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|Zach|
07-25-2011, 07:04 PM
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/07/22/Barack-Obama-The-Democrats-Richard-Nixon.aspx#page1

Bruce Bartlett

There is no question that Barack Obama is one of our most enigmatic presidents. Despite having published two volumes of memoirs before being elected president, we really don’t know that much about what makes him tick. The ongoing debate over the deficit and the debt limit is clarifying what I think he is: a Democratic Richard Nixon.

To explain what I mean, I first have to tell some history.

Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt was a transformative president, partly because of his policies but mainly because he presided over the two most disruptive events of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II.

By the time Dwight Eisenhower took office, people craved stability and he was determined to give it to them. This angered his fellow Republicans, who wanted nothing more than to repeal Roosevelt’s New Deal, root and branch. And with control of both the House and Senate in 1953 and 1954, he could have undone a lot of it if he wanted to.

But Eisenhower not only refused to repeal the New Deal, he wouldn’t even let Republicans in Congress cut taxes even though the high World War II and Korean War rates were in effect. He thought a balanced budget should take priority. Eisenhower also helped to destroy right wing hero Joe McCarthy and worked closely with liberals on civil rights.

Eisenhower’s effective liberalism was deeply frustrating to conservatives. Robert Welch of the John Birch Society even accused him of being a communist. But after Republicans lost control of Congress in 1954, he was the only game in town for them.

By 1964, conservatives got control of the GOP’s nominating process and put forward one of their own, Barry Goldwater, to complete the unfinished work of repealing the New Deal that Eisenhower refused to do. But he lost in a landslide to Lyndon Johnson, who quickly capitalized on his victory by doubling down on the New Deal with the Great Society.

Although Johnson was done in by Vietnam, his domestic liberalism was as popular in 1968 as the New Deal had been in 1952. Nevertheless, conservatives deluded themselves that Nixon would repeal the Great Society. But just as Eisenhower cemented the New Deal in place, Nixon accepted the legitimacy of the Great Society. His goal was to make it work efficiently and shave off the rough edges. Nixon even expanded the welfare state by expanding its regulatory reach through the Environmental Protection Agency and other new government agencies.

Conservatives were infuriated by Nixon’s betrayal, but lacking control of Congress they were stuck with him just as they had been with Eisenhower. Not very many were upset when Watergate pushed Nixon out of office.

Conservatives finally got the president they had always hoped for when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. But by then, key New Deal/Great Society programs like Social Security and Medicare were so deeply embedded in government and society that he never lifted a finger to dismantle them. Reagan even raised taxes 11 times to keep them funded.

Liberals initially viewed Bill Clinton the same way conservatives viewed Eisenhower – as a liberator who would reverse the awful policies of his two predecessors. But almost immediately, Clinton decided that deficit reduction would be the first order of business in his administration. His promised middle class tax cut and economic stimulus were abandoned.

By 1995, Clinton was working with Republicans to dismantle welfare. In 1997, he supported a cut in the capital gains tax. As the benefits of his 1993 deficit reduction package took effect, budget deficits disappeared and we had the first significant surpluses in memory. Yet Clinton steadfastly refused to spend any of the flood of revenues coming into the Treasury, hording them like a latter day Midas. In the end, his administration was even more conservative than Eisenhower’s on fiscal policy.

And just as pent-up liberal aspirations exploded in the 1960s with spending for every pet project green lighted, so too the fiscal conservatism of the Clinton years led to an explosion of tax cuts under George W. Bush, who supported every one that came down the pike. The result was the same as it was with Johnson: massive federal deficits and a tanking economy.

Thus Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans.

Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.

Here are a few examples of Obama's effective conservatism:

-His stimulus bill was half the size that his advisers thought necessary;
-He continued Bush’s war and national security policies without change and even retained Bush’s defense secretary;
-He put forward a health plan almost identical to those that had been supported by Republicans such as Mitt Romney in the recent past, pointedly rejecting the single-payer option favored by liberals;
-He caved to conservative demands that the Bush tax cuts be extended without getting any quid pro quo whatsoever;
-And in the past few weeks he has supported deficit reductions that go far beyond those offered by Republicans.

Further evidence can be found in the writings of outspoken liberals such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has condemned Obama’s conservatism ever since he took office.

Conservatives will, of course, scoff at the idea of Obama being any sort of conservative, just as liberals scoffed at Nixon being any kind of liberal. But with the benefit of historical hindsight, it’s now obvious that Nixon was indeed a moderate liberal in practice. And with the passage of time, it’s increasingly obvious that Clinton was essentially an Eisenhower Republican. It may take 20 years before Obama’s basic conservatism is widely accepted as well, but it’s a fact.

