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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Historian: Obama Pragmatist, Not Socialist

Hey, all you gooney-birds who think President Barack Obama is a socialist: maybe you should study what the President actually thinks and reads and writes.

Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg has. He has a book coming out on the President's intellectual evolution, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition. Kloppenberg finds our President is a classically American pragmatist, a "philosopher president" like Jefferson, Madison, both Adamses, Lincoln, and Wilson. He finds a man dedicated like our Founding fathers to promoting civic discourse.

He does not find a socialist:

Conservatives who argue that Mr. Obama is a socialist or an anti-colonialist (as Dinesh D’Souza does in his book “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”) are far off the mark, he said.

“Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by,” he told the audience in New York. “He has a profound love of America.”

And his opposition to inequality stems from Puritan preachers and the social gospel rather than socialism [Patricia Cohen, "In Writings of Obama, a City Is Unearthed," New York Times, 2010.10.27].

By Kloppenberg's analysis, President Barack Obama is not some outsider trying to disrupt the American Dream. President Obama is a product and proponent of the American Dream, trying to make America live up to its founding ideals.


  1. Obama doesn't fit the role of a debater. When the health care bill was batted around, he went out of his way to say 'this has been debated enough - its time for action.' He wants the boot on BP, punishment inflicted on his enemies(Independents and Republicans), control over private bank records nd your internet searches.

    Compares more with Woodrow Wilson than Thomas Jefferson.

  2. You judge a person based on their actions.

    1) His most significant legislation is an usurption by the government of 15% of our Gross Domestic Product.

    2) His most significant response to economic performance is a stimulus via government expenditure.

    3) His most significant resolution to financial legislation is a enhanced regulation of the financial industry to impede capital flow to consumers and business.

    4) His solution to financial problems of the auto industry, banks, and defaulting mortgage debtors is bailouts (Fannie, GM & Chrysler, and mortgage fiasco his first months in office).

    5) Unlike all previous Presidents who attracted a broad range of skills in his most 100 senior positions, Obama has less than 3% of his senior advisors who have any significant business experience. They all come from academia, liberal think tanks, government, and community activist groups.

    A raging liberal might find these pragmatic but as you will see in this election, most of America has found them extremely ideological.

    And you judge a man by what he says.

    1) He plays the race card with impunity.

    2) He participates in the politics of personal destruction (calling those who oppose him as enemies).

    3) He plays the class envy card with impunity.

    A pragmatist never demonizes those who disagree with him as he knows he will need them in the future.

    If people judged me based on what I read, you'd think I had a dual personality. I read extreme liberals, statist liberals (not so much as they are repetitive and booring), libertarian-ish liberals, mush headed moderates and thinking moderates, extreme conservatives, statist conservatives (again not so much), libertarian conservatives.

    This is nothing but psycho-babble from someone who wants to mainstream Obama. At least D'Souza looked at Obama's actions and words and tried to fit them into a coherent philosophy.

  3. Troy, I'll let others deal with the "actions", I'll challenge you on the "what he says."

    1) He plays the race card with impunity.
    When one is attacked for one's ethnicity Newt Gingrich, birthers, Tea Party, Beck, Limbaugh, et al.)
    one's rebuttals do NOT constitute "playing the race card."

    2) He participates in the politics of personal destruction (calling those who oppose him as enemies).

    He "participates" in the sense that those who attack him as per above and in other ways ARE his enemies. If anything, I fault him cor not understanding that as often as not.

    3) He plays the class envy card with impunity.
    Not really. I'll argue that the Tea Party has a corner on that market this campaign season.

    Pretty weak stuff, Troy. You can do better. I've seen you do it.

  4. Bill,Obama has stated that people don't like him because he "looks different," is "Black," etc. That is totally false for 99.9% of the people who don't like his policies; it has nothing to do with his color. In fact, I heard another Black man on TV today who is a conservative running for Congress; I agreed with this candidate's policies and would vote for him in a heartbeat if he were running in SD. 99.9% of the voters who don't agree with Obama's policies don't care if he is black, white, striped, lime green, or purple; we care about where his policies are taking this country.

    A presidential President does not call those who disagree with him "enemies." He is after all President of the entire populace, not only those who agree with him. Enemies are reserved for those who are trying to kill us or destroy our country, not people who are of a different political persuasian. This has cheapened the office of the President.

    You acuse the Tea Party of class envy. I challenge you on this. The Tea Party members are people with money and without much money, mothers, dads, senior citizens, kids, liberals, conservatives, men, women, retired, working, unemployed. I haven't seen one iota of class envy here. Tea Party supporters want smaller gov't, less taxes, more power to the states and individuals vs fed gov't, etc. Before you criticize Tea Party supporters, maybe you should talk to some of us. Class envy is being used by Obama, painting the rich as evil and they need to "redistribute the wealth" to make everyone equal; this is totally used to create class envy.

    Obama wants to fundamentally change America, his exact words, and the people he has appointed as czars etc have in their own words stated this and even gone so far as to state they want to destroy our economy and rebuild it as a socialist state. Obama believes the fed gov't is the answer to everything. I and most Americans do not believe this.

  5. The President's desire to share the wealth is simply a desire to restore the balance the existed before Reagan et al. started the great redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle to the wealthy. The President recognizes that getting more money into the hands of the working people is the surest way to generate more economic activity and make America stronger. That's not socialism; that's good business.

  6. THe surest way to get more economic activity is to get the gov't out of the way so that businesses can expand. In an era of uncertainty in unknown coming taxes and more federal regulations, this will not occur. Expanded business = more jobs = more money in the economy = expanded business = more jobs = and the circle will continue. Gov't expansion and higher taxes are not the way to stimulate economic growth.

  7. Hard not to wonder which planet some of the rightwingers live on when you can read their comments and they are so totally disconnected from reality. Take a look at Dakota Today for a comment by Bob Ellis.

    Whichever, disingenuous or ignorant, the right wing looks like a fringe bunch that has used too much of the crystal meth Tea Party blather and is energized for all the wrong reasons.

  8. Conservatives live on Planet America. What a pity you socialists desperately long to live on Planet Marx.

    The contempt you show for freedom and our American heritage is beyond pathetic.

  9. Dagnabit Bob, I kind of think the freedom to blog is still around, we can stand on a corner soapbox and blather away. As far as I know, you are still allowed to spread your nonsense about liberals and progressives being socialists, Marxists, et all and all ready to rise up in opposition to freedom of speech, right of assembly, etc.

    Which freedom is it specifically that liberals and progressives want swallowed up by the big nasty marxist socialist government?

  10. It's only a matter of time, if you socialists continue to get your way --which we'll be stopping--along with your unconstitutional government health care and any hopes you had of robbing our prosperity and freedom through cap and tax, and every other pox this Marxist government has been working on--on Tuesday.

    Get ready for the return of the American way!


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