Obama the Center Lefty

OBAMA THE CENTER LEFTY….Is Barack Obama selling out the left by hiring center-lefty Jason Furman as his economic policy director? Ezra Klein says no:

Obama’s social and economic policy has been relentlessly center-left, focused on tax cuts and renewable energy credits. His health plan was the only one of the major three to not even attempt universality. This stuff is no surprise. Obama has many virtues, but his domestic policy has been consistently center-left. Those who’re shocked simply haven’t been paying attention.

That’s right. Obama has been consistently good on domestic issues, but he’s also been thoroughly mainstream. There’s never been anything boldly innovative or risky about his domestic proposals.

But that’s OK. It’s not 1932 and the public isn’t calling out for a complete re-ordering of the political system. What’s more important than Obama’s general direction, I think, is understanding what his priorities are. What’s he going to fight for starting on Day 1? And I have to confess that I don’t have much of a handle on that.

If, for example, Obama successfully withdraws from Iraq, passes a climate plan that looks something like his campaign proposal, and implements his healthcare plan, that would constitute a stunningly successful first term even if you think he’s too much of a milquetoast in every one of these areas. But are these the three things he’s most likely to fight hardest for? I don’t know. He’s consistently solid in almost everything, but that very consistency makes it hard to figure out what he’s really passionate about. Now that the primary is over, maybe we’ll start to find out.

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