Bewbies
07-25-2011, 07:20 PM
Now we're reading about Obama's conservatism.....just wow.

Baby Lee
07-25-2011, 07:43 PM
It may take 20 years before Brian Billick's defensive genius is widely accepted as well, but it’s a fact.

banyon
07-25-2011, 07:45 PM
Agree with this assessment wholeheartedly. Obama has done nothing which appeals to liberals or progressives. He's just caved in to pressure by conservatives who were willing to shout him down on nearly every topic. His congressional leaders are even more spineless.

For those reasons, and the ones listed in the article, I do not foresee him receiving my vote in 2012. He has accomplished virtually nothing of substance that he campaigned on.

Calcountry
07-25-2011, 07:56 PM
Agree with this assessment wholeheartedly. Obama has done nothing which appeals to liberals or progressives. He's just caved in to pressure by conservatives who were willing to shout him down on nearly every topic. His congressional leaders are even more spineless.

For those reasons, and the ones listed in the article, I do not foresee him receiving my vote in 2012. He has accomplished virtually nothing of substance that he campaigned on.I agree 100% with your analysis. Brilliant, as always.

banyon
07-25-2011, 08:08 PM
I agree 100% with your analysis. Brilliant, as always.

Great.

Bewbies
07-25-2011, 08:20 PM
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/07/22/Barack-Obama-The-Democrats-Richard-Nixon.aspx#page1

Bruce Bartlett

There is no question that Barack Obama is one of our most enigmatic presidents. Despite having published two volumes of memoirs before being elected president, we really don’t know that much about what makes him tick.

This is why we have people writing about Obama's conservatism. LMAO

patteeu
07-25-2011, 09:23 PM
Talk to me about Obama's parallels to Nixon after he signs a tax reform plan that flattens rates, closes targeted tax breaks (aka loopholes), and permanently reduces taxes on investment income beyond what Reagan did in 1986. Until then, GTFO.

banyon
07-25-2011, 10:25 PM
Talk to me about Obama's parallels to Nixon after he signs a tax reform plan that flattens rates, closes targeted tax breaks (aka loopholes), and permanently reduces taxes on investment income beyond what Reagan did in 1986. Until then, GTFO.
He has to meet Reagan's criteria to be compared to Nixon?

Why not meet Nixon's criteria to be compared to Nixon?

HonestChieffan
07-25-2011, 10:32 PM
Well no one missed Nixon after he was gone and its shaping up that BO is right there with old Dick.

patteeu
07-25-2011, 10:37 PM
He has to meet Reagan's criteria to be compared to Nixon?

Why not meet Nixon's criteria to be compared to Nixon?

I need to see him extend a conservative's initiative in the way Nixon extended Johnson's liberal initiatives before I will recognize a parallel.

Edit: But then, HCF found a pretty reasonable parallel for me.

alnorth
07-25-2011, 10:39 PM
Now we're reading about Obama's conservatism.....just wow.

The left-wing has been screaming bloody murder about Obama's moderate policies since he was elected. Shocking, given his very far-left senate voting record, but as a president he's been a slightly-left moderate, at most. Given that, its no surprise to me that a liberal would outright call him a conservative out of exasperated frustration.

SoCalBronco
07-25-2011, 10:42 PM
I think the President's flexibility on things like entitlement reform (agreeing to put limits on inflationary increases on Medicare/SS and also an agreement to a gradual increase in the eligibility ages) is some evidence of Nixonian pragmatism.

Obama's proposals in the debt talks have also been fairly moderate. I'm still not a fan of the comparison, though, as he lacks the imagination and sheer brilliance of Nixon. His record of achievement to date is also not comparable to such a legendary President and statesman.

SoCalBronco
07-25-2011, 10:42 PM
Well no one missed Nixon after he was gone and its shaping up that BO is right there with old Dick.

That's because people are stupid.

HonestChieffan
07-25-2011, 10:44 PM
That's because people are stupid.

Be that as it may, even hard core Nixon supporters were pretty burned out by the time he got on the chopper.

And for damn sure people are getting worn down by this POS

Amnorix
07-25-2011, 10:47 PM
The left-wing has been screaming bloody murder about Obama's moderate policies since he was elected. Shocking, given his very far-left senate voting record, but as a president he's been a slightly-left moderate, at most. Given that, its no surprise to me that a liberal would outright call him a conservative out of exasperated frustration.



