‘current dire circumstances’ may force these unrepentant warmongers and life long supporters of finance capital to become supporters and advocates of a revived Keynesian welfare state.

On the contrary, Obama and each and everyone of his foreign policy appointments to the Pentagon, State and Justice Departments, Intelligence and Security agencies are calling for vast increases in military spending, troop commitments and domestic militarization to recover the lost fortunes of a declining empire. Obama and his appointees plan to vigorously pursue Clinton-Bush’s global war against national resistance movements in the Middle East. His most intimate and trusted ‘Israel-First’ advisers have targeted Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine and Iraq.


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edgmatt
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I had the opportunity to speak to a man who lives in Germany, and was visiting to go to my friends wedding. We started talking politics a bit, and through the conversation, he brought up the third party in Germany. This is his opinion, I have no other evidence to back this up, but he said that the third party is very powerful because there is enough of the public behind it.. that is they get enough votes... that the other two parties need that third party on their side, or at least supporting them to get anything done or get voted in.

Sounds a little like the independents here in the U.S.? Is it too hopeful to think that we might get to a point where there is a viable third party that has different ideas and methodology than the other two?

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Pyrtolin
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Not unless we can shift to a voting system that doesn't shut third parties out completely so that people could safely vote for third parties without risking splitting the vote against choices that they're opposed to.
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Wayward Son
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Remember, edgmatt, that Germany works with a Parlamentary system, where a third party can easily join with the other minority party and call for a new election anytime that it wants. In the U.S., we're basically stuck with whomever we elect until the next election, unless we jump through major hoops (such as recall elections or impeachment).

Everything comes down the election, so a viable third party needs a good chance of winning.

And getting independents to coalesce into a party is almost impossible, since they are, by defintion, "independent." [Smile]

As far as liberals turning on Obama: you have to remember, it would take quite a bit before liberals would risk another G.W. taking charge. Better the devil you know... [Smile]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
As far as liberals turning on Obama: you have to remember, it would take quite a bit before liberals would risk another G.W. taking charge. Better the devil you know... [Smile]

But liberals make up the smallest part of the American electorate, so they don't really get much of a vote. Occasionally the Moderates (a better term than independents) drag the country along in a Liberal direction, but even then it takes a lot of Moderates to overcome the Conservative base.

Approximate American self-Identification:
Conservative 40%
Moderates 35%
Liberals 21%
No opinion 4%

Link

Of course, many Democrats fall into the Moderate or Conservative category, so the Democrats may well control Congress, but this does not suddenly imply the Liberals are "In Charge". The Liberals didn't win control of the US government in 2008, the Democrats did.

Apparently, this fact has just dawned on many Liberals. [Big Grin]

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edgmatt
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If only there were a conservative candidate that was actually conservative in policy, not just in rhetoric. People might actually come out to vote!
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
If only there were a conservative candidate that was actually conservative in policy, not just in rhetoric. People might actually come out to vote!

Of course, the whole point of the article is If only there were a liberal candidate that was actually liberal in policy, not just in rhetoric.

It's IMHO a good thing that generally, American politicians must govern from the middle.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
The Liberals didn't win control of the US government in 2008, the Democrats did.

Apparently, this fact has just dawned on many Liberals. [Big Grin]

You might want to mention this to most of the Conservative Pundits, who talk as if all Democrats are Liberals, too. [Smile]
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TomDavidson
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No kidding. I've been saying since his nomination that Obama wasn't particularly liberal, and have been arguing since his election that he is in fact governing in a surprisingly right-wing way. It's nice to see conservatives jumping on board.
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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
The Liberals didn't win control of the US government in 2008, the Democrats did.

Apparently, this fact has just dawned on many Liberals. [Big Grin]

You might want to mention this to most of the Conservative Pundits, who talk as if all Democrats are Liberals, too. [Smile]
I think you mean Republican pundits. These days, very few Republicans are conservative (unfortunately, IMHO).

BTW, do any Ornery folk live in southern California? I'm moving there in January. I've been very busy preparing so I haven't been on the board much lately.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
The Liberals didn't win control of the US government in 2008, the Democrats did.

Apparently, this fact has just dawned on many Liberals. [Big Grin]

You might want to mention this to most of the Conservative Pundits, who talk as if all Democrats are Liberals, too. [Smile]
It's the human condition to lump groups together ad hoc. I have to make a conscious effort to avoid doing it myself and I am sure I'm not always successful.

There are also plenty of Liberal Pundits conflating Republicans and Conservatives too of course.

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DonaldD
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It was mostly the extremes that labelled Obama as 'liberal'. When ornerians pointed out that his policies were not on the extreme left, voices of derision could be heard far and wide (including disparaging remarks about his leftist, criminal cronies)
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Gaoics79
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quote:
It was mostly the extremes that labelled Obama as 'liberal'. When ornerians pointed out that his policies were not on the extreme left, voices of derision could be heard far and wide (including disparaging remarks about his leftist, criminal cronies)
A distinction needs to be made between Obama's personal views versus his policies. I have little doubt, for example, that Obama would personally support the legalization of gay marriage. His policy position, however, does not agree with this.

