Is Obama Earning the "Republican Lite" Label?
The big news this morning is how Barak Obama and Michael Bloomberg shared an eggs-and-potatoes breakfast this morning in a New York diner. It hit the newswires after Mayor Bloomberg's Friday schedule was released to reporters last night.
Lot's of speculation about what was discussed but no statements have yet been released by either party. It is not so much of a stretch to see this as another example of how Obama is packaging himself as a center candidate.
In an Op Ed today Mandates and Mudslinging,New York Times correspondent Paul Krugman discusses Obama's health program.
While his article focuses on the health issue as it is playing out in the campaign, he makes the specific charge that Obama is attacking his Democratic opponents from the right. Taken in conjunction with his breakfast meeting with Bloomberg, Krugman's characterization of how Obama is positioning himself is food for thought.
Specifically, Krugman discusses Obama's accusations that Clinton and Edward's medical insurance plans would be coercive.
Well, John Edwards has just called Mr. Obama's bluff, by proposing that individuals be required to show proof of insurance when filing income taxes or receiving health care. If they don't have insurance, they won't be penalized - they'll be automatically enrolled in an insurance plan.
That's actually a terrific idea - not only would it prevent people from gaming the system, it would have the side benefit of enrolling people who qualify for S-chip and other government programs, but don't know it.
Mr. Obama, then, is wrong on policy. Worse yet, the words he uses to defend his position make him sound like Rudy Giuliani inveighing against "socialized medicine": he doesn't want the government to "force" people to have insurance, to "penalize" people who don't participate.
I recently castigated Mr. Obama for adopting right-wing talking points about a Social Security "crisis." Now he's echoing right-wing talking points on health care.