Matt Wuerker

Obama the Centrist

Despite the frequent cries of US Republicans that Barack Obama is trying to bring European-style socialism to America, it is now very clear that Obama wishes to govern from only one place: the center. On policy after policy, you could close your eyes and imagine that the president is a moderate Republican named George H.W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Colin Powell.

BERKELEY – Despite the frequent cries of American Republicans that Barack Obama is trying to bring European-style socialism to the United States, it is now very clear that the US president wishes to govern from one place and one place only: the center.

In fighting the recession, Obama decided early on that he would push for a fiscal stimulus program about half the size of what his Democratic economic advisers recommended, and he decided to count that as a total victory rather than press for expanding half a loaf into the full amount.

Obama has been so committed to that cautious policy that even now, with the unemployment rate kissing 10%, he will not grab for the low-hanging fruit and call for an additional $200 billion of federal aid to the states over the next three years in order to prevent further layoffs of teachers. Rather than stemming further erosion of the national commitment to educate the next generation, Obama has shifted his focus to the long-term goal of balancing the budget – even while the macroeconomic storm is still raging.

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