President Obama’s Unintended Consequence

When Barack Obama campaigned for President in 2008, he pointed to the inadequacies of the Bush Administration and said “we can do better”.  Historians will have to decide whether President Obama has done better than former President Bush given the world events and political situations that President Obama had to face.  I wonder, however, whether historians and pundits will point out how Obama innocently brought many of the hurdles on himself.

The Obama Administration inherited two wars and a near financial catastrophe.  In combination, these events forced President Obama to prioritize his efforts in a way quite differently from his campaign promises.  In foreign affairs, Obama (like most other pundits) did not see the impact the Arab Spring would have, but at the same time, its is unclear what better path existed for him to follow.  The President had just announced his intention to “pivot” from the Middle East to the Far East but thanks to the Arab spring, has found it difficult to extract the US from the Middle East.  Israel has been no help for quite selfish reasons.  Historians will have a lot to sift through.

I wonder whether historians or political pundits will point out a strange “unintended consequence”.  Is President Obama a prime driver for the rise of the irrational conservative right?

A first response might be, “of course, President Obama is a socialist”.  Hmmm.

I would counter and say that President Obama is probably our most centrist President in years.  His middle of the political spectrum position has boxed Republican opponents into a strange place.  In order to define themselves as sufficiently different, Republicans have had to march far to the right and into extreme ideological territory.  Republican leaders must understand that various extreme positions do not go together and as such, will not support a broad enough platform necessary to govern.  Never the less, Republicans have been forced to pander with sources of money which have only narrow focuses on the future.  This unholy alliance has escalated into the “just say no” GOP approach.  Gridlock.

It is almost a hoot to think that had President Obama actually been more progressive in his positions, responsible Republicans would have much more area to propose sensible centrist approaches to the major domestic issues (like infrastructure, educations, transportation, and true job creation).  With the President squarely in the middle ground, the only place for the GOP was to move farther right.

Who would have thought?

 

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