Obama Dismisses Plea for "Centrism" as "Do[ing] the Same Thing That Was Being Done Before" (i.e. a Return to Bushism)
The Washington Post political blog, PostPartisan, reports:
The pivotal moment came when Sen. Blanche Lincoln of deep-red Arkansas, a centrist who’s on her way to defeat in November, practically begged the president to repudiate “extreme” liberals -- a clear reference to the Nancy Pelosi-led House -- and tack to the center. Arguing that the Democrats’ ambitious legislative agenda was sowing job-destroying “uncertainty” in the business community, she asked: “Are we willing as Democrats to push back on our own party?”(emphasis added)
Obama’s reply, in a nutshell: Sorry, Blanche.If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression -- we don’t tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don’t put in place any insurance reforms, we don’t mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they’re doing now because we don’t want to stir up Wall Street -- the result is going to be the same. I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place.[...]
Two things struck me as extraordinary about Obama’s reply.
The first was the ease with which he cast Lincoln’s plea for a bit more centrism as a call for a return to Bushism -- the “exact same proposals that were in place for the last eight years.” That’s not what she was advocating; it’s not what any Democrat who’s questioning his approach is advocating. But the president set up this strawman, and he pummeled it, rather than engaging Lincoln’s valid concerns.
The second striking thing was how easily he appeared to write off Lincoln politically. Conceding nothing, he implied that her defeat was not only a foregone conclusion, but also an acceptable price to pay for staying the course on policy...
Joe Klein is right: There's not an ideological bone in President Obama's body. Nope, Obama is definitely no ideologue.
(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)