Barack Obama is a ‘conservative’ compared to today’s ‘radical’ Democrats, says Washington Post This argument has been made before He Ran As One’conservative’, but became the “Progressive” , We Knew He Was All Long

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In an opinion column, Washington Post editor David Swerdlick argues that former President Barack Obama, the nation’s 44th president, was often misunderstood by both the right and the left. Swerdlick notes that Obama’s progressive critics were often turned off by his calm demeanor and gradualist approach to public policy and that those on the right unfairly attacked him as a “radical.”
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What both of them get wrong, the editor says, is that Obama was, at his core, a conservative:

Given the political climate, it’s no surprise to see the party’s base clamoring for something dramatic. But the contrast between Obama’s steady approach and the seeming radicalism of his Democratic heirs can’t just be chalked up to changing times. It’s because the former president, going back at least to his 2004 Senate race, hasn’t really occupied the left side of the ideological spectrum. He wasn’t a Republican, obviously: He never professed a desire to starve the federal government, and he opposed the Iraq War, which the GOP overwhelmingly supported. But to the dismay of many on the left, and to the continuing disbelief of many on the right, Obama never dramatically departed from the approach of presidents who came before him.

There’s a simple reason: Barack Obama is a conservative.

Swerdlick notes that, unlike contemporary Democrats, such as Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Julian Castro, the “former president was skeptical of sweeping change, bullish on markets, sanguine about the use of military force, high on individual responsibility and faithful to a set of old-school personal values.”

How was Obama a conservative?

Swerdlick essentially says that although many of Obama’s policies were not “right-of-center,” the process through which he governed was conservative:

But his constant search for consensus, for ways to bring Blue America and Red America together, sometimes led him to policies that used Republican means to achieve more liberal ends. The underlying concept for his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, with its individual mandate, was devised by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and first implemented at the state level by Mitt Romney, then the Republican governor of Massachusetts. Obama wanted to protect Americans from the effects of a prolonged recession, so he agreed, in one of his defining votes as a senator, to a bailout of banks — and as president, he prioritized recovery over punishing bankers for their role in the financial crisis. In his first inaugural address, he affirmed the power of the free market “to generate wealth and expand freedom.”

The Post editor also claims that Obama’s admirable personal qualities bolster his conservative bonafides:

He embraced respectability politics as a way to signal how conventional it was to have a first family of color: the many Norman Rockwell-worthy photo-ops, such as the 2009 portrait by Annie Leibovitz, a study in wholesome family living; their annual vacations on Martha’s Vineyard, summer haven of the black elite; dialing back his storied “cool,” as when he displayed his stiff dance moves during an appearance on “Ellen,” laying claim to the mantle of the everyman dad.

Albeit, as Swerdlick states, “Obama was a believer in big government” who used his presidency to advance liberal ends. Among them: naming liberal Supreme Court justices, imposing limits on carbon emissions, ordering anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees, and not enforcing deportation laws—all of this mainly through executive fiat.

This argument has been made—and refuted—before

Variations of the “Obama is a conservative” argument were made in 2008 and early in his presidency. New York Times columnist David Brooks famously claimed in 2009 that “Obama sees himself as a Burkean” and compared him to Edmund Burke, the 18th century Anglo-Irish statesman considered by many as the progenitor of modern conservatism.

However, conservative thought leaders scoffed at Brooks’ claims of Obama’s conservatism, which are not dissimilar from Post’s contention. Jonah Goldberg refuted that for “every sentence fragment the guy [Obama] has offered that could be construed as Burkean… I can think of whole speeches and books that are not.”

Conservative intellectual Yuval Levin argued, “I cannot imagine how anyone observing the Obama administration could think the president a Burkean.”

Adding, “No one said he has to be a Burkean. But those who say he is one are, I think, well off the mark.”

This writer’s perspective

As I’ve publicly noted before, as a young man, I volunteered for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Since then, my political views have matured. Still, I think the former president has many respectable qualities, especially as a family man, that people on both sides of the aisle can agree are decent and good.

Our country has two noble political traditions—liberalism and conservatism—that have been with us since the founding and are different, in many respects, than their variations elsewhere. President Obama fits squarely within the former and the tradition of Thomas Paine—albeit, arguably with a lower-case ‘c’ conservative temperament and calm demeanor.

Yes, he is certainly more moderate and gradual in matters of public policy than many of today’s leading Democrats, but that doesn’t make him a conservative.

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Socialism, Atheism, and Abortion:

Some say abortion is a “health care” option for pregnant women.  Others say it is the forced separation of soul and body of an unborn human being.  In the U.S., the debate about whether abortion is good or bad for our society has become white-hot, with blue-state legislatures passing pro-abortion laws and red states laws opposing abortion.  The gap between pro-abortion Democrats and anti-abortion Republicans has been widening every year since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that abortion is legal in all states.  The Democratic Party now uses “support of abortion” as a no-exception litmus test to be passed by any politician wishing to join the party.  The divide between political parties on the issue is now so wide that it is preventing rational debate on nearly all legislative issues, whether abortion-related or not.

