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Obama the Moderate?

November 30, 2008

It is good to see that Obama has picked rather moderate figures for his incoming administration so far. After all the talk of “righteous wind” bringing “Change” to Washington, conservatives feared and lefties hoped for much more radical decisions. But M Obama has displayed strong political survival instincts in the past. During his presidential campaign he threw such a huge number of people, promises, and standpoints under the bus that it became a byword. So, it is not really a surprise that Jeremiah Wright won’t be Secretary of State and William Ayers Secretary of Homeland Security.

Also, M Obama knows that he needs people with experience to compensate somewhat for his lack thereof. As it is, the only experienced Democrats around are all connected to the Clinton administration and leave something to be desired for by the Hope’n Change group in terms of radicalism and newness.

Obama wouldn’t do himself a favour if he didn’t put all his energy behind the nation’s major concerns these days: the economy and national security. With the public mind almost hysterical about the financial crisis the economy has become the number one priority for most people. At least in perception, it has reached the level of an existential threat to many – also if only to current standards of living. National security, on the other hand, is by definition a priority. Only when your physical survival is secured will you begin to think about other things.

‘Other things’ would be health care and a range of social issues. And this is the area where M Obama can more realistically change a lot of things without risking to immediatly turn the country into an ash heap and voters against him. When the economy is going south, and Obama handles it in a way that makes too many pundits cry foul, it would make it very hard to get enough people behind him to, say, get a step closer to banning handguns or to ‘single-payer’ health care. Or how many people would answer his staff’s SMS that calls them to rally for FOCA when they fear that they might get caputered by terrorists on their trip to the mall?

While campaigning for the presidency, it became clear that Obama is more a social-issues guy. He told people how to inflate their tires, which room temperature is (or isn’t) politically correct, that they can’t let their kids play too much video games, etc. Foreign policy and national security aren’t Obama’s strong suit and he has a lot to learn in those areas. He will follow his advisors and not try anything bold. (Hopefully.)

Domestic issues are different. As long as it doesn’t seriously risk to kill the economy, Obama might make the super-left’s dreams come true and introduce some decidedly leftward changes. Expect ’empathic’ judges, card-check, an education system ruled by the teachers union, FOCA, maybe even restrictions on free speech in the name of ‘fairness’ or ‘equality.’ (The way he talked about Fox News during his campaign or how he slandered Rush Limbaugh by shamelessly quoting him out of context for his TV ads Obama’s fingers must be itching to do something against the expression of right-wing opinions.) And when (or if) the economy has recovered state-run health care, tax hikes on ‘the rich’ and companies, and lots of money for social and ecological projects can be added to the list.

So while Obama didn’t, since his election, publicly proclaim that he wants to run the nation into the ground he may still have a lot of things in store to make conservatives cringe.

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