I think that many supporters expected Obama to say what it took to get elected, but to actually implement policies in keeping with his personal views. This is the only way you can explain the sense of "betrayal" felt by many in the anti-war movement who expected him to pull out of Afghanistan even as he publicly declared his committment to the escalation of that war.

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TommySama
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"I have little doubt, for example, that Obama would personally support the legalization of gay marriage. His policy position, however, does not agree with this."

Why? He hasn't even ended DoMA.

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Not unless we can shift to a voting system that doesn't shut third parties out completely so that people could safely vote for third parties without risking splitting the vote against choices that they're opposed to.

[LOL] [LOL] [LOL] [LOL] [LOL]

This is how the bi-factional party keeps the average voter who believes all of the lies and propaganda locked into the system.

Are you not paying attention?!?!?

The entire point of the article is that even if McCain had been elected, THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE IN WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

Republicrats or Democans...it doesn't matter who you vote for, you will get the same result!

They are just puppets....Sheeple-herders.

Obama is just as beholden to the Corporate money interests as any other Repub or Dem.

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KidB
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I don't know why people think "uber-liberals" are "blindsided" by Obama's policies. The Nation-reading, Prog Dem left has been critical of him from the very beginning.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
If only there were a conservative candidate that was actually conservative in policy, not just in rhetoric. People might actually come out to vote!

Ron Paul supporters would say there most definately was one, but Fox News and the Republican establishment froze him out.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Why? He hasn't even ended DoMA.
The idea that a person like Obama, with his educational and political background, would not support gay marriage is almost inconceivable. I have almost no hesitation in saying that I think his official position on DOMA and SSM is purely pragmatic.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Not unless we can shift to a voting system that doesn't shut third parties out completely so that people could safely vote for third parties without risking splitting the vote against choices that they're opposed to.

The entire point of the article is that even if McCain had been elected, THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE IN WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

Republicrats or Democans...it doesn't matter who you vote for, you will get the same result!

I was talking about third parties being able to make a showing, McCain is not a third party here by any stretch of the imagination, and it wasn't about any specific election but politics in general. If you have a system where you can vote for everyone you support rather than only having to pick one, there's no need to worry that a their party that you like better will act as a spoiler by taking votes away from more dominant parties.

And implementing a better voting system wouldn't have an immediate effect; there's no overnight magic to do that, but it local and hose election would start to see a better profile of the top candidates in their area depending on their bent- they'd get the baseline support they'd need to be taken seriously and tap into public support, debates and the like.

Look at the Mass. special election right now- there's a Green 3rd party candidate for the seat, whose presence is being supported not by the party that claims to be more similar in ideology, but the one more opposed because if the Green makes a good showing, the Republican could win with only a little over a third of the vote, even if the people on the whole supported a much more liberal position.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
"I have little doubt, for example, that Obama would personally support the legalization of gay marriage. His policy position, however, does not agree with this."

Why? He hasn't even ended DoMA.

He can't end an act of Congress. However there's no good excuse for not having killed DADT by now aside from playing politics with people's rights.
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edgmatt
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POSTED BY VIKING:

quote:
Ron Paul supporters would say there most definately was one, but Fox News and the Republican establishment froze him out.
Did they ever mention as to why Fox and the Repubs would do that? It seems to me that Fox would be an ardent supporter of someone with true conservative values. Actually now that I think about it, wasn't there an issue that Ron Paul wasn't in line with as far as conservatism goes? I'm thinking gun laws for some reason...
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TommySama
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" I'm thinking gun laws for some reason... "

No. The reason the Republicans and "conservatives" booted him was because he is serious about limiting the role of government.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It seems to me that Fox would be an ardent supporter of someone with true conservative values.
Heh. Spoken without a hint of irony, even.
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Greg Davidson
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LoverofJoy,

We have been in Redondo Beach, CA since 1997 - coming after a lifetime on the East Coast, my reaction is: it's really nice here.

quote:
The entire point of the article is that even if McCain had been elected, THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE IN WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
Conflict with Russia over Georgia, deeper recession due to no economic stimulus (heck, McCain might have even emulated Hoover and tried to cut government spending to balance the budget), possible conflict with Iran already, Sarah Palin as Vice President, seems pretty different to me.

Do any of you who assert that the party in power doesn't make a difference also assert that it would not have matter whether Bush or Gore were declared the winner in 2000? Think we would have spent $1,000B and 4,000 lives in Iraq?

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TommySama
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"He can't end an act of Congress. However there's no good excuse for not having killed DADT by now aside from playing politics with people's rights. "

True, my mistake. However he could prevent the Department of Justice from trying to keep it from going to court.

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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
POSTED BY VIKING:

quote:
Ron Paul supporters would say there most definately was one, but Fox News and the Republican establishment froze him out.
Did they ever mention as to why Fox and the Repubs would do that? It seems to me that Fox would be an ardent supporter of someone with true conservative values. Actually now that I think about it, wasn't there an issue that Ron Paul wasn't in line with as far as conservatism goes? I'm thinking gun laws for some reason...
It most certainly wasn't guns. Ron Paul is a strict constitutionalist and an ardent supporter of the 2nd amendment.

