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.

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conservative. All throughout his book "Audacity of Hope" there are scattered remarks that I would suggest indicates that he would be more comfortable in a more orderly party like the old Republican party of the 1950's. He says of Reagan "..I understood his appeal." "It was the same appeal that the military bases back in Hawaii had always held for me as a young boy, with their tidy streets and well-oiled machinery, the crisp uniforms and crisper salutes."

Add to this that he wants to be a "player" so he "trims his sails" a bit around the money people. He wants us to believe and maybe he wants himself to believe that there is a real leftie lurking somewhere in him, but that he has to play the game right now so he personally can get ahead. He believes that the election of a black man would have a powerful impact all by itself. Then as his power grew, he could help the less powerful.

This is the old "When I get to the top, I'll send the elevator back down" flim flam. He may believe it, but there are a great many of us that want to figure our how most of us can get up there together. One way will be to embrace John Edwards and his "we're in this together" health care plan.

References: Ken Silverstein, "Barack Obama, Inc.", Paul Street "The Obama Illusion".
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