I am a Democrat, but I hold “Democratic” politicians to the same standards as I do ones who are self-professedly Republicans.
Sadly, only few Democrats do: they refuse to recognize that they voted for a Republican-at-heart in “progressive” sheep’s clothing, a conservative who had pretended to be a progressive in order to win the Democratic Presidential nomination.
I learned about this closed-mindedness of liberals, by means of the reader-comments to my recent article at Huffington Post, “Obama: ‘I Don’t Care About the Public’s Welfare’.”
Respondents to it didn’t challenge the facts that it summarized, which were damning in the view of any progressive — and some even in the view of any non-fascist. Instead, these readers listed the good things that Obama has done as President, such as, “Rescuing the Auto Industry.” Every President has done some good things. Such readers were simply refusing to believe that Obama is a liar and is at least as conservative as he is liberal. Instead, they diverted onto irrelevancies: onto the good things he has done, which have nothing to do with those bad things.
A real progressive doesn’t avoid the truth, but instead faces and tries to understand the truth.
For example, the progressive magazine Mother Jones headlined on 25 August 2005, “Bush’s Biggest Achievements,” and listed four: “Humanitarian Aid in Africa,” “Tsunami Relief,” “Marine Protections,” and “Executive Branch Diversity.” Even that man who might have been America’s worst-ever President, did some excellent things.
Oddly (and admirably), The American Conservative bannered on 5 February 2009, “Bush’s Good Deed,” and praised a different action by him, which also happened to be actually a progressive action that he had taken: “Bush’s last – it might seem his only – good deed: rejection of an Israeli request for overflight permission and perhaps military assistance in bombing Iran’s nuclear reactor. There’s been very little about this in the mainstream press – though it’s the kind of major incident that history often turns on.” That’s correct.
Should we assume, therefore, that Bush was a good President? Of course, that would be silly.
My article didn’t merely list a few middling-bad things that President Obama has intentionally done: it described many very-bad things he’s done (not things done very badly – very bad things), and then ended the litany with: “Anyone who doubts that Obama is a liar (except when addressing banksters in private), whose actual values are often the exact opposite of his sanctimonious public statements, should read not only the IG’s report, but, regarding other issues, things such as,” and I then linked to six more — each of which, likewise, entailed Obama’s intentionally doing things that were exactly contrary to his publicly expressed (and always more-liberal) stated objectives.
As to the question of why Obama would have entered politics in 1996 as a “Democrat,” instead of a “Republican,” perhaps the reason for this is he recognized that, after Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” starting in the 1970s, the likelihood for any person with a dark skin-color to win the Republican Presidential nomination was clearly nil; whereas in the Democratic Party, there would be lots of voters who would actually like the idea of voting the first Black into the White House. Being a “Democrat” was thus the only path by which a young black person in 1996 could realistically hope to become the U.S. President. To an ambitious black person entering politics in 1996, being a “Democrat” instead of a “Republican” was a no-brainer choice. And Obama is clearly not a no-brainer person: he could figure this out.
But Obama is no progressive. He isn’t even much of a liberal. He is an enormously gifted politician. Unfortunately, part of that gift-set is a phenomenal ability to deceive.
This isn’t to say that he’s purely a conservative, either. Some of his remarks, such as the famous one about which the Romney campaign headlined against him “You Didn’t Build That,” were obviously stated by him with an actual progressive intent.
Obama told donors on 24 November 2013, “I’m not a particularly ideological person,” and that statement by him was unfortunately true: he has never even thought seriously about his values, his ideology; he just accepts unquestioningly the ones that he has absorbed from the people around him, especially from the aristocrats who enabled him to receive a first-rate education. Not everything that he says is a lie.
Perhaps that will satisfy Obama-bots that he’s okay, after all. Far from it.
At best, Obama is a bad President. And I say this as a progressive historian who respects, above all Presidents, the progressive Republican Abraham Lincoln, whose Party transformed into something very different and vastly more conservative practically as soon as he was murdered by an extreme conservative; and as one who respects almost as highly the progressive Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose impact on our entire world was more beneficial than that of any other leader in all of human history (if you consider what would the world be like if Hitler had won?), but who additionally has the unquestionable black mark on his record, of having rounded up and imprisoned Americans of Japanese descent for no good reason.
An authentic progressive applies the same standards, scientific standards, empirical facts, to everything, including human relations. But it seems that many people who consider themselves to be liberal or even progressive, are actually too filled with some kind of tribal loyalty (to “Democrats,” in this instance), which prevents them from being that. To the extent they do, they’re being conservative.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.