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Reply #3: "Center-right" in relation to what? [View All]

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liberalpragmatist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. "Center-right" in relation to what?
Thanks for engaging the question - I respect that. But I have to ask, center-right in relation to what?

Obama is much more liberal in most respects than the politicians of the '60s who called themselves "liberal." Back in the '70s, few "liberal" politicians were proposing a public plan for universal health care. (Single-payer never had many advocates in Congress.) On social issues, on environmental issues, none of the New Deal "liberals" were anywhere near to the left of Obama - most of them would be solidly to his right.

Granted, on an issue-by-issue basis there would be differences, and in some cases, the postwar liberals would be to Obama's left. But on the whole, Obama strikes me as clearly to the left of most of them.

Even FDR wouldn't qualify as a "progressive." At the time, he was assailed by many on the left as being a sellout. His initial safety net programs were far less extensive than they are today, and social security eligibility was extremely limited.

So again, Obama is "center-right" relative to what? Relative to other countries? Which other countries? Europe? Perhaps, but even in Europe, single-payer health care systems are the exception, not the norm (Germany isn't single-payer - neither is Switzerland). And there are plenty of issues on which American liberals are to the left of Europe, such as immigration, ethnic and religious diversity, even abortion in many cases (many European countries have more restrictions on abortion than the U.S.).

Is he "center-right" in relation to Americans? I find that *very* hard to believe, despite what some "progressives" will insist, citing favorable polls and surveys.

Moreover, I would question whether any person - no matter how liberal - will be as liberal as progressives desire when actually in office. Obama may be well to the left but faces political constraints that tie his hands. Put Dennis Kucinich in power, and I guarantee you he'd let plenty of supporters down on numerous issues.
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