This is what cracks me up about the right's exhortations of Obama's Marxism/Communism/OtherBadIsms.....the left isn't very happy with him. To them, he has failed miserably to advance the liberal agenda in any significant way outside of, perhaps, ObamaCare, which contained many compromises that left them pretty damn annoyed.

Seems to me that Obama has more or less continued Bush's economic policies, while continuing to tear a page out of teh "standard playbook" for how to deal with a recession under Keynesian theories.

BucEyedPea
07-25-2011, 10:48 PM
Obama not pleasing the left isn't just about his economics but his warfare and continuation of it.

Amnorix
07-25-2011, 10:49 PM
Be that as it may, even hard core Nixon supporters were pretty burned out by the time he got on the chopper.

And for damn sure people are getting worn down by this POS

Nixon created a serious Constitutional crisis.

Outside of the far right who hated Obama before he was even sworn in, I'm not sure too many people are "worn down" by Obama. In fact, I'd rate his reelection chances pretty high against the weak Republican field that is shaping up.

Your wishing that a certain thing be true doesn't make it so.

|Zach|
07-25-2011, 10:51 PM
Your wishing that a certain thing be true doesn't make it so.

Ha, the post for DC fringe assholes.

HonestChieffan
07-25-2011, 10:51 PM
Nixon created a serious Constitutional crisis.

Outside of the far right who hated Obama before he was even sworn in, I'm not sure too many people are "worn down" by Obama. In fact, I'd rate his reelection chances pretty high against the weak Republican field that is shaping up.

Your wishing that a certain thing be true doesn't make it so.


We both will know the answer to that in due time.

SoCalBronco
07-25-2011, 10:51 PM
Be that as it may, even hard core Nixon supporters were pretty burned out by the time he got on the chopper.

And for damn sure people are getting worn down by this POS

Yes....sometimes people lack the spine to perservere. I agree with Stephen Ambrose that America lost more than it gained when Nixon was forced from office, but hey, that's people's loss, if they're too stupid not to appreciate the tremendous change a great President can bring, then they can burn.

As for Obama, I know you dislike him greatly, but he's been put in an almost completely untenable situation. His proposals, by and large, have been liberal to moderate, as opposed to extremely liberal.

BucEyedPea
07-25-2011, 11:01 PM
Yes....sometimes people lack the spine to perservere. I agree with Stephen Ambrose that America lost more than it gained when Nixon was forced from office, but hey, that's people's loss, if they're too stupid not to appreciate the tremendous change a great President can bring, then they can burn.
Speak for yourself. He was one of our most socialist presidents with his wage and price controls.

As for Obama, I know you dislike him greatly, but he's been put in an almost completely untenable situation. His proposals, by and large, have been liberal to moderate, as opposed to extremely liberal.

O.M.G. I can't believe this. Is there a face-palm smilie around? Some people just don't know how much the center has shifted to the left making what was once moderate pretty darn left-wing. ( I refuse to use the word "liberal" as that's what our Founders were and they sought much smaller govt.)

SoCalBronco
07-25-2011, 11:06 PM
Speak for yourself. He was one of our most socialist presidents with his wage and price controls.

As for Obama, I know you dislike him greatly, but he's been put in an almost completely untenable situation. His proposals, by and large, have been liberal to moderate, as opposed to extremely liberal.

O.M.G. I can't believe this. Is there a face-palm smilie around?[/QUOTE]

Wage and price controls were a temporary measure and the President admitted that they didn't work. It's not like he set out from the outset to adopt wage and price controls. He was constantly looking for possible solutions to economic problems that had not been seen in the postwar era (the rise of stagflation, the first trade deficits in years, etc). I like having the flexibility to go outside of your ideology to try something that might work. In the beginning, he tried a balanced budget approach, then the investment tax credit and the import surcharge, then the temporary controls, then other strategies. It's all about pragmatism and flexibility. I know you are a hardline libertarian and you don't believe in any of these things, but to most people, flexibility without being unduly restrained by ideology is seem as a positive.

BucEyedPea
07-25-2011, 11:07 PM
O.M.G. I can't believe this. Is there a face-palm smilie around?

Wage and price controls were a temporary measure and the President admitted that they didn't work. It's not like he set out from the outset to adopt wage and price controls. He was constantly looking for possible solutions to economic problems that had not been seen in the postwar era (the rise of stagflation, the first trade deficits in years, etc). I like having the flexibility to go outside of your ideology to try something that might work. In the beginning, he tried a balanced budget approach, then the investment tax credit and the import surcharge, then the temporary controls, then other strategies. It's all about pragmatism and flexibility. I know you are a hardline libertarian and you don't believe in any of these things, but to most people, flexibility with being unduly restrained by ideology is seem as a positive.

