Saturday, August 25, 2012

Obama as a Respectable Tory? Think about It.

The first Tory president.

I know some of my liberal friends -- and those I read -- might dispute this idea put forth by Andrew Sullivan, a conservative I read because he so often makes, if not sense, then at least an unrefracted offering of something resembling sense -- for a conservative.

Example: Sullivan supported Kerry, Obama, and now, again, Obama. Why? Sullivan tells us:
Of which other Western right of center party could the following be said: it holds that  man-made climate change is a hoax and that more carbon energy is harmless and indeed vital. On immigration, the party supports a vast wall across the Southern border, and eventual deportation by attrition of 11 million illegal immigrants. On the deficit and debt, the GOP is the only party in the West that refuses to raise any revenues to close the gap, even as revenues are at 60 year lows. On social issues, the GOP would ban any recognition for gay couples, including civil unions and would criminalize abortion in every state by constitutional amendment. More amazingly, a Romney presidency would tackle the genuinely dangerous debt and deficit by cutting taxes on everyone, especially the super-rich, vastly increasing defense spending, and making all the cuts in government medical care for the elderly and the poor. The poor get shafted first by gutting Medicaid; then the elderly get cosseted for another generation until mine and those younger than me - much poorer than the boomers - take the hit. It is, to put it bluntly, a near-parody of far-right extremism.

That, according to Sullivan, makes Obama a small-c conservative. I have long agreed, even though as a liberal I want all the things that are missing from this Obama administration. One of the commentators quoted in Sullivan's post, Daniel Larison, explains this to my satisfaction:
 If Obama had come to power in happier times he might have run a different, more expressly liberal, administration. (Then again: in happier times he might never have run for the Presidency, far less won it). But constrained by circumstance and events he’s been compelled to lead in a notable unideological fashion. Rather like one kind of old-fashioned Tory, in other words.

I can accept this view. I don't have to like it, when it comes to my Obama disappointments, but it goes along way toward my understanding why he's gone the way he has and why I hope he gets to go along for another four years.

I'm not all things to all people, but not because I haven't tried.

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