Obama lurches to the left

Michael Barone:
Barack Obama, we have been told by his admirers on the Left and Right, is an instinctive centrist, a moderate always ready to negotiate compromises, a politician deeply interested in the nuances of public policy.

His image as a centrist took hold at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where he gave a speech hailing not the blue states or the red states but the United States of America.

But over the course of Obama's first term, this analysis increasingly sounded like wishful thinking. And never more than during the past week, with the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense and with House Speaker John Boehner's revelation that in his negotiations last month Obama repeatedly insisted that "we don't have a spending problem."

Obama went ahead with the Hagel nomination even though Hagel has been greeted with sharp criticism from many of his fellow Republicans and with eloquent silence by elected Democrats.

It's not difficult to understand why. On foreign policy and defense issues, Hagel stands not somewhere between the two parties but conspicuously to the left not only of Republicans but of most Democrats -- and to the left of many of the president's own policies.

For example, Hagel was one of two Republican senators who in 2007 voted against designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. The Obama administration accepts that designation.

Hagel has consistently voted against and opposed sanctions on Iran. Obama ran for re-election touting the increased sanctions he has adopted at the insistence of bipartisan congressional majorities.

Hagel has said that military action against Iran is "not a viable, feasible, responsible option." Obama has insisted that all options are on the table should negotiations and sanctions fail to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Hagel has supported direct negotiations with the terrorist group Hamas. Obama has not.

Obama's defense secretary, Leon Panetta, has said the defense cuts that would be imposed by sequestration would be "devastating." Hagel in a September 2011 interview called the Defense Department "bloated" and added, "I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down."

Hagel has shown an animus against Israel that is in tension with Obama's assurances that Israel is a valued ally. He was one of only four senators who refused to sign a letter urging the president to express solidarity with Israel and condemn the Palestinian campaign of violence.
Then there is Obama's absolutely delusional statement that we don't have a spending problem.  That has to rank as one of the most ridiculous statements by a sitting President in history.  He has presented no plan that honestly approaches servicing our existing debt, much less would pay for the additional debt he wants to incur.  His tax increase pays for only a few hours of the debt we are still racking up.  There is no rational argument to support such a policy, yet he persist with it.  The main response of other Democrats is that we need to increase taxes even more.  That is a good way to kill the economy, but it want pay down the debt, because they are not willing to do responsible things to reduce entitlements.

It is absolutely critical that Republicans force them into entitlement reform as a price for incrasing teh debt ceiling.  That should also include doing away with the current services budgeting used to drive up the cost of government.Those two things would do the most to get spending under control and get our payments in order.

Obama's current policy is to pay off our credit card debt by using a cash withdrawal from another card.


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