Didn't he say we were all Keynesians now? That doesn't work either. So much for flexibility.

orange
07-25-2011, 11:10 PM
Given that, its no surprise to me that a liberal would outright call him a conservative out of exasperated frustration.

Bruce Bartlett is a "liberal" now? Maybe in the same sense as, say, Reagan was a "liberal."

Bruce Bartlett (b. October 11, 1951, in Ann Arbor, Michigan) is an American historian who turned to writing about supply-side economics. He was a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and was a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush.

Some of the other folks he's worked for that you might have heard of: Ron Paul, Jack Kemp, Gary Bauer, CATO Institute.

'Hamas' Jenkins
07-25-2011, 11:32 PM
Compared to other industrialized nations, Obama governs right of center. Anyone with any knowledge of other governments should know this.

banyon
07-25-2011, 11:38 PM
I need to see him extend a conservative's initiative in the way Nixon extended Johnson's liberal initiatives before I will recognize a parallel.

Edit: But then, HCF found a pretty reasonable parallel for me.

He extended bush's tax cuts, bush's war, bush's no child left behind, and bush's prescription drug benefit.

Hello, they even renewed blackwater's security contract in Afghanistan.

Is there a bush policy he didn't extend?

dirk digler
07-25-2011, 11:43 PM
Obama not pleasing the left isn't just about his economics but his warfare and continuation of it.

True. He sure isn't the liberal the liberals were voting for or hoping he was.

Jenson71
07-26-2011, 12:04 AM
American politics is right-of-center. It's hard to change the boulders of policies in our system which values stability so greatly. Obama is pragmatic and realistic and has a strong grip on the political pulse of America, and is savvy enough to stay on top of it. But he's not a great reformer, and he is not immune to the political developments of DC, which partly sweeps him up into some streams of conservatism.

Garcia Bronco
07-26-2011, 12:13 AM
I hate to break it to some of you, but the country has never been liberal as a whole...and certainly not for long when it seemed to swing that way on the grand political spectrum.

ClevelandBronco
07-26-2011, 12:43 AM
Compared to other industrialized nations, Obama governs right of center. Anyone with any knowledge of other governments should know this.

Omammy doesn't govern shit. If he were in any way capable of governing, though, you'd be correct. Be that as it may, your observation is irrelevant to his job description. He wasn't elected President of the Other Industrialized Nations of the World.

ClevelandBronco
07-26-2011, 12:55 AM
Incompetent motherfucker would be the democrats' Jimmy Carter if that shit hadn't already been done to death.

Taco John
07-26-2011, 01:14 AM
Obama is just reacting to the mood of the nation. The nation's economics gave rise to the tea party, and the political compass of the nation has been adjusted. I agree with whoever says Obama is a pragmatist. He paid for his first two years (Obama Care) with a beat down by the American people in 2010, and the Democrats have been staring down the barrel of a gun ever since. Now it's a battle of wills with the last word from the American people being the 2010 tea party mandate.

I think Obama has taken every deal he could possibly get. I think he'd be a lot more liberal if he thought it would be politically advantageous for him, his party, and his beliefs. But the reality is, he's bargaining with Republicans who are scared for their own political lives, and he's going to have a tough time moving the needle very far left in such conditions at this point in the game.

BucEyedPea
07-26-2011, 09:34 AM
Bruce Bartlett is a "liberal" now? Maybe in the same sense as, say, Reagan was a "liberal."

Bruce Bartlett (b. October 11, 1951, in Ann Arbor, Michigan) is an American historian who turned to writing about supply-side economics. He was a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and was a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush.

Some of the other folks he's worked for that you might have heard of: Ron Paul, Jack Kemp, Gary Bauer, CATO Institute.

Depends on if he used the true and original definition of liberal—classical liberal. I refuse to call a leftist, or left-progressive liberal because it's a false label.

Anyhow, back to Bartlet—he seems to have switched sides claiming some economic theories are valid during one era but not others. On the flap of his book The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward it says he calls for huge tax increases. That was a few years ago. Then again a supply-sider is just a Keynesian (left) with a tax-cut on top.

mnchiefsguy
07-26-2011, 12:05 PM
Interesting article...but I think it shows more than anything else is that once major shifts in policy are enacted and in place (New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare), they are very, very hard to undone and remove from the system. Once bureaucracy starts, it never wants to stop.

BucEyedPea
07-26-2011, 12:10 PM
Interesting article...but I think it shows more than anything else is that once major shifts in policy are enacted and in place (New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare), they are very, very hard to undone and remove from the system. Once bureaucracy starts, it never wants to stop.

