Barack Obama is the True Conservative


Listen to the right-wing these days, and you’re bound to hear ad nauseum about Barack Obama’s allegedly ‘radical socialist’ agenda.

Box office record-smashing documentary “2016: Obama’s America” argues that the president endeavors to actualize the “anti-capitalist, anti-Christian, and anti-American” ambitions of his late father by destroying our country from within. (Because Obama, of course, hates America).

Echoing this sentiment, Mitt Romney has declared that Obama harbors “a vision of government that is entirely foreign to anything this nation has ever known.”

But wait just one second there, Mitt. As Joe Biden might put it, this is all a bunch of malarkey. Nothing about Barack Obama’s tenure in office thus far indicates that he is a stealth Marxist, wussy peacenik, Muslim Brotherhood booster, or any of the other countless caricatures dreamt up by unhinged internet commenters.

Newsflash: He has basically managed the executive branch as a conservative.

This may seem counter-intuitive, given all the fanciful theories flurrying about. But take a look at how true leftists currently perceive Obama. Many are beyond disillusioned, and refuse to support his reelection; that he’s a closet “socialist” would sure be news to them.

If anything about Obama is radical, according to this strain of thinking on the Left, it’s his perpetuation and expansion of George W. Bush-era civil liberties infringements.

Similarly, liberals often bemoan Obama’s over-cautiousness, his shunning of the Democratic base, and his instinct to negotiate with intransigent Republicans. Obama has long exhibited such qualities, dating back to his time as president of the Harvard Law Review, when he angered ideologically-allied colleagues by appointing three conservatives to prestigious editorships.

Traditional conservatism is marked by prudence, caution, and reluctance to overexert, but use of strong force where appropriate. On foreign policy — arguably the commander-in-chief’s most important duty — Mitt Romney demonstrates exactly none of these traits.

In what sense is dramatically increasing the size of our already-bloated defense budget, as Romney has demanded, a “conservative” virtue? By some calculations, military spending today is already greater than at any point since World War II. Pouring even more money into Pentagon boondoggles is not only foolish and wasteful, but poor strategy.

Romney’s saber-rattling at Iran does not bespeak “conservative” virtue either, nor does his aggressive rhetoric on Syria. There is nothing for conservatives to admire about prideful bellicosity.

The new wars in the Middle East that Romney seems to desire would only further diminish America’s standing overseas and, inevitably, lead to devastating loss of life.

As Ron Paul preaches: “They don’t hate us because we’re free. They hate us because we’re over there.” Romney has apparently learned nothing from the failures of the previous Republican administration. Why is he so fixated on meddling in the internal affairs of foreign nations?

The governor loves to criticize Obama over high gas prices, but can you imagine what an American-backed Israeli strike on Iran would do to international oil markets?

Romney undermined U.S. interests abroad last month when he cynically proclaimed that Obama “sympathized” with the Jihadist fighters who besieged our embassy in Egypt. And Romney is certainly not behaving like a “conservative” when he falsely accuses the commander-in-chief of going around the world on an “Apology Tour.”

Obama, for all his faults — and much to the consternation of liberals — is running as the real conservative in this race. Mitt Romney is running as a typical cheap politician.

Michael Tracey writes  for Salon and The American Conservative.

Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots
Halyna Mokrushyna
On Ukraine’s ‘Incorrect’ Past
Jason Cone
Even Wars Have Rules: a Fact Sheet on the Bombing of Kunduz Hospital
Walter Brasch
Mass Murders are Good for Business
William Hadfield
Sophistry Rising: the Refugee Debate in Germany
Christopher Brauchli
Why the NRA Profits From Mass Shootings
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
Pete Dolack
There is Still Time to Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Marc Norton
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
David Rosen
If Donald Dump Was President
Dave Lindorff
America’s Latest War Crime
Ann Garrison
Sankarist Spirit Resurges in Burkina Faso
Franklin Lamb
Official Investigation Needed After Afghan Hospital Bombing
Linn Washington Jr.
Wrongs In Wine-Land
Ronald Bleier
Am I Drinking Enough Water? Sneezing’s A Clue
Charles R. Larson
Prelude to the Spanish Civil War: Eduard Mendoza’s “An Englishman in Madrid”
David Yearsley
Papal Pop and Circumstance
October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?