The Corner

Rive gauche

National Journal’s Stuart Taylor becomes the latest sophisticated analyst to notice the moderate bipartisan centrist in the White House is behaving very oddly. Or as Mr Taylor’s headline puts it:

Obama’s Left Turn

What left turn? He’s chugging in the same direction he has since he decided to become a “community organizer”. His budget is entirely consistent with his voting record as a US Senator, his state politics back in Illinois, his friends and political mentors – and even, as the late Dean Barnett noticed in February last year*, his non-teleprompter campaign rhetoric:

Virtually every time Obama deviated from the text, he expressed the partisan anger that has so poisoned the Democratic party… At one, point when addressing what we have to do for the economy, Obama ad-libbed, “The insurance and the drug companies aren’t going to give up their profits easily . . . Exxon Mobil made $11 billion this past quarter…”

Obama’s shot at Exxon Mobil’s profits is strikingly disingenuous. He seems to be implicitly saying that the healthy earnings are good news for Mr. Exxon and Mr. Mobil, who will promptly stash most of the profits underneath their obviously outsized mattresses… Barack Obama is far too intelligent to not realize that many of the school teachers and union workers and working moms that so often people his more elegant speeches likely have an interest in Exxon Mobil’s profits either from their retirement plan’s portfolio or their union’s holdings or their own investments that they actively manage…

Worse still was the threat to take away the profits of the drug and insurance companies. Perhaps Obama thinks that the drug companies will continue to develop life saving therapies out of benevolence, and that their employees will happily take the pay cuts that will accompany the loss of profits.

Ah, well. As it turns out, corporate profits don’t seem to be such a pressing problem anymore.

The other day I was speaking with some chaps who’d attended a David Brooks speech shortly after he joined The New York Times, and in the course of the event he was asked if his relations with the Times crowd were a bit awkward, him being a conservative and all. And he supposedly replied that no, they get along fine because “I look like them.”

That’s what a lot of these smart guys thought when they saw Obama: “He looks like me. I can imagine myself sitting across from him at dinner and enjoying it.”

Whereas Dean Barnett talked like Sarah Palin marinated in a vat of chowder for a year and a half. Nevertheless, Dean looked past Obama’s tailoring and ”temperament” (elite-speak for “cool”), and listened to what the guy was saying.

As for Stuart Taylor, he still doesn’t quite get it:

The house is burning down. It’s no time to be watering the grass.

If only. The house is burning down. And Obama’s soaking the neighboring buildings in Exxon-Mobil’s finest. Fortunately for Mr Taylor’s fit of the wobbles, the alternative to the Obama Fire Department is a GOP “dominated by such hard-right conservatives as Rush Limbaugh”. Twenty-five million people listened to Rush last week. Millions of them have listened to him for 20 years. That makes them “hard-right” extremists.

Whereas being one of a few thousand who listened to Jeremiah Wright every week for 20 years makes you a mainstream moderate.

(*via Ed Driscoll)

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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