Exactly! ...and the left knows it. :harumph:

FishingRod
07-26-2011, 12:14 PM
"Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans."

So by cope with this “decimated” revenue structure do they mean completely ignore the amount of revenue coming in and spending like the drunkest of drunken sailors?

And yes I thought dubya was a pretty drunk sailor

mnchiefsguy
07-26-2011, 12:19 PM
Exactly! ...and the left knows it. :harumph:

Yes, the left knows it, and they have become experts at it. They know if they can just get it started, they will be in the clear.

mnchiefsguy
07-26-2011, 12:21 PM
"Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans."

So by cope with this “decimated” revenue structure do they mean completely ignore the amount of revenue coming in and spending like the drunkest of drunken sailors?

And yes I thought dubya was a pretty drunk sailor

Another interesting view. Was the revenue structure decimated because no revenue was coming, or was the revenue structure overwhelmed by the non-stop spending? I think it is much more the latter than the former.

BucEyedPea
07-26-2011, 12:23 PM
Yes, the left knows it, and they have become experts at it. They know if they can just get it started, they will be in the clear.

Yeah, they also know it will get people used to it and dependent on it even some of the right. There are Tea Party folks who do not want to lose their Medicare. Then the left calls it the historical inevitability of socialism and evolution when it's really just creating respectable welfare and dependency. Truly covert and evil, imo.

mikey23545
07-26-2011, 12:50 PM
"Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans."


Oh really?

Year.... Revenue (billions)
2001 ...... 1991
2002 ...... 1853
2003 .......1782 <~~~~~~Country begins to recover from Clinton recession and 911
2004....... 1880
2005 .......2154
2006 .......2407
2007....... 2568
2008 .......2524
2009....... 2105 <~~~~Obama takes command
2010....... 2163

Baby Lee
07-26-2011, 12:50 PM
Interesting article...but I think it shows more than anything else is that once major shifts in policy are enacted and in place (New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare), they are very, very hard to undone and remove from the system. Once bureaucracy starts, it never wants to stop.
And that plays into the aspiration versus results divide I mentioned the other day.

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FishingRod
07-26-2011, 12:57 PM
Another interesting view. Was the revenue structure decimated because no revenue was coming, or was the revenue structure overwhelmed by the non-stop spending? I think it is much more the latter than the former.

I agree. Our Government may need to learn to squeek by on a couple of trillion dollars a year.


As big of a supporter of our armed forces as I and most conservative minded people are, defense cuts will be necessary to get our economic house in some semblance of order. This will probably require us to rethink the necessity of a great many of our bases in countries like the UK, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Closing these will make operations like the ones in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan far more difficult but we probably need to do some serious cost benefit analysis in these types of operations as well. Our Allies can and should be expected to pay for their own defense. As the article points out once Government programs become part of the norm canceling or cutting them becomes almost impossible so I think realistically all we can hope for is stopping their expansion. For the same reason I oppose the graduated income tax I could get behind removing the cap of about $108K of income where social security ceases to be collected. That is assuming a switch to something more like a flat income tax. Removing that ceiling would then make sense and would for all intents and purposes solve the funding issues with Social security. Just some thoughts.

patteeu
07-26-2011, 01:29 PM
Speak for yourself. He was one of our most socialist presidents with his wage and price controls.



O.M.G. I can't believe this. Is there a face-palm smilie around? Some people just don't know how much the center has shifted to the left making what was once moderate pretty darn left-wing. ( I refuse to use the word "liberal" as that's what our Founders were and they sought much smaller govt.)

One good thing came out of Nixon's wage and price controls. They transformed Dick Cheney from a non-ideological politico into a committed movement conservative. :thumb:

patteeu
07-26-2011, 01:36 PM
He extended bush's tax cuts, bush's war, bush's no child left behind, and bush's prescription drug benefit.

Hello, they even renewed blackwater's security contract in Afghanistan.

Is there a bush policy he didn't extend?

I don't mean "extend" as in continue, I mean "extend" as in expand. So Afghanistan would fit that description, but none of the others would and neither NCLB nor prescription drugs were conservative policies. If he expanded on the Bush tax cuts in the way I described previously, that would satisfy me.

Chief Faithful
07-26-2011, 01:40 PM
The only thing I see in common is Nixon was a pathological liar.

vailpass
07-26-2011, 01:44 PM
Despite having published two volumes of memoirs before being elected president,

LMAO pompous, uppity, empty suited puppet for the DNC handlers who created him.