Obama the Republican

Bruce Bartlett has a column at the American Conservative (Obama Is a Republican) which is getting a lot of attention today (and rightfully so, in fact).  His points about the deficit, in particular, ought to be paid attention to.

I will say, however, that I find all the attention to his thesis a bit amusing, insofar as I remember a blog post with a similar title from over three years ago:  Obama: Moderate 90s Republican?  (In fairness, the basic thesis was not unique to that post either).

(Also the PoliBlog post noted in that link from 2011 has been re-created here).

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Pearce says:

    I don’t expect any conservatives to recognize the truth of Obama’s fundamental conservatism for at least a couple of decades—perhaps only after a real progressive presidency.

    I used to tell my right wing uncle, an avowed Bush lover, that Obama is the best Republican president since Reagan. I was only joking.

    …or was I?

  2. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    Interesting article. The comment thread–the more important part of this sort of article to me–were, well,,,colorful, yeah, that’ll do it. The main thing that I would note is that the commentariat at TAC is better spoken and more intelligent sounding than say, Jenos or Eric Florak, but that’s not a very high bar to jump.

  3. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    The main thing that I would note is that the commentariat at TAC is better spoken and more intelligent sounding

    Nailed it.

    This dude sounds like that bearded guy from the Matrix:

    Further you are contextualizing definitions and by doing so you are floating what on the surface appears relevant but hardly accurate particularly on the social discussion.

    Woulda been better minus a phrase or two and a couple commas.

    Your contextual depth in making the links to Republican traditions are pretty tenuous.

    And all your base are belong to us.

    (True story: I did not know, until a few days ago, that TAC was co-founded by Pat Buchanan. I thought that was….interesting.)

  4. Moosebreath says:

    Yep, it nailed it. Obama’s policies fit into the Eisenhower range. I especially liked the paragraph in the article:

    “I think Cornell West nailed it when he recently charged that Obama has never been a real progressive in the first place. “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit,” West said. “We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency.””

    I’d say Obama never even posed as a progressive. He was the most conservative of the 3 main candidates for the 2008 Democratic nomination (and Edwards the most liberal).

  5. Gustopher says:

    His points about the deficit, in particular, ought to be paid attention to.

    Republicans are terrible on the deficit, but year after year in the Obama administration, the deficit goes down. I’d say that shows Obama isn’t a Republican at all.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Been saying this for six years now. Mr. Obama was never a leftie, he’s a moderate, middle-of-the-road guy. That didn’t matter to Republicans, but it never seemed to quite penetrate to a lot of Democrats. I hear Dems sounding disappointed that Obama hasn’t been a dove. The man ran openly on droning the crap out of Pakistan, he was never a dove.

  7. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Yeah, Pat Buchanan as the founder is, well…ironic come to mind.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    Interesting side bar on Pat Buchanan: During the late 80’s I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa and got most of my news via short wave radio. If conditions were right I could get broadcasts from the US. For the most part these were religious broadcasts but occasionally I would get these incredibly paranoid racist christianist broadcasts. I’m talking the kind of stuff that Timothy McVeigh was spewing. And at least twice I caught Pat Buchanan on one of these shows. As I remember he was fairly careful about what he said himself but there he was on the line (or in the studio) for many minutes as some crazy religious nut job talked about mud people and race mixing and jew conspiracies and whatnot. Ol’ Pat never said boo to disagree.

    I read the TAC fairly often and have often wondered shy a slime ball crazy racist like Buchanan got so much column space. Now I know.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce: I took cracker’s suggestion and read some of the comments at TAC.

    more intelligent sounding

    indeed. The usual conservative nonsense in erudite clothing. (Strikes me as appropriate for TAC, except for Bartlett.) The guy you quote kept that up for 1600 words. In a blog comment. Lordy.

  10. stonetools says:

    The fact is that Obama is a centrist Democrat who would have loved to work with moderate Republicans to craft pragmatic legislative solutions. This is the theme of his book ” The Audacity of Hope.”
    The Republicans decided that this was not the way to legislative success and decided on all-in opposition and to paint Obama as a Kenyan Muslim extremist who was ruining the country with Marxist policies. It was nonsense, of course, but the Obama and the media let the Republicans get away with that and were slow to counteract the relentless right wing propoganda campaign. The failure to respond to Republican propoganda, coupled with what turned out to be an inadequate economic stimulus, set the stage for the massive conservative backlash in 2010.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    I’ve been typing that Obama is more Conservative than Reagan, on this very forum, for years.
    Nice to be vindicated, I suppose.

  12. stonetools says:

    I wonder if Doug or any other conservative commenter is ever going to admit that the ACA is not some socialistic takeover of the health care market , but

    virtually textbook Republican health policy, with a pedigree from the Heritage Foundation and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, among others

    My guess is , sadly, never. We love our delusions and never want to admit we are wrong on the Internet.

  13. al-Ameda says:

    I realize that it is not Obama’s nature to be confrontational – a trait that is consonant with being a political moderate, a centrist – but there are times when I whish he would have told Republicans, at certain key junctures, to ‘eff-off.

  14. C. Clavin says:


  15. anjin-san says:

    Is Obama the REAL CONSERVATIVE that Florak has been seeking all these years?

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Haven’t you noticed that Obama is black?
    Obama could do every single thing friggin’ that Florack wants and needs…and still he’d be black…so Florack wouldn’t believe it possible.

  17. Nikki says:

    Obama’s blackness is the ONLY thing that makes Republicans hate him. If he were white, they would call him the Reagan Re-Incarnate and liberals/progressives/Democrats would loathe him even more than they do now.

    Dude just can’t win for trying.

  18. bandit says:

    @Nikki: Good job racist asshole

  19. al-Ameda says:


    @Nikki: Good job racist asshole

    If I might …
    Where is she wrong concerning Republicans?

    Obama’s blackness is the ONLY thing that makes Republicans hate him.

    Is it that Republicans hate him for MORE than just being black?

  20. Kari Q says:


    No, they also hate him for the D after his name.

  21. Eric Florack says:

    Republican doesn’t equal conservative, Steve.
    Indeed, all you’ve done is confirm what I’ve been saying all along about what’s wrong with the GOP,.