It was over the war on terror and non-interventionism in general. Ron Paul is anti-war. Search youtube, Shawn Hannity really seems to hate him.

Fox News represents the Neo-conservative POV for the most part. Ron Paul actually seems to get a better reception in liberal venues than on Fox.

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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
LoverofJoy,

We have been in Redondo Beach, CA since 1997 - coming after a lifetime on the East Coast, my reaction is: it's really nice here.

quote:
The entire point of the article is that even if McCain had been elected, THERE WOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE IN WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
Conflict with Russia over Georgia, deeper recession due to no economic stimulus (heck, McCain might have even emulated Hoover and tried to cut government spending to balance the budget), possible conflict with Iran already, Sarah Palin as Vice President, seems pretty different to me.

Do any of you who assert that the party in power doesn't make a difference also assert that it would not have matter whether Bush or Gore were declared the winner in 2000? Think we would have spent $1,000B and 4,000 lives in Iraq?

Not to mention the Leauge of Democracies he was proposing.

http://www.cfr.org/publication/

Obama may be a bit of a neo-con but McCain was a really radical one.

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Aris Katsaris
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Why? He hasn't even ended DoMA.
The idea that a person like Obama, with his educational and political background, would not support gay marriage is almost inconceivable.
...except for the fact that he hasn't supported it.

Are we talking about a completely meaningless and useless "Obama supports gay marriage deep down in his heart of hearts." ?

More and more people are coming to see what I've been telling (and mocked for) for a long time: Obama's a conservative.

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sfallmann
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quote:
Originally posted by Aris Katsaris:
quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
Why? He hasn't even ended DoMA.
The idea that a person like Obama, with his educational and political background, would not support gay marriage is almost inconceivable.
...except for the fact that he hasn't supported it.

Are we talking about a completely meaningless and useless "Obama supports gay marriage deep down in his heart of hearts." ?

More and more people are coming to see what I've been telling (and mocked for) for a long time: Obama's a conservative.

He's not a conservative. Never has been. Never will be. His ACU (American Conservative Union) lifetime rating was a 10. He may be considered conserative by some far-left liberals, but conservatives don't consider him one.

He lacks political courage and tries to be on both sides of every issue and doesn't stand by his principles. This is a guy who has no problem throwing anyone and anything under the bus if it's going to help him politically. It's always about him.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
...except for the fact that he hasn't supported it.

Are we talking about a completely meaningless and useless "Obama supports gay marriage deep down in his heart of hearts." ?

I don't consider it "meaningless". It means precisely what I said: that he believes one thing, but says and does something else for pragmatic / political reasons. Take from it what you will.

quote:
More and more people are coming to see what I've been telling (and mocked for) for a long time: Obama's a conservative.
That depends how you define conservative. Conservatism can be seen as essentially the drive to preserve a status quo or to return to a previous status quo. That's basically a moving target, so by some peoples' metric Obama's policies would make him conservative, but not by others.

A slightly better scale to use would be "left" versus "right", since the policies associated with each tend to be more constant over time and less of a moving target.

I would say that Obama's policies would fall somewhere just to the left of middle according to most Americans' compasses, and significantly to the right of middle by the standards of most living in western democracies. If you equate "conservative" with "right wing" then most outside of America in the West would consider him to be "conservative".

[ December 18, 2009, 08:38 AM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Viking_Longship
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And there are after all only two categories, liberal and conservative and if you're not one you're the other. If you belong to one side you accept all their positions without question and defend them to the death.

If you can call both Ron Paul and John McCain conservative the term is meaningless. If both Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich are both liberal, liberal doesn't mean much either.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by sfallmann:
He lacks political courage and tries to be on both sides of every issue and doesn't stand by his principles. This is a guy who has no problem throwing anyone and anything under the bus if it's going to help him politically. It's always about him.

I love how you frame what seems like dissonance there t someone coming from a different perspective: You say he takes other people's view into account and compromises on his beliefs to get things done rather than trying to railroad his own personal perspective through, and yet it's you use that proof that he only cares about pushing his personal agenda and beliefs.
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Aris Katsaris
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I like to use three categories - progressive, conservative, reactionary.
Progressives fight for the advancement of society.
Conservatives fight for the status quo.
Reactionaries fight for the regression of society.

In this scale conservatives are the middle.

[ December 18, 2009, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
"He can't end an act of Congress. However there's no good excuse for not having killed DADT by now aside from playing politics with people's rights. "

True, my mistake. However he could prevent the Department of Justice from trying to keep it from going to court.

Yeah. I think, of anyone in the administration, Holder either needs to be given the boot and replaced with someone that will more actively get the Justice Department back in line and take care of all of the dirty laundry that it's accumulated in the past decade or so.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
he believes one thing, but says and does something else for pragmatic / political reasons.
Do you wear a tin foil hat when you somehow magically determine what he believes?
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