Obama: Libertarian Paternalist?

by Travis Prinzi on June 23, 2008

So says George F. Will in Newsweek.  This is one of the reasons that, though I won’t be voting for Obama, I don’t buy the “he’s really, really left” meme.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jonathan June 24, 2008 at 9:02 am

I’ll read the George Will article later, so maybe I’m sticking my foot in my mouth, but I can’t ignore this quote from Obama’s first book:

“To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake,we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints. We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.”

While I don’t buy into the right’s “everyone with a ‘D’ next to their name is evil” meme, I nonetheless get the impression that this particular guy is way left. Likable, and probably a good guy. But way left.

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2 Kaylynn May 23, 2017 at 9:30 pm

They are bigger than I was picturing! Yes, I agree with Debby – they don’t look all that thrilled to have their picture taken. A “really roundabout shr#&cutto8221; doesn’t sound very short… So are Erin and Jay in your Chinese classes at UM? Yay for Silk market shopping! You will have to bargain in Chinese, I suppose. Is Sam going with you?

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3 Travis Prinzi June 24, 2008 at 11:03 am

I’m certainly not saying he’s not “left,” or even “quite left.” I’d want to read the entire context of that quote. I wouldn’t want the final decision on me to come down to the loonies I hung out with in college. Either way, I’m less concerned about that than I am about what his actual policies will accomplish. I don’t like Obama’s policies on the whole, but my main point is that he’s less nanny-state than Clinton and many other Democrats.

I think the discussion demonstrates the inherent difficulty and problematic nature of standard, tacitly-accepted left/right categorization.

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4 lonelypilgrim June 24, 2008 at 1:47 pm

If I recall correctly, during the primary season both Hillary Clinton and John Edwards said that Obama’s health care plan would not provide universal coverage to all Americans.

Also, for anyone with way to much time on his/her hands, look up Senate Roll Call vote 202 from the 109th congress, 2nd session…..which took place on July 13, 2006. It was an amendment to a Homeland Security appropriations bill restricting Federal agencies such as FEMA from confiscating guns during a national emergency such as Hurricane Katrina or 9/11. The amendment passed 84-16. You could probably guess some of the 16 who voted against it………Feinstein, Boxer, Kennedy and Schumer. But Obama voted for it. Hillary Clinton voted against it.

I won’t vote for Obama either, but these two examples show that he is definitely not as far to the Left as Hillary Clinton.

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5 Livia May 23, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Happy Solstice Vix, hope you enjoyed your cider last night. Have an excellent time at the festival, glad Gilberts all loaded up with the essentials lol :) You look great, hope the hair extenstions last. My logs arrived, was shattered stacking them. Its raining here so I am hoping you have the sun, altho I'd like it back on saar.dtyu.we can share it. Have fun xx

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6 Pauli August 21, 2008 at 8:54 am

When deciding how “nanny-state” Obama is we should take into account his huge sweeping national service proposals. What other Pres. candidate in recent times has proposed something like that? It’s a tax on time.

On abortion, Obama is left of about everybody in public office. He’s never opposed any restriction on abortion ever. You can’t say that about the many Democrats who voted for the partial-birth abortion ban.

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7 Jonathan April 9, 2009 at 5:25 pm

I don’t buy the “he’s really, really left” meme.

Any new observations on that now?

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8 Travis Prinzi April 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

He’s really, really left.

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9 Crissy May 23, 2017 at 9:15 pm

From my small knelgodwe about plants I would give them sometime to see what blooms. I almost pulled many “grassy green things” and my garden pal told me know “no!”. That if I give them time they will bloom into beautiful flowers. who knew. ps. your such a good writer about these things, you make me laugh.

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