Barack Obama: the Moderate Republican President


Thu, Nov 8th, 2012 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Slate's William Saletan is asking Republicans disappointed that a Democrat won the election to cheer up. Looking at what the president has done so far, Obama is far more a Republican than the Socialist he's been accused to be.

By and large, Obama's instincts are the instincts of a moderate Republican. His policies are the policies of a moderate Republican. He stands where the GOP used to stand and will someday stand again.

Yes, Obama began his presidency with bailouts, stimulus, and borrowing. You know who started the bailouts? George W. Bush. Bush knew that under these exceptionally dire circumstances, bailouts had to be done. Stimulus had to be done, too, since the economy had frozen up. A third of the stimulus was tax cuts. Once the economy began to revive, Obama offered a $4-trillion debt reduction framework that would have cut $3 to $6 of spending for every $1 in tax hikes. That's a higher ratio of cuts to hikes than Republican voters, in a Gallup poll, said they preferred. It's way more conservative than the ratio George H. W. Bush accepted in 1990. In last year's debt-ceiling talks, Obama offered cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in exchange for revenue that didn't even come from higher tax rates. Now he's proposing to lower corporate tax rates, and Republicans are whining that he hacked $716 billion out of Medicare. Some socialist.

Interesting collection of opinions on the Net as to why the GOP lost. Thomas L. Friedman of The New York Times thinks it was the result of "an excess of McConnell-like cynicism, a shortage of new ideas and an abundance of really bad ideas":

No one can know for sure what complex emotional chemistry tipped this election Obama's way, but here's my guess: In the end, it came down to a majority of Americans believing that whatever his faults, Obama was trying his hardest to fix what ails the country and that he had to do it with a Republican Party that, in its gut, did not want to meet him halfway but wanted him to fail -- so that it could swoop in and pick up the pieces. To this day, I find McConnell's declaration appalling. Consider all the problems we have faced in this country over the last four years -- from debt to adapting to globalization to unemployment to the challenges of climate change to terrorism -- and then roll over that statement: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald F. Seib opines that Mitt Romney simply failed to "catch up with the changing face of America."

Exit polls showed that Mr. Romney won handily among white Americans--almost six in 10 of them--but lost by breathtaking margins among the nation's increasingly important ethnic groups: By almost 40 percentage points among Hispanics, by almost 50 points among Asians, and by more than 80 points among African-Americans.

Newt Gingrich, the Republican former House speaker and 2012 presidential contender, says his party faces a big "institutional challenge" in figuring out how to connect with minority voters who make up an ever-bigger part of the electorate and the country's social fabric.

The Republican Party "simply has to learn" to appear more inclusive to minorities, particularly Hispanics, Mr. Gingrich says. "There is the objective reality that if ethnic minorities voted their economic interest, we would have a 65% Republican majority" nationally, he added.

Meanwhile, on The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf thinks that Republicans shouldn't be asking themselves "what went wrong?". Instead -- considering the right's self-created information disadvantage -- "they should ask themselves a question every bit as important: 'Why were we the last to realize that things were going wrong for us?'"

Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday's result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout -- Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes. Joe Scarborough scoffed at the notion that the election was anything other than a toss-up. Peggy Noonan insisted that those predicting an Obama victory were ignoring the world around them. Even Karl Rove, supposed political genius, missed the bulls-eye. These voices drove the coverage on Fox News, talk radio, the Drudge Report, and conservative blogs.

Those audiences were misinformed.

Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different. Its driving force was Nate Silver, whose performance forecasting Election '08 gave him credibility as he daily explained why his model showed that President Obama enjoyed a very good chance of being reelected. Other experts echoed his findings. Readers of The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other "mainstream media" sites besides knew the expert predictions, which have been largely born out. The conclusions of experts are not sacrosanct. But Silver's expertise was always a better bet than relying on ideological hacks like Morris or the anecdotal impressions of Noonan.

Sure, Silver could've wound up wrong. But people who rejected the possibility of his being right? They were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage.

And if you are Roger Black, Romney lost simply because... typographically speaking, his logo sucked.

Bad branding, of course. This is a design blog, so I won't go into the confused voice and personality of the campaign. But Romney was cooked as soon as they unveiled that toothpaste RRR logo. It had all the quality of a logo on the "For Sale" signs of a big realtor in Ohio. (Maybe that was the idea.)

But after the widely praised big O of the Obama 2008 campaign, we are expecting better design from our politicians. A great leader in this Steve Jobs legacy era would have taken one look at the R's and told them, "Get outta here."

Of course a practiced corporate art director would counter, "It's all about the applications." Staging this logo successfully would have required a white, or near white background all the time. In a red-white-and-blue universe, you only get white one-third of the time.



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