Obama as a Centrist. Really

The president is a pragmatist. That's why he's assailed from both sides.

When they’re not calling him a socialist, Republicans, conservative talk show hosts, Tea Party enthusiasts and other detractors love to refer to Barack Obama as the most liberal president of modern times, and undoubtedly that will be a rallying cry in the November elections. But the man in the Oval Office isn’t making it easy for critics who care about the facts. Just ask the Democratic left, which knows he’s not one of them.

Consider Obama's proposal today to open a huge swatch of coastal waters to offshore drilling, a move that has the president’s environmentalist allies in a rage. Or his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which alienated his party’s left wing. He’s also adopted many (but clearly not all) of former President Bush’s views on interrogations, trials and the long-term incarceration of terrorist suspects. And his administration’s crackdown on deportations of illegal immigrants has Hispanic supporters up in arms.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

To continue reading this article
please register for free

This is different from signing in to your print subscription

Why am I seeing this? Find out more here

Mark Willen
Senior Political Editor, The Kiplinger Letter