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Posted at 9:05 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Obama's centrist mask drops

By Jennifer Rubin

For those outside the liberal cocoon and beyond the entreaties of the White House spin machine, it's hard to fathom what the administration is up to with its budget proposal. Obama seemed like he understood the 2010 midterm message and seemed like he understood the necessity of real fiscal restraint, but then he comes out with a budget so unserious and so emblematic of liberal statism that not even Democrats are defending it.

Lefty blogger Greg Sargent helps out here, explaining:

There is the camp that says he has needlessly capitulated to the GOP's anti-government rhetoric and has effectively ceded the game to the GOP by throwing in the towel on the very idea that stimulus spending is necessary for job creation . . . . In the second camp are those who argue Obama is cleverly reframing a battle with built-in advantages for the GOP. . . .And as I've noted already, they think they will succeed in moving the argument beyond the GOP's preferred frame -- "big" versus "small" government" -- once the discussion focuses more on the specifics of what the GOP wants to cut, leading the public to prefer Obama's vision.

Hard as it is to believe, the White House, much as it did on the ObamaCare debate, has apparently talked itself into believing the public doesn't care all that much about the size of government, isn't much concerned with spillage of red ink, and thinks the name of the game is -- as Bill Clinton did in very different economic and political time -- to paint the Republicans as heartless budget cutters.

It also reveals, as many of us suspected, that Obama's posturing during the lame duck session and the hiring of some new staff in the White House did not represent a fundamental shift in the White House's agenda or philosophy. The Obama team is composed of people who think government spending creates prosperity, who have no fear that tax hikes will choke off economic growth, and who believe the electorate won't notice or care that Obama has rejected the 2010 midterm message.

Obama in presenting his budget and revealing the philosophy to which he stubbornly clings has conceded the huge middle of the political spectrum to the Republicans. The Republicans now have the opportunity to cement their gains with independent voters and to rekindle the same excitement in the base that helped the party take 63 seats in the House and 6 Senate seats. If the Republicans play this smartly -- a big if -- they have the chance to lead and to make substantial gains in 2012.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 15, 2011; 9:05 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Next: Mitch Daniels and the austerity trap

Comments

I'm waiting for each member of the house of representatives who wants a major cut in the budget to come up with a billion dollars in cuts from their own district.
Perhaps Trent Lott could suggest that the military construction in his distrct be closed.
Rand Paul can suggest that his district will turndown all highway funds.

each member of congress that wants major cuts should start with his own districts spending.

How about moving the NWS out of Alanta Georgia. it would be much cheaper to run it iowa.

How about Alabama turn down all NSF funding for public an private colleges and universites in that state?

Man-UP!

Posted by: newagent99 | February 15, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"I'm waiting for each member of the house of representatives who wants a major cut in the budget to come up with a billion dollars in cuts from their own district.
Perhaps Trent Lott could suggest that the military construction in his distrct be closed."

newagent99, Trent Lott is retired from the Senate now. And he hasn't been in the House since the late 1980s. My guess is that his feelings on what should be cut from his "district" aren't so relevant any more.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 15, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama's a wolf in sheep clothing. He's a
chameleon. He goes whichever way the wind blows., because Obama has No Principles.
You cannot trust a person like this, and this absolutely, positively is NOT leadership.
The left couldn't care Less about the budget, the deficit, fiscal responsibility...its simply not in their DNA.
We've definitely got the wrong party in the White House for this particular economic time.
We need Adults in the White House right now, but we have irresponsible, ignorant children, instead.

Posted by: ohioan | February 15, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What "centrist" mask? Obama never was, and never will be, a centrist. He's a radical liberal to the core. The sooner people wake up and realize this fact, the better off we'll all be.

And better that the libs are howling over this ridiculous budget than whether I can have red wine with seafood.

Posted by: flintston | February 15, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse


I'm waiting for each member of the house of representatives who wants a major cut in the budget to come up with a billion dollars .... turn down all NSF funding for public an private colleges and universites in that state?

Man-UP!

Posted by: newagent99
____________
Hey ..99 good ideas, until you came to your last epithet. Please don't copy the paylin!

But we agree on the most important thing...each congressperson should be required to reduce spending in his/her own district by let's say $2,000,000,000. That would cut roughly $1,000,000,000,000 from the budget. Enough of this "not in my backyard" bee-esse. The enlightenment from Tunisia and Eygpt needs to spread to our own dear coutry. People need to stand up to their very corrupt government.

Posted by: yard80197 | February 15, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I wish we had Trent back!

Posted by: flintston | February 15, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Stanley Kurtz author of "Radical in Chief" thinks that Obama is simply playing politics. Obama's basic vision of the future hasn't changed an iota: he still wishes to impose socialism on us.

so he's positioned himself in the budget battle such that he can continue to advance some portions of his agenda while dealing with the public concerns via a series of sham concessions that serve as nothing more than window dressing.

I highly reccommend reading Mr Kurtz's piece on the corner at NRO. It is a sobering reminder that Obama, like all committed ideologues, is relentless and clever.

It will come down to who has the best vision for the future and who can express that vision in a manner that best appeals to the American public.

to that end Mr Sowell offers us an analogy of counter punching. He uses the career of a boxer to illustrate both the communications problem faced by the Republicans and a basic strategy for overcoming it. Since its now down to the "vision thingie", we should work hard to get it right.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 15, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

".each congressperson should be required to reduce spending in his/her own district by let's say $2,000,000,000. That would cut roughly $1,000,000,000,000 from the budget."

The problem, from most of the budget analyst type people I've heard/read, is that the 'discretionary spending' - things like highway funds, education spending, science spending, etc, is a pretty small fraction of current and future budgets. That what is driving our budget crisis is Medicare, Medicade, Defense, Social Security, and now, Obamacare.

Trimming the pork would certainly have some meaningful impact, but it would be pretty small, is what they say. You have to make substantial cuts in Medicare/caid, Obamacare, Defense, and SS if you really want to kill the beast.

Posted by: JeffFromOhio | February 15, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

JR/ "If the Republicans play this smartly -- A BIG IF -- they have the chance to lead and to make substantial gains in 2012.

SS/It will come down to who has the best vision for the future and who can express that vision in a manner that best appeals to the American public.

The Ball is in Congress's court. Jennifer seems less than thrilled. I think she realizes that $100 Billion dollars of cuts is a pathetic goal made worse by the liklihood that nothing will get chopped.

SS thinks this is about the best vision for the future. I think not. There is no vision in Obama's budget,it is a purely political tactic to try to make the Republicans make the first move,which he will counter. In this game,the first move loses. The strategy is to make the Republicans vote against raising the national debt in March.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 15, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I stated that I would vote for Ron Paul over Obama. I wish that the NeoCons/GOP had another candidate that Independents like myself could vote for. SS says that Obama has a vision,but most liberals/independents can't see that vision. Here is a quote by the very despised Liberal,Andrew Sullivan, on Obama. He sounds EXACTLY like Jennifer.
“To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over, He thinks you’re fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama’s cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America’s fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end.”

Posted by: rcaruth | February 15, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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