President Obama

Is President Obama a Centrist Republican?

Glenn Greenwald thinks so, and his primary evidence is that Paul Krugman thinks so.

He also off-handedly dismissed the president's progressive record on such meaningless issues as abortion, the Supreme Court, civil rights, the rescuing of the national economy from the brink of another Great Depression with the stimulus package, and Wall Street reform (he printed "reform" in quotes). Feh. Civil rights. Whatevs.

Greenwald entirely neglected to damn with snarky faint praise the president's "expansion" of children's healthcare, the federal funding of "embryonic" stem cell research, "equal pay" for equal work, the expansion of healthcare benefits for "women", increased infrastructure spending, tougher new emissions standards, new hate "crime" laws, and the president's numerous declarations ending trickle down, deregulatory Reaganomics, etc, etc. [Quotations sarcastic.] All during an era of impossibly divided government and ideological entrenchment.

And if you parse Greenwald's criticisms, you'll find they're not entirely consistent with reality. For example, if a government worker or soldier with security clearance leaks classified information and violates the National Security Act, he or she has broken the law and ought to be prosecuted, "whistleblower" or not. You know, like when the Bush administration outed Valerie Plame.

While I'm here, what exactly is, as Greenwald wrote, a "due-process-free assassination"? If there was a trial and a conviction, would an assassination still be in order? And would Greenwald support that?

Regarding progressive foreign policy items, President Obama banned torture, signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo, ended the Iraq War despite pressure to violate the Status of Forces Agreement, pledged an end to the war in Afghanistan and cut military spending.

Yet his positions on indefinite detention, drones, cluster bombs and Libya make him a centrist Republican -- in fact, as Greenwald wrote, to the right of Ron Paul. Ron Paul who, by the way, wants to criminalize abortion, is attached to racist newsletters and whose hero is the far-right fiction author Ayn Rand. That's rich.

I'll end with this: Greenwald supported the Citizens United decision upholding corporate money in elections as a form of free speech. Does this make Greenwald a corporatist?

  • jmby

    Know what I love? I love that when I ask everyone I know who votes Democrat, but isn’t necessarily as interested in punditry as I may be, NOT ONE of those queried knows or cares who in the Holy Hell Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald are. More importantly, NOT ONE says they’re buying or even listening to the “Just Like Bush/Weak Leader” garbage.

    • The_Dork_Knight

      I agree, I have a lot of very liberal, educated, reasonably politically plugged in friends and I don’t think that ANY of them could even make a in the ball park guess as to who Glenn Greenwald or Jane Hamsher are. They really are just a couple of random people shouting into this void we call the internet. This, however, raises the question, why do Bob and Company spend so much time talking about them? I’ve never understood it. They dont matter. Bob is best when his guns are turned toward the Republicans rather than obscure, irrelevant lefties so it really is perplexing to me why so much energy is wasted on them.

      • villemar

        I dunno if they know who the sources are per se, but the bullshit memes I see put out specifically by them are often spread virally as fact by a lot of millenials and others who don’t marinate in politics like many of us do. People who should know better post these sentiments as conventional wisdom, often just reflexively. And they are just as false and destructive as the memes put out by the right, so someone has to counter the BS.

        If it were just a clean fight between Obama and Romney it would be no fight at all. I remember Nader’s Big Lie in 2000 all too well and I’m not going to sit back and watch that phenomenon again (and these guys are a hundred times worse than the Naderites were). I’ll not sit back and let the Firebagger Du Jour act as a spoiler this November, or push Obama into the margin of GOP theft like in FL twelve years ago.

  • muselet

    And if you parse Greenwald’s criticisms, you’ll find they’re not entirely consistent with reality.

    Delicately phrased, sir.


  • nicole

    Greenwald defense of RP in 2010…..he loves him some Ron Paul.

    • Bob Cesca

      You probably noticed how Glenn blew off Ron Paul’s “odious” other policy positions with the same dismissive tone he also uses for blowing off President Obama’s many progressive accomplishments.

      • nicole

        Exactly. You know……..civil rights, except for the ones Greenwald likes, are so not important.

  • mrbrink

    Greenwald is full of shit. After months of depicting Justice Kagan as an usurping O-Bot apologist, that if sworn in would be a declaration of war on America’s naive trust in democracy, and proof-positive that Barack Obama is just not into you, he sets the tone and then comes to the rescue as the only game in town you can believe in.

    Greenwald acts like a jealous bitch putting the brakes on the new kid crush.

    He’s like a mean girl sitting next to the trench coat mafia in the Columbine high school cafeteria.

  • holyreality
    Like Ike, or not, the the Obama Presidency has some parallels that can be denied, but not ignored.

    What we need to show the TP faithful is that our POTUS has been presiding over tumultuous times with a steady hand that is not leading to socialism, but toward national well being.

    It is not an easy task, we are daily spoon fed propaganda that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a socialist who wants death panels to kill grandma, to punish Joe the Plumber’s success, and he loves terrorism, but is the task that can help change the national meme into a more inclusive narrative.

    This narrative will be easier to swallow down narrow TP minds with a warm fuzzy Eisenhower invocation.

