Category Archives: david patreaus

>OP ED: Obama is getting it right … and the left is feeling left out

>President-elect Barack Obama is off to a pretty good start. I know this – if for no other reason – because the so-called progressive (<– read that archliberal) radio gabbers are apoplectic. Just as the far right feared, the far left believed that Obama was a radical leftist who would initiate some sort of “age of socialism” by personal edict – a communist Camelot, if you will. The left wingers chose to forget that Obama (with Mayor Daley, left) was the product of old time corrupt Chicago politics. In doing so, they overlooked the fact that politically, the Democrat machine of his political upbringing is a bit right of center. Also, Obama and his people (the Chicago crowd) know that his legacy depends on being a centrist President. If he wants to be remembered for more than the first half black guy to work out of the Oval Office, he has to have accomplishments. Starting class warfare is not going to do the trick.

So, what has happened since Election Day that keeps my conservative anxiety in check?

First, his appointments have been pretty good … considering. Most of the Cabinet picks are moderates who have been hanging around Washington bars since the Clinton administration, waiting for the next meal ticket. Obama has won praise from such groups as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and televangelist Pat Robertson (right). Who would have thought?

His team of economic advisors, who will be the vanguard in setting down the economic recovery plan, are mostly free market guys. None have a history of supporting systemic socialism. America’s leading capitalist, Steve Forbes (left), gives the team pretty high marks. That’s good enough for me.

Obama has already let it be known that he will most likely not reverse the Bush temporary tax cuts as the progressives believed he would. They assumed that this was a slam dunk on day one. Instead, Obama has decided to allow those tax cuts to run their course. The left is clinging to a hope that when the cuts run out in 2010, Obama will let them die. I say … don’t be so sure.

The difference between his view and Bush’s view of the various corporate bailout schemes is negligible – though in this case, I think they are both wrong. Nonetheless, Obama is in the political mainstream of the moment on this.

Though he opposed getting into the Iraq war, Obama has proven himself to be quite malleable on the strategies to end it. He is not a cut and run appeasement guy. There is a general consensus that a phased pull out will occur. Bush, Obama and the Iraq government seem to be in general agreement on the timing.

On the other hand, Obama favors a kick-ass build up in Afghanistan. The fact that he is keeping both General David Patraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in place seems to suggest that there will be no dramatic change in the conduct of the war on terrorism. Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden is a very high priority for the President-elect.

When not focusing on the economy and the war, Obama took time to assure the gun owners of America that he is “no enemy of the Second Amendment.” He stated his belief in the right of gun ownership with responsible regulation – a view closer to the National Rifle Association than the Brady Bunch (<– referring to the Jim Brady, who was wounded alongside President Reagan and whose wife is our nation’s number one gun grabber). I recall hearing the squeals of disbelief and disappointment on (hot) Air America when Obama joined John McCain for a polite debate hosted by conservative Pastor Rick Warren (seen being embraced by Obama — literally and figuratively), of the Saddleback mega church. Now … Obama has passed over all those other reverends in his past life, Wright, Jackson, Sharpton and Pfleger, to have Reverend Warren provide the historic invocation.

Because of Warren’s opposition to gay marriage, the gay rights leaders are all a twitter over his selection. They feel betrayed. Hellooooooo. While mostly avoiding the issue — but when pressed — Obama was squarely in the ranks of those opposing gay marriage. He is not likely to jump on board the stupid anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, but he will not be out there pushing for gay weddings. Mostly he leaves that up to the several states – a good position constitutionally and politically.

Now, I am sure that Obama is going to give me a lot of reasons to toss a shoe or two in his direction over the course of the next four or eight years, but so far I am not even untying them.