To understand the growing enmity between political parties on this issue requires a deeper look into the origins of abortion in modern society.  The widespread practice and acceptance of abortion is a 20th-century phenomenon, but its philosophical basis is a direct outgrowth of a 19th-century philosophy about human nature called Scientific Socialism.

Most Americans think of “socialism” as a movement in the ’20s and ’30s that attracted immigrant Italian, German, and Irish blue-collar workers — mostly Catholic — seeking better working conditions and higher wages.  Socialism in America was championed by men like Norman Thomas, a Presbyterian minister and pacifist.  In 1928, Thomas became president of the Socialist Party of America (SPA).  Under Thomas, the SPA adopted, in addition to workers’ rights, civil rights and integration as causes.  Thomas was a founder of the National Civil Liberties Union, the predecessor of the ACLU.  However, with declining membership support, the SPA ceased operations in December 1977.  By then, its causes had already been largely adopted by the national Democratic Party.

But the brand of socialism pushing for no-limits abortion in the U.S. is not the socialism our fathers and grandfathers knew.  This socialism is the more virulent strain that has controlled life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (now the Russian Federation) since 1920 and in the People’s Republic of China since its formation in 1949 by Mao Zedong.  This is the socialism conceived by Feuerbach, Engels, and Marx and implemented by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.  It is now creeping into the U.S. political system through the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.  This wing’s persistent advocacy has succeeded in coercing the party’s national leaders and elected representatives to join in openly promoting no-limits abortion in our country.

For 1,500 years, from the 4th-century writings of Saint Augustine that codified the Christian faith until the socialist theories of the 19th-century German philosophers, religion and philosophy were inseparably intertwined.  In 1841, Ludwig Feuerbach, Christian-born philosopher and anthropologist, published “The Essence of Christianity,” in which he postulated that religion had no role to play in the understanding of reality and should not be a part of any philosophical study of human nature.  For Feuerbach, a convert to atheism, religion imposed a restraining and debilitating fear in the minds of men, and its influence should be eradicated from society if humankind is to progress.

Karl Marx, a contemporary of Feuerbach, advanced the idea that religion places an unnatural inhibition on society.  In the introduction to his 1843 “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” Marx wrote that “religion is the opium of the people.”  He argued that religion is a “social authority” imposed by the ruling class on the working masses to keep them under control.  This thesis was the foundation of all of Marx’s political and economic theories that followed.  Seduced by the concept that religious beliefs are detrimental to human progress, Marx, the grandson of a rabbi, turned away from Judaism to atheism.  “Atheistic Marxism” and “Scientific Socialism,” the titles later given to Marx’s theories, proposed that future societies could survive and develop to their full potential only if their masses were emancipated from religion.  These new liberated societies would have no churches or religious orders or societies and would permit no mention of God or religion in their schools.

Friedrich Engels was born in Prussia to a middle-class Protestant family.  In his twenties, through association with radical activists at political “clubs,” he became a militant atheist.  Engels, a skilled writer, soon gained recognition among young German liberals as a persuasive anti-religion philosopher.  In 1844, Marx saw several articles by Engels that articulated the very principals of socialism that Marx was advocating.  After numerous written exchanges, Engels met Marx in 1845.  The two immediately formed a partnership to develop, promote, and implement plans for their new political vision: Atheistic Marxism.

Born in Simbirsk, Russia in 1870 to Christian parents, Vladimir Lenin turned to atheism upon the death of his father in 1886.  In 1887, Lenin decided to study law, and during his university years, he joined a political club that was advocating Marxism for Russia.  Lenin became enamored of the Marx-Engels theories and immediately began to develop plans for their promotion and implementation.  His first target was Russian farm workers.  In 1903 he published an article titled “Letter to Rural Peasants” espousing the benefits of the new society for farm workers:

We want to achieve a new and better order of society: in this new and better society there must be neither rich nor poor; all will have to work. This new and better society is called a socialist society. The teachings about this society are called ‘socialism’.

After the successful 1917 Russian revolution, Lenin became the first premier of the United Soviet Socialist Republics and quickly implemented his version of Marxist socialism.  One of his first acts was to eliminate all religion in Russia and begin the conversion of the population to atheism.  And in 1920, abortion was approved by the new government.  Thus, under Lenin, Russia became the first country in history to sanction atheism and abortion as government imperatives.  All of the Soviet socialist countries followed suit, as did China under Mao in 1949.

The common thread that unites the social engineers and the implementers who followed is atheism.  The state-supported practice that has become socialism’s identifying mark is abortion.  For those who promote and operate the abortion industry, with no belief in God or in an afterlife, accepting the notion that abortion does no harm to anyone is understandably easy.  There have been over 1.5 billion abortions worldwide since 1980.  So an ironic flaw of this atheistic scheme has emerged: the socialist emancipation of mankind from God is facilitating part of mankind’s own destruction.

The growing divide between national political parties certainly is about abortion.  But it is also about the Democratic Party’s attempt to integrate Scientific Socialism of which abortion is emblematic into our political system. Neither this strain of socialism nor abortion is compatible with the beliefs and practices of our free enterprise system — a system based on trust in God. https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/10/socialism_atheism_and_abortion.html