It was nothing short of astonishing to see Obama, at his surprise press conference Tuesday, with harsher words for members of his own party than for Republicans. It is the Republicans, after all, who have been blocking his efforts, wall-to-wall, while liberal Democrats have been his staunchest if often exasperated supporters.
Also rather surprising was Obama’s misreading of his own incrementalist beliefs into the history of Social Security and Medicare. It’s factually incorrect, contrary to the president’s assertions, that Social Security began as help for “widows and orphans.” The basic provisions of Social Security, as a retirement benefit for workers, was right in the original 1935 legislation. The first retiree began collecting benefits in 1939, a necessary delay while the program accumulated funds. And Medicare, despite Obama’s misunderstanding of its history, was legislated as a full-blown program of health insurance for the elderly in 1964.
Seriously? Which sentient adults are really “shocked, shocked” that Barack Obama has more contempt for the Left than the Right? Surely not anyone who paid attention to his 2007-08 campaign or anyone who’s picked up a newspaper pretty much any day since his inauguration. Praising Ronald Reagan as “transformative” during the 2008 primaries? Check. Winning all of the Red State caucuses while losing every closed primary in Rust Belt/Big Labor/Big Dem states, even after “the math” said Hillary Clinton couldn’t win the nomination? Check. Larry Summers and Timmy Geithner still have jobs in the Obama administration*, and tens of millions of worthy Americans don’t have jobs at all? Checkaroonie! Continuations of George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan, on “terror,” and on the Fourth Amendment? Check, check, and check. Continuations of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, the 2001 Bush tax cuts for bazillionaires, and the for-profit health “insurance” industry? Checkcheckcheck.
The only thing that’s shocking to me is that “liberal Democrats have been his staunchest if often exasperated supporters.” (That’s been pretty shocking now going on three years, so I guess you could say I’m just benumbed by the shock at this point.) It’s like the Left picked an alcoholic father who was clearly an abusive drunk all along, and now it’s crying itselt to sleep every night wondering why Daddy is so mean and why Daddy isn’t the Daddy it wants him to be.
I’m really uninterested in the debates on the left about Obama these days, which boil down to arguments as to whether he’s evil or stupid, or quite possibly both. What’s in his mind or his heart doesn’t matter, although it may be of interest to historians after the fact. Campaigns are about language and character and promises, but Presidents are ultimately judged by what they do. Their priorities are clearly visible through their works, not their words, and not their stated intentions.
By now, we’ve got a pretty good idea about Barack Obama’s priorities, and they’re not the priorities of the American Left.
(*Yes, I know that Summers is on his way out, but because he resigned, not because he was given the gate.)