  • OsborneInk

    .@bobcesca_go You said it far more succinctly than me today, Bob. Hat’s off to you sir!

    • JMAshby

      But I’m still laughing at “Obama Hates Peace and Freedom and Ron Paul Loves Them”

  • JPFrankenstein

    Is Greenwald really a Ronulan? I didn’t quite get that from his ‘article’, but it would explain the anti-Obama rhetoric.

    He does, however, make a good point, in that, despite Obama’s fairly moderate actions, he’s still labeled as a far left-wing socialist by ‘serious’ pundits everywhere. Can’t win either way.

  • desertflower1
  • Broadway Carl

    BOOM! goes the dynamite! Nice post, Bob.

  • mnpollio

    I like this site infinitely better when Bob and company are not spending all of their time as apologists for All-Things-Obama and depicting Glenn Greenwald as some kind of AntiChrist because he refuses to uncritically worship at Obama’s feet. As has been mentioned before, when you go back and read Greenwald’s posts over the years during the different administrations, Greenwald stays consistent on the issues no matter who is in charge. I may not always agree with him (the Citizens United debacle is certainly one huge example), but consistent he is.

    By contrast, policies vilified under Bush suddenly get an optimistic rubber stamp from Bob and company when Obama takes the reins. Sorry, it does not work that way. Bad policy is bad policy no matter whether the perpetrator has an “R” or a “D” behind their name. They don’t get a pass based on party affiliation – otherwise it just smacks of too much hypocrisy. Obama’s chronically gets low to failing grades from civil liberties organizations, largely because he has maintained or extended Bush II’s erosions of them. All rhetoric aside, the facts are there for all to see. Trying to put on rose-colored glasses and reimagine Obama as some kind of civil liberties crusader is a disservice and insult to those people actually fighting to protect those liberties.

    • Bob Cesca

      Which Bush policies have I rubber-stamped? Name one. The archives are right over there. —>

      Also, for the record, Greenwald and I are on friendly terms. We mainly disagree on tone.

      • Bob Cesca

        Didn’t think so.

    • nicole

      Utterly wrong.

      And for those of you who “reimagine” Obama as a centrist, I like you and them much better when you don’t bother to bring out the crappy, stupid, ridiculous, Obama apologist meme.

      As for Greenwald, he is no more a prog than I am a Republican.

      FYI, “consistency” is not necessarily a good thing, and in Greenwald’s case, it is certainly not.

    • schemata

      did you even read the piece? Or just assume that because it was about GG that it was the black & white bullshit you thought it should be?

  • DerFarm

    yeah. He’s a corporatist.

    He’s also a NYTimes kneejerk liberal. Emphasis on the Jerk part

  • nicole

    I LOVE this piece, Bob. You nailed that jerk!

    Adding…..I think Greenwald is a closet racist.

    • jjasonham

      I hate to take it there, but I thought the same thing. There is just no explanation as to why someone with critical thinking skills would be so willing to disconnect to push a narrative like his. Either that or it’s purely about the money or influence (even though it doesn’t seem to me he has that much influence outside of his following).

  • Teresa McCarthy-Greene

    Because Greenwald doesn’t have to care about women, women don’t count to him or his CATO friends. Women are non-existent. But you know what I tire of Greenwalds shtick, he is just a Rush Limbaugh and his sycophantic Paultard followers are like Limbaugh followers, they are dumb as rocks and do not think on their own.
    Greenwald is quickly becoming nothing more than a joke. And yes he is a corporatist, no question.

    • mrbrink

      “Paultard followers are like Limbaugh followers, they are dumb as rocks and do not think on their own.”

      Ironically, this is what Ron Paul cultists praise as their #1 attribute: “The ability to think on their own.”

      We’re too status quo, Daddio.

      We’re all too close minded to get in the Ron Paul club, unless we sign over our belief that it’s important to have a public education system, regulated water and air, or community insurance programs for the poor… democratic resolutions and institutions.

      Ron Paul’s cult requires that you leave all of your Earthly federal government protections at the door.

      When they call him Doctor Paul, they’re just letting you know he cured their suspicion of cults and funny tasting kool aid.

      When they call him, Ron Paul! it means “9/11 was an inside job!” and “the Jews run the world!”

      Ron Paul is the Marshall Applewhite of the American political electorate.

      Just don’t call them close minded! You don’t get it! Ron Paul is peace and love and home schooling.

      • villemar

        That’s hilarious you mentioned Marshall Applewhite, way back in 2000 when I was on Salon’s Table Talk and some angry asshat Naderite would spew their nonsense I would often rebut with a stock photo of Applewhite looking particularly crazy, and my Nader=Applewhite caption.

        And by the way, it’s not just home schooling, it’s Austrian Home Schooling. Hayek und Von Mises Uber Alles!!

      • ranger11

        He actually does look a little like him. Very troubling…

  • JMAshby

    This was the long-form version of his ‘Ron Paul is to the left of Obama’ on drones but far to the right on everything else tweet.

    This all requires such twists of logic and reason it’s hard to even comprehend the frame of mind he’s in while writing it.

    I think he simply does not like this president for reasons other than ideological. That or he really is sucking on that pout-rage teat hard.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Or he’s just a whiny little bitch.